As we are finally in the post COVID-19 era, many people are realizing our lifestyles are not the healthiest. Being busy is seen, by some, as a badge of honor, but freedom, extra time, and adventure is truly the honor. Exploring our surroundings has always been important to my family of five, but even more so now. Living in the bay area, we have plenty to see here at home, but when we want to leave the busy city and suburban life, we typically head to the mountains. Like many Bay Area natives, we headed to Tahoe for our first couple of trips. It was beautiful, of course, but we wanted to try something new, so we came to Tuolumne County, specifically, Twain Harte. It only took one trip and we were completely hooked. The benefits of Tuolumne county far outweighed the busy and commercial areas of north and south Lake Tahoe, for us. We loved it so much we ended up buying our 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home which we now rent out, The Pine Cone House.
What a treat it was to not be on a major 4 to 5 lane freeway for hours on end. The drive to Tuolumne County via CA 580-120-108 is extremely pleasant, with far less congestion then the 880/80 route we took to get to Tahoe. As a bonus, it was closer for us to go to Twain Harte versus Tahoe.
Things To Do:
My family consists of three children, two who are in elementary school, and a toddler. We have found so many family friendly activities in the area, we can easily fill up our time. Between the numerous bodies of water, Dodge Ridge and Leland snow play in the winter, gold country towns, Indian gaming casinos with family-friendly activities, hikes, farms and orchards, we enjoy every minute of our stay in Tuolumne County.
Such a hidden gem! Growing up, Pinecrest lake is where my father's family camped. I experienced it as a child, and now I am back to it as an adult. This lake has no entrance fee, paved parking, numerous bathrooms, boat rentals and a dock, fishing, hiking, and beautiful clear water to enjoy while you are relaxing on the beach, or under the canopy of trees with ample picnic tables just steps from the sand. My kids love getting ice cream and french fries from the snack bar as a treat.
Snow sports are the main attraction here, but recently, Dodge Ridge has opened up mountain biking trails, attracting an entirely new community! Open during summer and fall, it's a great spot to enjoy the fresh mountain air. There are always events happening at their lodge (sometimes even bounce houses), making it very family friendly.
Finally, the affordability in the area makes this destination even more attractive than your typical touristy spots. I feel so honored to be able to slow down in life and make memories with my family in Tuolumne County. This is a place to go back to time and time again.
Jessica Gonzalez is the owner and host of The Pine Cone House,
Twain Harte ~ Mi-Wuk Village