So do we mean five things to do in the magnificent national park itself, or the surrounding area outside Yosemite? Actually, a little bit of both. We’ve highlighted some great stuff not to be missed inside the park and some other pretty cool stuff not to be missed around the area.
Speaking of cool, are you aware of how cool the glamping accommodations are at Yosemite Lakes, which is pretty much up the block from Yosemite National Park (about 5 minutes from the entrance)? Glamping accommodations at this great location in Groveland can include cabins, cottages, and yurts. Choose whichever suits your glamping needs best and get ready to explore this beautiful area of California.
- Yosemite National Park: Of course, there are the must-sees like Half Dome, El Capitan, and the waterfalls (there are more than 25), but there are also some lesser known, but just as amazing, things to see and do here. Consider a visit to the Yosemite Museum, the first of its kind built inside a National Park. The museum showcases the cultural heritage of the Ahwahnechee people. Cooks Meadow is a great way to see the beauty of the park and the neat thing is that the trail is very friendly for wheelchairs, strollers, and the less-seasoned hiker. Cooks Meadow has a 2-mile loop trail and the average time to complete it is under 40 minutes. The Ansel Adams Gallery is another place not to miss – his stunning photos of the park are world-famous. In addition to works of Adam’s, the gallery also has books, handicrafts, and Native American jewelry.
- Wine Roads and Trails: Visit yosemitesierrawineroad.com to download a map of boutique wineries to visit on this route that traverses the backroads of Yosemite. Another option is to travel the Madera Wine Trail, located in one of California’s most famous growing regions – check out themaderawinetrail.com for a downloadable map.
- Visit Jamestown: Jamestown is an old mining town about 30 minutes from Yosemite Lakes and the spot where gold was first discovered in Tuolumne County in the 1848 by James Woods. The town became known as the Gateway to the Mother Lode. There are several antique shops and eateries, plus you can pan for gold here (gold-panning-california.com).
- Ride the Steam Train: A ride on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a great way to see the Sierra National Forest. Climb aboard and have a seat in the open-air cars and enjoy the scenery. Several options for rides are available, including the Moonlight Special that includes dinner and entertainment. During the summer months, the train hosts the Yosemite Jazz Trail, which features a steam train ride ending with “unplugged” performances by various jazz artists every Saturday. For information visit ymsprr.com.
- If you’re planning a November trip to the area, check out the Pomegranate, Fruit, and Nut Festival that of course showcases, pomegranates, fruits, and nuts (this is an annual event each November so you can plan ahead, too). This year’s event is set for Saturday, November 5, and promises cooking demonstrations, educational seminars, and fun facts about the pomegranate (pomegranatefestival.com). Make note that Yosemite also hosts holiday dinners and events within the Park through the holiday season that include a Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas Day brunch, and a New Year’s Eve celebration.
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- Find your next glamping destination at PetiteRetreats.com.