A very popular summer travel destination is Yosemite National Park in California. While it’s gorgeous year-round, families visit Yosemite when school is out, camping somewhere in the park or staying in a lodge. If you haven’t already made reservations for this summer, you may be out of luck, as tent sites, RV sites and hotel rooms book well in advance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a road trip to Yosemite for the future! And bonus: it may be less busy!
Where is Yosemite National Park?
It is located in the Sierra Mountains in California, east of San Francisco, not far from the Nevada border. To get there, you can land at the San Francisco Airport, or a smaller one in San Jose or Sacramento. It also makes a great road trip from the Los Angeles area of Southern California. With numerous parks in the Northern California region, you could hit up several amazing destinations in one visit.
What are choices for accommodations in Yosemite National Park?
There are numerous lodges available, such as the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, the Yosemite Valley Lodge, White Wolf Lodge, Half Dome Village or Tuolomne Meadows. If you’re more into bed and breakfast options, there are many to choose from, in addition to several campgrounds, hotels and motels. For a more private experience, you may want to research renting a small cabin, where you can cook for yourself and have a more authentic camping experience without leaving behind four walls and all the amenities of home.
What can you do in Yosemite National Park?
The list of things to see in Yosemite National Park is endless! Most people visit this national park so they can experience the great outdoors in all its majesty, with a hike to somehow see the infamous Half Dome. There are so many hiking trails available, you just need to check ahead of time to choose your level of difficulty and length. Some people decide to take the big hike up to the top of Half Dome, but bear in mind, this requires a permit and they only sell so many. (You will also need to secure that permit in advance.) It is a breathtaking view but is quite a strenuous hike.
Other than Half Dome, popular sights to see are the giant sequoia trees, which are so much bigger than you can imagine. Simply standing in a grove, in the silence and shade, is an experience in itself and a must-do. El Capitan is another must-see as well as Bridal Veil Falls. Depending on the weather the winter before, sometimes the falls are heavier. Always check the weather forecast before you go, as there have been closures due to possible flooding issues and fires have closed areas of the park as well.
If you like the water, there are places to get into the river and streams. There are places you can raft in your own tube and other locations lead guided river tours. Again, reservations are recommended. There are also local skiing options if you go in the winter.
Birdwatching, the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery (based on his one of a kind photography of the region) are additional choices, along with one of the many tours, shops, restaurants, and outdoor adventure programs. Depending on the time of year that you road trip to Yosemite National Park, you may find festivals taking place, concerts happening or other special events.
Camping is its own activity, where you can wake up to the sounds of nature outside your tent or RV, make coffee around a fire while seeing squirrels and other wildlife. (Be sure to not leave food outside or in an unsecured place so you don’t have surprise visitors! Rules are posted so you can get help if you’re unsure how to protect your belongings.)
What is the weather like in Yosemite?
It ranges throughout the year, but the best times to visit for optimal weather is May through September. Some roads are closed throughout the winter due to snow, and if you still visit during the winter, bring your snow gear. Always check before you visit to ensure your end destination is available. The park is open year-round by car but hiking trails can be dangerous. If you’re looking to see the snow, you can and will see it in many places but it may just be from the warmth of your vehicle.
To make sure you have the latest details, visit the National Park Service page for Yosemite weather
Whenever you visit Yosemite, Fox has vehicles available at various locations in California. There are rental cars at the San Jose Airport, cars at the San Francisco Airport (SFO) and of course, at LAX and in four other southern California cities. Fox is also located in the rental car area of the Oakland Airport and the Seattle Airport for rental car convenience. We offer a wide variety of models that make a road trip to Yosemite National Park comfortable and safe for your entire party. We recommend an SUV if you’re going to have snow gear and there is a wide variety of vehicles in our fleet, so inquire when you book if you have further questions. Our rates are low and with an advanced reservation, you’ll have your pick of cars!
Travel safely and enjoy Yosemite!