40 Hours of Fall Family Fun in Mammoth Lakes

Let’s face it, fall can be a crazy time for families. You’ve got the back-to-school grind dialed in and weekends are filled with everything from soccer and scouts to birthday parties and football. But the fall can also be a terrific time for a weekend getaway escape before the holiday season arrives. It’s a great time to come to Mammoth Lakes, where we’re currently experiencing fantastic weather—daytime highs in the 60s—a pleasant situation compared to the record heat wave elsewhere in California. So don’t wait to come on up, cool off, and enjoy some incredible bargains and beautiful foliage!

Here’s a sample itinerary for you:

Friday

Evening Arrival

Did you know that there is year-round air service between Mammoth Lakes and LAX? It’s an incredibly convenient option and there are some great rates for fall travel. The schedule allows you to arrive early Friday evening and depart late Sunday afternoon, perfect for families.

Accommodations

Whether you’re flying or driving, you’ll want to get checked into your accommodations and grab some dinner. You’ll find a lot of lodging available at bargain prices in the fall. Some family favorites to consider include the Westin Monache Resort, Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa, and Alpenhof Lodge. Shop around for the nest option for your family’s needs and budget.

Food

After a long week and an afternoon of traveling, nothing beats a casual Friday night dinner. Consider grabbing a pizza or takeout Thai food to enjoy in your room, or enjoy a margarita while the kids hangout in the sandbox at Gomez’s. For some true local flair, drive 15 minutes south of Mammoth Lakes to the Eastside Bake Shop, which features Friday night dinners from 5:00-9:00pm with live bluegrass music starting around 6:00pm.

Late Night

To top off your evening, pay a visit to the new Mammoth Rock ‘N’ Bowl at 3029 Chateau Rd., where you’ll find 12 lanes for bowling, 3 golf simulators, foosball, darts, and ping pong. Open until midnight and fun for everyone.

Saturday

Morning Beverages

Whether your hotel includes breakfast, you check out a restaurant, or placate the kids with fruit and cereal in your room, no doubt you’ll be ready for a good dose of caffeine to get in gear for the day ahead. Sure, we have Starbucks or head to Main St. for a more local vibe with organic brews. Stellar Brew is the spot to grab a morning beverage along with convenient breakfast fare. Great natural food options for vegans, carnivores, and gluten-free diets alike. Or check out Black Velvet Coffee at 3343 Main St., Suite F, which not only has great coffee but steeps a proper cup of tea as well. I’m hooked on their Earl Grey lattes and use their loose-leaf tea at home.

Picnic Prep

After you get your morning fix, it’s time to pick up a picnic lunch before you head out to explore. For early starters, New York Deli & Bakery Co. in the Village will prepare and wrap sandwiches from their menu for you. For a gourmet experience, visit Bleu Handcrafted Foods after 11:00am (or before 8:00 pm the night before) for artisan cheeses, meats and more. Don’t worry, the proprietors have young kids and understand those palates, too.

Happy Trails

It’s time to get moving, get outdoors, and really experience what fall in Mammoth Lakes is all about. There are so many options for great family hikes and foliage viewing. Check out some of my best bets, as well as these seven hikes for suggestions. Convict Lake, Lundy Canyon, McGee Creek and Rock Creek are all great spots for finding fall colors throughout the season. Seasonal events are also a great way to enjoy the fall colors. I love the June Lake Autumn Beer Festival, a family-friendly event featuring food, games, live music and local beer.

Treats

After your adventures, head to the Mammoth Fun Shop for an ice cream treat and extremely fun shopping experience. Try the home brewed root beer floats (available Saturdays only), or if you really worked up an appetite, go for the Fundae. It’s 13 scoops of ice cream with any toppings you want and you can even get your picture on the Fundae Wall of Fame! The Fun Shop also stocks plenty of Halloween merchandise for fall costume parties.

More Activities Around Town

If you still have time and energy left, there are plentiful options available. Consider a bike ride, go fishing, do some shopping, or just take a leisurely ride on the free Town Trolley.

Dinner

Ready for a little grown-up time? If the kids are ages 4-12, you’re in luck! Guests of the Westin Monache can take advantage of the on-site Kids Club for a small fee. You must remain on the premises and can enjoy a meal or cocktails at the Whitebark. Guests and dining guests at the Sierra Nevada Resort can access the services of the Cub Club while on the property. Both the Rafters and Red Lantern on-site restaurants will remain open on weekends throughout the fall and also offer family-friendly dining.

Sunday

Breakfast

Your 40 hours of family fun is drawing to a close, and it’s time to relax over a leisurely breakfast before heading home. There are a number of great breakfast spots in Mammoth, but two reliable local favorites are the Good Life Cafe. and The Stove. Burn off the generous portions and get everyone ready to travel home with a quick walk on the Town Loop after breakfast.

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Betsy Temple-Truax

Betsy loves living and playing in Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra with her active family and friends. A passionate advocate for community recreation, Betsy never turns down an opportunity to swim, ski, paddle, travel or let someone else cook.

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