A Family Guide to Summer in Mammoth Lakes with Kids
This post is overflowing with photos because, honestly, it was impossible to take a bad photo in this stunning locale of snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, and happier-than-ever kids. We were invited by our friends at Mammoth Lakes to share everything we learned on our adventure, and we’re honored to partner with them.
It’s hard to tell you exactly what this epic adventure to Mammoth Lakes with kids in tow did for my family, but the bonding and excitement we shared should be obvious in the photos. Sometimes a family needs to elevate their adventures to new heights and try a few new things! We certainly did.
At nearly 8000 feet above sea level, Mammoth Lakes is tucked away in California’s Eastern Sierra mountain range within Inyo National Forest. Getting here is easy; a flat drive of about 325 miles north of Los Angeles means we were here in just a few hours. Though it’s known as a winter destination, the locals have a saying here: you come for the winters and stay for the summers.
If you’re looking to elevate your family’s summer vacation to new heights, and aren’t afraid of epic adventures, then Mammoth Lakes should be at the top of your list. Here’s a complete family guide to Mammoth Lakes with kids.
3 Family Summer Adventures in Mammoth
There is no shortage of outdoor adventure for families in Mammoth Lakes. Seriously, the only thing there’s never enough of is time. Unless of course, you live here full-time in which time moves slower than in the wild, urban pace where most of us call home. But I digress….
In Mammoth, a family can explore the lakes, streams, and mountains that characterize this region of California in any number of ways during the summer months, including mountain biking, boating, SUPs, hiking, fishing, horse backing, rock climbing, swimming, and the list goes on. After the snow has melted and the skiers have left, the wildness beckons for exploration. You can even take your adventures over the Sierras and to Yosemite National Park’s eastern entrance, which is only 30 miles or so from Mammoth. There is SO much to do and see in Mammoth Lakes!
For our first summer trip to Mammoth Lakes, we decided to focus on 3 outdoor activities: boating, hiking, and fishing.
- Boat Rentals at June Lake: What’s better than being at the lake? Being ON the lake! Our boating day at June Lake is one the kids still talk about. June Lake is about 25 minutes outside of Mammoth by car and a beautiful place to spend an afternoon. Pack a picnic and your fishing poles, invite some friends (or not) and enjoy a full or half day pontoon boat rental available at June Lake Marina.
- Convict Lake Loop Hiking with Kids: A 3-mile, moderately strenuous hike around stunning Convict Lake provides ample vistas and opportunity to explore. Wear comfortable shoes as the terrain is diverse and bring plenty of water.
- Learn to Fly Fish at Mammoth Lakes: We learned how to fly fish! With the help of the awesome guys at The Troutfitter, we spent a glorious morning learning the basics and trying our luck on the line. We didn’t catch any fish, but had a blast and vowed to try again. Check out my post for all the details on this full immersion experience and recommendations on best ages to go.
Summer Lodging in Mammoth Lakes
With the Sierras all around you, there’s really no wrong place to stay during summer in Mammoth Lakes. They offer everything from camp and RV sites to cabin rentals and first-class resorts. When choosing accommodations, consider the age of your kids, your desired level of comfort and budget, as well as the location of your lodging.
For this summer adventure, we opted for a central location with the comforts of home at the Westin Monache Resort. We stayed in a two bedroom suite that was perfectly located to all of Mammoth’s outdoor excursions and within walking distance to The Village of Mammoth, home to great dining, shopping, and nighttime entertainment. We were lucky enough to be in Mammoth during their jazz festival and were able to enjoy three nights of free jazz from our balcony!
Our favorite amenity of the Westin was their heated pool and two hot tubs! After long days of exploring, we came home to enjoy a night swim under the canopy of trees before tucking into our comfortable beds to do it all over again the next day.
Favorite Eats and Treats in Mammoth
Oh, so you thought a remote mountain town wouldn’t have world class dining options? Think again! The Village at Mammoth hosts a wide assortment of culinary options. Even gourmet ice cream! We tried and loved the Mexican fare at Gomez’s Restaurant, especially since the kids could play in the sandlot while mom and dad sipped on margaritas.
Located within the Westin, the Whitebark Restaurant is delicious. One night we had dinner brought to the outdoor pool and ate under the stars. Order the Asian chicken wings!
Not to be missed is the hometown, rustic spot beloved by locals, Burgers Restaurant. The homemade chili was given two-thumbs up by the kids and dad loved his bacon cheeseburger.
And before you head back home, you must stop at Mammoth’s Fun Shop for souvenirs and a delicious ice cream sandwich made with freshly made cookies.
For Our Next Summer Mammoth Trip
Without a doubt, we’ll be back in Mammoth Lakes before long. With so much to explore and such an easy drive from LA, there’s every reason to make Mammoth our summer destination. But for our next trip, here are a few things I’d like to do:
I’m like to spend more time on Mammoth Moutain, taking the scenic gondola ride to the top and visiting the Eleven53 Interpretive Center. The kids had a blast with the Kids Adventure Pass, enjoying unlimited day access to Eurobungee trampolines, zip line, and rock climbing wall, so we’d like do that again too.
Go on even more hikes! We hiked every day and there is still so much left unexplored. We didn’t get to see Devil’s Postpile or Rainbow Falls, and we definitely want to go fly fishing again. I also need to catch a sunset at Mono Lake and the Minarets.
I’d also like to take a mountain biking class at the Adventure Center! We talked with the friendly staff as they explained the 4-hour adventure, complete with bike rentals, and I immediately wished we had another day.
Like I said before, the only thing Mammoth needs more of is time! Until we meet again, Mammoth Lakes.