There are several small towns after Yosemite if you are heading to SFO where you could find a motel to sleep in but none so interesting to write home about.
Nevertheless if you only need a place to sleep and you want to drive further on the next day, I would suggest staying in Groveland which is the closeste to Yosemite.
We decided to drive all the way to Jamestown for the night (2 hours drive from Yosemite Valley).
Jamestown is one of the famous California Gold Rush towns, together with Sonora and Columbia and, if you keep an open mind and have no high expectations, they are worth for a short visit and an overnight stay.
When you visit the historical centre on the Main Sfreet, you feel like you travelled back in time to the western times. I think it’s preserved like this on purpose for the tourists.
The buildings look just like in a cowboy movie and as you walk down the street you expect to see a cowboy shootout to happen anytime. You walk by the sherriff’s office while next to you on the street pickup trucks pass by playing loud cowboy music. If you walk into a restaurant or the saloon (which is a steakhouse), you have the feeling that everyone stops to look at you, you are the new guy in town.
We arrived late at around 8 pm and went straight to our hotel to check in. This hotel was number one on tripadvisor with lots of great reviews and nice pictures. We even upgraded to a private cottage with a kitchen and bathroom. The rooms in the main building have no private bathroom!
Where NOT to stay:
Americas Best Value Inn
18239 Main Street, Jamestown, California
– free wifi
– friendly staff
– the rooms look like a dump
– it stinks in the room
– shower doesn’t work
– awful breakfast
– no curtains on the windows at the door and the kitchen in the private cottages so anyone can just look in
– no bathroom in the rooms in the main building
– I saw bugs in the bathroom
– the A/C in the room is old, loud and crappy
I cannot understand how this hotel has so many good reviews. I had to think long and hard to find something good to write about this hotel. It’s just so awful!
Where to POSSIBLY stay:
18183 Main Street, Jamestown, California
After checking in we went to search for food. Most of the restaurants looked like you definitely don’t want to eat there so we picked a mexican hoping that the place is acceptable enough for a good meal.
This restaurant looked like it was run by a family and the staff was very nice and friendly. The food was excellent, we got home-made nachos with salsa and for the main course we picked the Fajitas for 2. The only thing that disturbed me was that it wasn’t so clean. The tables looked clean enough although I wouldn’t eat anything that I drop on it but the carpet was full with food and crumbs.
We stayed until 9:30 pm and were the last customers to leave. We were still in the restaurant as they were cleaning the open kitchen and they even started to vacuum clean in the other room! They did ask us if we mind that they vacuum clean in the other room and we said no, what else can we say? They shouldn’t ask in the first place. They should wait till we leave.
Nevertheless if you can overlook these minor issues, you will have a nice dinner in the Morelia.
Where to eat:
Morelia Mexican Restaurant
18148 Main Street, Jamestown, California
Willow Steakhouse & Seafood
18275 Main Street, Jamestown, California
If you have an extra half an hour, you could drive to Oakdale and stay there overnight. We drove through Oakdale with the car and it’s quite a big city with lots of choices for hotels, restaurants and shopping. It is “The Cowboy Capital Of The World” with famouse rodeo.
Jamestown was interesting but next time I would probably pick Oakdale.