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Things to do in Yosemite National Park with Kids near me

Yosemite is one of California’s top destinations to visit with kids. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Yosemite with kids, you will find all sorts of activities to keep the little ones entertained. Whether you want to explore Yosemite’s hiking trails, go rock climbing, or discover places such as the Bridaveil Falls, Mirror Lake, or Tuolumne Meadows, you’ll find lots of amazing things to do in Yosemite with kids. 

Yosemite National Park is located in Central California, around 140 miles from the City of San Francisco. Known for its beautiful granite mountains and waterfalls, Yosemite National Park was established back in 1890.

Yosemite is one of the oldest National Parks in the US and also one of the most visited places. With majestic waterfalls, and natural wonders like the El Capitan and Half Dome, Yosemite is truly breathtaking and worth a visit. 

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Yosemite National Park Travel Tips

Yosemite National Park has been voted as one of the most beautiful places to visit, from rugged footrails and dazzling Sapphire lakes, you will find plenty of inspiring and fun places to explore with the little ones. 

Listed below are some suggestions on fun things to do in Yosemite with kids.

Fun FREE Things to do in Yosemite National Park with the Kids

Sentinel Dome Lake

The hike up to Sentinel Dome Lake is a safe trek to do with young children, just make sure you pack plenty of refreshments and sun cream! The hike is around 2.2 miles round trip, so won’t take long to complete. You can do this via walking or biking as the elevation gain is around 400 feet so relatively easy to complete with children in company. The scenery is outstanding so plenty of opportunities to take some wonderful family photos. 

Glacier Point             

There are plenty of points in Yosemite where you can appreciate the spectacular views it has to offer. Standing at 3214 feet above the valley floor, the panoramic views do take your breath away from the 2 beautiful waterfalls and Half Dome.

If you plan on doing the trek to Dome Lake and viewing Glacier Point, then you need a jacket as the winds can get very chilly when you reach the top of the Sentinel Dome. You also need to ensure that young children do not wander off as the slopes are very steep at some points of the journey. 

The Mist Trail

Another wonderful hike is the Mist Trail. Beautiful scenic views and relatively close to the Nevada Falls and Vernal. This trek can be challenging so it’s not advised to take very young children or pushchairs. 

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest falls in the US. Reaching a height of 2400 ft, it’s made up of three parts; Upper Yosemite, Middle Cascades, and the Lower Yosemite Falls. You can generally view the Yosemite Falls from different parts of the National Park. 

Hiking to the top of the Yosemite falls can be tricky and is not advised to take pushchairs with very young children. The walk can be done with children over the age of 10. Yosemite is hugely popular so expect to see rather large crowds of people on your walk and when you reach your destination. On a warm day, the welcoming mist spray from the falls cools you down. Ensure to take plenty of refreshments and sun cream if you do attempt this walk during the warmer months. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Yosemite National?

There are many factors to take into consideration when planning a trip to Yosemite. Firstly, you need to plan how you will get there and the time of year you wish to visit. Different parts of Yosemite Park are closed during the year. Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road are typically closed from October to November and then again from May to June, this depends on the levels of snow and the higher the elevations have risen over the winter and spring. The road directly through Yosemite is open all year long, so be sure to plan your logistics carefully. 

Another important factor to consider is the crowds which vary depending on the time of year you plan to visit. Summer is the busiest time of year as well as Winter. If crowds don’t bother you then it's fine whatever month you decide to visit. 

Weather should also be considered when planning a trip to Yosemite Park. Although the park is fairly large with many distinct and different areas, the elevations and temperatures can dramatically change. Spring is generally a good time to visit Yosemite as the weather is cooler and the park is less crowded. 

Neighborhoods to Visit in Yosemite National 

Yosemite is one of the most visited national parks in the US and is a UNESCO world heritage site, globally recognized for its stunning granite cliffs, sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Yosemite welcomes over 4 million visitors yearly. 

Yosemite is considered the crown jewel of the US national park heritage. Housing thousands of lakes and spanning 800 miles of hiking trails. Yosemite also hosts one of the largest waterfalls in North America and is home to over 300 different species of mammals, including over 85 native species of mammals. The park also has a huge concentration of mule deer, black bears, and over 150 different species of birds. 

The best way to explore the park fully is to stay in one of the provided accommodation options within the park. The park has many wonderful lodges to stay in and fully immerse yourself in the park experience. The lodges fill up very quickly so it’s best to book early in advance. There are also some popular towns surrounding Yosemite that can be used as a base to access the park. 

