Past visitors to Yosemite National Park have settled for a guided tour of our No. 1 spot’s magnificent halls, grand suites and well-manicured grounds. But we think it’d be a shame to pass up a chance to stay at the nation’s most recognized “Great Lodge of the West,” The Ahwahnee Hotel, and we know you’ll agree!
Sure, our No. 1 pick is a tribute to Yosemite National Park’s rich history, but there’s so much more beneath the surface of this historic California hotel. The Ahwahnee seamlessly blends some of the nation’s most distinctive architectural styles, including Art Deco and Arts and Crafts, with hints of Native American and Middle Eastern cultures. Stone fireplaces, hand-detailed wood beams and stained glass panels can be found throughout The Ahwahnee’s storied halls, but the Mary Curry Tresider Suite – with its warm color palette and cozy ambiance – is easily the hotel’s most romantic suite. The Ahwahnee Dining Room boasts a distinguished list of past guests that rivals even that of the hotel. This historic dining space has played host to some of the nation’s most memorable culinary experiences, including the Bracebridge Dinner – a four-hour pageant of carols, rituals and entertainment from the Renaissance age. But the dining room isn’t The Ahwahnee’s only event space; abundant natural light and sweeping views of Glacier Point make The Ahwahnee’s Solarium an enchanting setting for Yosemite weddings and special events!
To protect The Ahwahnee from fire, a fate of many of the Park's earlier hotels, its wood-like facade is actually concrete, poured into rough-hewn wooden forms and stained to look like redwood.
The site for The Ahwahnee, once a village of the native Miwoks, was chosen because of its exposure to the sun and stunning views of Yosemite's icons – Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point.
Related Onsite Offerings
Appointed in rich fabrics, warm woods and Native American motifs, The Ahwahnee Standard Rooms offer comfort and elegance as a counterpoint to the rugged beauty outside.
They say location is key and who are we to disagree? When it comes to locale, our No. 2 spot boasts an enticing landscape of evergreen forests, towering mountain peaks and sapphire lake waters – and that’s just the beginning! You’ll be met by Yosemite Valley’s ethereal beauty at every turn when you make the scenic trek to Tenaya Lodge.
Although Tenaya Lodge’s luxurious suites with mission furniture and cozy down bedding are all impressive, we were truly blown away by the lodge’s impressive façade – rivaled only by the sheer granite face of El Capitan in the distance. And at the risk of overdoing it, we really must give Tenaya Lodge’s incredible location another mention. Not only is this California lodge two miles from Yosemite National Park’s south entrance, it’s also set among the towering timbers of the Sierra National Forest. Imagine all the wonders you’ll uncover on a Tenaya Lodge geocaching adventure that leads you straight through Yosemite’s most stunning landscapes. This California lodge is a sun-soaked paradise in summer, but when winter’s first snow blankets Yosemite National Park in sparkling white, Tenaya Lodge’s alpine landscape transforms into a veritable winter wonderland. Horse-drawn sleigh rides over Tenaya’s grounds are practically pulled from fairytale lore, while the lodge’s cozy ambiance and whirlpool tubs provide ample snuggling opportunity.
Related Onsite Offerings
Experience the Sierra snowscape at night on a guided flashlight snowshoe walk at Tenaya Lodge.
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite owes its name to legendary Chief Tenaya of the Southern Sierra Miwok or Ahwahneechee people.
Whether you’re biking down a forest trail or hiking to a nearby meadow, Tenaya has affordable summer vacation packages that let you enjoy nature's splendor.
If a picture is really worth a thousand words, we figure a Yosemite vacation to the California lodge in our No. 3 spot is easily worth a great deal more. After all, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls does offer the closest accommodations to – and most inspiring views of – the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite Falls.
