Lodging in the Yosemite Area in California

by Johnny Kampis
Cars pass by one of Yosemite's rugged peaks.

Cars pass by one of Yosemite's rugged peaks.

Yosemite image by Dave the Rave from Fotolia.com

Yosemite National Park welcomes millions of visitors each year to its picturesque valleys and rugged mountains. Travelers in need of a place to rest have plenty of options throughout the park and in the small towns outside its borders. Lodgings of all types and prices abound within and near this California natural wonder.

Camping

If you want to really rough it, you can choose from 13 campgrounds spread throughout the park; up to seven of these must be booked through a reservation system. Most allow RV camping as well as tent camping and offer a handful of group campsites. The National Park Service highly recommends you reserve your spot if you want to travel in the summer, especially if you plan to stay in Upper Pines, Lower Pines or North Pines campgrounds in heavily visited Yosemite Valley. Keep food stored in food lockers or in your RV so you do not attract the park's black bears to your campsite.

Park Lodges and Hotels

Yosemite features some plush accommodations if you prefer more comfort and style on your vacation. The Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley, an architectural marvel with its stone and wood exterior, has received AAA's Four Diamond award. Its dining room featuring 34-foot high ceilings with grand views of the valley requires proper dress for dinner. Nearby Yosemite Lodge at the Falls offers more budget-friendly rooms with great views of the valley's famous falls. Visitors can rent bicycles here or take in a ranger-led program at the amphitheater. Wawona Hotel welcomes visitors four miles from the south park entrance. The Wawona eschews televisions and telephones to provide a peaceful setting.

Hotels Outside the Park

Many small towns just outside the park offer accommodations, usually of the chain hotel and mom-and-pop variety. Try Fish Camp outside the south entrance on Highway 41, Merced on Highway 140 west of Yosemite, Manteca on Highway 120 west of the park and the Tioga Lake area east of the park on 120. Campgrounds are also available in most of these areas, with spaces for tents and RVs.

Yosemite Attractions

When you're staying in Yosemite Valley, the heart of the park is at your fingertips. Plan a hike to one of the nearby falls, such as Vernal Fall or Yosemite Falls, or take a walk through the valley to gain views of mountains Half Dome and El Capitain. If you sleep overnight in the Wawona area in the south section of Yosemite, visit the Mariposa Grove of sequoia trees, some of the largest in the world.

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