Highlights Along the Way
Family Travel, Treats, Tips, & Traditions

10 photos that will make you want to visit Yosemite right now. FREE Entry dates here!

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Yosemite National Park is a perfect family vacation for those who love to explore nature.  Check out these beautiful photos and start planning your next road trip. Whether your camp or stay at a hotel, a trip to Yosemite is one for the memory books.  Here is a complete list of free entry dates to national parks including Yosemite!


Yosemite National Park is a treasure.  We recently enjoyed our first family trip to Yosemite, and I am not exaggerating when I say our hearts are forever changed. We of course have seen photos of Yosemite, but nothing quite captures standing in the majesty that is Yosemite National Park. Because of extraordinary snowfall this past winter, Yosemite is even more beautiful.  Years of drought had made for a little less green and modest waterfalls.  As the snow melts and rain is in abundance the green is coming back and waterfalls are more full than ever.

yosemite photos

We did notice that the forest was peppered with reddish orange trees. Sadly, because of the drought many trees in Yosemite succumbed to Bark Beetles. Crews are currently in Yosemite National Forest working at removing trees that cannot be saved. With the infested trees being removed and recent rain making healthy trees healthier, it appears things are getting better.  Seeing the tree loss in Yosemite made us extra thankful for the drought relief in California.

bride veil falls

The tunnel that leads into the Yosemite Valley is mile long.  A mile long tunnel through a mountain.  I hold my breath a little even when going under just a regular bridge, so tunnels through mountains are not my jam. That being said, my favorite moment of our whole trip was hearing the kids squeal when they came out the other side.

tunnel to yosemite

This is the view on the other side of the mountain.  It was stunning!

Yosemite Valley

Our hotel was nearly an hour from the Valley, and it was  just as gorgeous!

trees blue skiesThis is a photograph from our balcony.  No editing. Nothing. Just blue skies, puffy clouds, gigantic pine trees, and even a little snow topped mountain in the background.

When I was growing up my family never went to church. There was a little church on a hill not too far from our home that my mom would always point out when we would drive by it. “If I was ever going to go to church, I would want to go to that one.  It is just so cute and I bet it is nice.” she would say. Every time I see a quaint church I remember those comments.  There is something oddly comforting about a small, old timey church, even though I have never really spent much time inside one.  This one is nestled in the middle of the majestic of Yosemite Valley.  All Creation sings His name… like, whoa.

Yosemite churchThis beautiful little church just sits in the middle of the Yosemite Valley.  I absolutely love my giant church in the middle of the suburbs, but something tells me this tiny burgundy church with marigold trim would do wonders for the soul.

On a scale of one to ten, how weird is it that I am now obsessed with Dogwood trees.  They are so delicate and pretty!  They are everywhere in Yosemite.

dogwood Legit obsessed.

Sit down for this friends…..

pink dogwoodThere is a pink one.  *nerd sigh*

Our little hippies were really in their element, but this was a new one for them…..

yosemite tree hugger“Hugging a tree is crazy mom!” the kid “Yeah, but it is cute, do it!” Me

tree yosemiteWe aren’t exactly sure what happened here, but this tree was cool.

Just. So. Beautiful.

half dome yosemite

I may have mentioned this before, but the waterfalls are insane!

huge yosemite waterfalls

You are obviously gonna need to get to Yosemite, if only to take a picture of yourself drinking a waterfall….

drink a waterfall in yosemite I cannot tell you how many takes we had of this photograph because he would not stop laughing.

If you are going with kids, buy them some cheap binoculars.

child in yosemiteI will never tire of watching my kids discover the world. I don’t remember being this into nature as a kid, but I love seeing my kids study the world around them.

While it is not the Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite has many Sequoia trees too.  If you haven’t seen a Sequoia in person, you should probably get to Yosemite.

giant sequoia treesYes, my son’s shirt says “Are you Yeti to Party?” and has a picture of a Yeti on it.  Hilarious…. and super appropriate.

But seriously you guys, get to Yosemite.

yosemite valley

Our kids have spent many weekends at the San Diego Zoo, but they were awestruck seeing a deer in it’s natural habitat.

deer yosemite

Such a perfect place for a family trip!

family in yosemite

So maybe I shared more than 10 photos, and honestly, I am holding back!  We had nearly 1,000 photos from our trip!

Yosemite riverYosemite National Park, we will be back again soon! That is certain!

A special thanks to our middle kid who was kind enough to sponsor or trip into Yosemite National Park.  Did you know 4th graders get into National Parks for FREE?! At least for now they do, and we all got in for free too!

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every kid in a park

We planned a trip to Yosemite because we have a fourth grader in our family.  Right now fourth graders get into National Parks for FREE!  Yosemite National Park is typically a very inexpensive place to visit. Thirty dollars buys a week long pass for a car to visit.  Because our fourth grader was in the car we got in for free! We plan on visiting a few other National Parks before the Every Kid in a Park campaign comes to an end.  Don’t miss this awesome opportunity to see our beautiful country! Grab more information about Every Kid in a Park and download your pass today!

Until Next Time ~ Kate
Categories:  Travel
  1. Great post Kate! Your pictures are fabulous and your description really makes me want to visit! We are fortunate to have such a treasure in California.

  2. Cory says:

    Beautiful pictures! We go to Hume Lake every year, but only 3 years til 4th grade, maybe we’ll wait til then! 🙂

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