Travel from Atlanta: A weekend in Mammoth Lakes, California

Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.

Weekend in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.

Trip tips: An outdoor wonderland for soft adventures, Mammoth Lakes is located within an hour of Yosemite National Park. The five glacier-carved lakes of Mammoth Lakes Basin are easily accessible by car (a 10-minute drive) and are ideal spots for fishing, day hikes, picnics and water sports. A drive-through of the lakes takes less than an hour.

Check out the summertime events: Festival of Beers & Bluesapalooza (Aug. 4-7), the classical Sierra Summer Festival (Aug. 11-14), the Mammoth Margarita Festival (Aug. 12-13) and Mammoth Rocks & A Taste of the Sierra (Aug. 26-27). Trip planning: www.visitmammoth.com.

Getting there: Round-trip nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Mammoth Lakes Airport on American average $186 (Atlanta to LAX from $284 round-trip). Another option is a three-hour drive from Reno, Nev., (164 miles) with average round-trip rates of $490 from Atlanta on connecting flight service on American, Delta, or United.

BUDGET

Stay:

The historic (est. 1924) Tamarack Lodge & Resort is a charmingly rustic and elegant midcentury lodge located 2.5 miles from the town center. European lodge rooms (from $119 with in-room sink and shared bath) feature knotty pine, antique beds, patchwork quilts and treetop views (elevation is 8,500 feet). The lodge has a cozy common area, a bar, a restaurant, a forest chapel and a summer activity center to book tours or rent bikes or a boat. 163 Twin Lakes Road,

760-934-2442

,

www.tamaracklodge.com

.

Eat:

Start the day with a hearty meal at the Breakfast Club, a daytime eatery (6:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.). Classic cafe items from homemade biscuits, eggs Benedict to turkey melts and burgers (bloody marys, too) from $11. Summer outdoor seating. Cash only. 2987 Main St.,

760-934-6944

.

Experience:

Enjoy tranquil Mono Lake by joining a guided canoe tour. The High Sierra crest rises 6,000 feet above Mono Basin, and the drama is enhanced by eerie carbonate mineral tufa towers built up from bubbling springs. The one-hour tour takes in the natural history of this unique high desert lake. Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day. $25 per person (not for age 4 and under).

760-647-6595

,

www.monolake.org

.

MODERATE

Stay:

The Swiss Chalet Inn Bed & Breakfast offers two private suites, each with hardwood floors, vaulted ceiling, a sitting area, king bed and private bath. Innkeepers offer personal service to map out hiking trails, reserve tee times, arrange for fly fishing, or secure dinner reservations. This quiet chalet is located in a cozy neighborhood close to downtown. Rates from $185, include gourmet breakfast. 101 Hill St.,

760-914-3452

,

www.swisschalet-mammoth.com

.

Eat:

Skadi is a modern European eatery with mountain views to complement the fine Alpine dining experience. Reservations are mandatory (you’ll lose your spot if 15 minutes late!) as Skadi has just six tables and four counter seats. Expect dinner to last up to two hours. Starters, $10-$18; entrees, $28-$38. No children’s menu. 94 Berner St.,

760-914-0962

,

http://skadirestaurant.com

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Experience: Ride a gondola up Mammoth Mountain's summit of 11,053 feet to take in the 360-degree views of the Sierra peaks and the San Joaquin River Valley. Adults, $29; $24 ages 13-22; two under age 12 children ride free with every paying adult. The Reds Meadow Shuttle also departs every 20 minutes (mandatory transportation in summer) from the mountain base to Devils Postpile National Monument and Rainbow Falls (adults, $7; $2 with a gondola ticket). www.mammothmountain.com.

SPLURGE

Stay:

The Westin Monache Resort is a four-star mountain retreat in the village center featuring studios with fireplaces (from $219) and one-bedroom suites with a separate living area (from $233). Amenities include a rustic-chic restaurant, fitness center, and an outdoor pool with two hot tubs. 50 Hillside Drive,

760-934-0400

,

Explorewww.westinmammoth.com

.

Eat:

The romantic Restaurant at Convict Lake (at Convict Lake Resort) features an eclectic continental menu with specialties such as New Zealand lamb, beef Wellington ($39), grass-fed steaks, fresh rainbow trout, and pastas ($25). Lighter fare served in the Lounge during summer. Located 10 minutes south of Mammoth Lakes. 2000 Convict Lake Road,

760-934-3800

,

Explorewww.convictlake.com

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Experience: Ride the public Yarts Shuttle from several locations on Mammoth Mountain to the magnificent Yosemite National Park (daily in July, August). The two-hour drive (it's 30 minutes to the east park entrance) from Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite Valley lets riders sit back and take in the incredible scenery. The stopover in the park is five hours. Round-trip fares (which include park entrance fee) are $36 adult; $30 age 12 and under (one child under 12 rides free with each paid adult); http://yarts.com.