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Ultimate Guide to Yosemite National Park

Yosemite

Yosemite Park is one of America’s most iconic natural monuments, and it is beloved for good reason. Here, you can find all the grandeur of America’s natural world and fall in love! Come away to the loneness of the evergreen forests and stand in awe of the majestic granite mountains. Let your soul be refreshed.

How to get there:

  1. Drive to the park in order to explore on your own. I highly recommend this, since it’s more fun to do your own thing on a trip like this.
  2. Bus Tours are also available. If you don’t want to worry about the car or you have a time crunch, this is your best option.

Expenses:

Park admission is $15 per person if you arrive on foot or in a bus. If you’re driving, it’s $30 per car.

Things to do for Non-Hikers:

Personally, I would have opted for a major hike, but this particular trip was all about family bonding, and most of us weren’t capable of hiking. We did a lot of walking instead. You know what? It was still great. Being in a beautiful place with people I love is awesome.

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  1. Glacier Point can be summed up in one word: STUNNING. At this lookout point, we stood over three thousand feet above the valley below and took in the almost unreal views of Half Dome, High Sierra, and the Yosemite Valley.Yosemite
  2. Go to Yosemite Valley for the most famous views. You can get here by car or bus tour. There is a lot to do in the Valley, too, besides just walking around. Although, you might spend a whole day doing that because it’s just so beautiful.Yosemite
  3. See Bridal Veil Falls. This lovely waterfall is just a 20-minute walk from the parking lot. It flows all year round, so be sure to check it out when you go.
  4. The Lower Falls are also easy to access. These waterfalls are tallest than the highest building ever built and the fifth tallest falls in the world. Fun fact: When the full moon rises, it creates “moonbows,” nocturnal rainbows, at the base of the falls!Yosemite
  5. Visit Half Dome Village for a peek into the nightlife at Yosemite. And by nightlife, I mean camping, stargazing, watching movies at the outdoor amphitheater, and avoiding bears.
  6. Go on a picnic. Not only does it save you money, but it gives you the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the views.Yosemite
  7. Visit the Campsites. Beware of bears! We saw one in Camp Four. I don’t know if I was more scared or excited. If you’re into bouldering, you’ll like all the boulders around this campsite!Yosemite
  8. Visit the Giant Sequoia Trees. Unfortunately, they are closed for restoration until next year, so we didn’t really get to see them.
  9. Go on a Night Prowl and Star Gaze. You may never again get the opportunity to see such a brilliant display of the heavens!
  10. Attend an Art Class. Local artists at the Yosemite Art Center in the Village offer morning workshops every day of the week except Sunday, when they hold a 2-hour beginner class. You can attend one for just ten bucks.
  11. Visit the Indian Village for a trip back in time. You can see many structures that were built in the style of the local Natives. Most of them were built fairly recently, but they retain the style of architecture used by Natives in the 1800s, which has both European and Native influences.Yosemite
  12. Eat in the Food Court. The food price was surprisingly decent, and very yummy. I got Angus burgers for five dollars.
  13. See the Wildlife – we saw deer, bears, squirrels, and birds. There are almost 100 species of mammals in the park!
  14. Drive Around and See the Lakes. Better yet, go on foot! We enjoyed the walking.Yosemite (6)
  15. Go Biking. There is so much to see in Yosemite. If you take a bike ride, you can see more stuff more quickly and still be outside.

Tips: 

  1. Never leave food in your car. A bear will eat your food and damage your car!
  2. Have zero expectations for the public restrooms. Yuck. The only clean one was in the food court.
  3. Fall in love with nature!
  4. Bring layers. Throughout the day, I alternated between being warm from walking and cold by the falls. Bring layers so you can adjust as you go.
  5. The falls are so strong you will get wet, so take measures to waterproof your camera.
  6. Gas up before you get there, before you get to the great wilderness. We saw one now and then, but we didn’t see many. Better safe than sorry.
  7. The road is long and winding. Make sure you’re up for the drive.
  8. Use the Turnouts. The road is curvy and steep, but there are a lot of spots to stop and take photos. Plus, it’s just polite to other drivers.
  9. Bring a senior! You can get an annual pass for just $10.
  10. Don’t rely on your cellphone— there’s hardly any signal, especially in the middle of the park. Don’t worry about updating your status with gorgeous waterfall selfies; just enjoy the scenes around you! You can post when you get home

84 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide to Yosemite National Park

  1. Thanks for all the great tips. I was listing to a segment on the NPR this weekend about how our parks are changing because of the climate, and it really made me want to venture to more parks before more changes happen. They are such treasured locations to explore nature.

  2. Wow another awesome post and Bucket List Item Added Karla. The Yosemite National Park, Have heard of it but didnt pay much attention, Now I am definitely paying attention!

    I also love your style. The Good, the great and the ugly you lay it all out…the tips and then hacks Loved it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I have never been to Yosemite National Park. My husband was able to go there once and he was talking about it for a month! I would love to have that experience too. Maybe this summer, we can plan a trip to this awesome place. BTW, your pics are so beautiful!

  4. You can’t deny the beauty of this park and I’m so happy that they are able to preserve it. It’s nice to be able to go here with family, just like you. What better way to enjoy such a lovely place, right?

  5. All of those photos are beautiful! I have never been there before. I think it would be a great trip for my family though. I love being outdoors and looking at parks like these.

  6. I so loved your guide! I love to go to the lower waterfalls, I heard os many good things about Yosemite National Park.

  7. Visiting Yosemite National Park is definitely on my bucket list. I already have this year’s vacations planned but hopefully I can fit a visit in next year.

  8. Yosemite is just a few hours away. We try to visit every couple of years. The view is beautiful from so many points, as shown in your fantastic pictures. Good advice on the bears. They are dangerous.

  9. Yosemite looks absolutely beautiful. I love that you have shared here things to do if you are not into hiking. I will have to make it there to see one day.

  10. I would love to have a view in the Yosemite valley, the falls looks so amazing. i would love to see this place in person.

  11. I would love to visit Yosemite. There is also a program out there where 4th graders can get a year pass, my son is going into 4th grade.

  12. There are so much to see in this national park I would like to bring my family there and had picnic there. My son will surely love it.

  13. Yosemite Park has been one the favorite places to visit with my kids for long, but never had a chance yet. The pictures are so beautiful & inviting that I would love to go for a trip right away. The Lower Falls looks just stunning & it is going to be a great experience.

  14. Yosemite National park looks so amazing, I will visit this place maybe this year. I’ll put it in my bucket list.

  15. My husband has been saying for years now that he wants the family to go on vacation to Yosemite. He has been before and loved it. I was raised in the mountains and would love a trip to visit these beauties. I also have to say…I love that bracelet 🙂

  16. I have always wanted to visit Yosemite National Park and these pictures truly make me want to go even more. I love that there is so much to do and explore. Nature is amazing and always has a lot to offer.

  17. I have always wanted to visit Yosemite! Maybe one day I will make it there. It is definitely on my list.

  18. Maybe when I am stateside I will make this one of my destinations to check out! It looks absolutely breathtaking.

  19. This is the second Yosemite post I’ve seen today and now I am jonesing for a family trip there, too. It has to be one of the most beautiful national parks in the US!

  20. Some great suggestions and tips! We were there a couple of summers, could have used this! Looks like I need to go back and have this handy!

  21. This is a park on my must get to list! Looks really amazing and oh so beautiful, I hope to get there someday!

  22. Yosemite is on my bucket list! I was able to get to the grand canyon last week so I think my next biggest bucket list item is yosemite.

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