Yosemite National Park: California Road Trip
This past weekend we packed up our bags and headed out the door for another exciting California road trip. Our destination: Yosemite National Park. This three-day family road trip was particularly special as it was planned by our daughters Ashley and Brooke. Along for the ride to Yosemite was our fun-loving sweetheart, Diesel the dog. When the girls were small our family would take annual trips to Yosemite. This gorgeous national treasure holds many wonderful memories for all of us.
There are several lodging options within Yosemite National Park. Accommodations begin with 4-diamond luxury at the Ahwahnee, which is regarded as one of the most distinguished hotels in North America. Other hotel options are Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, and Wawona Hotel. More rustic accommodations include Housekeeping Camp, High Sierra Camps, Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, White Wolf Lodge, and our Yosemite family favorite: Curry Village.
In my opinion, the rustic tent cabins in Yosemite Curry Village offer the best value in Yosemite National Park. Tent cabin amenities include the basics: beds, linens, wool blankets, one chair, an electric light bulb hanging from the ceiling, a crate-type rack with a safe, face towels, and a bear locker right outside the cabin door. Within this expansive village there are restroom/shower buildings which are shared facilities. The Yosemite shower buildings have electrical outlets, so feel free to bring your hair dryer. Some tent cabins have electrical heaters while others do not. Heaters inside the tent cabins are available to be turned on only during the colder months of the year; during other times of the year they remain non-operational. Other more comfortable accommodations within Yosemite Curry Village include motel rooms and cabins with private baths.
Yosemite Curry Village also offers its guests access to a dining pavilion, pizza deck and bar, a grill, coffee corner, grocery store and gift shop, and a Yosemite mountain shop. Nearby is a heated outdoor pool, a tour and activity kiosk, bicycle and raft rentals, and an outdoor ice skating rink with fire pit. There’s a large outdoor amphitheater with evening programs run by Yosemite Park rangers. In another section of the park there are horse stables. By reservation visitors can sign up for two-hour or half-day horseback riding tours with experienced guides along scenic trails. This program runs April through October, weather permitting.
What’s completely awesome are Yosemite visitor shuttles that run through sections of the valley floor. You can hop on and off at various camping and hotel accommodations, and at the beginning of major hiking trails and sightseeing locations. Yosemite visitor shuttles are free of charge, and the wait for the next shuttle is never very long.
In Yosemite we love taking day hikes to famous locations like Mirror Lake. What was heartbreaking during this trip was finding dry lakes and waterfalls. The California drought has had a major impact throughout the Golden State, including Yosemite National Park. In the above photo we are walking on an expansive area that was once filled with cool, gorgeous water. Wherever we live, it’s so important that we all do our part to conserve water.
Above is my 21-year-old daughter Brooke taking a rest while hiking. Her cute bear backpack was purchased in Yosemite during a previous vacation when she was small. It was so fun to see her pull out the bear backpack and wear it again on this trip! In the evening Brooke would pack snacks inside her backpack along with a few card games and a flashlight. We would head over to the lodge building where other campers hang out to mingle in groups, settle in at a table for four and play fun games!
Hiking up to Yosemite Falls was bittersweet. On previous trips it was a thick, luscious waterfall. We hope California receives enough rainfall this winter to replenish the beautiful flowing waters in Yosemite. However, there are still other water elements to enjoy throughout Yosemite such as various rivers and brooks.
Yosemite is home to numerous types of beautiful wildlife. On our last visit to Yosemite a bear walked right past our tent cabin in Curry Village. On this trip we saw several deer that came within a few feet of us. Yosemite park rangers remind visitors that they should avoid getting too close to the animals. Under no circumstances are visitors allowed to touch or feed any animals they encounter. Guests of Yosemite do their part to help the animals remain in their wild state.
There are lovely walking paths near meadows, as well as paved and dirt paths throughout Yosemite National Park. It’s so wonderful to experience the beauty and magic of nature in such a majestic setting.
We really enjoyed our California road trip to Yosemite National Park! Do you have a helpful Yosemite tip to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below. And if you’ve never been to Yosemite before, this is a great national park to add to your list of places to visit.
If you liked this California Road Trip adventure, you’ll love reading more about Spectacular Sights In Yosemite That Are Easily Walkable at MK Library. To discover details of an adventure that will take you into the depths of a deep, dark cave you’ll enjoy learning all the details about California’s Black Chasm Cavern.
