Visiting a large national park with young children can be a daunting task, but the payoff is always worth it. Yosemite National Park is full of gorgeous mountain views, waterfall, and hikes--perfect for a relaxing vacation. To help you make the most of your breath of fresh air, I’ve compiled some important tips for taking your children to Yosemite National Park.
As with any camping trip, you want to consider the safety aspects. If you’re hiking this is especially important. What type of animals might you encounter? Bugs? How is the weather? The last thing you need is a crying, uncomfortable child in the middle of the woods! Let’s cover the basics quick.
A first aid kit is essential to ensuring a successful trip to Yosemite. Cuts, bruises, and scrapes are bound to happen out in the wilderness. Pack this without question. Nothing big, nothing fancy - but pack some sort of first aid kit.
It should also go without saying - pack sunscreen if you are making a trip in the warm months. Whether your child is able to catch a tan better than you or not, their skin still needs protecting and so does yours! I recommend SPF 30, and reapply every hour or two depending on the activities you are partaking in. If possible, try to keep in the shade between 10am and 2pm, when the UV rays are at their most critical. With how hot the summer has been so far, taking care of yourself is important. Plan for wandering children and rest stops along the hike. Hiking with a child takes longer, so you want to keep a close eye on the time.
Keep away from the wildlife and take care not to feed any unwanted visitors. Bambi might be cute to pet but doing so is illegal and you may be issued a ticket by a park ranger. Stay on your toes when accompanying children at all times, particularly around bodies of water.
Speaking of water, however, make sure you and the kids are drinking plenty of it! Dehydration can be dangerous and sometimes, deadly. Drinking the recommended amount of water will keep you focused and energized for all the adventures you will have.
Mosquito prone? Packing bug spray never hurts. For a more natural option, you can find DEET-free bug spray at most stores.
Be wary of poison ivy and other dangerous plants. Make sure you can identify them and help your children understand the negative consequences of playing with or touching unfamiliar plants.
Highly recommended for older children and teenagers who aren’t afraid of heights is a hike up Half Dome. This hike can be a little intense, but the views pay off. That being said, this hike is more suited for families that are used to hiking together. If you are, happy trails!
Mirror Lake and Lower Yosemite Fall are only a couple of stroller-friendly hiking trail options available. The crystal lake water on Mirror Lake is perfect for family photo ops. Lower Yosemite Fall provides adventure with a bit of safety mixed in. Excellent for taking small children hiking.
An easy, one-mile hike to check out is Glacier Point. Enjoy beautiful scenery without having to worry about the kids too much! Another great hike, approximately 2 miles long, is Tuolumne Meadows. With more mountainous views, the scenery is stunning. Make your way down to the Tuolumne Falls, where sparkling water comes right from the ground.
To stay cool while also fueling your crafty side, make the kids sponge necklaces! And, as mentioned, pack enough water for the whole family. Taking snacks, such as trail mix, is recommended not only for your kids, but also for you. Hiking burns energy like crazy, so staying fueled and hydrated are top priority on a hiking excursion.
Try to travel light so you don’t have to rely on your child to carry their own belongings. If you bring a light jacket, make sure it fits in your bag. Kids can easily get tired out carrying personal items and will likely ask you for help. Jackets are typically recommended for hikes with higher elevation, and varying temperatures in general.
When you need an air-conditioned break from the outdoors, Yosemite Lodge is the place to be. It boasts a food court up to snuff for even the pickiest of eaters. Child-size hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, spaghetti - you can’t go wrong! This convenient food court makes planning dinner easy on those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.
Yosemite Lodge is open all year, providing an astonishing view of the falls. For families that prefer a bed to sleep in at night over camping in a tent, Yosemite Lodge meets all the needs for your family vacation. Other popular amenities are the outdoor swimming pool and bicycle rentals. No need to travel with multiple bikes when you can use the bikes available at the lodge.
Be sure to check out more information on Yosemite National Park to make the most of your family vacation. Beautiful views and renewed peace of mind await you at this historic national park. If you want a custom trip itinerary to Yosemite, click here!