Five Awesome U.S. Destinations You Should See With Your Kids – Part 3: Yosemite National Park


Hands down, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been is Yosemite National Park.  Mother Nature configures herself in some beguiling ways, let me tell you.

With sweeping valley views, magnificent mountains and reality defying groves of giant sequoia trees, Yosemite is a spectacle at every turn.

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of wildlife throughout the park, including bear and cougar.  Climbers love the park too.  The Half Dome and El Capitan, a couple of the most recognisable climbing locations in North America, are found in Yosemite.    While the park has a lot to offer adventurous travelers, it is also a wonderful destination for families.

The park is very accessible, so families traveling with young children should find it easy.  Shuttle buses take you from the parking areas to various hotspots within the park.  A lot of the hiking trails we encountered were manageable with a stroller.  There are restaurants, and well equipped campgrounds as well as a lodge and a hotel.  So, your stay will be comfortable.

Children will enjoy the interactive displays in the education areas.  There are a number of points within the park that are design to explain the history and the natural composition of Yosemite.  Children aged 3 to 6 will enjoy participating in the Little Cub program while their older siblings take part in the Junior Ranger program.

Yosemite is a photographer’s dream.  The great Ansel Adams was the most famous photographer to capture the park on film.  If you appreciate photography, you should plan to visit the Ansel Adams Gallery before you leave.  After visiting the exhibits, head into the park and take a few family photos.  You’ll never find a lovelier backdrop.

Yosemite is huge.  It is 761,268 acres, to be exact.  That means, the best way to appreciate the length and breadth of the park, is to travel through it by car.  There are plenty of places to pull over for photos along the way.  Note, however, that there are only a few roads through the area and weather, rock slides and wildfires can all cause disruptions, so check into the road situation before you make your way to the park.

My family had the pleasure to driving through Yosemite, the summer before last.  It was truly amazing.  Yes, we were inconvenienced by a rock slide and yes, we were held up by a wildfire, but it was all worth it.  While the whole trip was beautiful, the best part of the drive was the last hour and a half.  It was a road trip I’ll never forget.

We began our drive to Mammoth Lakes, via the Tioga Pass, in the early evening.  The 90 minute journey flew by in a moment as vista upon vista came and went outside my window.  As the sun slid down the sky the light became a soft and filtered glow.  That is when Yosemite became a true enchantress.  Photographers call this the golden hour.

We stopped the car and snapped some of the most stunning photographs I’ve ever seen; no fancy camera or training necessary.  With all due respect to Ansel Adams, if you have a camera, you can’t help but take beautiful pictures.  It’s just a very photogenic place, plain and simple.

My son enjoyed his time in Yosemite, but he was only two, so I doubt he’ll remember it.  It doesn’t matter, though.  It was a beautiful family vacation in a beautiful place and it is a memory I’ll cherish for a lifetime.  I encourage everyone to see Yosemite and create their own memories. – Jen R, Staff Writer


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