5 Things to Do in Yosemite

Yosemite National Park is, in and of itself, a destination where you don’t really need an agenda other than to see the Park. Most travel guides will say two to four days should be dedicated to your visit here to see all of the magnificent features of the Park. And yes, by all means explore all the soaring highs and valley lows of this jewel in the crown of the U.S. National Park System. What else is there to do in the area? We’ve got a few ideas when you want to take a break from YNP. But, before you plan your trip, make sure you book your glamping accommodation in a cozy cabin or yurt at Thousand Trails Yosemite Lakes.

1. Hit the Small Towns #1: All around the area in this part of California, you can find many small towns that were established during the Gold Rush. One is Twain Harte – named for authors Mark Twain and Bret Harte, who happened to be favorite authors of the wife of one of the mining camp founders. Today, it is a charming mountain town with shops and eateries dotting the streets. The gourmet chef in your glamping group will enjoy browsing The Harte of the Kitchen for specialty cooking items while those looking for unique jewelry and gifts, essential oils, and crystals will enjoy Earthy Essentials. Those looking for unique Instagram shots should take note of the giant root beer mug next to the Rock of Twain Harte pub. With this as the backdrop, followers will know you’re in the “Heart of the Sierras,” as the giant mug denotes.

2. Hit the Small Towns #2: Considered one of the most picturesque historic towns in Gold Country, Angels Camp was founded in 1849 when George Angel established a mining camp here. Today it is known for its charm and the annual Jumping Frog Jubilee (held the third weekend in May to commemorate the short story that launched Mark Twain’s career – The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County). The Angels Camp Museum and Carriage House has one of the largest collections of carriages and wagons in the U.S. as well as a Mark Twain exhibit. Viator.com has a fun, and inexpensive, way to get to see the sights of the historic mining town – a self-led scavenger hunt using your iPhone as the guide (to download the map, visit viator.com/tours/California/Lets-Roams-Calaveras-County-Scavenger-Hunt-UnFROGettable-Angels-Camp/d272-104204P78).

2 Llamas

3. Love on Some Llamas: A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience can be had with a visit to Llamas of Circle Home where you can meet 31 llamas at this community and “learn all about the llama universe and their way of living.” Please note reservations are required, so go to experiencellamas.com to reserve a time for your visit. Visitors have said that the brushing, feeding, petting, and just being close to these amazing animals allowed them to realize how kind, gentle, and intelligent llamas are.

Aerial view of cabins at Thousand Trails Yosemite Lakes

4. Moaning Caverns Adventure Park: This attraction in nearby Vallecito is built around the Moaning Caverns, which were discovered by miners back in 1840, but after cave exploration, it is believed the cave existed, and was used, for thousands of years. It is named because of the moaning sound that came from it. Visitors can take the Spiral Tour down into the cavern via a 144-stair spiral staircase that has 7 ½ spiral turns while descending. Other activities here include a half-day Expedition Crawling and Spelunking Tour of the cavern, plus panning for gems and axe throwing. For more information, visit moaningcaverns.com.

Rock formation

5. Out of the Ordinary: A few not the run-of-the-mill experiences here could include Devil’s Postpile National Monument and the Coursegold Tarantula Exhibit. Devil’s Postpile, which was once part of Yosemite National Park, is an unusual rock formation considered one of the world’s finest examples of columnar basalt. Located in historic Coursegold Village is the Coursegold Tarantula Exhibit which is dedicated to teaching people about the world’s most hairy spider with plenty of creepy displays.

Cabin Interior at Thousand Trails Yosemite Lakes

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