Our first visit to Yosemite was only for 2 nights. But boy, did we get dirty and busy and enjoy the great outdoors. If you are wondering what you can squeeze in to two days I highly recommend our four favourites:
Camping – Upper Pines
The drive through Yosemite was beautiful and one of our favourite areas was Upper Pines. We had planned to stay one night and ended up winning the campground lottery for a second night. We just had to stay. I wish we had longer. The campsite is located in a perfect spot. There is shuttle nearby to get around so you can leave the car in the campground. Otherwise there are plenty of other ways to get around including biking, hiking and walking. Everything is fairly close. Right next door at Curry Village you can even find children’s shows, shops and restaurants. What is better then camping with children? Campfires, collecting sticks or pinecones, making friends, getting grubby. The electronics go flat, the phones have no reception and all of a sudden it’s just you and your family and a whole lot of sparkling stars.
Hiking – Yosemite Falls
We have young kids and have never really been into hiking, but this was one hike everyone enjoyed. We tucked Mr 3-year-old into the carrier and began our walk to witness the beauty of Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America and apparently the 6th in the world with a total 2,425 feet (739 m) from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall. You can get close to the waterfall without climbing, or you can be adventure parents and take the kids up the rocks. My 4 year old loved stumbling over the rocks to place her feet in the cool water. The bus can take you there or you can bike or walk.
Biking – Happy Isles
What kid doesn’t like bike riding, specially when they are not doing any work. We hired bikes close to Upper Pines and took a short ride to Happy Isles. They have a nature hut there filled with hands-on edutaintment items that the kids loved, like stuffed animals, bark, pinecones and rocks. After a quick look through there we did a short hike up the path to see the splashing rapids and scenic bridges. It’s easy to cycle anywhere in Yosemite and you are often rewarded with sightings of deer and hopefully (or not hopefully) a bear.
Swimming – Swinging Beach
On our first day in Yosemite we stumbled upon this little gem and our kids had so much fun. Not only is it a great little swimming hole, but it is also filled with smooth pebbles that make awesome collections for the kids who love throwing them into the water. If features pretty scenery but be warned, not entirely comfortable to sit on, so bring a cushion or chair). There were quite a number of people hiring kayaks and pulling along the to relax and hang out. Take your picnic lunch and spend a fun time soaking up the sun, splashing in the water and gazing at nature’s eye candy.
As Australians we had never seen a National Park like this or contemplated spending more than a day at a park. This place deserves more then two days, but I hope this at least gets you started.