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  • Writer's pictureShayna Gaman-Bean

A Perfect Weekend Getaway: Yosemite National Park

"Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space." ~ Ansel Adams

Yosemite is one of our favorite places to escape for the weekend. Lucky for us, it is just about 3 hours away along a beautiful highway with a perfect burger joint called Frosty on the way in Jamestown..

Since Yosemite is so close to us, last year, we started a new tradition to visit the park every fall. I absolutely love the fall colors of the park. Only caveat is that if it's been a dry summer then the waterfalls may not be flowing.

Our favorite hotel to stay at is Yosemite Westgate Lodge

It's just outside the park, very reasonably priced, great for larger families because some rooms sleep six, it has all the amenities (pool, hot tub, playground, etc), and has a great restaurant right next door. We love eating at Lucky Buck Cafe and buying some souvenirs.

One thing I always seem to forget is you do a LOT of driving at this park and it is busy, so expect traffic. Maybe next time I'll remember. Last time we almost ran out of gas and food!

That drive into the park is beautiful with lots of places to stop along the way to take some pictures:

As far as our favorite places we've visited in the park with kids so far, those include:

  1. Yosemite Valley: There is so much to see and do here that you could just spend all day exploring here. There are plenty of trails, beautiful views and a couple lodges to rent bikes. The lodges also have food, but there may be a long wait depending on the time of day. Here we've spent lots of time hiking and admiring the views of Half Dome:

And El Capitan:

And I would highly recommend a sunset visit:

2. Lower Yosemite Falls: This is a favorite hike of ours because it is relatively easy and the rewards are huge! Just be sure that there's water flowing there if it's a goal to see this waterfall. When we went in November there was a lot of water, however, when we went in September it was bone dry. Here are some pics from when there was lots of water flowing:

But how did we get there?:

3. Tuolomne Grove Trailhead: This is another easy hike with kids with some amazing trees to view and lots to learn along the way.

We still have so much more to explore and we look forward to seeing what next year's visit has in store.



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