Why We Loved Visiting Yosemite National Park With Kids

Yosemite National Park has been on my ‘Must Visit’ list for some years now, so I was thrilled when we got the chance to visit while on our 3 week road trip. With its stunning scenery, sheer granite cliffs, towering waterfalls and giant sequoias, it’s not surprising to see why Yosemite was one of the USA’s first national parks.

We arrived in Yosemite 2 days before Christmas, and while there were some crowds and a government shutdown at the time, it didn’t impact on our stay. We had great weather, with clear, crisp days and even light snow on Christmas Eve.

Get Your Hike On

Yosemite has a variety of walking trails and hikes, so there is something for every age and level of fitness. We chose to hike the Bridal Veil and Lower Yosemite Falls trails with our young kids for this trip. We spotted squirrels, got sprayed by freezing mist off waterfalls, and hunted for the biggest pine cones along the trails.

Go for a scenic drive

The entire drive in and out of the valley, and around the valley floor of Yosemite is incredible. The sheer, snow-dusted granite rocks dominate the valley, while waterfalls plunge over the rocky faces into icy pools below. 

Explore Yosemite’s history

The kids loved exploring the collection of historical buildings at Pioneer Village, plus we practically had the place to ourselves! Learn more about the history of Yosemite National Park with the film ‘Spirit of Yosemite’ at the visitor centre, and then wander through the Yosemite Museum to experience more about the cultural history of the area. 

Stand Amongst Giants

Mariposa Grove is located near the South entrance to Yosemite. These giant redwoods are massive, with some reaching 300 feet in height. We felt dwarfed by these ancients giants as we wondered the trail through them.

Where we stayed

There are a range of accommodation options both in and outside the park. We decided on renting an entire house in Yosemite West through VRBO for our 4 night stay, so we and our friends could stay together and celebrate Christmas. After spending 2 weeks in and out of hotels, it was fabulous to stretch out in all the space the house offered, including a full kitchen and laundry, pool table, fireplace and hot tub on the deck. The kids loved playing and tobogganing in the snow around the house.

We highly recommend Yosemite for families of all ages! If you’re planning a family trip to California, check out all our posts on California here.

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