Yosemite Family Vacation Ideas

World Heritage listed Yosemite is the High Sierra at it's best. Wonderful wildflowers in season, glacial power, granite monoliths towering impossibly  into the sky spilling over with cascading waterfalls. An abundance of life life  teaming from the giant Sequoia trees, valleys and meadows. 


Yosemite is one of the most popular parks, it was also one of the first. John Muir was overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this place in the 1860's and was  instrumental in it becoming set aside for people to enjoy. 

Yosemite Family Activities

Today the park is used for a vast variety of family activities. With 12 miles  of bike paths, lots of cross country skiing places and spectacular hikes are  only the start. A slightly challenging mist trail leads you off to waterfalls  (see below) and an the easier Valley Floor Loop trail will take you  around the  Yosemite Valley. These are only a part of the extensive family opportunities  you can take advantage of. 

Kids can even become a ranger for a day. Details of how to do this and the  dozens of activities that are offered all year round are constantly updated in the Yosemite Park magazine and in the video and reviews below.

Family Camping at Yosemite

Camping is remains a viable option with campsites available if you are wise and use the best approaches to securing a spot.  See our reviews of all the top family friendly campgrounds at Yosemite.

Top Yosemite Family Attractions and Getting Around

As you can imagine with literally millions of visitors each year you can  expect to spend a great proportion of your time sitting in traffic if you don't  plan around this issue. Amtrak, Greyhound and regional transport are options  you may not have considered but have merit.  

Once you arrive at Yosemite there is a host of free shuttles, paid tours, and  public transportation to get you around the park. Check out the information provided by the NPS on transport for details of what goes where and when:  

Half Dome

Hiking Half Dome - Travel Blog

Half Dome is a huge granite monolith (rock) iconic to Yosemite National Park.  Many Families hike to the summit but it is an especially difficult hike and not  for the faint-hearted. We definitely recommend you watch the video below and  wear all the correct equipment.

Video: Park ranger gives an overview of one of Yosemite's most challenging  hikes: Half Dome.

Glacier Point

This is the most famous place in Yosemite to get a view of the sunset. A huge geological formation.

Sequoia National Forest 

This great forest borders with Yosemite in should make it into your itinerary  if at all possible. With trees that are older than a thousand year old and as tall as  a city skyline this is one spectacular spot to contemplate your place in the  web of life. Or simply let the children explore and play among these amazing features of the natural planet.

Mariposa Grove

Hike the two mile road or hop on a tram tour. Situated near the south entrance  to the park and about an hour from the valley itself.

Tunnel View - Wawona Road

Another great lookout in Yosemite National Park. Amazing view as you exit the  tunnel. Good place set up a telescope at night to view one of the amazing  meteor showers that frequently visit the park's skies.

Hiking The Mist Trail to Vernal Falls

Hiking to Vernal Falls along the mist trail or viewing other waterfalls within  the park is a great ideas a to enjoy some quality family time. The 100m  waterfall on the Merced river runs all year round but is reduced a little by  the end of summer. The trail takes you to the Vernal Fall Bridge. During your  journey you travel through the mist of the falls to watch the waterfall. 

The hike is considered a Strenuous Yosemite Valley Day Hike and is covered in  the video below. Another video of some great images of the hike follow in the  next video after that.

El Capitan

Rising almost a kilometer from the valley floor this is one of the most  spectacular and popular attractions of the Yosemite Valley. The huge granite  monolith is also an appealing and obvious attraction for families who love rock  climbing. 

Tuolumne Meadows

Eventually your family will need some space of their own to recharge. A hike  through the Tuolumne Meadows is a great way to appreciate the diversity of  plant and animal species in the park.

The video below follows the Tuolumne River from its glacial beginning to the  Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite Falls

At over 2,425 ft these cascading upper and lower falls shure are a sight. They flow from November through July. Check out our video below for more information and some of the hikes available

Sentinel Dome

Your family will love the approximately 3 km (2 miles) long Sentinel Dome hike. If you can walk two miles, you can do this fabulous hike with the squirrels!

View Yosemite in a larger map

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