Seniors Discover Historic Merced

headerMerced, the county seat of Merced County in the San Joaquin Valley of Northern California, has a population of around 82,000. Merced’s population has grown faster than the state average since 1980. Senior travelers will find Merced approximately 110 miles southeast of San Francisco and 310 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Located in the Central Valley, Merced is an agricultural town and its attractions reflect this – even the local zoo is called “Applegate.”


The economy has traditionally relied upon agribusiness and upon the presence of Castle Air Force Base. Over the past twenty years, more diversified industry has entered the area, including printing, fiberglass boat building, warehousing and distribution, and packaging industries.

Seniors Visit California’s Rural Heartland

Quite unlike LA, San Francisco, San Diego and beaches for which California is known, Merced is representative of the rural heartland and Gold Rush remnants reflecting the state’s heritage. Known as the “Gateway to Yosemite”, Merced is less than two hours by automobile from Yosemite National Park to the east and Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and several beaches to the west.


Primarily an agricultural region, the addition of canals and irrigation changed the crops produced in Merced County. The County has long been one of the top agricultural producers in the country with a wide variety of crops grown, as well as dairy production.

Loaded with attractions, senior visitors enjoy the Merced County Courthouse that is on the National Register of Historic Places.  I would also visit the Merced National Wildlife Refuge that encompasses 10,262 acres of wetlands, native grasslands, vernal pools, and riparian areas in California.

Senior Hikers Take Note…

Senior outdoor enthusiasts, there is white water rafting on the Merced River and several hiking trails that lead up to Yosemite National Park. The Ten Lakes Trail is well marked and picturesque, with rocks to climb and several lakes for swimming.vfiles15841

Consider taking Tuolumne Meadows to Agnew Meadows along the famous John Muir Trail. This high-altitude climb offers hikers a weekend getaway that leaves flat landers breathless and displays some of the eastern Sierra’s most pristine beauty.

Hop aboard a Phantom 2 Quadcopter for a visit to Small Town USA. Events are taking place all year long, so senior visitors won’t wait long to be part of one. Fishing and water sports enthusiasts will be pleased to know that there are major lakes close at hand, including house boating hot spots like Lake New Melones and Lake McClure.

You will discover Merced to be a unique city, filled with warm, friendly people that will instantly make one feel welcome and right at home. -jeb

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