Ready to go camping at Yosemite National Park? Check out our tips from our family camping trip to Yosemite!
I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Panasonic. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
About 5 years ago I convinced my husband that we needed to start camping as a family. We started out camping close to home just in case things didn't go well. Last summer we made the leap and drove 4 hours to Bryce Canyon National Park and camped for 3 days. It went really well. So this summer we decided to make the 7 hour drive to Yosemite National Park to camp for 4 days. This was the longest we'd camped and the furthest we'd been away from home. I was nervous but we ended up having a great time.
Where to Go
Yosemite is huge. We drove in from the east and it took us a good 2 hours to drive the entire length of the park. We drove through the higher elevation areas like Tuolomne Meadows. It's beautiful in that part of the park, but in July it was 50 degrees. so be prepared for cold weather. There is a nice lake to swim in
If you enter Yosemite from the west entrance, you will likely head to Yosemite Valley, the main tourist area of the park. This is also where Yosemite Village is located. There are several campgrounds located in the valley as well as many places to swim in the Merced River. It's busy here so book ahead if you want to camp or stay at one of the lodges. We spent a good hour exploring the Ahwahnee Hotel and it's gorgeous.
We did not head to the west end of the park. The sequoia grove was closed for construction and it's quite a drive from the west entrance of the park.
Where to Stay
By the time we decided to go to Yosemite all of the campgrounds in the park were already full. I found a private campsite just outside the west entrance to the park, Yosemite Lakes RV Resort. The campsite was located right on a river and had a wonderful swimming hole. We picked a campsite right near the river so we could listen to the water all night.
My daughter spent every single second she could swimming in the river. There were plenty of other kids to play, rocks to jump off, waterfalls to swim through and tiny fish that swam between your feet.
Yosemite Lakes offers tent camping, RV spaces, cabins and yurts so even if you're not a camper, this is a great place to stay.
What To Do
I've been to quite a few national parks and they are each unique. Yosemite, though, was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Gigantic trees, high cliffs, open meadows, and waterfalls are a part of this park. We didn't do any hikes while in Yosemite because it was packed with people. But there are several paved paths to walk as well as challenging back country hikes that need permits. We stuck to the village and pulled off here and there to take photos and enjoy the scenery.
We decided to check out the Ahwahnee Hotel and it is definitely worth a visit. In fact, I'd recommend enjoy lunch here. It's the same price as eating in the village but the ambiance can't be beat. The hotel is full of history and we even ran in to some wildlife on the grounds.
Just before we left for Yosemite, I received a Panasonic Lumix G7. I was very excited to bring it with me on our trip to capture memories. The Lumix is DSLM (M= Mirrorless) image quality camera without the bulk and weight of traditional DSLRs. Generally on a trip like this, I'd end up taking pictures on my phone and not getting any really great shots. But thanks to the Lumix's 4K Ultra HD Video, which takes photos at up to 30 frames-per-second, I can catch great shots all the time.
The Lumix also has bulit in Wi-Fi so you can share photos instantly via an app on your phone. You can snap great shots like this one I took of my daughter and share them straight to your phone and share with family via email or social media.
Our summer trip to Yosemite, and side trip to San Francisco, is probably my favorite family trip yet. I'm so glad I had the Panasonic Lumix along to capture our memories.