The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Yosemite with Kids

A family trip to Yosemite National Park is the quintessential American summer holiday. Exploring Yosemite with kids while camping (or glamping as it is for us!), splashing through rivers, and spying out some of the best natural scenes in the US is one of the best trips you can do with your family.

If you are planning a visit to California’s most iconic park, we have laid out all you need to know in order to have the best trip ever in Yosemite with kids. Below are our top picks for things to do in Yosemite National Park with kids as well as options on where to stay and eat. Trust me, seeing this national treasure through your little one’s eyes is a truly magical experience that you will not want to miss.

There is so much to do in Yosemite Valley and the greater Yosemite park that you would need more than a week to really explore the different areas. We spent 4 days in Yosemite Valley and were able to just about see all the major attractions, but had many more items on our to do list. We didn’t even venture out to the other areas of Yosemite, like the Hetch Hetchy area which we hear is also breathtaking. Without further ado, here are 11 magical things to do in Yosemite with kids. Note, they are also magical without kids too!

While Yosemite is most known for Half Dome and El Capitan, the park is filled with beautiful waterfalls that are worth exploring during your visit. Even during the height of the California drought the waterfalls all continued to have a decent amount of water flowing, so I can only imagine how spectacular they are with more rain and snow melt flowing down.

If you plan to visit this waterfall, I highly recommend doing it on your way INTO the park as you arrive. It is on the way to Curry Village/Yosemite Village from the south entrance and is a quick stop off. The hike is short and easy up to the base of the falls. Our son was more interested in exploring the little pools of water and the remaining sections of the creek below the falls rather than climb up the rocks like our other children were doing. There are a multitude of places to wander around near here and begin exploring Yosemite. Note: This is not on the shuttle bus route, so you must drive here.

One of the easiest walks in the park is here at Lower Yosemite Falls. The paved path offers a flat walk from the shuttle stop. For the adventurous, climb up the rocks to get a closer view of the falls and a glistening pool of water at the top. While walking to the Lower Falls you will get a glimpse of the Upper Falls, however note that you cannot see the Upper Falls from the end of the trail.

Depending on how much you have already done or are planning for the day, you can continue hiking to the top of Lower Falls which is 2 miles in/out.