Surrounded by the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California’s Yosemite National Park is an icon of majestic natural beauty and a jewel in the United States’ National Parks System. You can explore Yosemite in so many ways from hiking or mountain biking on over 800 miles of trails to backpacking, camping, or cross country-skiing.
One of the best ways to experience the scenic beauty of national parks like this is to spend a few days in the park or in lodging close-by, making your base at one of the many hotels, resorts, or campsites dotted throughout the region.
Whether you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city or enjoy a relaxing holiday with the family, there is a wide range of hotels and other lodging in Yosemite National Park.
Leading online accommodation site Hotels.com asked me to share my choice of the best hotels and places to stay when visiting Yosemite. So, here is a list of some of my favorite hotels, lodges, and campsites in Yosemite, as well as a few hotels in the area outside the park.
Places to Stay in Yosemite
When deciding where to stay in Yosemite, you’ll find all types of lodgings ranging from hotels and resorts to campsites and cabins. Lodgings in Yosemite National Park include rustic mountain lodges, lakeside tent cabins, and sleek Airstream trailers, while a stay near the park offers plenty of family-friendly hotels and campsites.
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Boasting breathtaking views of the Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Valley Lodge is a great base for exploring the park. Ideal for families and groups, the eco-lodge has spacious family rooms with bunk beds, private bathrooms, and several dining options with kid’s menus if you are traveling with children. If you need to stay in touch with the outside world, there is wireless Internet around the property, an ATM, and a post office.
There is plenty to do with the family – you can rent bicycles to explore the valley, swim in the seasonally open swimming pool, and listen to free naturalist talks beneath the stars in the amphitheater during the summer. Hike one of the many trails in the area or hit the Merced River for some white-water rafting. Be sure to head to the Yosemite Falls, which are a short walk away and well worth a visit.
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite
Set high in the Central Californian Sierra Mountains near the south entrance to the park, Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is an upscale mountain resort and a great place to stay if you want a combination of adventure and relaxation. Comfortable guest rooms and cottages have private bathrooms, roaring fireplaces, and whirlpool tubs.
Scenic hiking and mountain biking, rock climbing, downhill skiing, and guided naturalist tours are just some of the activities you can enjoy. If you are wanting relaxation, then the world-class spa with saunas, steam rooms, and three swimming pools should do the trick. There are also multiple dining options, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a games room for the kids.
If you are looking for unique accommodation other than hotels, Curry Village is one of the best Yosemite lodgings for families. Located just below Glacier Point, the camp offers a variety of affordable accommodation from rustic wood cabins and motel rooms to cozy tent cabins with shared bathrooms. The village is within walking distance from the famous Half Dome, which is a must-visit.
The village is packed with amenities from a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and an entertainment amphitheater to an ice skating rink for winter fun. Ranger-led programs are held in the amphitheater and you can rent bikes or rafts to explore the area or jump on a free shuttle bus for trips around Yosemite. Several restaurants serve a variety of food and drinks from pizza to tacos.
Located along Highway 41 near the south entrance to Yosemite National Park, Wawona is a large campground that can accommodate tents, RVs, and trailers and is a great place to stay if you are an avid camper. Set along the banks of the South Fork Merced River, the campsite is nestled among pine trees and offers a peaceful place to rest your head. Hotels might offer an array of amenities, but there is no better way to experience nature than by camping.
While Wawona is about an hour’s drive from Yosemite Valley, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the area. Visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and take a walk through the California Tunnel Tree to marvel at the towering giants. Guided horseback rides to the scenic Chilnualna Falls are highly recommended.
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (The Ahwahnee)
Formerly known as The Ahwahnee, this charming 1920’s retreat is one of the best hotels in the park with plenty of creature comforts and stunning views of the Yosemite Valley. Stay in one of two dozen romantic cottages with wood-burning fireplaces and private bathrooms with showers, and enjoy world-class cuisine and fine wines at the fine dining restaurant.
You can explore Yosemite National Park by hiking or horseback riding, and a little gift shop offers a treasure trove of arts and crafts, books, and handcrafted items by local Native American artisans. National parks might be all about the scenic beauty but great hotels like this one simply add to the experience.
Upper Pines Campground
This family-friendly campground is easily accessed from the south entrance to Yosemite National Park and has tent and RV sites with picnic tables, fire rings, and food storage lockers. Yosemite’s free shuttle bus stops near the campground entrance so you can explore the park at will.
Spend your days hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or fishing, and rafting in the Merced River. Recommended attractions to visit near the south entrance include the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and Glacier Point for sweeping views of Yosemite Valley. The 39-mile Tioga Road is a scenic drive past meadows, forests, meadows, granite domes, and lakes.
Places to Stay Near Yosemite
When deciding where to stay on a visit to Yosemite National Park, you might prefer to look at hotels and other accommodations options near Yosemite rather than staying in the park to avoid the crowds. There is a good choice of lodging and hotels that cater to both couples and families where you can enjoy a peaceful stay and take day trips into the national park.
