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Vacation Close To Home:
Six Yosemite Area Hotels With Fuel Incentives

As fuel prices continue to rise, hotels and motels throughout Madera County — California’s Gateway to Yosemite National Park — are offering discounts to take the sting out of filling up.

1 — You’ll find discounts at the popular Madera Valley Inn, 559-664-0100,, one block off Hwy 99 in Madera. This is the perfect spot for day tripping to Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks; both are less than an hour’s drive away. The inn is offering a $25 gift card redeemable at numerous businesses incl gas stations, with any 3-night stay. Rates at the modern 93-room inn start at $55/night and incl cont’l bkfst, free parking, high speed Internet access. Rooms have refrigerators and coffee makers — some have microwaves; there’s an exercise room and swimming pool.

John Muir
John Muir (1838-1914), the Scottish born American naturalist, author and inventor, petitioned the U.S. Congress for a bill to protect the natural beauty of Yosemite.

Passed in 1890, federal legislation established Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

Muir was co-founder and, until his death, president of the Sierra Club.
2 — Even smaller properties are offering discounts. The 3-room Yosemite Sierra View B& B, 559-683-7659,, in Oakhurst is giving a $10 travel incentivefor any 2 night stay. Incl full hot or cont’l bkfst. Rooms have private bathrooms and patios. Located 14 miles from Yosemite, the Tuscan style B&B is on 10 beautiful mountain acres. Rates from $129-$200/night.

3 — Stay 3 nights or more at the Sierra Mountain Lodge B&B, 800-811-7029,, in Ahwahnee and get 10% off. Each of the 4 two-story suites has vaulted ceilings, a private entry with covered porch, downstairs living room, bathroom and kitchenette. There’s also a log cabin, perfect for families. The lodge, at 3,000 ft elevation, is one block off Hwy 49 and 22 mi from Yosemite’s southern entrance. Free Internet access, DVDs and reading library.

Chain Hotels

4 — The new 63-room Holiday Inn Express, 559-665-3300,, in Chowchilla, just off of Hwy 99 and 14 mi from Merced Regional Airport, has a “Yosemite Package” that incl $10 for gas and a dining credit plus free Internet access, hot bkfst buffet, USA Today. There’s a swimming pool, spa, fitness center and nearby tennis, golf and hiking/biking trails. Spacious rooms have refrigerators and microwaves and there’s an on-site laundry and convenience store. Chowchilla, an Old West town, is home to the famous Stampede & Cattle Drive and the Country Fair.

5 — The 78-room Hampton Inn, 559- 661-0910,, on Airport Drive in Madera is giving $10 off room rates. It’s 1 mile to the Madera Fairgrounds and less than an hour to Bass Lake, a favorite with anglers. Nearby Valley Pistachio has free almond, dried fruit and pistachio tastings.

6 — And, the SpringHill Suites by Marriott, 888-287-9400, 559-664-9800,, on East Almond Ave in Madera is going all out with its “Cars Eat Free” package. Stay any day June thru Aug and get a $25 gas card redeemableredeemable at any station accepting Visa. Package is priced at $134 midweek and $114 weekends. The $25 gift card is earned for every night you book. All 88 suites have a minirefrig, microwave and coffee maker. Rates incl cont’l bkfst. There’s a fitness center, heated pool, and an onsite laundry.

Beyond The National Parks

Yosemite Fast Stats
Yosemite National Park, about the size of Rhode Island, is known for its granite cliffs, dramatic waterfalls and giant Sequoias. And its only a 4-hour drive from San Francisco.
Other facts:
• 160 Rare plants
• 350 Miles of roads
• 800 Miles of hiking trails
• 1,600 Miles of streams
• 761,260 Acres
•  Take the 4 mile train ride aboard the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, 559-683-7273,, which starts/ends at Yosemite’s South Gate. You’ll ride into history where locomotives once hauled massive log trains through the Sierra Mountains. These Shay locomotives are not reproductions — Engine #10, for example is 80+ years old. After your ride, visit the Thornberry Museum, devoted to the history of logging and mining.

•  Get a map and follow the beautiful Madera Wine Trail, 800-613-0709,

•  Explore the Fossil Discovery Center, 559-665-7107,, in Chowchilla and learn about the area’s prehistory while examining mammoths. Kids love the Center’s “dig area.” This amazing collection is near the largest deposit of fossils on the West Coast.

•  See a play or musical at the 40+ year old Golden Chain Theatre, 559-683-7112,

•  On a rainy day, head for the Madera Public Library, 121 North G St, 559-675-7871.

For Further Information

•  Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau, 41969 Highway 41, Oakhurst,, CA,, 559-683- 4636,

•  Madera County Visitors Bureau: Click on “Special Deals.”

• Yosemite National Park Official Web Site: