Wow! The most beautiful and picturesque place I’ve ever seen! I’ve heard so many amazing things about Yosemite that when we were planning our road trip I wanted to make sure we came to Yosemite.
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I honestly knew it would be beautiful but it really took my breathe away – I have never seen so many dramatic cliffs and different colours in nature.
How to get to Yosemite?
To visit Yosemite you really do need a car or else is pretty tricky to travel around.
May to September is meant to be the best time to visit the park. We went to visit in November so we were expecting some chilly nights! If travelling from November onwards one of the main roads Tioga Pass closes due to snow so make sure you travel using a different road.
If driving from the west coast Route 1 you can cross over avoiding the Tioga Pass. The last village before arriving into the park is called Mariposa where we had a quick bite to eat and stocked up on some supplies. There is still places to eat in the park but much more expensive, so if you’re on a budget make sure you stock up in Mariposa.
Where to stay in Yosemite?
There are lots of different options to stay in the park – you can go camping if you’re on a lower budget but we wanted to try a mid-range option of glamping which is “posh camping”!
The posh camping place is called Curry Village, as you drive in you feel like you’re on the film set of the Parent Trap arriving into camp. There is a kiosk where you check in and a very friendly receptionist tells us where our room is in the village and what to do with our bear box!
Did I hear correctly I thought? Yes… in the front of each tent is a massive metal box that you have to put any food or strong smell such as toiletries. The box is so thick that it won’t attract bears!
If you are more on a budget there is camping facilities. On the other hand if you have a budget to splurge and don’t want to camp / glamp then head to the Ahwahnee Hotel.
Where to eat in Yosemite?
If I am going to be completely honest, Yosemite isn’t exactly well know for its gastronomy, the meals I had personally were average. The views make up for it though!
I wasn’t expecting an amazing meal but with that said Yosemite Valley Lodge was a cozy spot we found on the last night where we sat and had a glass of red and some nachos. It was perfect after a fun day of hiking but nothing to write home about.
However, if like me you love your food, don’t let this put you off Yosemite the views are so worth it, and there lots of other great foodie spots throughout the road trip such as in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles!
What to do in Yosemite?
Hiking and being in nature is the main activity to do! If you are unable to walk, there a lots of spots and view points to see by car and take photos.
Hike up Glacier Point
My favourite hike that I could not recommend more is the 4 mile hike to Glacier point. This is a really windy and bendy walk, it’s meant to be one of the toughest inclines, my legs were feeling like jelly at the top but so worth it.
Top tip: make sure you bring snacks, lunch and lots of water for the walk as it will end up taking longer than you expect. The view at Glacier point is beautiful you will want to spend time at the top enjoying the view whilst having lunch.
Take a Photo at Tunnel View
Tunnel view is a must visit spot for any first timers to Yosemite according to the official Yosemite website. It is perfect as it is accessible to all visitors as you can drive up to the viewpoint.
The downside is that it can get very busy as the viewpoint is just behind the car park. Make sure you get there early to avoid the crowds!
I would say it is the perfect first pit stop on your trip to Yosemite as it gives you an overview of Yosemite before you go to see other spots. At Tunnel View you get a glimpse of the iconic Yosemite spots such as El Captain and Half Dome.
To find Tunnel View, it is just outside Wawona tunnel on the state highway 41.
Drive along Southside Drive
Southside Drive is one of the main routes along Yosemite Valley, I would drive along here and stop off at the landmarks on the drive (they are clearly sign posted)! You get to find lots of spots, especially at twilight the lighting is beautiful!
Check out the rest of the trip with links below!
Read more from the road trip:
Part 1: LA
Part 2: Santa Barbara
Part 3: Monterey
Part 4: Yosemite – this post!
Part 5: Napa, Sonoma Valley & San Francisco