We’ve explored some of the nearby towns to help you choose where to stay near Yosemite Park. These are listed below:

Groveland

Groveland is one of the closest towns to Yosemite. This quaint old town known as the Big Oak Flat was renamed Groveland in 1863. The historic community has been kept alive by the community. Groveland is well worth a visit with the children if they love history and understand different cultures. 

Be sure to visit Groveland Yosemite Gateway Museum to understand the history of this Southern Tuolumne County. Groveland has a vibrant music scene that will keep the family entrained. Groveland is a charming little town suitable for families with young children. 

Lee Vining 

At the very base of Sierra lies Lee Vining. Lee Vining is the perfect basecamp for exploring Yosemite National Park, minutes from Mono Lake, Lee Vining offers perfect lodging for families with children of all ages. With plenty of dining options, book shops, and a helpful visitor center, Lee Vining is a great place to stay with kids. Be sure to pay a visit to the Epic Café for a truly epic lunch to fuel you up for the day, Lee Vining is the perfect place to begin your journey to Yosemite Park. 

Fish Camp

Fish Camp is located in Mariposa County. Only a 7-minute drive from Yosemite National Park, Fish Camp is the perfect place to stay with children. One of the highlights of Fish Camp is the historic railroad that takes you through an epic journey of Sierra National Park. Here you will see Thornberry Museum and immerse yourself in the historic excursions of horseback riding. Stroll through the thick pine forests and dip your toes in the clear cross streams, all whilst taking in the impressive scenes of the mountain scenery.

Where to Stay in Yosemite National with Kids

There are lots of wonderful options for hotels in Yosemite. Many cater well to families with children of all ages. Listed below are some great suggestions for the perfect place to stay whilst visiting Yosemite Park with kids. 

Majestic Yosemite Hotel 

The only AAA-rated four-diamond hotel in the whole of Yosemite National Park, this wonderful hotel is one of the finest places to stay within the park. Known for providing impeccable service and beautifully decorated rooms, the Westgate Lodge is the perfect getaway for a family looking for relaxation and luxury. 

The property dates back to the 1920a and is conserved as an architectural masterpiece! The splendor and grandeur you are met with when entering the hotel are outstanding. Views cover Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, and the Half Dome.  

Yosemite View Lodge

Yosemite Lodge is one of the most authentic lodges and is closest to Yosemite Valley. Carefully located spanning the banks of the Merced River and entrance to Yosemite Park. Most of the guestrooms offer balconies so you can sit back and appreciate the views.

Yosemite National Park

Accommodation at the Yosemite Lodge ranges from king and queen suites to well-appointed suites. This hotel features 4 large swimming pools, that are perfect for the little ones. Pet friendly and home to a wonderful cocktail bar for the parents, be sure to book the Yosemite View Lodge; perfect for families with children of all ages. 

Tenaya Lodge 

This stunning all-season lodging is nestled within the High Sierra and near the South Entrance of Yosemite. Tenaya Lodge offers premium quality with their finest spa facilities, three huge swimming pools, a skating rink, and 5 different dining facilities, this glorious lodge is the perfect place to stay to enjoy a holiday with the family. For adventurous families, the lodge can arrange mountain biking as well as horseback riding and guided walks. 

Westgate Lodge 

The Westgate Lodge is perfectly situated on the state highway which is a short distance from Yosemite National Park. Compromising 48-unit lodging facilities. Outdoor swimming pools and on-site spa. This lodge is the perfect place to get away with children. Enjoy family picnics in the vicinity and adventurous trails the staff at Westgate Lodge will happily arrange. 

Foods you Must try in Yosemite National

Yosemite has a decent number of restaurants and dining options to choose from. Some of the best restaurants are found within the park. Whether you’re visiting for a holiday or a single day you can find the perfect dining option for every budget and occasion. 

After a long day exploring and trekking around Yosemite, there is nothing better than a hearty meal at one of the many family-friendly restaurants or buzzing cafes. 

Yosemite Park has many restaurants that offer all kinds of cuisine from Chinese, to typical American food and charming winery boutiques! Be sure to check out Ciera Wine Cellars in Mariposa.

Within Yosemite Valley, you can choose to dine at the most iconic restaurant Majestic Yosemite Hotel the crown jewel of dining is the Ahwahnee Dining Room

Tuolumne Lodge and White Wolf Lodge offer more casual dining which would suit a family with young children. Also, at more affordable pricing.

There are also a few independent restaurants in Yosemite and Dome Villages including the Loft at Degnan’s and Pizza Patio. Yosemite village also hosts plenty of grocery stores that would suit a family doing self-catering or camping in Yosemite Park.

Yosemite National Park Attractions Map

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