Proximity to Yosemite Falls is more than a bragging right for Yosemite Lodge at the Falls; the lodge’s idyllic location lets these breathtaking cascades serve as a postcard-perfect backdrop throughout your Yosemite vacation. And an eco-conscious redesign of subtle wood and glass designs purposefully camouflaged Yosemite Lodge at the Falls into its High Sierra surroundings, because beauty like this doesn’t need enhancing! We appreciated Yosemite Lodge at the Falls for its ability to offer all the comfort of a full-service hotel after a day of rugged adventure in Yosemite National Park. The only thing that could tempt us out of our lodge room was the Mountain Room Restaurant’s classic California cuisine. Braised lamb shank, roast cider chicken and scrumptious house-made desserts were just a few culinary favorites we sampled at this high-class California eatery.
Select rooms inside Yosemite Lodge at the Falls feature private patios or balconies to ensure that Yosemite National Park’s scenic beauty is never out of sight.
An outdoor amphitheater located in the center of Yosemite Lodge at the Falls features nightly ranger/naturalist programs, slide presentations and scenic movies during the summer.
Free shuttle bus transportation is available from Yosemite Lodge at the Falls to most Yosemite Valley facilities.
Yosemite Valley, California
CALL DIRECT: +1 (209) 372 - 9000
It’s fitting that Yosemite vacation rentals specializing in four-season accommodations should find their way into our No. 4 spot. While Yosemite Four Seasons Vacation Rentals offers you plenty of comfort, convenience and a central location inside Yosemite National Park, we really chose these California vacation rentals for offering some of the best values in town!
Yosemite Four Seasons’ chalet-style cabin - complete with a deluxe flatscreen TV, a fully-equipped kitchen and a lofted sleeping space that’s perfect for kids - comes at a surprisingly low rate. The same holds true for the treehouse-like cabin that towers above the Yosemite Valley floor and offers an elevated level of comfort and convenience on your Yosemite vacation. And the astonishing array of Yosemite Four Seasons Vacation rentals in between – including suites, apartments and private homes – are perfect for any style of California romantic, family or corporate vacation! Down comforters, down pillows and plush pillowtop mattresses ensure you and your family a peaceful night’s sleep. And that’s a good thing, because you’ll need all the energy you can muster for a full day of Yosemite National Park adventures. Mule pack rides through Yosemite’s high country are just one of so many ways to explore this beloved U.S. National Park. Don’t forget to pack a pair of blue jeans so you can saddle up in true cowboy style for this memorable experience!
Full moon snowshoe walks through Yosemite National Park are an enchanting experience. The survival of Yosemite’s plants and animals, as well as lunar folklore, is discussed along the route.
Vacation rentals from Yosemite Four Seasons are close to Badger Pass Ski Area, Inspiration Point, the Wawona Hotel and the Mariposa Grove of sequoias.
Related Onsite Offerings
Most Yosemite Four Seasons Vacation Rentals include Dish Network satellite TV, TVs with VCR or DVD players and fireplaces.
In honor of its convenient location between the California foothills and Yosemite Valley, Wawona was once called Pallahchun, meaning a good place to stop. Whether you follow in the hoof-prints of these early pioneers or blaze your own trail, we think Wawona Hotel’s famed halls merit a visit on your Yosemite vacation!
Word must have traveled fast back in the day, because it wasn’t long before a steady stream of prominent guests – including William Jennings Bryan, Lily Langtry and President Theodore Roosevelt – made their way to stay at our No. 5 spot, Wawona Hotel. Then again, with the natural wonders of Yosemite National Park only four miles from the hotel’s entrance and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias just beyond yonder hill, we’re sure you’ll find plenty of reasons to stay at this charming California hotel.
Since 1983, singer and pianist Tom Bopp has been entertaining guests with vintage songs and stories of Yosemite in the Wawona Hotel lobby.
Travel back in Yosemite's history with a visit to Wawona’s blacksmith shop, bakery, Wells Fargo bank, jail or covered bridge.
Related Onsite Offerings
Wawona Hotel features an array of onsite amenities, including a golf course, hiking trails, a stable, a swimming tank and a beautiful dining room.
