mcfam's Passport


Member since:
27 May 2010

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14, '16

Icon_pictureBeen to 822 Attractions
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Icon_star1454 First to Review
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About Me & My Family

My husband and I have 4 kids... 3 boys and then our girl. We homeschool them all and travel when possible. We just started letterboxing and are finding ourselves a little obsessed with it.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, structured, relaxed, simple, independent, spontaneous, easy_going
We Just Got Back From
Point Magu State Beach
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Camping in Kings Canyon or Yosemite
A Place We'd Love To Visit
The Redwoods in Northern California
Favorite Vacation Memory
Walking the meadows of Yosemite with my family. The quiet, the sparkling water, the rustling grasses, and a dip in the river made for an amazing day.
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Anytime throw up is involved. Especially when one kid triggers another. And when we are in the car. And when they choose to use the box that is holding all their library books and toys.
Websites I Like:

Top Family-Friendly Lodging at Yosemite

Great family-friendly lodging is not hard to find in the Yosemite area.  Many people travel to this National Park during all seasons of the year and have found fun and adventure and a great place to lay their heads.  This list includes places that are especially great for families.

Photo by: trekaroo/thelees


9006 Yosemite Lodge Dr
Yosemite National Park, California

Located in the park on the valley floor within viewing of Yosemite Falls.


9005 Ahwahnee Drive
Yosemite National Park, California

Located in the park on the valley floor within views of Half Dome and Glacier Point.

reviewed on: June 11 2010

"Visit even without being a guest"
We have enjoyed walking through the large living rooms of this beautiful hotel while in Yosemite.  You don't have to be a paying guest to enjoy it's beauty.  The large walk in fireplaces are a "must see".  

We take the shuttle bus from our campground to this hotel, walk past the gift shop and lobby and amazing dining room and then find ourselves in the large rooms that have ceilings 2 or 3 stories high.  The view of Glacier Point and Half Dome framed in the large windows is breathtaking.  

If you visit in the winter, there is a fabulous ginger bread town display with a train set.  One season, we sat by the big windows and worked jigsaw puzzles that were set out on the tables.  Peaceful!


8308 Wawona Road
Yosemite National Park, California

Located in the park near the south entrance. Approximately 30-45 minute drive to the valley floor. Hiking, pioneer village and golf course nearby.


9010 Curry Village Drive
Yosemite Valley Yosemite National Park, California


reviewed on: September 21 2016

"Not sound proof"
I'm sure we frustrated our neighboring cabins immensely as we were a cabin of moms on vacation, talking loudly til 10pm - the official quiet hours. We got a knock on our door to ask us to be quiet. I knew any neighbors with kids trying to sleep were probably quite irritated. I'm guessing this probably happens frequently with these tents with canvas walls set about 1 foot apart from each other. You can hear everything!

Go with the expectation of inexpensive lodging in the heart of beautiful Yosemite with everything to explore, and the sound and rustic accommodations won't bother you. It's truly rustic with a bear box outside for all food, and the bathrooms a good walking stretch away with having to navigate in the dark in the middle of the night - not too fun.

But we thought it was totally worth it and a fantastic place to stay in Yosemite.
So sorry to our neighbors!! We will try to be more quiet next time.

Tioga Road
Yosemite National Park, California

Located in the park in the high country about 1 hour from the valley floor. Open June-October approximately.


8038 Chilnualna Falls Road
Yosemite National Park, California

Located in the park near the south entrance near Wawona.  Approximately 30-45 minute drive to the valley floor.  Near pioneer village, hiking, and a golf course.


1122 Highway 41
Fish Camp, California

Located just south of the Yosemite entrance, this Lodge has many activities based on the season. Indoor and outdoor pool, arcade, archery, restaurants, biking, ice skating and more dependent on the season.

reviewed on: September 11 2011

"Family friendly mountain resort"
This mountain lodge is located near one of our favorite places in all of the United States: Yosemite!  Our family loved staying at this resort in the beautiful mountains with so many fun activities to keep us occupied for several days.

