Welcome to Mariposa County
Enjoy Your Stay
Perhaps You’ll Return
To Live Here Some Day
Yosemite Valley at Sunset (Photo by Brent Gilstrap)
- The Home of Yosemite—And a Lot More
- A great place to visit—An even better place to live
- About Mariposa County
- Quality of Life
- At-A-Glance Economic Profile
Nearly 4 million people visit Mariposa County every year for some very good reasons. The main reason, of course, is that Mariposa County is the home of Yosemite. But there are many other reasons. As a major tourist destination there is an abundance of things to see and do here. Considering that Mariposa County is relatively unpopulated (with only 18,000 residents) and remains unspoiled (by preserving its natural beauty and exceptional quality of life), this abundance of things to see and do is particularly remarkable. Visitors and residents alike enjoy fine dining, shopping and entertainment. The recreational activities are virtually unlimited: hiking, rafting, bicycling, golf, skiing, gold panning, rock climbing, fishing, birding, horseback riding, sky gazing, and more. Cultural activities also abound with galleries, regular concerts and special events throughout the year.
Nearly everyone who visits Yosemite National Park falls in love with the area. Not surprisingly, a growing number of these tourists are choosing to move here to enjoy the natural beauty and rural charm year-round. And for those who want to start or relocate a business, Mariposa County welcomes you with very lenient Home Enterprise and Rural Home Industry zoning laws. In fact, Mariposa County is so friendly to small and home-based businesses that there is not even a requirement for a business license. Some of these new residents are artists and artisans inspired by the beautiful scenery found throughout the county. Others have careers or businesses, particularly in high-technology fields, whose jobs allow them to live virtually anywhere. So why not live in one of the nicest places on the planet?! These folks also find the combination of a high quality of life and a relatively low cost of living particularly inviting. And some decide to take advantage of the market opportunity created by 3-4 million tourists visiting Yosemite annually to open or relocate their local/visitor-serving businesses here.
As the home of Yosemite, Mariposa County remains a relatively
undeveloped environment dominated by the natural beauty of majestic
mountains and rolling foothill grasslands. The rural quality of
life and four mild seasons attract many self-employed, semi-retired
and retired professionals who seek to escape the congestion of urban
settings. Artists and artisans, writers, consultants and other
cottage industry “freelancers” are particularly drawn to the region
for its affordable, laid back lifestyle and abundance of inspiring
The County government is quite friendly to these small businesses. There is no requirement for a business license, and zoning laws encourage “Rural Home Industry” entrepreneurs. In addition, the County’s long-term General Plan strongly supports the many self-employed individuals and small business operators who constitute a major force in the local economy.
Mariposa County is also expected to be home to many faculty and staff members at the new University of California campus in neighboring Merced County. A mere 30-45 minute commute will allow families to live “Above the Fog and Below the Snow” in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their children will attend Mariposa County schools, which excel as one of California’s finest rural school districts.
The transportation needs in and around Mariposa County are served by state highways, county roads, a general aviation airport and the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System, or YARTS. As a major year-round tourist destination, recreational opportunities abound for naturalists, hikers, sports enthusiasts, historians, art lovers, equestrians, and more. Even amateur astronomers find the clear night sky a welcomed changed from the light pollution of metropolitan areas.
One of the main attractions of Mariposa County is its world-class
scenery—and not just in Yosemite National Park, along the Wild &
Scenic Merced River, and throughout the Sierra National Forest.
From its rolling foothills rising gently from the Central Valley to
its highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mariposa County is
indeed a special place. These scenic views are at the
foundation of why so many people continue to choose to live and work
here so that they, too, can enjoy the extraordinary quality of life
to be found in Mariposa County.
The scenic variety of terrain, the temperate climate and access to a wide variety of recreational activities throughout the entire year combine to make Mariposa County’s character a treasure that residents and visitors desire to protect. Preserving this exceptional quality of life is an objective of the EDC’s economic development efforts. For this reason, Mariposa County does not support the “suburban foothill economy” found in portions of other rural counties, such as El Dorado, Nevada, and Placer. Mariposa County residents have witnessed the impact of sprawl in surrounding counties, and as a result, desire to avoid such a pattern of development. For residents who do enjoy the opportunities afforded by a more suburban economy, Mariposa does provide a landscape of rural homes with reasonable commutes to Fresno, Merced and Modesto.
While “Quality of Life” inevitably means different things to different people, some of the shared characteristics in Mariposa County include…
- A rural lifestyle that is relaxed and laid back
- Four distinct seasons—all mild and enjoyable
- Air that is clear and full of sunshine an average of 265 days a year
- Cost of living and crime rates that are among the lowest in California
- Abundant outdoor recreational activities
- Numerous volunteer and community service organizations for anyone who wants to get involved
- A hospital that provides life-saving emergency services, with a choice of local doctors providing routine medical care
- Ability to shop locally for daily needs, with a half-hour’s drive affording a wide variety of retail services to meet just about any need
Both the U.S. Census Bureau and the California Employment Development Department provide up-to-date information on employment, occupations, economic indicators and other factors relevant to economic development. The links below provide current at-a-glance economic profiles for Mariposa County. Detailed information is also available at each site.California EDD