Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Where To Stay In Yosemite With Kids

Review: Rush Creek Lodge At Yosemite National Park

Tenaya Lodge Review: Awesome place to stay at Yosemite with Kids

Out of all the options on our list, we have one favorite option that we highly recommend: Rush Creek Lodge near the Big Oak Flat entrance of Yosemite National Park, on the west side. Weve included a full review below.

Rush Creek Lodge is located a hop, skip and a jump away from the entrance of Yosemite National Park. Its literally like a 5 minute drive from the entrance on Highway 120. Which means its pretty much the closest you can get to the park without actually staying INSIDE Yosemite. Weve done both, for what its worth. We still recommend Rush Creek Lodge. Just sayin.

The lodge itself is actually brand new, and is the first lodge near Yosemite to open in over 25 years. Its also a sister property to the older and more established Evergreen Lodge.

Rush Creek Lodge has the aesthetic of every lodge Ive ever loved: everything is wood, pine, burlap, and plaid. There are mirrors in decorative wood slice frames. There is wood trim on EVERYTHING, which makes the entire lodge just smell like wood and Christmas and forest and heaven.

During our visit in December, the lodge was decorated like a lumberjack Christmas playland. The grounds were decorated with twinkling Christmas lights and giant hanging wooden carved snowflakes.

It made me want to wear flannel and skip around chopping down trees and hugging stumps, or whatever lumberjacks do. FWIW, I did not chop down any trees during our time at Rush Creek Lodge, but I did wear a LOT of flannel.

Rush Creek Lodge At Yosemite

This eco-friendly resort and sister to the Evergreen Lodge offers a great location less than a mile from the park entrance, eco-friendly style, and amenities to please the whole family. Borrowing the key elements of Evergreen and giving them a modern twist, Rush Creek Lodge welcomes all kinds of travelers.

With its knowledgeable Activities Staff, there is no need to pour over your travel books these friendly and patient folks have everything you need to make your visit in and out of the park an awesome one. By day, Rush Creek staff rent snowshoes, teach about the best off-the-beaten-path hikes, and answer all of your Yosemite-related questions answered, and by night, they offer you smore kits and board games.

REPORT FROM THE ROAD:What to Know About Rush Creek Lodge

Indoors at Rush Creek offers many spots to play, climb, feast, and chat, while the outdoor property teems with fire pits, three zip lines, giant checkers, a 60 slide, two hot tubs , a large heated pool, and varied walking/hiking trails. Every room at Rush Creek invites the outdoors in with views of the surrounding national forest.

Best Times To Visit Yosemite

Most of Yosemite National Park is open year round, but by far the most popular time to visit is in the summer months particularly for families. Of course, thats also when youll be battling crowds and paying higher prices for lodging and tours. Yosemite can get pretty hot in the summer as well, with the valley regularly registering daytime temperatures in the 90s in July and August.

Shoulder season in late spring and early fall can be a sweet spot to visit. Weather is still pleasant and crowds retreat a bit. It is of course harder for many families with kids to make trips happen when school is in session.

Yosemite is open in winter as well, although many trails that ascend from the valley floor arent really open or hikeable certain times of year. Snow can start as early as October or November in parts of Yosemite and remain into well into the spring. Tioga Road is at significantly higher elevation so it closes in winter .

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Holiday Homes In Yosemite

Just two miles from Yosemite Arch Rock Entrance is Cozy Bear South-Inside Yosemite National Park. This holiday home is nestled among the tall pine, fir, cedar and oak trees. Unlike many of the other properties in Yosemite, there are no stairs to climb so it is kid friendly.

The covered stone patio area has a gas barbeque, and comfortable patio furniture. Inside you have everything you need for a fantastic stay in Yosemite. The living room has a stunning stone fireplace and the theme of the cottage takes after the name, so expect to see lots of bears.

Book your stay at Cozy Bear South here.

Roast Marshmallows Sing Campfire Songs And Yell Elmer

The Best Time to Visit Yosemite

There are Yosemite legends of a boy who got lost in Yosemite Valley one summer evening about 60 years ago. Campers started yelling his name, Elmer! while looking for him and noticed how the sound echoed off the valley walls. Every evening campgrounds still echo with kids shouting Elmer! and laughing as the call goes from campsite to campsite. Get reservations for campgrounds at

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Echo Adventures Yosemite Basecamp

Echo Adventures Yosemite Basecamp provides a compelling housing option that is one of the best hotels for families in the area. The Bunkhouse offers a neat 450 square foot hideaway with one queen and five twin beds. The room also includes a TV, couch, and workspace. Lodging is located less than 30 minutes from the entrance of the park.

