I’ve visited Yosemite National Park many times in all seasons over the years. It’s a beautiful national park in California not too far away from the Bay Area (3 hrs away). As you know, we are an adventurous family that loves the outdoors and exploring. We’ve stayed in Yosemite in tents, an area called housekeeping (semi-camping), Yosemite Valley Lodge and also a near by Hotel (Yosemite Westgate Lodge) about 30 minutes outside the Yosemite entrance. Keep in mind there are other options to stay during your visit but these are the ones I’ve done. There is so much to see and if you love hiking there are so many trails that can be done with kiddos. I love how beautiful it looks in the winter while it snows. It’s like winter wonderland and it’s less crowded. In the snow season, there is a small area near the horse stables to sled. During the summer we like to spend a few hours at Senintal Beach, just be careful as the current can be dangerous. Be prepared for lots of traffic during the summer as there is 1 road and loop in Yosemite Valley. Take advantage for using the FREE SHUTTLES to visit many trails and attractions. I wanted to share how we’ve visited Yosemite.
*yosemite FB album
The most convenient one has been Yosemite Valley Lodge because it is located in the middle of the valley and it’s very suitable for families. It has everything a hotel would have and who doesn’t want to sleep in a comfy bed and have a hot shower after a full day of exploring. It also has a cafeteria, Starbucks and restaurant and pool.
This is an area that feels like a step above tent camping because it comes with your own cots, cemented table and benches and bbq pit. This works well if you want to cook your own food during your stay.
My least favorite is staying in tents but I have done it plenty of times. It just requires more planning especially with kids. Don’t forget to bring extra toilet paper. Haha!
*if you don’t have a budget check out Magestic Hotel it’s absolutely dreamy, we’ve visited but never stayed. We like to visit during the winter to sit by the gigantic fireplace and drink some hot cocoa or have lunch in their beautiful dining hall.
There are lots of trails that we have yet to do but the ones we’ve done have been pretty moderate for someone who isn’t trying to climb Half Dome. Also, we’ve done these with babies.
This one is 2.2 miles round trip and takes about 1-2 hours. It’s quite a climb up the granite mountain but so worth the view. You can see Half Dome from there. It’s about an hour away from Yosemite Valley on the 41. There isn’t much parking but you can park along the road. There’s 1 bathroom stall. Not stroller friendly.
Be sure to stop at Tunnel View on the way up or down from Sentinel Dome. It’s the view Ansel Adams made famous. It’s on highway 41 and lots of parking available. You can see Half Dome and Bridalveil fall
Lower Yosemite Falls
This trail is a 1 mile loop about 30 minutes and it has a paved trail for wheelchair and strollers. The highlight is to see the massive waterfall over the bridge. Major photo op so bring your camera. Its located in the Yosemite Valley and it’s shuttle stop #6. It’s walking distance from Yosemite Valley Lodge. I love how beautiful it looks when it’s covered in snow.
This one is quite the workout because it’s pretty steep and narrow. I’ve seen the light strollers go up but i wouldn’t recommend taking a big stroller because of how narrow it is. Its about 1 mile to get to the waterfall and you can see it on a bridge and that’s where we head back down. You can continue on the trail to the top of the waterfall. It’s walking distance from Half Dome Village and it has a shuttle stop.
We love to bring food to bbq for a day or two unless of course we are camping then more food is brought. But if cooking isn’t your thing, there are lots of places to eat at and a few small grocery markets. Check out:
Half Dome Village
Yosemite Vistor Center
Yosemite Valley Lodge
I like to bring an ice chest with waters, juices and milk. As well as an electric kettle for hot water to make cup noodle soups and coffee.