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Visiting Yosemite National Park in Your RV

Sam Leash-profile-image
Sam Leash
March 13, 2020

TL;DR: Explore the majesty of Yosemite National Park with RV camping tips: book early, consider FCFS campgrounds, stock up on essentials, visit off-season, start days early, plan hikes, enjoy unique activities, and relax amidst natural beauty.

Visiting Yosemite National Park in Your RV

Yosemite National Park is truly one of the most magnificent places in America. From glacially-carved cliffsides to sparkling waterfalls, vast meadows, glistening lakes, and towering, vertical rock faces, Yosemite is truly a sight to behold. For centuries, people from all over have flocked to this area to explore this national treasure. Today, Yosemite receives nearly four million guests per year, and many of these visitors come via RV.

With nine campgrounds to choose from and a variety of other amenities, Yosemite is a great place for a vacation any time of year. However, there is some careful planning that must go into taking an RV camping trip to Yosemite. Follow along for the best tips and ideas for planning your next trip to Yosemite National Park. Copy of blog images misc (24).png

1. Book Yosemite Valley campgrounds way ahead/check for cancellations

Many Yosemite National Park campsites are available by reservation, and those who plan to visit the park should take advantage of the reservable campsites, especially if they plan to camp in the valley. The three campgrounds in Yosemite Valley see the most traffic out of all the park campgrounds, and many of them are booked up to six months in advance. If you want to camp in the valley, try to book your campsites as soon as your travel dates are set. If the campgrounds are already fully booked, keep an eye on the site, as there may be a cancellation to snag.

2. Try FCFS campgrounds if you didn’t get early reservations

If you don’t have reservations to camp in the valley, there are still six other campgrounds to choose from! Of these campgrounds, five are first come, first-served, so planning for exact dates is not required. If you plan to stay in a first come, first-served campground, be sure to arrive early in the day to snag a campsite before they fill up. Especially if you require hookups such as water, sewer, or 30 amp service for your RV. And if those don't work you can always look for glamping options near Yosemite National Park. 

3. Pack plenty of groceries and get gas before you arrive

Although there are a few towns in proximity to Yosemite, most are still over an hour from Yosemite Valley. Plan to stock up on groceries and fill your gas tank before you enter the park to avoid driving far distances for necessary supplies. This will allow you to make the most of your time spent in the park. wp-content-uploads-2020-03-rv-view-1024x768.jpg

4. Visit in the spring, fall, or winter for fewer crowds

Yosemite’s busiest seasons are spring and summer, when the weather is nice and warm. However, fall and winter offer opportunities to see the park in its less popular season. The golden leaves of the trees in autumn and the fresh falling snow of the winter make this park truly spectacular, even in its off-seasons. If you want to enjoy the park with fewer roads, plan to visit in the off-season. Be sure to take note of winter closures if you are visiting in the winter.

5. Get an early start

Even if you visit the park in the busier seasons, getting an early start to your day will help you to avoid heavy crowds. Sunrise is a great time for hiking, as it offers dramatic lighting and increases your chances of seeing wildlife. Even in the quiet seasons, there is nothing like starting your day with a beautiful sunrise adventure.

6. Plan your hikes and drives ahead of time

In Yosemite, there is so much to do and see. Planning out your days in Yosemite will help you to make the most of your time there. Park visitors centers can offer suggestions for hikes and daily activities, and there are also many online resources listing all the incredible activities available for park visitors. Plan out your itinerary ahead of time to allow yourself to enjoy more on your Yosemite vacation.

7. Try less popular activities

If you want to avoid park crowds and try new activities, there are many other things to do in Yosemite besides hiking. Biking, birdwatching, photography, fishing, scenic driving, boating, swimming, and picnicking are all popular park activities that can be enjoyed in Yosemite. Consult the Yosemite National Park website for a full list of things to do and where to do them.

8. Relax and enjoy Yosemite

National parks offer an ideal place to relax and recharge in the beauty of nature. While there are many activities that visitors can enjoy, there are also many opportunities for relaxation in nature, surrounded by beauty. Be sure to take opportunities to both explore and relax whenever you visit this beautiful park.Yosemite is a truly magical place that keeps visitors returning year after year to see its beauty and experience its magnificence. It is a place that cannot be truly described with words and must be experienced for one’s own self. For a vacation you are sure to never forget and memories that will last a lifetime, plan an RV vacation to Yosemite National Park.

Want to explore more California National Parks? Check out our blog post on Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks!

About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 8000 small businesses across North America with no camping fees. Boondock at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and other one-of-a-kind destinations throughout North America, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that a safe place to stay is always nearby!
Sam Leash-profile-image
Sam Leash
Sam is a seasoned traveler and RVer of 4+ years. She loves adventures of all kinds and spends as much time on the road as she can. When not exploring in her RV or writing about her travels, you can find her reading a good book, cooking a delicious meal, caring for her plants, or hiking with her dogs.