I’ve been several times to Bodie starting in 1982. That just whetted my appetite to return. I had only planned to be there for a couple hours and realized that I needed days to actually see the town.
Bodie is a historic park since ‘64 so it is ‘protected’ by rangers. There is a fee to get in. I think the price is little compared to the ability to get up close to history. Bodie is in a state of ‘arrested decay’ which means that repairs aren’t done to upgrade the buildings, but are made to keep them as they are. Because Bodie is a National Part they are open from sunrise to sunset so just be aware of the time.
There are some amenities like a picnic area and some public restrooms. Traveling in the summer make sure you bring water. Remember Bodie is located 8500 feet on the mountain so pace yourself as the air is rare.
If you can only spend a few hours in this town it is well worth the trip. The town was abandoned after the last great fire. Many of the residents possessions were left behind as it was cheaper to leave it and get new stuff where ever they went. Everything had to be hauled into Bodie including the lumber needed to build the buildings. There was a small rail line into Bodie and the cost of shipping was high.
I would recommend that you check with hotels in the area to see if there are any rooms available. This region is filled with many sightseeing or places of interest. Lee Vining is the back door to Yosemite National Park and the town usually has more tourists than residence. There is camping in the area.
Yosemite National Park
Mammoth Lakes and Devil’s Post Pile are an hour south
Lake Tahoe is about an hour north
Mono Lake the sister lake to the Great Salt Lake is just minutes away from the town of Lee Vining. It is said that sixty percent of California’s Sea Gull population broods here in the summer, May to September. You can rent canoe’s to go onto the lake. Several species of birds nest here during the summer.
I check out the Mono Lake community site to get info about things going on in the area. http://www.monolake.org/
For additional info about staying in Lee Vining check out their web site http://leevining.com/