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Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

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Re: RV or hotel?

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RV or hotel?
July 07, 2009 04:02AM
Our family of 5 is flying to visit Yosemite in August. Will we be better off staying at a hotel outside the park and commuting in daily, or should we rent an RV and get one of the first-come first-served campsites? I don't mind getting there early to find a campsite, which the guidebooks seem to say is possible. But I think my family will get tired of waiting at the gate or making a long commute to get into the park. The prices don't seem tremendously different. Thanks for your help.
avatar Re: RV or hotel?
July 07, 2009 01:01PM
Before this question can be answered fairly it's necessary to know what you plan to do while at Yosemite and how long you will be visiting. There are strong pros and cons to both RV and hotel modes depending on your plans but I'm sure that in a short while you will have plenty of information and opinion.

Old Dude
avatar Re: RV or hotel?
July 07, 2009 01:56PM
Length of stay could be important. If you've got a long stay planned, it could be better to be in the park. What sites in the park you want to visit could be important.

There are a lot of tradeoffs involved in staying the park. One is bathing. There's a $5/person charge for showers at any of the publicly accessible showers, and that could add up. There's also a wait and some kids aren't comfortable with public changing areas.

Pretty much any first-come, first-served campground that could accommodate an RV would be pretty far from Yosemite Valley. Staying outside the park can be roughly comparable in distance traveled to get to locations in Yosemite Valley.

However - there is a middle ground. There are a few private communities with vacation home rentals that can be accessed from within Yosemite. Foresta is completely within the boundaries of the park. Yosemite West is just outside the border, but the only road access is from Wawona Road - maybe a half hour drive to Yosemite Valley. Yosemite West has a variety of vacation home and condo rentals. They also have full kitchens in many of the rentals.

Re: RV or hotel?
July 07, 2009 03:07PM
Assuming it's a general Yosemite visit...see the sights, take some hikes, bike around, have a picnic, etc., I'd guess that staying outside would be more enjoyable. Mariposa and Oakhurst both are 1-1.5 hours from being parked in the valley, or you can head up to Tioga Road, Glacier Point, etc. In the more crowded areas, you just have to park a normal sized car instead of a small bus. Also, the Wawona area and Mariposa grove are fairly close to Oakhurst. With the long days of summer, you can get in early if you want, and stay until you feel like heading for dinner, a shower, or a swim at the hotel. Prices and choices for food are better outside of Yosemite. Or you can maneuver around a too-big RV through crowded traffic to find a parking spot where you can all pack in to the crowded RV to cook dinner and sleep.

I suppose if you plan to cook your meals, the RV would be an option, but the Yosemite West rentals or similar places may also be an option and you're not stuck in an RV in a smoky campground, or in line hoping to get a spot in that smoky campground. Whether there are adults and kids, how many, how long the visit will be, all might affect your choice, but even considering the extra driving, in summer I'd think a place outside the park, and driving a normal-sized vehicle would just overall be easier and more pleasant.

Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: RV or hotel?
July 08, 2009 05:05PM

You did not actually say how long you would be in the area. If this is a first visit for most of the family I would proabably go with Best Western in Oakhurst or Miner's Inn in Mariposa. Many people overlook Miner's Inn in Mariposa in favor of the Best Western there but Miner's is slightly less expensive and almost always has rooms available during the week. Mariposa is a good spot outside the park if you plan to spend much time in Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and even Mariposa Grove (although that's closer to Oakhurst). The hardest part with a family staying outside the park is just getting everybody up and going in a timely fashion in the morning instead of killing half the morning getting breakfast, etc.

If you plan to go up Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows be advised TM is about 67 miles from Mariposa, much of it on 35MPH winding mountain roads. One possibility is spending a night in Lee Vining on the Nevada side of Tioga Pass. There are 3 major motels there, none of them as good as in Mariposa or Oakhurst but only about 35 miles to Toulumne Meadows.
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