What we loved:
- Beautiful location in the mountains near Yosemite National Park.  
- Outdoor and indoor pool that our kids loved to swim in.
- Hikes, rock wall climbing, and archery activities for the whole family.
- A comfortable room that slept all 6 of us.
What we weren’t as keen on:
- Dining options were expensive but the food was good.
- No complimentary breakfast.
- No complimentary WiFi.
- Lots of bees at the outdoor pool.

The Tenaya Lodge is located two miles from the southern entrance to Yosemite, but it will take approximately one hour to drive to Yosemite Valley.  Because we have visited the valley many times, we decided to stay at the Lodge for our 2 night stay and just enjoy the pine trees, hike to the creek and all the other fun activities of the Lodge.

The beautiful summer weather convinced us that we had to be outdoors swimming in the large pool surrounded by pine trees and beautiful plants.  It was gorgeous!  My little kids really enjoyed swimming in the shallow 2 ½-3 foot deep half circle of the shallow end where they could just barely touch the bottom.  My older boys swam the length of the pool, which got no deeper than five feet.  A nice extra touch was the complimentary swim diapers available poolside.  (Thankfully, my kids don’t need them anymore!)  The only drawback to the outside pool was that the local bees also liked it.  We had to carefully avoid stepping on 5-10 bees as we entered or exited the pool.  They were surrounding the pool in order to drink the water that was collecting on the deck.  Because there is a nearby bee colony, they cannot be eradicated, but I was told that they only come seasonally.  If your family cannot handle bees, or you visit in the winter, the indoor pool is just as great as the outdoor pool.  It is very large with a spacious deck surrounded by comfortable lounge chairs.  Skylights and picture windows let in the beautiful mountain scenery.  My kids loved it just as much!

Many activities offered by the Tenaya Lodge could keep families busy for days without even venturing to Yosemite National Park or the nearby Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad for an historic train ride.  During our first day, the boys climbed the 25-foot rock wall, shot arrows at targets, and swam in both of the pools.  When I first saw the climbing wall, sitting out in the parking lot, I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t set among the trees or in a mountain setting, but my boys and my husband didn’t care.  My 10 year old told me repeatedly during the afternoon how much fun he had conquering the “easy section” and how he almost made it up the “moderate section.”  Our family took a one-mile hike along a nature trail down to “Big Creek” where we threw rocks in the water and waded in the cold stream.  Along our walk we saw dogwood trees, a lush meadow, and a young grove (100 years old!) of Giant Sequoias that looked relatively small, but will be incredible giants some day.  The dusty climb back up the hill to the Lodge was the hardest part of the hike, but it was still fun.  A five-mile round trip trail from the hotel goes to a waterfall along Big Creek. Mountain bikes in many sizes (down to approximately 16-inch wheels) were available to rent, with the option to take an arduous ride down to a Giant Sequoia grove approximately 12 miles away.  Some of the many other activities that are available are an arcade, a gift shop, flashlight hikes, guided nature hikes, fishing gear, and a kid’s club.  The Kid’s Adventure Club offers five hours of kid activities, a meal, outdoor play, video games, a craft room and many other activities.  It’s a great option to occupy youngsters while parents enjoy time at dinner or the brand new spa.  

After we had taken our hike down to Big Creek and breathed in as much of the delicious pine scent as we could, we figured that checking into our room would be a good decision!  Our family of six slept very comfortably on two double beds and a pull-out couch in our room.  There was plenty of extra room for a pack-n-play (not needed this time) and suitcases.  We liked using the little fridge in the bathroom for keeping our diet cokes and our leftover dinners cold.  The room had a nice flat screen TV, a couch, a desk, a coffee maker with complimentary coffee, and a porch with chairs to enjoy the mountain air.  Regular suites and deluxe suites with Jacuzzi tubs and dining areas are also available.  WiFi is available in room for $9.95 per day.

