Just four hours east of San Francisco, you'll find the magnificence of nature at Yosemite. This national park can truly be described as heaven on earth and is the perfect getaway if you are looking for a quiet and peaceful vacation.
There is enough to do for everyone in the family from taking a guided tour of the valley floor, to seeing unbelievably huge sequoias, majestic cliffs and waterfalls and going horseback riding, river rafting and hiking.
There is beauty to be seen 365 days in a year through a different lens!
Here are some tips to help plan your visit -
The lodging options range from camping to the posh Ahwahnee Hotel. These two are tried and tested.
Ahwahnee - Located in the park, ranked the best hotel but extremely hard to get a reservation. unless booked way in advance. At the very least, visit for lunch after a big hike.
Tenaya Lodge - Located 10 minutes from the south entrance of the park. They have family rooms with 2 queen beds in a room which is perfect for families of four. They have multiple swimming pools, an ice skating rink, spa and multiple restaurants making it a convenient hotel to stay at with kids.Must-See Attractions
There is so much to see and do but here are my top recommendations.
Sequoia Redwood Groves - considered to be the most massive living thing on earth, Giant Sequoia trees can live from 1,000 - 3,000 years. Yosemite boasts three groves totaling 700 trees. Pick one from the following three to get a feel for these gorgeous groves.
- Mariposa Grove
- Tuolumne Grove
- Merced Grove
Waterfalls: Waterfalls are a Yosemite hallmark, drawing visitors from around the globe year after year. Because many of Yosemite’s waterfalls are fed by snowmelt, the amount of water rushing over each waterfall can vary widely throughout the year.
|Giant Sequoias at Mariposa Grove
Rock Formations: Yosemite Valley, approximately 3,000 feet deep and less than a mile wide, is known for its incredible rock formations, created from plutonic rock that cooled far below the earth’s surface. Some of the most famous formations are:
- Bridal Veil Falls - These falls get this name as the he wind often blows the falls sideways giving it the appearance of a "bride's veil".
- Yosemite Falls - is one of the tallest in North America and fifth highest in the world with a total drop of 2,425 feet. The hike to the lower falls is easy to do with kids.
- Half Dome (8,842 ft.) among the most recognized natural features in Yosemite, its western face is a sheer cliff of Plutonic granite - the youngest in Yosemite.
- Sentinel Rock (7,038 ft.) on the south side of Yosemite Valley, named for its likeness to a watchtower.
- El Capitan (7,569 ft.) towering 3,593 ft. from the valley floor, rock climbers from around the world come to challenge their abilities on its granite face giving visitors an excellent opportunity to view this unique sport.
* Must see - Tunnel View of Half Dome & El Capitan
Badger Pass: This was quite the discovery for us as it is a full-service ski resort offering ski and snowboard instruction, rental equipment, a ski shop, childcare, and a cafeteria and lounge. Its a great alternative to Tahoe especially if you are wanting to get some skiing in for the kids. This unpretentious, and affordable ski area offers a unique and stress-free experience for families. They offer other fun snow activities like tubing, etc.