Early in California history, Modesto, California was known as one of the wildest towns in the state. Vigilante justice was standard, and hangings were commonplace. Now, Modesto is an agricultural community and a central spot to many getaway destinations. A fascinating town, it's one that you need to drop by in your California travels.
While in Modesto, be sure to drop by George Lucas Plaza where you can see the statue in honor of George Lucas' movie, American Graffiti. (Modesto was the setting for the movie and Mr. Lucas was from Modesto.) You can't miss taking a tour of the McHenry Mansion. Robert McHenry, who was a local rancher, built this mansion by hand in the early 1880s. Right across the street is the McHenry Museum with many items from Modesto history.
There are campgrounds and RV parks within 10 miles of the city, but plenty of hotels and motels in and around the city if you aren't going to be roughing it. They all welcome visitors and want to make your stay the best.
To get to Modesto from Yosemite, take CA-140 to CA-99 north and you're there! It takes only about 2 hours and 13 minutes.