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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Go on a picnic. Not only does it save you money, but it gives you the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the views.
- 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!
- Visit the Giant Sequoia Trees. Unfortunately, they are closed for restoration until next year, so we didn’t really get to see them.
- Go on a Night Prowl and Star Gaze. You may never again get the opportunity to see such a brilliant display of the heavens!
- 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.
- 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.
- Eat in the Food Court. The food price was surprisingly decent, and very yummy. I got Angus burgers for five dollars.
- See the Wildlife – we saw deer, bears, squirrels, and birds. There are almost 100 species of mammals in the park!
- Drive Around and See the Lakes. Better yet, go on foot! We enjoyed the walking.
- 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.
- Never leave food in your car. A bear will eat your food and damage your car!
- Have zero expectations for the public restrooms. Yuck. The only clean one was in the food court.
- Fall in love with nature!
- 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.
- The falls are so strong you will get wet, so take measures to waterproof your camera.
- 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.
- The road is long and winding. Make sure you’re up for the drive.
- 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.
- Bring a senior! You can get an annual pass for just $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