I couldn’t let this season fly by without a trip to the snow! We’re not avid skiers, so I figured Yosemite would have the perfect balance of snow, nature and the most stunning waterfalls this time of year! It’s a very different experience traveling with 2 little kids under 5 years old, so we needed to find activities Romeo would enjoy and that were easy enough to do with a baby. Of course, Zan and I would be going on much longer, harder hikes without the kiddos, but what we did below was really perfect for a nature trip with children and we had a lot of fun too.
We ended up staying outside the park at Tenaya Lodge, which is amazing for kids. It’s a giant lodge with an ice skating rink, activities for the littles, an indoor pool, a few restaurants, a large fireplace and fire pits around the property. And we stayed during the week, so it was very affordable. I’ve actually stayed there a few times and the summer is just as good with their two really great outdoor pools and a bar. It’s not luxury, but it’s comfortable and wonderful for kids. They also have cottages, which we found a little more quiet and private than the normal rooms in the lodge. It’s about a 15 minute drive to the entrance of the park and another 30 minutes to get to the center.
Nothing beats this view at the end of the tunnel, heading into the valley. It truly looks like a fake painting!!
If you want to stay in the park, Big Trees Lodge is incredibly charming, it’s where we took these photos. Yosemite Valley Lodge is another option and it’s right in the middle of the park and you can rent bikes from them too. We went on a 10 mile bike ride, with Romeo, when we went during the summer once. It was AMAZING! Also, the classic Awahanee, which is now called The Majestic (you can read more about that here), is truly breathtaking with access to woods, trails and bridges.
We spent one afternoon having lunch at The Majestic, then walked and explored behind the hotel for hours. This is a great place for kids to explore and play against a gorgeous backdrop! Romeo played in the creek with Zan and Monroe napped in my arms. It’s an amazing natural setting that just really renews and refreshes you!
Like I mentioned before, late winter and early spring is truly a magical time to visit Yosemite. The waterfalls are unbelievable! Bridalveil Fall was our favorite as it’s a quick walk up a paved pathway, along a gushing creek to the bottom of the fall. The water is so strong, it feels like you’re caught in a crazy wind/rainstorm!! We were drenched trying to just take a picture, but it was thrilling to see the kids standing this close to something so majestic. We also went to Lower Yosemite Falls and enjoyed the park area, since it has giant boulders to climb. The waterfall was pretty, but further away than the Bridalveil Fall and the orange construction fence kind of threw the vibe off. BUT it was still great to see.
Romeo had never been skiing before… funny fact, neither has Zan! I wanted to get him on skies before he turned 5! So I signed him up for a ski lesson at Badger Pass. It’s a small ski area located in the park and one of only 3 lift-serviced ski areas operating in a National Park. It’s really wonderful for kids or beginners. They have an area for tubing as well, which Zan and Romeo did and loved.
One thing with Yosemite, there really aren’t that many restaurants in the area. Big Trees Lodge and The Majestic have restaurants in the park for lunch and dinner. The Majestic had decent food for breakfast and Big Trees is good for dinner, but Yosemite is definitely not a foodie destination. It’s all about the nature there and nature only! The Village Store is great for groceries, sandwiches, BBQ and souvenirs. There are picnic areas in the park to pack a lunch and eat.
Thank you Zan for capturing these pretty picture for us!