Echo Adventure is one of the best Yosemite National Park hotels for families wanting a more unique experience. Echo Adventure includes an outdoor outfitter with equipment to match your needs. Activities include bike rentals, snowshoe rentals, and bear vaults . Other nearby adventures include fly fishing, backpacking, and rafting. If you and your family are looking to up the ante with an exciting outdoor experience, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

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Visit The Mariposa Grove

Away from the valley near the southern entrance to the parks is a very different Yosemite experience. Here, giant trees rather than granite rock faces are the center of attention.

Normally, Yosemite offers a shuttle from from the Mariposa Welcome Center to the groves arrival area that is the trailhead for several hikes. From this trailhead, visitors can hike the easy Big Tree Loop or the more moderate Grizzly Giant Loop Trail . Unfortunately, this shuttle is still not yet running in 2022, so the only way to access the trailhead is to first hike or bike 2 miles from the parking area at the welcome center. That may be perhaps too much for many families at the moment. Stay tuned for improved access to return.

Picnicking In Yosemite With Kids

Things to Do in Yosemite Valley | Yosemite Family Vacation

Perhaps you just want to chill and take in the surrounding beauty Yosemite is great for that, too! If you prefer to just relax and enjoy nature, I recommend packing a picnic and heading to either Cooks Meadow or El Capitan Meadow . Youll be surrounded by spectacular views and plenty of open space. Its one of our favorite things to do in Yosemite with toddlers!

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Take A Mirror Lake Nature Stroll

Another one of the easier hikes in Yosemite Valley is around Mirror Lake . The trailhead is located at Shuttle Stop 17.

There are a couple of different hiking options at Mirror Lake. The easiest is the 2 mile roundtrip along the paved trail to the lakes edge.

If you have your own bikes , you can bike the paved part of the trail and then get to the parts with the best views a bit more quickly. As soon as the pavement ends, there is a bathroom and then the start of a small nature trail with plenty of signage where you can read up with your kids about the flora and fauna of the area.

For a longer but still quite easy and relatively flat hike, its about 5 miles to complete the entire loop around Mirror Lake.

Rustic Yosemite Cabin Rentals

Many people enjoy renting a cabin in Yosemite National Park as it provides them with more privacy than camping or hotels. Most of Yosemite cabins are on the west side of the park. While they are just a quick drive from the valley, they are far enough away from the hustle and bustle.

The Log Home in Yosemite National Park is one of the best places to stay in Yosemite due to its location. It is just a half-hour to the famed Mariposa Grove of Big Trees .

If you are there in late , or early head east to Yosemites Badger Pass Ski Area for downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding.

It is one of the oldest Yosemite Park cabins and that is obvious from the decor. There are a lot of stairs to climb too, so it may not be suitable for everyone. However, if you are looking to stay somewhere rustic and not in a typical hotel room, then this is the place for you.

Find out more information about The Log Home here.

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Expect Spotty Wireless & Phone Service

Looking to stay connected with work or family back home while in Yosemite?Forget it! WiFi and cell service does exist, but very rarely works. There is one place in Curry Village that you can get internet access, but you need to go early in the morning or in middle of the day to get on. You have to be patient and wait for a spot to open up in the network. But really just forget about it and enjoy the outdoors.

Phone service is spotty at best. If you are traveling with a group, you might consider bringing or investing in cheap walkie talkies. More than once we would pass people on the road holding their phones in the air yelling obscenities at AT& T! Hilarious, but also annoying when you are trying to meet up with your group. Make pre-arranged plans with one another rather than relying on phones.

Tuolumne Meadows With Kids

How to visit Yosemite National Park â Switchback Kids

Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge

Distance: 1.5 milesAccessibility: NOT wheelchair- and stroller-accessible

Historic lodge and bubbling water. An easy and simple hike for the family.

Tenaya Lake Trail

Elevation Gain: 196 ftAccessibility: NOT wheelchair- and stroller-accessible

A beautiful lake trail with spectacular views around Tuolumne Meadows. Super clear water so bring your swimsuits, and also bring bug spray for this hike as mosquitoes tend to hang around in the summer.

Gaylor Lakes

Elevation Gain: 500 ftAccessibility: NOT wheelchair- and stroller-accessible

This hike provides several views of small lakes, as well as gorgeous high country scenery. Start at the Tioga Pass Entrance Station.

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Yosemite Packing List: What To Pack For A Yosemite Family Vacation

Yosemite weather varies quite a bit by season. While the middle of summer can get quite hot, the winter can be snowy and cold. Also, even within the same day, the temperature can vary by as much as 40 degrees! It can be tricky to decide what to pack for Yosemite National Park with your family.