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort, Groveland
Located just outside of Yosemite National Park in Groveland, a few miles from the west gate, Yosemite Lakes RV Resort is an affordable, family-friendly lodging option with lots of things to see and do. RV resorts combine the simplicity of camping with the amenities of hotels to provide an all-round experience. The campground has tent sites with full hook-ups and a variety of cabin and yurt setups with private and shared bathrooms.
Fish, swim, or pan for gold in the South Fork of the Tuolumne River, which runs through the preserve or visit the Moaning Cavern, the largest public cavern in the state. Surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, this is a fantastic place to stay in Yosemite if you want to enjoy the great outdoors.
Yosemite View Lodge, El Portal
Set on the banks of the Merced River in El Portal, Yosemite View Lodge is a sprawling family-friendly hotel not far from Yosemite National Park’s Arch Rock Entrance. Surrounded by dense forests, the lodge has simply decorated rooms and basic kitchenettes with self-catering essentials.
Multiple indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, and several spas are perfect for relaxing, and the family-style River Restaurant & Lounge serves burger on the deck overlooking the river. One of El Portal ‘s most popular hotels, the pet-friendly getaway also offers coin-operated laundry services and has a small shop selling essentials, gifts, and snacks.
Evergreen Lodge Yosemite, Groveland
Located an hour’s drive north of Yosemite Valley near Yosemite, this century-old mountain resort has cozy cabins with wooden furnishings, private bathrooms, and crackling fireplaces. If you are traveling with your family, there are larger cabins with extra beds and spacious bathrooms.
Rent bikes, backpacks, trekking poles, and snowshoes from the indoor recreation center and head out into the wild. A saltwater pool and whirlpool tub, a playground for the kids, and plenty of nature trails are also on the entertainment list. This is a great lodging choice for a stay in Yosemite if you want to explore the national park but avoid the tourists.
Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite, Groveland
Situated off Highway 120 just outside the Yosemite National Park, this woodsy, rustic resort is a great spot for families to stay near Yosemite. Tucked amongst dense forests of pine trees, the resort has comfortably furnished lodge rooms and suites with private bathrooms and modern amenities.
A recreation room is stocked with board games, foosball, and pool tables or you can take to the great outdoors on guided hiking and photography trips. Soak in a hot tub and toast marshmallows around the fire pit in the evenings. Make sure to visit the Central Valley in the Yosemite National Park, which is one of the most spectacular spots in the region.
Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, Tioga Pass
If you are looking for a unique retreat near Yosemite National Park, then Tuolumne Meadows Lodge won’t disappoint! Canvas tent cabins are set along the banks of the Tuolumne River in Yosemite’s mountainous high country. Overlooking the flower-filled Tuolumne Meadows, the lodging at Yosemite boasts has timber furnishings and wood-burning stoves, and shared bathhouses.
The lodge is 60 miles from the Yosemite Valley and far from any city lights, so it’s a fantastic spot for escaping the crowds in Yosemite National Park and world-class stargazing. You can also enjoy guided ranger-led hikes and campfire programs in the evenings.
Yosemite Westgate Lodge
If you can’t decide where to stay in Yosemite, this charming lodge is located on Highway 120 in Buck Meadows close to the historic gold rush town of Groveland. The lodge is a short drive from the Big Oak Flat Entrance to Yosemite and one of the best hotels from which to make your base and explore the area.
Spacious and well-appointed guest rooms with warm decor, private bathrooms, and modern in-room amenities, and you can enjoy a range of hotel perks like a heated pool and spa and a seasonal restaurant. The lodge is a perfect place for visiting some of Yosemite National Park’s top attractions like Half Dome, Cathedral Rocks, and El Capitan.
Cedar Lodge, El Portal
This comfortable, budget-friendly hotel in El Portal is a short drive from Yosemite’s entrance and offers spacious, family-orientated lodging. Cozy guest rooms and luxury suites are airy and bright with lovely views of the surrounding forests and feature four-poster beds, private bathrooms, and in-room amenities like mini-fridges, coffee machines, and cable television.
When you are exploring the national park, which is just eight miles away, you can relax in the communal guest lounge or enjoy a drink at the sports bar, take a dip in one of the two swimming pools, or pamper yourself with a massage at the deluxe spa. A family-style restaurant with loft seating serves classic American fare.
AutoCamp Yosemite, Mariposa
Located 45 minutes from the Arch Rock Entrance to Yosemite National Park, AutoCamp Yosemite takes glamping to new levels. Sleek and shiny Airstream trailers, luxury tents, and cozy cabins for two offer a unique camping experience. If you are looking for a romantic escape near Yosemite, then this is the place for you.
Silver Airstream trailers have all the bells and whistles from private bathrooms to kitchens with mini-fridges and microwaves, and climate control. Cozy cabins are ideal for families with bunk beds and futons, and kitchens. A clubhouse has comfy furnishings and a crackling fireplace, while outdoor lovers can enjoy a heated swimming pool, a deck with communal fire pit, and lawn games.
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are our recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures and status of local businesses.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.