You can’t always get what you want — but if you try sometimes, you get what you need! That song by the Rolling Stones expresses the adventure of visiting Yosemite National Park. It’s a gorgeous place that inspires the soul with some of the nation’s tallest waterfalls and the famed Half Dome. Ansel Adams loved it and photographed in black and white images that have helped to immortalize this special place in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
Now is the travel season when millions of families from around the world seek to visit Yosemite National Park. The high season has already begun as we found out, checking hotel prices and availability inside the park and at nearby Fish Camp where the luxury Tenaya Lodge is located. The good news is that you can find rooms at the luxury places. The bad news is that they are charging around $400 per night and up during popular weekends for some of the comfortable accommodations with amenities such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Ouch!
So the way it works is to get what you need right now, rather than what you want. By staying on days that are available at your favorite hotels at lower prices, or staying outside the park in more modest hotels in Mariposa, for instance, you can afford the vacation. The other option that we prefer is to wait till mid-September. The hotel shown in the photo, Tenaya Lodge, goes from approx. $259-399/night during the summer time popular days, to a reasonable $159 and up after the peak travel season ends in early September. Prices within travelers’ budgets allow them to stay a few days extra and make it worth the trip.
While there are some affordable options during the summer, you might have to take a Queen size bed and a room with no bath at places like Wawona Lodge inside Yosemite Park. Prices for such a room range from around $148-232, depending on when you book. There is a shower, but you have to share it with others. For inside the park limited summer options, check out yosemitepark.com.