This year’s Memorial Day was spent at the lovely Yosemite Valley National Park. My family and I like to go here occasionally. We spent the same weekend way back in 2009. This year was no different except it was much hotter. While Yosemite at the end of May 2009 was cold and covered in snow, the skies were clear and the sun was shining bright this time around. On both trips, we rented a home above the valley and enjoyed a peaceful time away from the super busy and hectic life of the Bay Area.
For those families who like to visit Yosemite Valley, know that it gets super crowded in the summer and in winter the park is closed because of the heavy snow. Where it gets pretty is around April. While spring is semi-crowded as well, I prefer this time because the weather is beautiful enough to sightsee. I am sure Fall is similar, but I actually have never visited Yosemite any other time than Memorial Day Weekend.
Getting there is quite simple by car. Remember you enter the park from the South-West side and leave from the North. I would highly recommend getting a car unless you are with a tour group. Once you are in the park, you can use the free shuttle to get around during peak times. After visiting two times here, I have learned that the park is so large that you actually have to visit a few times to cover all the hiking trails, waterfalls, and peaks. Today, I plan (See HERE) to tell you about the places I have visited and those I recommend seeing, but haven’t seen myself.
Thing To See & Do
There are a plethora of activities families can do in Yosemite. Really the list is endless. If you plan on coming here a few times, then I would say divide your time according to activities (See HERE).
However, if this your first and only visit for the foreseeable future, then stick to some classic photography stops and mix with some hiking and a whole lot of bbq-ing in your rental. Some of the most beautiful places in Yosemite Valley are not even that inside the valley. They are close to the entrance to the valley. My favorite places to visit is the Half-Dome, the ultra beautiful Tunnel View, the Bridalveil Fall, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls, Ribbon Falls, the gorgeous El Capitan Meadow, and the Valley View. For other places, check out HERE.
Why Go To Yosemite?
Besides the obvious natural beauty of the park, there are some memorable aspects you won’t find anywhere. Living in the Silicon Valley, the first thing you notice here is that there is (practically) no cell phone/internet service. Yes, a huge inconvenience to people like me, but by day 2, I have never seen myself more happy and calm. Secondly, please carry a Yosemite map with you here. You cannot access your GPS, even if you own the latest Tesla (See HERE). Thirdly, some of the best stargazing can be found here. Yes, you cannot see much from the balcony of your rental because of the surrounding trees, but from the coveted campsite locations inside the valley, that is the thing to do at night. The fourth and last thing I notice is how quiet the park really is. Yes, you hear an occasional bear howl, maybe a bird chirp, but, if you stay there for a long weekend, you are just pleasantly met with a deep silence.
In conclusion, Yosemite National Park is a great vacation spot for families seeking adventure and the great outdoors. Plan ahead for any closures or advisories is what I will leave you with.