How To Plan A Vacation To Yosemite Park


Some Questions to Help You Plan a Perfect Vacation

Yosemite National Park is a large and beautiful wilderness with many attractions and activities. It is located in the Sierra Nevada, which means mountain conditions and unpredictable weather. And with over 3 million visitors each year, it can be a busy place with rooms and campsites booking up weeks or months in advance. Those of a more spontaneous nature may just decide to pack up and wing it when they get to the park, but others prefer a bit of planning to help ensure their Yosemite vacation goes smoothly.

Planning a Yosemite vacation starts with asking yourself a few questions to assess your interests, needs, time frame and other considerations that will affect your decisions and planning.

What is your budget for your Yosemite vacation?

How much money you have to spend on your visit will impact many other decisions, such as how long you can stay, what type of accommodations you select, and what Yosemite vacation tours and activities you want to try.

Traveling can be expensive, especially with children. It is a good idea to research lodging, meals, tours and other Yosemite information to get a realistic view of the costs involved. There are ways to save on expenses, such as selecting lodging that lets kids stay for free or that allows you to cook meals to save on restaurant bills.

Will you have the funds to stay first class or do you need to shop around for affordable lodging? Can you afford to participate in all activities and tours that interest you, or will you have to skip the rafting excursion. Maybe you will have to rely on public transit in the area rather than rent a car. All of these financial considerations are important to consider when planning your Yosemite vacation.

When do you want to take your vacation in Yosemite?

This question is important because there are things to do in Yosemite year round. Winter offers activities such as skiing while spring is ideal for viewing waterfalls. Summer is the peak tourist season, and it is also when the roads are at their best and all facilities are open.

Driving in Yosemite during the winter can be quite treacherous and tire chains are often required before entering the park. Unprepared tourists can be forced to turn around or try and locate tire chains on their own before proceeding.

Even spring and fall months in Yosemite can be quite cool and swimming and hiking activities may be limited. Some of the tent style lodging can be uncomfortable at night without sleeping bags or other heavy bedding.

How much time do you have to spend exploring Yosemite?

There is so much to see in Yosemite and the surrounding area that even those who have lived there for years learn new things about the park and find areas they have not visited before. Are you just passing through and want to hit the highlights or do you have a bit more time to spend? Either way, it's a good idea to make a list of those must see attractions and sights that you want to be sure and visit on your Yosemite vacation.

If you are planning a quick trip or a stop on the way through to other destinations, it is best to call ahead or check park websites to be sure the activities of interest are available on the days you plan to visit. For some activities, such as horseback riding, rafting tours, and workshops, reservations will help ensure availability.

What type of activities do you want to do on your Yosemite vacation?

There is a large list of things to do in Yosemite and deciding what you want to do will help identify where you will stay and what you can fit in. Do you want to fish, ride horse, take photographs, go rock climbing, see the giant Sequoias, or hike the High Country? Perhaps there are attractions outside the park that appeal to you, such as Chukchansi Resort and Casino or a tour of a local winery.

What type of accommodations do you prefer?

Yosemite offers every kind of lodging from camping under the stars on the face of a mountain or nearby a stream and eating trail rations, to Yosemite luxury vacation rentals with fine restaurants, heated pools, and cable TV.

You will also need to consider whether you want to stay inside the park or not. Either option has its benefits, with those inside the park providing immediate access to areas of the park without waiting in entrance lines. Locations outside the park are often less expensive, have more facilities nearby, and offer more flexibility for reaching other areas around Yosemite.

These are some of the basic questions to ask yourself when you begin planning your Yosemite vacation. Research websites, read travel reviews, speak to people who have traveled to the park and request additional Yosemite information and brochures if needed. Yosemite can be a spontaneous destination, but weather, heavy tourism, and the expensive nature of some last minute services can take the fun out of a trip to the park or even result in unsafe travel. A bit of planning ahead of time can help avoid surprises and ensure that you get to experience the sights and activities you have heard so much about.


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