Yosemite National Park Family Vacations

Photo Courtesy of Amanda Geronikos

Families Will Love

  • Scenery with cliffs, waterfalls and giant sequoias
  • Hiking, biking, rafting, skiing & snowshoeing
  • Lodging options from a hotels to campgrounds

Yosemite National Park Family Vacations Overview

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Four hours east of San Francisco is a region where waterfalls pour from dramatic granite cliffs, clear streams run alongside giant sequoias, and grassy meadows capture the sunlight in such a magnificent way that families who come to enjoy any number of outdoor adventures -- hiking, biking and rafting in the summer and skiing and snow-shoeing in winter months -- will be tempted to just park themselves somewhere and take in the view. That region, of course, is the world famous Yosemite National Park, which each year attracts about 3.5 million visitors, and thanks to the way it was designed, manages to accommodate both the hard-core adventurous families as well as those whose favorite way to see nature is from a car or a cafe window.

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Four hours east of San Francisco is a region where waterfalls pour from dramatic granite cliffs, clear streams run alongside giant sequoias, and grassy meadows capture the sunlight in such a magnificent way that families who come to enjoy any number of outdoor adventures -- hiking, biking and rafting in the summer and skiing and snow-shoeing in winter months -- will be tempted to just park themselves somewhere and take in the view. That region, of course, is the world famous Yosemite National Park, which each year attracts about 3.5 million visitors, and thanks to the way it was designed, manages to accommodate both the hard-core adventurous families as well as those whose favorite way to see nature is from a car or a cafe window.

Yosemite spans almost 1,200 square miles, but the vast majority of this area is preserved wilderness. Yosemite Valley, where most of the park lodging is concentrated, occupies just one percent of the total land area. This planning was wise not just as a way to minimize the footprint in the park but to set up a community in the thick of so much wilderness where just about everyone in the family really does feel comfortable. Family lodging options in Yosemite vary from a deluxe hotel to basic campgrounds, with moderate hotels and quasi-camping in the form of canvas covered platforms in between. Most of the lodging areas open onto little villages featuring family-friendly pizza and burger restaurants, tourist shops for those whose idea of camping is buying a T-shirt with a bear on it, and even open-air theaters.

On my most recent trip to Yosemite, I brought my 70-something mother and my one-year-old daughter, and we enjoyed scenery on some gentle walks and long leisurely lunches. But in the past, I've traveled there with more serious hikers who got me up at 4 a.m. to climb to the top of Half Dome, the steep rock formation that is one of Yosemite's most famous landmarks. Either way, Yosemite is a delight; you can get a real workout, but you don't have to. Because the park accommodates all types, I find it one of the most family-friendly tourist destinations in the country. Read Less

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Latest Yosemite National Park Family Vacation Reviews

hmoon

04/29/2011

Spring Paradise in Yosemite!

Our family stayed at the Tenaya Lodge located in Fish Camp, about 1.5 hrs. from Yosemite. This lodge is huge equipped with all the necessities for children of all ages..When we arrived the valet parking was very helpful after 4 hrs of driving, the assistance was very professional and on time, they h ... Our family stayed at the Tenaya Lodge located in Fish Camp, about 1.5 hrs. from Yosemite. This lodge is huge equipped with all the necessities for children of all ages..When we arrived the valet parking was very helpful after 4 hrs of driving, the assistance was very professional and on time, they had an open fireplace outside to keep the attendants and customers warm. The lobby had a warm cozy feeling as soon as you stepped in..my 12 yr old daughter was amazed of grand yet cabin like decor, check in was easy and they were informative about the grounds and surrounding area. Our room was located quite a ways from the fun accommodations but it didn't bother us much. The room was decorated in burgundy, brown..natural tones..it had 2 queen comfortable beds and they were firm/soft, pillows were nice but a bit short compared to the standard size pillow. They had a 42 in flat screen and the Disney Channel saved the night! I like that we could open the windows with a screen and breath in the fresh mountain air..the walls were thick and the room was very quiet, glad we were on the 3rd floor as there were many kids checking in! We finally made it to the swimming, jacuzzi and game room area..the only complimentary activities were the pool and jacuzzi, you had to pay for games (pool, air hockey and many more) they also had rock climbing, but after a full day of hiking one of Yosemite beautiful trails, we were all tired and just ready for some good eating! The food part was a little steep for a family on a mediocre income, a burger was 14.95 not including drinks, room service was for the rich! Also, the chef left you with much to desire..there wasn't any commercial eateries in the area, so the choices were slim and you were subject to the lodges restaurants..all in all it was a pleasant, clean and quiet place to stay, but it left me with a feeling of since I'm out in the woods, we should be roughing it just a little, so next time, we'll try a 1 star hotel inside the park and brink our own food. Read More Read Less

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