Because of this, its important to pack a variety of clothing, and to be prepared with layers for a Yosemite family vacation. Here are some of my favorite essentials to pack when traveling to Yosemite with kids!

  • Kids hiking backpacks. Yosemite can get quite hot and dry. Especially when gaining elevation, its important to stay hydrated. These little backpacks are perfect so kids can sip away without needing to stop and take bottles in and out of backpacks.
  • Layers. Definitely pack a jacket. We love these lightweight down jackets for adults and kids because they stay warm but are packable and thin. Theyre a bit water resistant, but youll want something sturdier for heavy rains. For colder weather, I LOVE this lightweight insulated jacket that is super warm, only weighs half a pound, and is weather resistant.
  • Sturdy shoes. If youre doing any water play, I recommend some sturdy hiking sandals . Otherwise, sneakers will work fine for the shorter hikes. I recommend hiking boots if youre doing longer treks .

Things To Do During Holiday In Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

Make the school summer holidays memorable by enjoying interactive exhibitions, childrens theatre shows and kid-friendly museums.

Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a busy year-round destination. When visiting Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad in December keep in mind that hotel prices and airfares are higher than in other months. As this is peak travel time to the city, visitors flood the most popular attractions, and stores get filled with shoppers, so make sure to plan your days out.

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Yosemite Movies We Love

These two documentaries changed the way John and I understood the lure of Yosemite as a climbing destination and even the way we saw El Capitan. Be sure to check them out before or after your next visit.


This Academy Award-winning film follows climber Alex Honnold as he prepares to achieve his dream of climbing Yosemites El Capitan without a rope .


This movie documents Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgesons captivating attempt to climb The Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible 3,000-foot rock face in Yosemite, while sharing moments from Caldwells amazing life journey that led him to that moment.

Things To Do On Winter In Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad

Yosemite Tips & Tricks | Plan Your Family Travel in Yosemite National Park

When winter strikes the City of Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad the place becomes much more encapsulating and visitors can enjoy a ton of activities around the city. From clubs, restaurants, historic monuments to galleries and more, things to do in Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad in winter for holidaymakers develop in great prosperity. Winter is also the time for festivities in the city and various indoor and outdoor events and activities including skating and admiring various Christmas market strolls are thoroughly enjoyed here.

in Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad,

From little ones to adults, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad provides for a joyous time for everyone who visits. Activities to do in Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad in winter encompassing visiting the magnificent light show to admiring a variety of adventures at the Hyde Park winter wonderland and glazing upon the bustling winter lights festival in the evening, the list is endless and inspiring. So, pack your bags, buckle yourself and get ready to have a blast on your Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad trip this winter season.

Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is filled with activities to do all year round however it gets totally transformed during winter and there are some activities that either isnt available at any time of the year or are dramatically different during winter. Here are some things you just have to do in Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad this winter.

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Hotels Inside The Park

For those of you not quite into the camping or glamping experience, you do have the option to stay in a lodge at the Yosemite Valley Lodge. This is a nice hotel with all the amenities you will need.

For those of you wanting a little more luxury during your visit, check out the only 4 star hotel in the park, The Majestic Yosemite.

Day 2 Action And Adventure In Yosemite With Kids

Find all kinds of family fun at Lake McClure and Lake McSwain including an aqua park thats a splashing good time for the whole family.

At an elevation of 867 feet, sun-soaked Lake McClure and Lake McSwain are nestled in the oak-studded Sierra foothills in Mariposa Countys northwestern sector. Lake McClure and Lake McSwain are fed by the Merced River and offer full-service family resorts featuring protected swim areas, day-use picnic tables and even a floating obstacle course called the Splash-n-Dash Aqua Park. Camping, fishing and waterskiing are also popular here.

The daredevil in the family will jump at the opportunity to ride at Exchequer Mountain Bike Park, with 700 acres of crunchy, chain-stretching joy overlooking Lake McClure. The nearby Barrett Cove Recreation Area is an inviting venue for a swim or lakeside camping trip.

Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a throwback excursion located near the Parks South Gate at Fish Camp. Historic steam engine locomotives chug along the narrow gauge right-of-way of the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company with tall trees on either side. The on-site museum details the local logging legacy. During the summer months, enjoy a full evening of dining, entertainment, train riding and adventure when joining the Moonlight Special evening events.

Mount up for a real western adventure riding horses along with the genuine cowboys at Yosemite Trails.

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Charming Studio In Yosemite West: Peregrine Lodge

Peregrine Lodge is a locally owned hotel with a number of excellent guest rooms. This room sleeps up to two guests, making it a great option for couples looking for a romantic getaway. The charming interiors are decorated in the typical southwest style, creating a cosy and inviting atmosphere. Its also only a short walk away from some excellent hiking routes.

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