Things to Do in Yosemite with Kids

A vacation or weekend getaway doesn’t have to take you thousands of miles away from the United States to have a fun experience, some of the best vacation spots are hiding right in the U.S. Yosemite is a family-friendly destination that’s especially great for any family who would like to get away from the busy city and spend some time in nature.

photo source: Flickr via Matthew Dillion

Here are some of the best things to do in Yosemite with kids.

Is Yosemite Kid-Friendly?

Yes, Yosemite can be one of the best holiday destinations to choose from as a family – even if you have toddlers, small kids, or teens.

There are a lot of things that make the area of Yosemite a great place to go with the kids, including a lot of great kid-friendly restaurants around the area that have desserts and menu items for even the fussy ones in the family.

Yosemite has a lot to see for any nature-loving family, including the great waterfalls and hiking trails like the famous Half Dome. Most of the walking trails have shorter routes for inexperienced hikers or younger kids.

Most of the other attractions and parks in Yosemite are a lot of fun for kids, with age-appropriate activities like a famous Ice Rink and even a place to go skiing.

If you choose the list of activities right, then there are a lot of things that can keep kids busy all around Yosemite.

Best Time to Visit Yosemite with Kids

According to most of the travel guides that you will find online about Yosemite, the best time you can choose to visit the area with the kids is during the early months of the year — and again, closer to the end of the year.

May and September are some of the best recommended months to visit Yosemite with kids.

During the May and September months, there isn’t a lot of traffic around Yosemite but there are a whole lot of things to do and see.

Since these are not the busiest months in Yosemite, parents who want to find great deals on everything from food and places to stay will be happy for the budget deals going around this time of the year.

If there’s another time of the year that you might want to check out, visit the websites for your chosen attractions to check out their events at the time.    

How Many Days Do You Need in Yosemite with Kids?

One of the first questions that planning parents have about going to Yosemite is this: how much time should you prepare for in order to see everything at this great holiday destination?

If you just want to make a quick trip for a getaway and skim the surface of how great Yosemite is, stay for 2 to 3 days. It’s just enough to get used to the area and experience a little bit of what makes Yosemite an excellent place to be.

If you want to see some more of what makes the area of Yosemite great, then you should plan for a longer stay of 3 to 5 days. This allows for things like camping, hiking, and getting to see some of the great attractions in Yosemite all in the same trip.   

Unique Things to Do in Yosemite with Kids

Half Dome Hiking

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Half Dome is one of the most famous walking trails in all of Yosemite, and it’s something that you have to see with the family if you want to take the absolutely beautiful scenic route through Yosemite. Shorter trails exist for younger children and adults who just want to take it easy.

Bird Watching



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Bird watching is one of the best things you can do while you’re at Yosemite, with hundreds of unique animals to spot that you will see only in this picture-perfect part of the United States. All you need to have fun watching the birds all over Yosemite is to find some great nature identification books – and maybe, pack in some snacks.

Watch the Waterfalls

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the great natural attractions that Yosemite has become known for is the vast amount of waterfalls that can be found around this area. Watch the waterfalls with the kids, and you’ll have one unforgettable day out – and plenty of opportunity to take some pictures they’ll never forget.

Tunnel View

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

If you and the kids want even more hiking trails, then walk through Tunnel View with an accompanying guide. Shorter walks are an option if you would like to take things slow on this particular outing, but you can also take longer, more elaborate walks at the same spot.

Things to Do in Yosemite in Winter with Kids

Tenaya Lodge

photo source: Flickr via John Logue

Tenaya Lodge is a great attraction if you want to experience Yosemite with the kids, especially if you have some busy members of the family who need to wind down on vacation. Tenaya Lodge has a huge playground and ropes course, but there are also a few places to sit down and have a snack once the kids (or adults) need a break.

Badger Pass Skiing

photo source: Flickr via Ian Sutton

Yosemite isn’t just made out of walking trails, but the area is also known for its skiing alongside Badger Pass. It’s a great day out for active kids, and gear rentals as well as lessons are available on-site for families who have never been skiing as a group before.

Curry Village Ice Rink

photo source: Flickr via sk

Curry Village Ice Rink is a great place to go with the kids to get some exercise, or just to see who can out-race the kids on the ice. Lessons and gear rentals are available from the ice rink, and there are a few places where you can stop for refreshments.

Giant Sequoias

One of the most awe-inspiring attractions that anyone can get to see at Yosemite is the giant trees, which provide shelter for a lot of the nature you will get to see and hear around Yosemite. One more great photo opportunity, accompanied by a short walk.

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Where Can I Camp with the Kids in Yosemite?

Crane Flat Campground

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Crane Flat Campground is one of the first kid-friendly places to go camping once you enter Yosemite. This is one of the best budget-accommodation options anywhere in Yosemite, with a great view and on-site amenities.

Skylake Yosemite Camp


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The Skylake Yosemite Camp is a popular high-rated camping ground around Yosemite, with entertainment located just around the camp. It’s a great place to meet some of the locals, and there’s a lot to do located right around here.

Housekeeping Camp

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Housekeeping Camp is a great getaway location for kids and adults in Yosemite, with the option to choose a smaller camp or go “glamping” at one of their larger tents. Amenities are available here, and it’s a great camping feel without the idea of roughing it.

Yosemite Family Adventures

Yosemite Family Adventures has been designed to be a great family-friendly camping spot, with a lot of things to do around the area for the kids. There are different options depending on how much you would like to spend while you’re there, and it’s a stay that most kids love.

Where Can I Hike with Kids in Yosemite?

Lower Yosemite Falls

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

One of the best locations where you can go hiking as a family is the Lower Yosemite Falls hiking trail, located not too far away from the camping grounds. There are several hiking options here for families, including shorter walks that won’t be too overwhelming for anyone.

Glacier Point Loop

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Glacier Point Loop is one of the most famous destinations for hiking in all of Yosemite, with a lot of nature to experience and a whole lot to learn if you can book the trip with a guide. Shorter hikes are an option for families who don’t want to make the long walk.

Mist Trail (6 mi)


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The Mist Trail is one of the longer walking trails to be found around Yosemite, and it’s great for more experienced families who would like to take a friendly, fun hike with plenty to see. Expect about six miles, and make sure that you pack enough refreshments for the road that lies ahead.

Wawona Meadow Loop


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There’s one more worthwhile walking trail for parents and kids who make their way through Yosemite Park, and it’s called the Wawona Meadow Loop.  It’s not an advanced hike, so it’s great for families, but it can be a longer one than expected if you have small kids in the group.

Where to Stay in Yosemite with Kids

White Wolf Lodge

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

White Wolf Lodge is one of the first accommodation stops that you will encounter in Yosemite, with a lot of affordable rooms — and even tents — that will make your stay feel like you’re right at home.

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel is nothing short of amazing, and it’s a great place to stay that has affordable rates for families. Some great activities are available at the hotel, with special activity programs for smaller kids who need some entertainment.

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