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Things to do in Yosemite with Kids

Things to do in Yosemite with kids this Summer! We had a great time river rafting, hiking, going on a tour and just discovering this great National Park. Let us share with you.

Things to do in Yosemite with Kids

We just returned from a fantastic family vacation in Yosemite California! There are so many things to do in Yosemite with kids during the Summertime. It is hard to narrow it down to a short list, but I have to tell you about the things we did during the 5 days we were there! Sponsored visit. Follow our road trip blog for more ideas. (originally published 6/14, affiliate links present)

Yosemite National Park is one of the best vacation spots for kids in our opinion! It’s a way to travel for free with your family and have tons to do while you’re there.

Yosemite with kids

The first day we arrived we set up camp just outside the park. We decided to tent camp and since it was a last minute trip we unfortunately weren’t able to book a spot inside Yosemite.

You should plan a year or so ahead to get a reservation for a tent, cabin or hotel room inside the park. Remember to grab your free admission to National Parks pass before you leave too.

Here’s a link to all the things to pack for camping if you’re going that route.

easy things to do in yosemite

Is Yosemite Kid Friendly

Totally. If you haven’t taken a trip to a National Park yet as a family it is a must do. Not only will you enjoy the beauty but it will be something your kids always remember too.

  • The first thing we did once we were inside Yosemite was to go on the Valley Floor bus tour.
    • It lasted about 2 hours and took us to some of the most beautiful sites in Yosemite.
    • This is a great thing to do with kids because the bus was open and you could see everything from where you sat.
    • They let you off about every 20 minutes or so to explore each stop for a while. You can walk around a bit and go to the bathroom (necessary with kids).

We took the picture at the top of this post at one of our stops, it’s one of my favorites!

Ahwahnee Hotel

Things to do in Yosemite other than hiking

 The next day we headed over to the incredible Ahwahnee Hotel‘s dining room in Yosemite Park where we heard they had an amazing breakfast (and every other meal)!

  • We enjoyed their buffet and I ordered a plate that was in Bon Appetit’s Magazine rated A+. Their Cinnamon Apple Flapjacks were amazing!

My kids were totally entertained the whole meal by the Wikki Stix the Ahwahnee Hotel staff gave them. Such a fantastic idea and much better than traditional coloring pages. 😉

river rafting merced river

Merced River River Rafting

The best things to do in Yosemite with kids was to go river rafting down the Merced River!

  • This was the highlight of our trip for sure! 
  • It was very calm with just a handful of little dips along the way, perfect for little ones and very relaxing for Moms and Dads.
  • You are able to stop several times along the way at small beaches, taking as much time as you’d like to reach the end.
  • It’s a great idea to pack lunches to take with you, wear swim suits under your clothing so you can swim in the river
  • It took about 3 hrs. from start to finish
  • At the end a shuttle picks all of you up and takes you back to your car.

We would all highly recommend this activity while you’re there, and take your kids!

Things to do in Yosemite

Yosemite with Toddlers

We spent a lot of time exploring Yosemite, taking pictures and stopping along side the road at spots such as this one where the kids could get out and play or swim.

  • Luckily we brought our beach chairs and lunches on this day. Just sitting and enjoying the beautiful view was our day.

The kids had a blast in the water and amongst the rocks. Like I said, there are so many things to do in Yosemite in the Summertime. I hope we have you a few to consider once you’re there.

  • If you haven’t taken your kids hiking yet Yosemite is a great place to start. Here are some hiking with kids tips to get you started.
Yosemite review

FREE things to do in Yosemite

  1. Badger Pass Shuttle Bus
  2. Children’s Story Book Hour
  3. Curry Village Amphitheater Programs
  4. Wee Wild Ones Programs
  5. Fireside Storytelling
  6. Hiking of course

Easy Things to do in Yosemite

It’s one of the best National Parks for kids.

  1. Glacier Point
  2. Half Dome
  3. Tuolumne Meadows
  4. Mariposa Grove
  5. Yosemite Village

You can visit Yosemite’s Website for more activities and maps as well! Hope you have a great trip this Summer!

Here is another post of mine for hiking ideas for kids!

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Frances Maddox

Wednesday 7th of January 2015

Cindy, it is great to know you and family are enjoying life. I do not intend to go camping and never was a camper, but have visited Yosemite, I enjoy seeing you on Facebook, Love,Your 85 yr old ex-mother-in-law.

Jill Sherman

Wednesday 7th of January 2015

I love how you did this trip. We are going this summer & I will probably copy your ideas :) My husband is thinking staying outside the park might be bad because of the lines to get into the park each day. Did you find that to be a hassle?

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