Vacation Inspiration: Yosemite National Park

By Brittni • Updated on 02/14/2024

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

Last week, I spent the majority of my time hiking around Yosemite Valley and though it’s not the type of vacation that’s filled with ice cream cones and colorful walls (like this trip) it was completely amazing. I don’t talk about it much here, but growing up we would do outdoor family excursions pretty frequently. And it was really nice to be back in Yosemite for a few days to remind myself that there is more to this world than typing away on the computer.

This trip was different than any one Jeff and I had taken there before because we stayed at one of the lodges… Jeff had a conference to attend (yep, a tech related conference inside a national park), so I tagged along. And I had plenty of time to wander around on my own and take pictures, in between group activities.

But I’m getting ahead of myself because before we even made it to the park, we started taking pictures. The scenery was too good to pass up. We stopped in Copperopolis (yep, that’s a real city) to hang out in the wheat fields for a little bit. The sound of the wind going through the grass was pretty awesome. Definitely got me excited about the trip to come.

A couple hours and some very steep terrain later, and we were in Yosemite. I fell asleep in the car (like I always do), but Jeff stopped to take a picture of the sign as we came in.

Traveling to Yosemite National Park (Outside the park in Copperopolis)

Traveling to Yosemite National Park (Outside the park in Copperopolis)

We pretty much hit the ground running from the get-go. But rather than give you the play by play, I thought it would be better to give a few recommendations for things to do and see instead.

So, if you’re headed to Yosemite in the future, here are a handful of things I’d recommend. There are plenty more things, but it’s too many to list, so here’s a handful to get you started…

Glacier Point – You can see the whole valley floor from this spot and it’s seriously amazing!

Hiking along the Merced River – There are plenty of trails along the river and it’s an easy walk, which you can cross over and head to El Capitan. You can also do some rafting on the river. I think in the spring it’s only open for that kind of thing on the weekends though.

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls – This last trip we just did the lower and it was super easy and fun. There’s a trail off the beaten path, left of the bridge, where you can climb up closer to the falls. There was no one else there when we went, so it felt like a little secret spot. So fun.

Vernal Falls – We didn’t do this on this particular trip, but I’ve been twice on past trips and it is definitely worth it.

Ahwahnee Hotel – My dad recommended Jeff and I visit, but I didn’t think much of it. We ended up having some extra time, so we checked it out…If you like colorful Persian and kilim rugs along with giant fireplaces (like ten people could stand inside them fireplaces), definitely check this place out. It’s pretty pricey to stay there, so I recommend just walking in for a visit on a rainy day when you don;t want to be outdoors.

Traveling to Yosemite National Park

What to do in Yosemite National Park // Walk along the Merced River

Lower Yosemite Falls

Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

Traveling to Yosemite National Park

Things to Do in Yosemite National Park // Lower Yosemite Falls

Traveling to Yosemite National Park

Things to Do in Yosemite National Park // Upper Yosemite Falls

So that pretty much does it for this trip.

Big thanks to Poler for sending a ton of gear for our travels. I basically lived in the birch jacket (gotta have layers if you’re headed to Yosemite, the weather can be a little bit unpredictable) and got more than a few compliments on the camera cooler bag.

Complete source list, in case you’re interested: Poler Camera Cooler Bag // Poler Rolltop Pack // Madewell Chambray // Black Hi-Rise Jeans // Poler Birch Jacket // Black Hat (Similar) // Poler Huntsman Beanie // Blue Plaid Flannel (Similar)

Have you ever been to a national park? What’s your take on outdoorsy vacations like this? Do you leave feeling recharged or exhausted? Would love to hear your thoughts.

15 comments | Click here to reply

Love the photography 🙂 Would love to visit Yosemite someday 🙂


Looks like you had fantastic weather and the falls were all flowing nicely! We were there late last August and barely a trickle from Yosemite & Vernal Falls. 🙁 We usually camp on any hiking vacay but always try to treat ourselves at the end– last year’s treat was wine tasting in Napa post Yosemite.

Lesley | artsyforager

So gorgeous! I would love to go!

chelsea jacobs

Wow. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. Thank you so much for the recommendations and gorgeous photos.

Keri Blair

we used to go religiously every year when i was younger.
my uncle would wake up all the boys at like 3 am and take them hiking to a random river and make them jump in. in our family thats how you went from being a boy to a man. i miss these trips SO MUCH and i honestly crave going back SO bad and as much as i love solo trips this is one i wont do. just cause im scared to get stranded all by myself. (too many scary movies…funny i know) but i love this place. its so beautiful!
love love love it!

your pictures bring up so many memories.


I love Yosemite, go there every few years if possible.


Oh wow! I’ve never been, but have always wanted to go, to Yosemite. These pictures are dreamy. And you are the cutest little hiker. Love that side profile of you on the rocks by the river.


Such a gorgeous place! I hope I get to go there someday!



I love Yosemite. Always want to go back there!


Definitely, Mary! I’d highly recommend taking a trip out there whenever you’re able to. Such a beautiful place.


Ah! Even better than colorful walls and ice cream cones! I have never been to Yosemite, but my boyfriend Adam and I would love to go out there! These photos are so gorgeous- it was nice to look through and live through you two a bit vicariously until we can afford to go 🙂 Hope your week is starting off nicely!


Haha. Glad the boys had fun on the trip. I can definitely attest to the epic scenery.


Super pretty 🙂 I actually just finished going through all of my husbands photos from a little weekend trip he took to Yosemite with our toddler, my uncle and my stepdad while my Mom and I had a mom and daughter weekend in Napa. A few of theirs look like they could be the cover of the Hangover 4 and none of these gentlemen even drink, epic scenery obviously 😉


It definitely was, Zarrah.


Wow. The place looks amazing.

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