5 Best Things to Do in Yosemite National Park with Kids

Like many, we had to completely cancel and rearrange our 2020 travel. Travel for our family is like oxygen… we need it to breath… we need it for our souls… so to say this was hugely disappointing is a gross understatement. After 7 months of staring at a computer screen with no vacation days — and none on the horizon— we decided to look for somewhere safe to visit.

We were looking for safety, and for nature to soothe and heal our souls. We decided to visit Yosemite National Park, stopping at Sequoia National Park on the way since they are both drivable from Los Angeles. Yosemite National Park has restricted park entry in an effort to reduce crowding to ensure people have enough space to maintain a safe distance from others. Also we needed to get out of our house and reconnect with nature.

We desperately needed to relax and soothe our souls with the sounds, smells, and beauty of Mother Nature, and fill our hearts with sunshine. Our oldest was away at college, but we were able to bring our youngest son along on this refreshing family adventure

Yosemite National Park

Wow.. just wow! There is something for everyone at this iconic national park. The splendor and magnificent views made us feel we were living in our own private Ansel Adams photograph. Each majestic gushing waterfall, and incredible scenic hiking trail made us feel tiny among nature.

And the views…. gosh the views… we were stunned! The beauty of the landscape, the trees, the hiking trails and the sunlight as it bounced off the trees – just everything about this place is breathtaking. Yosemite National Park has over 800 miles of hiking trails with options for all levels, and we were able to observe the valley and landscapes from different perspectives.

Half Dome at Yosemite with kids

5 Great Things to See (with kids) at Yosemite National Park

1. El Capitan

El Capitan also known as “El Cap”, is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley. Climbers come from around the world to challenge themselves on the 3,000-foot walls of El Capitan.

Alex Honnold made this rock famous by achieving a feat no other human has accomplished: the solo ascent of 3,000 feet in under two hours using just his hands, feet, and a bag of chalk (no ropes, pitons or other climbing equipment!) You can watch his heart-pumping climb in the 2018 National Geographic documentary “Free Solo”.

El Capitan in Yosemite National Park with kids

2. Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is one of the main attractions in Yosemite National Park, and is super easy to access, even for little kids and strollers. The falls have an upper level and lower level. They flow highest in June and typically slow down in mid-August. You can see the Falls from many places in the valley, and each view is slightly different.

Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park with kids

 

3.  Half Dome

Half Dome is one of Yosemite’s most recognizable landmarks and one of the most iconic rocks in the world thanks, in part, to Ansel Adams. Half Dome is one of the many massive granite chunks or walls around Yosemite Valley, which give the valley its unique and amazing character. The drive up the mountain is twisty, so be sure to prepare if you are prone to car sickness.

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, with a kid

This cliff face attracts climbers from around the world and can be seen throughout Yosemite.

As you observe Half Dome from many locations, you see different impressive perspectives of this massive rock!

tunnel view and inspiration point in yosemite national park
The breathtaking Tunnel View (Inspiration Point) in Yosemite National Park

4. Tunnel View at Yosemite National Park

Tunnel View (also known as Inspiration Point) is one of the most iconic views of Yosemite Valley. The spectacular Tunnel View looks eastward into Yosemite Valley, and provides a framed view of the iconic El Capitan, Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, and Cathedral Rocks, as well as Bridalveil Falls.

The Yosemite Valley is perfectly framed by a forest of pine trees and wide-open skies. Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916 at the age of 14. He later wrote in regard to his first view of Yosemite Valley: “the splendor of Yosemite burst upon us and it was glorious…One wonder after another descended upon us…There was light everywhere…A new era began for me.”

hiking with kids in yosemite national park

5.  Yosemite National Park Hiking Trails

Yosemite National Park has over 800 miles of trails with options for all levels. We took The Four Mile Trail with our single kid (which is actually 4.8 miles!) from the top of Glacier Point, down into Yosemite Valley. The trail is wide and smooth, and we were able to observe the valley and landscapes from all levels.

yosemite national park hikes - miles of trails

four mile hike in yosemite national park

For ideas on planning the ultimate trip to Yosemite, read my friend’s post here for even more great places to see.

If you’re interested in a camping trip to Yosemite National Park, you should head over to my friends blog QueenBeeLatina.com and check out her article: Memorable Camping Trip to Thousand Trails: Yosemite Lakes RV Resort and GoRVing.

What was YOUR favorite area of Yosemite National Park?

Let me know in the comments below, and join me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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