Yosemite, California

Last updated 10th July 2022

Why go?

Yosemite is the most famous of California’s eight national parks and rightly so; with plunging waterfalls, dramatic granite cliffs and a good location (just four hours east of San Francisco) it’s the perfect natural highlight on a west coast trip.    

Who is it good for? Adventurous families who want a holiday that’s free from modern distractions. 


Ways to connect with nature are plentiful at Yosemite. Try stargazing, freshwater swimming, hiking, biking, and pony-trekking. To really get to grips with nature, and make new friends, children should join Yosemite’s kids’ clubs. Both Little Clubs (3-6 year olds) and Junior Rangers (7-13) are designed to foster environmental awareness by teaching kids all about the black bears, coyotes and other animals who call the park home.

Don’t miss: Yosemite Falls. This cascade is the fifth highest waterfall in the world. Visit in spring to see the water sparkle with the spectacular ‘moonbow’ lunar rainbow. 

The Lowdown

How to get there: Take in the city delights of San Francisco before driving to the park. Flights from London Heathrow to San Francisco with British Airways; from £564 return. 

Travel time: A flight from London to San Francisco takes 11 hours, and the drive from the city to Yosemite is under 4 hours.

Best time to go? May-September is the hottest and busiest time at Yosemite but if you want to see the best of the waterfalls visit during spring, when the temperature is still a pleasant 21°C. 

Where to stay: Yosemite offers a spectrum of accommodation to suit all visitors. Keen campers can choose from the array of purpose-built sites; advanced booking is advised, especially in the busy summer season. If you want a campside feel, without sleeping under canvas, opt for a cabin in Curry Village, or make your stay a real treat by checking into the Ahwahnee, the luxury on-site hotel crafted from granite.