Merced is in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Located along State Route 99 which runs between the agricultural cities of the eastern San Joaquin Valley, Merced is also a gateway to Yosemite via State Route 140.
Merced, known as the "Gateway to Yosemite", is less than two hours by car from Yosemite National Park to the east and to the west is Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and miles of beaches. The community is served by the rail passenger service Amtrak, a major airline through Merced Municipal Airport, and three bus lines. It is aprroximantly 110 miles from Sacramento, 130 miles from San Francisco, and 270 miles from Los Angeles.