Camping at Yosemite National Park

In the last year or so, our family has entered into a new stage with our kids. One where traveling has become easier and vacations more fun. For the 3rd summer in a row we’ve packed our car to the brim and set out on a road trip to visit national parks and adventure as a family. This year, we chose camping at Yosemite National Park! The kids had a blast and we enjoyed a full week of uninterrupted and unplugged family time.

Image of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park

Camping at Yosemite National Park

My husband grew up camping at Yosemite every summer with his dad and sister. Some of his favorite childhood memories are from those trips, so naturally, he couldn’t wait to re-create some moments with his own kids. Over the years he has collected camping gear and mastered the art of packing the back of his truck in a configuration that resembles a game of Tetris.

Image depicting kids camping at Yosemite National Park

Despite the fact that we are in a drought, the waterfalls were still flowing. We hiked to the base of Yosemite Falls and Vernal Falls-2 of my favorite spots in Yosemite.

Image of Vernal Falls at Yosemite National Park

Slowing Down

Something I absolutely love about camping as a family, is that it forces us to slow down and be present. These are two things I highly value are really hard for me to do! I actually turned my phone completely OFF for the week and it was so incredibly freeing. We played lots of card games, swam, biked, read, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Image depicting kids in the river at Yosemite National Park

One of my greatest prayers as a mom, is that my kids would grow in their friendship with each other, and remain friends for their entire life. I truly hope we are all sitting around the dinner table in 20 years from now, laughing, telling stories, and doing life together. These road trips give my kids the opportunity to have uninterrupted time to play with each other and develop their relationships. Don’t get me wrong–this takes a LOT of effort on my and my husband’s part. I never knew how hard it would be to teach my kids how to be friends, but I know it will be worth it!

Image of kids at the top of Vernal Falls

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here….I wasn’t much of a camper when we got married. 2 nights sounded excruciatingly long and the idea of sleeping on the ground and not showering for days on end was not something I looked forward to. However, I have truly grown to (mostly) enjoy these camping trips, especially since my kids and husband love them so much.

Image of El Capitan at Yosemite National Park

Oh yea, I was there too. 🙂 *Photos taken by my 11 year old who has gotten quite good at shooting in manual mode!

Have you visited Yosemite National Park before?? Reservations are not easy to get, but so worth it once you do!

Here are some tips for getting a reservation

  1. Check the website for booking dates. *Note-you have to book 6 months in advance!
  2. Set an alarm on your calendar for the day before booking begins.
  3. Create an account on
  4. The morning booking begins, set your alarm EARLY, login to your account & choose the spot you would like to reserve (we like Lower Pines).
  5. Pull up the most accurate clock online.
  6. At EXACTLY 7am, click “reserve”.
  7. *Bonus*-have 2 or more people doing this at the same time.
Yosemite National Park valley floor

Good luck!
XO, Desiree

Desiree Jacobs Photography is based in San Diego, CA