Discover the ultimate spot to have a cozy family vacation in June Lake, CA.
Do you enjoy the feeling of finding a hidden gem that’s often overlooked because it’s in the shadow of a giant diamond? Yes? Then head to June Lake, the often ignored neighbor of the world-renowned Mammoth Mountain.
This idyllic mountain town is undergoing a renaissance, as a surge of creative entrepreneurs have opened up a juice bar, cannabis shop, high-quality pizzeria, music venue, and so much more. In addition, June Lake offers some of the most spectacular views in the area, because of its primo location at the base of the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. However, a tricky thing about June Lake is that many of the accommodations haven’t caught up with the downtown revival. But there are some exceptions.
When it’s only the three of us heading to June Lake we often stay in the Double Eagle Lodge, which is a cozy, comfortable collection of small cabins and hotel rooms with access to a vintage spa, and a good restaurant. But when we’re traveling with a group it’s all about the Yosemite Gateway Chalet. When Huddy first saw the house he spent 15-minutes running through all the rooms saying, “Oh my gawd,” over and over.
As a fellow lover-of-all-things-cozy, I’m pretty sure he was so stoked because this chalet is what most people envision when thinking of a cabin in the snow. It fills you with the warm and fuzzies.
In addition to being the epitome of cozy-quaint, the house is offered at a pretty affordable rate, and is only three-minutes from June Mountain - our preferred mountain for family ski sessions.
If you’re visiting June Lake in the spring or summer you’re still in for a treat, as this property is surrounded by a large manicured lawn, and sprinkled with aspen and cottonwood trees. There’s also a small creek and adorable mini-bridges winding through the property.
This is the place to go if you’re yearning for a welcoming snow-shelter, or wanting a home base while you explore the beauty of Yosemite National Park and Mono County.
Max Occupancy: 8 people
Bedrooms: 3 (but people could totally bunk up in the Grand Room or smaller living room)
Minimum Stay: 3 – 7 nights
Cost: $295 - $995 per night
To ensure you have an ideal experience, here are key tips to consider.
Turn the hot tub on ASAP
As it takes a few hours to get the large hot tub to heat up, turn it on as soon as you arrive. There’s a control panel for the hot tub to the left of the sliding doors that lead to the patio. Press “Filter” then “Aux 2” to get the heat started. We recommend bringing beach towels from home so you don't have to use bath towels.
The classic 80s-cabin-decor works
While many travelers prefer updated accommodations, the vintage vibes of the Yosemite Gateway Chalet create a charming ambiance that makes you feel like you’re on a true mountain getaway. Just let yourself lean into it.
Read all the material they send ahead of time
The info provided by the owner before your stay will give you a head start on how to work the house. In addition, having all the adults read the full manual (not too long) when you arrive ensures everyone’s familiar with what to do, and not to do, during your stay.
Bring an eye mask
Many of the windows don’t have blinds, meaning you can have an early wake up call if you don’t have an eye covering. I was even woken up by the moon one night.
Tip: To revel in stunning views, set your alarm for sunrise and lay in bed taking in the sights.
Bring movies from home
The large television in the Grand Room does not have cable or streaming services – an admirable attempt to get guests to unplug. But they do offer an eclectic collection of DVDs and VHS tapes (kickin’ it old school!) While adults can find good movies in the stash, there aren’t many for kids, so bring some from home.
Plan a full day at the house
This house is so rad you’ll want to spend at least one day savoring its adorable-ness. Stock up on hot cocoa and comfort food fixings, start the fire, grab the board games and settle in.
As jigsaw puzzles are our all-time favorite cabin-activity, bring a few from home and use the backgammon table in the Grand Room as a puzzle station.
The toiletries are limited (nothing beyond liquid soap); so bring shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and other essentials. You can also snag these essentials at the general store.
Know that many of the lights have motion sensors
When I first arrived I thought there was something iffy with the power, until I realized that many of the lights have motion sensors and will turn off if they haven’t sensed motion for a set amount of time.
Check out the garage because...
There’s a climbing wall in it! We likely wouldn’t have found it until our last day if we hadn’t been making the tour video. This is such a rare find you have to give it a try.
There’s also a utility room in the garage
Know that adjacent to the climbing wall is a small laundry room with a washer and dryer that can handle a large-ish load.
Utilize the stand up paddleboards
If you’re visiting in the warmer months you must try the multiple SUPs in the garage. June Lake is one of the most primo spots in the area to explore, and a SUP is the best way to do that. But because the water is always cold, bring wetsuits from home if you’re sensitive to frigid water temps. Launch from June Lake Beach.
Buy groceries at the Vons in Mammoth
As the grocery situation is a bit limited in June Lake, you’ll want to stock up at the Vons in Mammoth on your way to June (if you’re coming from the south.) You can also find basics at the June Lake General Store, and the restaurant scene has gotten a lot better in the past year.
Make a rule that all snowy shoes enter through the door to the left of the driveway
This door leads directly into a mudroom with a ton of storage for snow gear.
Bring a portable speaker
If you’re a music lover, bring a portable speaker.
Sigh. Writing this makes me yearn for a spiked hot cocoa by the fire in the Grand Room, whilst I tinker with a puzzle and listen to Hudson marvel at a fuzzy VHS showing of Indiana Jones. #VacationGoals y’all.
But seriously, the Yosemite Gateway Chalet is where it’s at, and should 100% be on your bucket list if you’re looking for the ideal place to spend the holidays, or just need a rejuvenating reprieve from the fast times of the 21st century.
While you have June Lake on the mind, check out some of our favorite establishments and activities in the area.