Powered by our sister site, Family Vacation Critic
Yosemite Trip Compilation Part 1Author: Judy P. (More Trip Reviews by Judy P.)
Date of Trip: January 2001
Things to do and valuable tips for the Yosemite and Wawona areas as written by Judy, aYosemite-loving "Princess*" who enjoys a relaxing vacation (i.e., no camping, heavy-duty hiking, bear hunting, or rock climbing!)
*Judy's "Princess" Tour is in no way affiliated with Princess Cruises. (Maneuvering a cruise ship along the Merced River could be extremely hazardous to your health!) This is merely promoting maximum enjoyment (and shopping and eating) for minimum effort.
Disclaimer: I have never thought about writing all this information down, so please be aware that some of it may be incorrect (gasp!). I THINK I have it down pretty well. It' all from memory (huh?).
This is a compilation of my many trips to Yosemite. You can find Part 2 Here
My favorite place to stay in Yosemite is The Redwoods. It's a small community in Wawona, just inside the south entrance of the park. There are probably 100 or so homes nestled in a wooded area--some of them are occupied year round and some of them are rented out for vacationers. They have many different styles and sizes from which to choose, with varying rates. There's lots of wildlife-- wake up in the morning and go sit on the deck and chances are you'll see deer meandering around your "yard." The Stellar blue jays and squirrels are everywhere.
One nice thing about The Redwoods is that you have a kitchen and a BBQ. I usually figure out what meals I want to have while there, then take it all up with us in an ice chest. (I drive there.) That way you don't have to pay a lot for a meal, and you can enjoy eating it out on your deck while taking in the scenery, blue sky, and fresh air. How often do you get a chance to each fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies or potato chips and dip in that kind of environment?
Check-in time at The Redwoods is 3:00 p.m. Unpack, relax, go to the small grocery/liquor/drug/souvenir store and maybe the Pioneer Center during the last few hours of daylight. Thoroughly familiarize yourselves with the deck chairs, the munchies, the bbq, the trees, and the fireplace.
If you happen to be driving from the south (Los Angeles or San Diego areas), before you even get to Yosemite, after the long, boring drive through ugliness, and after you drive through Fresno, you'll go through more boring, wide-open flat land for a while (30 minutes or so?). But then it turns beautiful. Enjoy the gorgeous landscape (depending on the time of year) of rolling (green?) hills, large rocks/boulders deposited by glaciers many moons ago, wild flowers(?), oak trees, and an occasional cow or horse. It's beautiful!
In Oakhurst (just south of Yosemite) you may want to stop to fill up your gas tank and/or grab a small bite to eat. There is only one gas station that you will see (on this particular tour route of mine) in all of Yosemite; luckily it's in Wawona. (It's a Chevron.) There used to be one in the middle of the valley, but it's gone now. When you leave Oakhurst, you'll be getting to your cabin in about 30 to 40 minutes.
If you're leaving Wawona and going into the valley for the day, take a flashlight with you. When you get back to your cabin, it will probably be very dark and getting to the cabin from your car is not always easy due to pine cones, branches, uneven ground, etc. Besides, before you leave the safety of your car, you may want to check for bears, raccoons, or Sasquatch!
In order to prevent splinters and/or spider bites while carrying firewood to your cabin (it's usually stored outside the cabin), take some heavy work gloves with you. Fires in fireplaces have been outlawed during June, July, and August. (Due to too much smoke in the air.)(Bummer!)
You may want to take a fan if you're going during the summer. Very few places in Yosemite Park are air-conditioned (including the cabins in Wawona), and it can get very hot and stuffy!
Most of the cabins will have a fan, vacuum, broom, ironing board & iron (please -- who wants to iron on vacation?!)in the hall closet, and extra blankets and pillows in the bedroom closets.
If you're going during fall, winter or spring, you may want to take some newspaper for starting the fire. The front office will give you a little fire-starter kit (one for each night) when you check in, but if it doesn't work, you're out of luck.
It may be a good idea to take some of your favorite pots & pans, kitchen/bbq utensils, spatulas, steak knives, paper plates/towels, baggies, & Tupperware. The kitchens are "fully" stocked, but one man's "fully" is another man's "what were they thinking?" There's usually an empty drawer in which to store your own stuff. Don't forget charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid if you plan to barbeque!
Make sure you take lots of film and/or memory cards and your camera. You'll need to take billions of scenery shots and gazillions of dumb shots of everyone in the cabin. (Use your camera self-timer and get in the photos too!) And for great outdoor shots, a split neutral-density filter helps a ton!
How can I put this gently? In a small cabin, a spray can of air freshener can help save lives.
Related Trip ReviewsCalifornia Trip Reviews
Send Us Your Trip Review!