Yosemite National Park

Five words.  You just have to go!

If Yosemite isn't on your bucket list, it's officially time to add it.

We've all seen the iconic photos made famous by Ansel Adams and other world-renowned artists that gave us a peek at the beauty of this national landmark but to see and explore it in person is truly breathtaking.  It seems that each direction you turn is yet another gorgeous vista that outshines the last.

Catch this week's episode on a quick overview of Yosemite National Park.  Links and more details available in the show notes.


Whether you're able to visit for the day or make it a new family tradition to return every year and wander a new part of the expansive landscape, you can never get tired of one of the greatest natural shows on earth.

We're already planning on a return trip to Yosemite but if you've only got a short period of time, here are some of the things that we are so glad we were able to see.

  • Glacier Point: the perfect vantage point to see Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, and Yosemite Falls.
  • Wawona Tunnel View: capture El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and Half Dome all in one glorious photo.
  • Bridalveil Falls: it was stunning in the Summer and we can't wait to return in the Spring when the waterfalls will be overflowing from the winter ice melt.
  • El Capitan: after dipping our toes into the refreshingly cool waters from Bridalveil Falls, we didn't have to go but a few hundred yards down the road to see El Capitan in its full glory.  We pulled the car over near the viewing area and waited as the sunlight dimmed and El Capitan's beauty danced into the early evening.
  • Hodgdon Meadows: another picture perfect viewing area that also has camping facilities.  Families were getting ready for dinner, swimmers were taking a final splash for the day, and the meadow was swaying back and forth with the gentle breeze.  We wanted to just keep walking as far as we could but with the light disappearing and our packs not prepared for an overnight stay, we'll be heading there again on our next trip to the park (hopefully by the end of the year!).

There is a mountain of resources available about Yosemite National Park and we know that we're not even close to listing everything that there is to do and see but please share your adventures with us and other tiny town travelers.  We want to live vicariously through everyone that visits the park while we're out exploring and reporting back on other tiny towns.


The National Park Service is a great place to start for everything Yosemite.  We hear from locals that their favorite time to visit the park is Spring and Fall, but no matter which season you visit, the park's beauty will leave you in awe and planning on a return visit as soon as possible

Established in 1890, Yosemite National Park recently celebrated its 125th year anniversary and is as big of a tourist and local draw as ever.  Brush up on the history of Yosemite before you go.

Park info

Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (some entrances dependent upon season/weather)
Park passes
Safety tips
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS - convenient shuttle service within the park and the surrounding communities)

Tip: we were advised to arrive at the park before 9am or after 11am to miss a bulk of the crowds.  There are tales of 2-3 hour waits just to get into the park during the busy season.

Sights and Activities

Things to do inside Yosemite National Park
Things to do in the region:

Horseback riding

Be sure to stop in at the Groveland Visitors Center before you get to the park (Google Maps) and then grab a picnic lunch at Kevin and Randi's Old Fashioned Meat Market (two doors down from the Visitors Center - delicious!).

Explore the surrounding communities like SonoraGrovelandCoultervilleJamestown, and Columbia for great shopping, dining, and tourist attractions.  A nice change of pace, especially if you're camping in the park.

Lodges/Hotels (inside the park)

Big Trees Lodge
Glacier Point Ski Hut (winter only)
Half Dome Village
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel
White Wolf Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge

Campgrounds (inside the park)

Year round

Camp 4
Hodgdon Meadow
Upper Pines

Seasonal (check each link for detailed dates)

North Pines (Mar-Oct)
Lower Pines (April-Oct)
Tamarack Flat (May-Oct)
Crane Flat (June-Oct)
Yosemite Creek (June-Sept): 
Tuolumne Meadows (June-Sept) 
Bridalveil Creek (July-Sept)
White Wolf (July-Sept)
Porcupine Flat (July-Oct)

Accommodation (Gateway Community - Groveland, CA)

All Seasons Groveland Inn
Berkshire Inn Bed & Breakfast
Blackberry Inn Bed & Breakfast
Big Creek Meadow Guest Ranch
Dimond O Campgrounds
Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite
Groveland Hotel
Hotel Charlotte
Pine Mountain Custom Rentals
Red Tail Ranch Guest House
Rush Creek Lodge
The Cub Inn
The Inn at Sugar Pine Ranch
Vacation rental by owner (vrbo.com)
Yosemite International Hostel
Yosemite Lakes
Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging
Yosemite Region Resorts
Yosemite Ridge Resort
Yosemite Riverside Inn
Yosemite Rose
Yosemite Southgate Hotel & Suites
Yosemite Westgate Lodge


Spreadsheet crunching, powdered cheeze eating-coffee drinking all around tech-dad.