PS: If your heart broke hearing about the dry lakes and waterfalls in Yosemite, here are some excellent ways to conserve water at home.
25 thoughts on “Yosemite National Park: California Road Trip”
I’ve always wanted to go here and that little cabin is the cutest ever! I’ll have to take my boys.
Hi Mitzi! I think your family would love a vacation in Yosemite. It’s so gorgeous! Thanks for stopping by.
Looks like it was a great trip, the pictures are breathtaking and lovely. Hope that you and will keep these memories forever!!!
Thanks so much Cara. This was a really fun family trip. It was a great way to end the summer!
Great photos! My husband and I have always wanted to go to Yosemite and this reminds me of why! :)
Yosemite is still on my list of places to see, so I’ll be pinning this post! That is so special that your daughters planned this, I’m sure that was nice to just come along for the ride!
Thank you so much, Angie, for pinning this post! It was indeed a fun surprise when we learned that the girls had planned this family trip for us all on their own. I think we’re all firm believers that families that play together stay together. :-)
This article should come with a warning not to read at work on Mondays, unless you want a case of the wanderlust. So jel x
Ahhh, Sarah, you made me smile! I hope you’ll be able to quench your wanderlust soon with a fun trip to this special destination. Yosemite is a great place to visit year round. :-)
Wow, your photos are stunning! It sounds like your family had an amazing trip! I’ve never been to Yosemite but I think I need to add it to my bucket list now – I know my husband and son would absolutely love it!
Hi Miranda. Yosemite is one of those special places that are perfect for making fun family memories. When it comes time to plan your trip, if you have any questions about Yosemite’s Curry Village, please don’t hesitate to ask!
I’ve always wanted to go there! We’ve been to California several times but always end up on the coast. I’m going to try really hard to a trip to Yosemite soon.
Yay! Kara, I’m so happy if this post has inspired a Yosemite trip for you. It’s such a beautiful, magical place. Even the photos I posted don’t do it justice.
Love love this post! Brings back some great memories. I went there all four of my college years for retreats, its been a looong time! I’m sure it has changed some, would love to go again. Your pictures are lovely!
Awww…thanks so much Valerie! I’m so glad you loved this post. And I’m happy that the photos provided an opportunity for you to revisit some of your favorite college memories of wonderful visits you had to Yosemite. :-)
I’m definitely bookmarking this! My husband really wants to go to Yosemite but I’m not as much of an outdoors person. However, the scenery alone would be worth it. And I like the cabin/tent you stayed in. He’s into camping but I’m not, but this might be a good compromise – as long as I don’t have to sleep on the ground!
Hi Becky! I’m a non-sleeping-on-the-ground girl too! The tent cabins in Curry Village are comfortable accommodations. And what’s awesome as well is that you can arrive with just flats of water bottles and snacks, and then plan on eating at the pizza place, the indoor dining room, the grill, or at other eateries at nearby locations when you take the free shuttle. There is also a small grocery store right there in Curry Village.
Thanks for sharing your trip with us! Yosemite is on my list of parks to visit, and I’m hoping to stay in one of the tent cabins. I love the water conservation tip; very timely.
You’re so very welcome, Robin! Yosemite is a really great national park. I’m not a gal who enjoys sleeping on the ground or inside a pitched tent, so the Curry Village tent cabins are fantastic. During the winter months some of the tent cabins have electrical heaters. Our family has been there at various times of year, and there’s something very special to enjoy there each season.
I love road trips and visiting national parks! Great photos. :)
Thanks so much, Aishwarya! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. :-)
Wow – so beautiful – and those “tents” look so comfortable that maybe I could even camp!!!! (I’m not really a camper) :) – you captured the beauty of this place with your gorgeous photos!
Clare, you’re just like me! For non-camper girls like us, the tent cabins at Curry Village are absolutely perfect. And I love that the shower buildings have electrical outlets. After my nice warm shower, I dry off and pull out my hair dryer. :-)
Brings back great memories. Did HALF DOME last year and it was awesome! Your trip looks great and your photos really tell a story!
Hello Heather. How awesome that you climbed Half Dome! You are a super star. My daughter Ashley and my hubby really want to do a father-daughter hike up Half Dome. Unfortunately this trip was too short to make that happen AND have family time at Yosemite. And I’m so glad you enjoyed all the photos. I took so many that it was hard narrowing down which ones I wanted to include in this post. :-)