Ah, romance. We don’t know if it was the charming sight of our No. 6 spot’s authentic chambermaids, the scent of fragrant elderberry bushes or just something in the air that set our hearts aflutter. But this we know for sure: Chateau du Sureau has just the ambiance required of your romantic Yosemite vacation!
Chateau du Sureau is brimming with classic European traditions; even the bill presented to you at checkout is penned by hand! If that’s not enough to convince you to book your Yosemite vacation to this enchanting California destination, perhaps the wrought-iron gates that usher you into this castle-like estate will do the trick. The postcard-perfect stone turret, shuttered windows and Parisian balconies that adorn Chateau du Sureau’s white stucco exterior certainly couldn’t hurt. And we were saving one last surprise, but we might as well tell you now: this charismatic California chateau is mere minutes from Yosemite National Park! Chateau du Sureau’s grounds offer ample strolling opportunities, including walking paths that lead to fountains, bocce ball courts and a life-sized chess game. But even this California inn pales in comparison to the endless acreage of nearby Yosemite National Park. Pack one of proprietress Erna’s picnics and set out for any number of scenic day trips. Named for Yosemite’s most notable sites, these portable meals include delicacies like wild mushrooms, imported farm cheeses and free range chicken!
Since its opening in 1991, Chateau du Sureau has earned both the Mobil Five-Star and AAA’s Five-Diamond awards.
Proprietress Erna Kubin-Clanin first opened her award-winning restaurant, Erna's Elderberry House, in 1984 and quickly realized she needed an Inn to accommodate the many out-of-town visitors.
Related Onsite Offerings
A stunning grand salon features a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and an exquisite circular Music Room with trompe l'oeil frescoes, a spiral limestone staircase and an intimate breakfast room.
Curry Village – or Camp Curry, as the locals affectionately refer to it – may be tucked away in the impressive shadow of Glacier Point, but if you ask us, nothing can overshadow these accommodations on your Yosemite vacation!
Our No. 5 spot was built by a pair of Indiana schoolteachers who always dreamt of visiting Yosemite National Park, but couldn’t afford both the park entrance fee and the lodging. Curry Village may have grown from its humble 12-tent-beginnings to the sprawling 100-plus tents and other accommodations it boasts today, but this Yosemite vacation spot still maintains its founders’ spirit of affordable and family-friendly lodging in the heart of this famed U.S. national park.
The Yosemite Mountaineering School provides group hikes and custom day hikes as well as overnight backpacking trips.
In 1899, David and Jenny Curry opened a tented camp so that visitors could enjoy the beauty of Yosemite for a modest price. They advertised "a good bed and clean napkin with every meal" for just $2 a day.
Related Onsite Offerings
Curry Village offers all-you-can-eat buffet breakfasts, an ice cream stand and even a coffee corner, all on site.
We’re not sure if it’s the crisp mountain air, vast expanses of untamed natural beauty or contemplative sequoia groves that lend Yosemite National Park such a distinctly romantic air. Or, perhaps it’s the in-room spas, fireplaces and pillowtop mattresses of our No. 8 spot. One thing’s for sure: romantic Yosemite vacations begin at Yosemite View Lodge!
English novelist Virginia Woolf once spoke highly of having a room of one’s own. While we won’t dispute her point, we think a room is so much better when it’s shared between two – especially when it’s you and your special someone shacking up in one of Yosemite View Lodge’s newly-renovated luxury suites. And speaking of literary genius, we can think of another book title that applies to this scenic California lodge. E.M. Forster may not have had Yosemite View Lodge in mind when he penned A Room with a View, but we think he’d agree that the title applies after laying eyes on the rushing waters of the Merced River outside. For those just beginning their love stories, we can’t imagine a more idyllic place to propose than surrounded by the lush beauty of Yosemite National Park. While the park’s famed Yosemite Falls Trail isn’t for the faint of heart, it does offer some of the most spectacular views of Half Dome, Sentinel Rock and the Yosemite Valley. It’s an inspiring place to drop to one knee and pop the question – just make sure you catch your breath first!