We visited in August, and I must say that I was almost jealous of winter visitors when I heard of all of the fun activities offered to guests and families when the weather turns cold.  Topping our family’s “wish list” would be to skate at the outdoor ice rink, sled down the sled run, take a ride on a horse drawn sleigh, and participate in the gingerbread house building projects in the large ballroom and conference rooms.  Many other holiday programs, crafts, and activities, such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and dinner with Santa, are offered when the snow glistens on the trees.  The 5,000-foot elevation of Tenaya Lodge promises lots of months of snow and winter activities.

Several special events occur during the summers that families will love.  The Summerdale BBQ invites visitors to the Wild West for an outdoor feast with live music, a campfire and s’mores.  Evening Ranger talks take place on Monday and Friday evenings to share stories, legends, and fun.  Check the website for details.

There are four restaurants and a deli to choose from for meals at the Tenaya Lodge.  Our family’s favorite was the Timberloft Pizzeria for it’s family-friendly atmosphere, delicious pizzas, and reasonable prices.  The Jackalopes Bar & Grill and the Sierra Restaurant offer a variety of meals and their patios are more family friendly than the quiet interior.  The average price for an entrée was $17 and a kid’s meal was $7.95, drinks included. The Sierra Restaurant provides a great looking breakfast buffet, but we saved some significant dinero by bringing bananas and granola bars from the grocery store. Embers Restaurant is the perfect place for mom and dad to enjoy an elegant dinner if your children are visiting the Kid’s Club.  The mountain town of Oakhurst is less than 30 minutes down the hill and offers many good dining options as well.

Down in the lower level of the Lodge resides the brand new spa that invites guests to relax and refresh themselves.  For this visit, I didn’t experience a treatment, but I did get to tour the facilities.  The beautiful spa is decorated in a mountain color theme and offers facials, massages, pedicures, and more to women, men, couples and groups.  What fun it would be to come with a group of moms and get pampered!  A steam room and sauna encourage relaxation at Ascent, but the Tenaya Lodge also offers a second steam room and sauna on the main level next to the arcade and indoor pool for all the guests.

During dinner at the Timberloft restaurant, we noticed that the heavy-duty paper plates we were served with were labeled “tree-free.”  We had quite an interesting discussion, trying to figure out what they were made from and it led to being able to teach our children the value of using recycled materials before other resources.  The company that runs the Tenaya Lodge (DNC) also services many National Parks with the goal of encouraging recycling and using resources efficiently through it’s “Green Path” program.  I thought it was a great way to run a resort and I was thankful that it wasn’t too heavy handed.

STROLLER TIPS:  Walking through the Lodge and along the few sidewalks is very stroller friendly.  However, if your family goes to the Summerdale BBQ, it would be helpful to know that it is down a mountain path that starts with a double flight of narrow steps.  Not stroller friendly.  The trail to Big Creek would be jogger stroller friendly and the path to the Timberloft Pizzeria is regular stroller friendly, but families will have to walk on the side of the street that leads to the Lodge.  There is no separate sidewalk.

The Tenaya Lodge is a great family-friendly destination for a getaway or for an exciting adventure.  Whether families visit in the summer or winter, they will find more activities than they could ever hope to participate in.  Great fun awaits!

This review is based on a complimentary stay at the Tenaya Lodge with archery and rock climbing included. I received no other compensation and the business owner did not request that I express a particular point of view. The opinions I write are entirely my own.


Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, California

Located between the southern park entrance and the valley floor in a small section of land that is outside the park boundaries. This is a collection of cabins and homes for rent. Approximately 20-30 minutes from the valley floor.


33160 Evergreen Road
Groveland, California

Located west of the entrance near Hetch Hetchy. Approximately 30-60 minutes to the valley floor. A collection of cottages and camping with many activities and a family feel.


40662 Highway 41
Oakhurst, California

Located south of the park entrance in the mountain town of Oakhurst. Approximately 60 minute drive to the valley floor.


6979 Hwy 140
Midpines, California

Located near Mariposa to the west of the park entrance. Approximately 60 minute drive to the valley floor.


11136 Highway 140
El Portal, California

Located to the west of Yosemite approximately 30 minutes from the valley floor. A standard hotel lodge with an indoor pool. Location and budget price make it a good deal.