Have you ever wanted to visit Yosemite National Park? Did you wind up going down the rabbit hole of guides, planners, and schedules just to find yourself overwhelmed and stressed out? Did you end up canceling the trip before even booking that family vacation of your dreams because of the overwhelm?
Well you’re in good hands because we just returned from a few days in Yosemite with our 4 kids and RV (which we live in full-time). I’m here to give you the relaxed know-how!
Don’t have or live in an RV? Well, worry not dear friends, I have options for you too! Read on to learn how to plan a fun and easy vacation to Yosemite National Park with your family. This is the stress-free guide to a laid back trip. I hope you have the chance to experience this beautiful vacation destination this Summer.
I’ve including where to stay, how to get there (including a great way to actually get into the park) and what to pack in!
I know that this may be the trickiest part of the trip! With such an enormous park, so many small towns nearby, and a plethora of options, where to stay may be the toughest choice you’ll make! So as you know, we live in our RV full-time. We absolutely love it and one big reason we chose this lifestyle was so that we could travel often without ever “leaving home”!
We chose to stay in an RV park called, Yosemite Pines RV Park. It’s seriously cute, really laid back, and sweet. However, there’s very little access to wifi/data. You’ll truly feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere which we absolutely LOVE. Besides, isn’t that the whole point of breaking away? Don’t have an RV? No problem! They seriously have such cute options here! You can choose a yurt, a cabin, or A COVERED WAGON!! They’re actually huge and can easily fit a family of four!
We ran into the gorgeous Rush Creek Lodge which has a restaurant, tavern, pool, spa, the cutest store ever, as well as a Yarts bus stop (more on that later). While we didn’t stay there, we did stop by on our way into the park for some snacks, drinks, and bug spray! It’s beautiful and the staff was very friendly which is so important to me since I’d literally rather give my money away then spend it somewhere that has bad customer service! Anyone else?
If you’re looking to actually sleep inside the park, I honestly can’t help you too much there because you have to make reservations the moment they become available and to stay in Camp 4, you have to enter a “lottery” the day prior.
Honestly, that’s all a bit too stressful for me so we didn’t do that but if you’re up for the challenge, you can find the links and more information here:
Lodging within the park: https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/yosemite-lodging-experience/
Wondering how to actually get into the park? Well, this is actually a two part answer! As I’m writing this during the Summer of 2021 where advanced reservations are required to enter. Couldn’t snag a spot? I couldn’t either which consequently landed us a great surprise! I’ll let you know how we got into Yosemite and why I recommend it for you as well! I’ll also cover transportation methods so buckle up for some fast and quick information!
“Reservations are available each day at 8 am Pacific time. Reservations are taken almost immediately. Be sure to have an account and be logged in and ready to get a reservation promptly at 8 am Pacific time.”nps.gov
Please note all of these snapshots are from my phone. Completely unedited. I want you to see how easy and relaxed the whole experience was. No fancy gear or stress when I have to wrangle 4 adventurous kids!Thoughts of a photographer
This is going to be a straight-up bullet point list. I’ll skip the special needs portions (like obviously diapers, wipes, medication, or anything unique to your family and needs) and just skip to the things everyone will need.
Well friends, I hope this little guide helps!
You should now be comfortable booking your lodging, transportation, and know what to bring (did I mention more water than you thought you needed?)
Stay tuned for more another post next week about what hikes we did within the park and a really special day we spent within Yosemite but outside of the main park that doesn’t require an advanced reservation!
Links to lodging and buses below!
Yosemite Pines RV and Campground: https://yosemitepinesrv.com
Rush Creek Lodge: https://www.rushcreeklodge.com
YARTS buses: https://yarts.com
To learn more about what a photo experience with me looks (and feels) like, click here!
Jailyn Untalan is a mom of four, Marine wife and veteran, explorer, photographer, and always laughs out loud.
I’m located in South Carolina but love to travel!
Click here to see what my portrait experience is like 🙂