From April through August, wildflowers bloom in Yosemite National Park, providing for a five-month spring of wildflower blossoming.
Yosemite View Lodge is the closest accommodation outside the park to any of Yosemite National Park’s four entrances.
Related Onsite Offerings
Your California vacation to Yosemite View Lodge includes two outdoor pools, an indoor pool and an outdoor spa, all on site.
Not only is our No. 9 spot only eight miles from the Yosemite entrance, it also boasts some of Yosemite National Park’s most family-friendly accommodations. Pack up the car and head to Cedar Lodge for an affordable way to stay and play on your Yosemite family or group vacation!
From family reunions to corporate retreats, Cedar Lodge has every amenity you could wish for on your California vacation. This Yosemite lodge offers in-room kitchenettes for convenient snacking in between Yosemite National Park adventures, plus exclusive access to the Merced River. And Cedar Lodge’s sprawling Master Suite was practically made for your California business retreat. This private vacation home includes a spacious private patio and sparkling outdoor pool for cooling off on your Yosemite vacation! But what really won us over was Cedar Lodge’s Kid’s Bear Map. This playfully informative guide offers a kids-eye view of the lodge, a “bear” hunt on the lodge grounds and even suggested itineraries to help you make the most of your Yosemite family vacation! From free art classes at the Yosemite Art Activity Center to walking hand-in-hand with a real park ranger on a guided Yosemite tour, your kids won’t be able to get enough of Yosemite’s pint-sized fun.
Family owned and operated since 1977, the Yosemite Resorts include motel properties and vacation homes near Yosemite National Park.
From San Francisco, take I-80 East to I-580 East and follow to Hwy. 132 East. At Modesto, take Hwy. 99 South. At Merced, take Hwy. 140 East. Continue through Mariposa on CA-140 East approximately 22 miles. Cedar Lodge will be on your right.
Cedar Lodge offers several rooms types, including family rooms and California honeymoon suites.
Yosemite National Park, California
CALL DIRECT: +1 (877) 753 - 8566
Over the river and through the woods is the easiest route to our No. 10 spot, The Redwoods in Yosemite. These Yosemite vacation rentals aren’t located within walking distance to Yosemite National Park; they’re actually set in the center of this beloved U.S. national park, giving you convenient access on your California family vacation!
From rustic log cabin rentals with all the comforts of home to mountain homes surrounded by the majestic Sierra Mountain peaks, only The Redwoods puts you this close to the Yosemite National Park’s most-famed attractions. The ancient Mariposa Grove is a short walk from The Redwoods, while guided Yosemite and Beyond tours lead straight from The Redwoods office and into the untamed California wilderness. And inside select Yosemite vacation rentals, hot tubs add a touch of luxury to your Yosemite family vacation! Yosemite is best known for its magnificent waterfalls, including the largest and most famous of them all, Yosemite Falls. But you’ll stumble upon even more aquatic fun as you and the kids explore this U.S. national park’s vast acreage. Swimming holes are a frequent occurrence along the south fork of the Merced River and a perfect place to cool down after a full day of traipsing through ancient sequoia groves. You could easily spend a lifetime exploring Yosemite’s natural treasures, so we won’t be surprised if you make an annual visit to The Redwoods a new family tradition!
Fresno Yosemite International Airport in Fresno, California, is the closest airport to The Redwoods in Yosemite. During summer months, there is very limited public transit from the Fresno Airport to Yosemite.
Easy day trips from your cabin at The Redwoods in Yosemite can take you to the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway, Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, Bass Lake and the Sierra Mono Indian Museum in North Fork.
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is just a few miles from The Redwoods. During the summer months, you can ride a free shuttle from the Wawona Store.