Most of our friends will, at times, think we’re crazy. Taking on Yosemite National Park as a day trip from Sacramento certainly gets that response, but you know what? It’s possible!
Yes, even for you! My husband & I each have full-time jobs. Our 5 year-old is in a full-time preschool, on a t-ball team, and doing gymnastics. Along with the typical madness of all of that, we then have our sweet 2 year-old, who has a terminal illness and is medically fragile. Trust me – if we can do this, so can you.
Why We Love It: So, WHY do it in a day trip? Simple – to get there. I’ll always recommend more time there, esp. if you can get a coveted campsite and have multiple days to soak in the splendor. It really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. To keep it affordable, a day trip keeps you from the expenses of a place to stay, places to eat, and all the kid stuff that comes along with an overnight trip. Plus, with little ones who can’t do long hikes, you can get many of the highlights of the park and still feel like you explored nature.
For the Young Ones (0-10): We did every. single. stop. with our little guy in a stroller and had a full and wonderful day! Each of the following are places you can wander as slowly as the most curious toddler, but pack’em into the stroller to move on when it’s time to go. We took the kids to: Tunnel View (amazing scenic shots, right off of the road), Bridal Veil (waterfall that when the wind blows will kiss you with its mist…or drench you, depending on the wind), Yosemite Falls (lower and upper), & one of the meadows with a boardwalk along the road (I think Sentinel Meadow, but always forget the meadow names). We also always pop into the general store.
For the Big Kids (10+): In addition to loving the sites in all their grandeur, there are longer hikes you could take instead of the stops mentioned above. If you have a mixed group, there is great bouldering around Yosemite Falls, right along the trail.
Keep in Mind:
- You can save money and time by bringing in your own food. The places to eat in the valley are decent-enough food, but you’ll spend time waiting in line, etc. We always bring more water and snacks than we think we’ll need.
- For Bridal Veil, if there’s the slightest breeze, you’ll want rain gear, a jacket, and/or plenty of time to dry off after getting close to the waterfall.
- Take a day off of work and go on a weekday! Otherwise, your time will get eaten up looking for parking spaces, waiting in traffic, or you’ll need to take the shuttle.
Around the Area: For this day trip, we were straight in and straight out. Keep in mind that once you get to the park, it’s then about a 30-45 minute drive to the valley.
Difficulty Level: Beginner.