Our Vacation, part 2: Yosemite National Park, CA

Yes, part 2 FINALLY! If  you missed part one of our trip, check it out on my Vacation, part 1 post! Also, beware of picture overload here… I took almost 2000 pictures and had to narrow it WAY down!

We left Solvang for Yosemite early the next morning.  Since there are no grocery stores in Yosemite-well, there’s one in Yosemite Valley, but it’s very small and very pricey-we decided to stop in Fresno at the Costco there to get our food to bring in to the house we were staying in at Yosmite. We had lunch there and then headed to Yosemite.

Once we hit the front entrance where we paid the entry fee/park fee for the week, we thought it would be a quick drive to the house we were staying in. HA!  It’s a good thing we got out to stretch and use the bathrooms.

Yosemite is huge with tons to see. I was following the page of directions I was given, and it felt like we kept driving and driving and driving.  The drive is gorgeous though, and we stopped off at a few places to check out the sights before we went on our way.  First we stopped at Bridalveil Falls. WOW.  You can hike up the path and get very close to the falls to get an up close view… And yes, you get wet from the spray, and it’s cold!


After driving all the way down into Yosemite Valley, then on our way out the other side, we realized we had the wrong directions. We finally got the right ones and backtracked an hour (yes, an HOUR) to the place we were staying.

I don’t want to waste time in this post talking about the place we stayed and how bad it was, so I’ll just say it was a vacation rental that was not clean and the management was clueless.  Please read reviews of places before you pay the money to stay at them. Just because a place looks good in their website photos doesn’t mean it is.

OK, enough of that.  One thing that was great about the house we stayed in was that it was surrounded by wildlife.  The kids found fuzzy caterpillars to make their ‘pets’, and we had tons of deer that were mere yards away every evening in their search for food.  These pictures don’t show just how close they were. Gary said he was within 6 feet of one when he and Logan got close to them.

My aunt rented 2 homes down the drive from each other for our large extended family to stay in.  Their house was much better than ours, so we walked down and enjoyed dinner and family time with them there every night.


There was so much to see and do in Yosemite.  While we didn’t get to do everything we wanted, we were still thrilled with all we got to do and stayed very busy.

We went to the village and walked through the museum and shops there, then had a picnic lunch.

We went up to Glacier Point (what a view!), then did the 4+ mile hike down to the valley floor.


We had lunch at Swinging Bridge and saw Yosemite Falls…

Went to see the giant Sequoias and visited the mules that do the rides.


Of course there was a ton of driving with tons of stops at viewpoints to take photos of other falls and sights.  It was breathtaking!

We enjoyed sunsets…

…and made many amazing memories as a family!

We really wanted to raft, go horseback riding, do more of the hikes and climb Half Dome. However, these are things that can’t really be done with smaller children.  Half Dome actually wasn’t open to climbers for another few weeks (it’s still quite cold and many of the higher elevations of Yosemite still had snow when we were there).  Some day we want to go back and do all of these things!


  1. Looks like a fab trip. Sorry the rental wasn't clean. I second, read reviews first. Many memories as a family for sure!

  2. I've always wanted to go there!! I'm sorry your rental was gross but at least it looks like you had a lot of fun & didn't spend TOO much time in the rental!! 🙂

  3. How neat to stay at Yosemite and see such wonderful sites! It's awesome that you got to do so much with your family too!

  4. Naomi Shapiro says:

    That looks like an amazing trip, even with an iffy rental situation. I've never been there but would love to take the family someday!

  5. So sorry to hear about the rental. Looks like a fun time!

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