I got to Yosemite National Park at least once a year – sometimes more – and I’ve been obsessed with trying out all the Yosemite cabins and hotels so I can put together the definitive lodging guide for you guys.
Yosemite is a BIG national park and there are a plethora of places you can stay (hotels, campsites, cabins, glamping even!) If you haven’t been before, or even if you have been before, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out where to book your stay.
In this post, I go over my personal favorite places to stay near Yosemite or in the park, along with highlighting the pros and cons of each so you can book the BEST room for you and your group!
One of my favorite perks of living in San Francisco is I’m located so close to some of the best National Parks in the United States. Muir Woods is 25 minutes away, Lassen about 4 hours and Yosemite is around 3.5 hours, so I try to visit them all at least once a year.
I’ve stayed at all the park entrances and even inside the park, so I can give you the real honest tea on what hotels, cabins and campsites are actually better than others. But first, let’s help you decide if you should stay inside the valley or outside Yosemite.
Should I Stay In Yosemite Valley Or Outside The Park?
- No daily drive into the park
- No risk of morning rush-hour traffic into the park
- Can get to trails faster in the morning
- Easier to photograph Yosemite’s Instagram spots
- You get to sleep in Yosemite!!
- Limited dining options
- Lack of nightlife
- Can be crowded in the summer
- More lodging options at all budgets
- Cool local nightlife available
- Tons of dining options
- Other activities & attractions (kayaking, museums, etc)
- Risk of traffic going into the park on holiday weekends
- ~1 hour drive required to get into the valley
Where To Stay In Yosemite National Park
My favorite Yosemite lodging that's INSIDE the park boundaries! There's not a lot of lodging in Yosemite but these are the best.
Where To Stay Near Yosemite National Park (Outside)
Now onto my favorite places to stay near Yosemite - the best hotels and cabins around the park entrances that are unique and special!
Frequently Asked Questions About Hotels In Yosemite
What Are Cheap Hotels Near Yosemite National Park?
The options above range in prices from $65-300 per night, so you can find cheap yet cute and travel writer-approved options. But, when in doubt, the Yosemite View Lodge is probably the best super cheap option. It’s always under $100 a night, is in El Portal (aka really close to the Valley) and rooms overlook the Merced River.
Should I Stay In Fish Camp?
There are spots like the Wawona Hotel near Fish Camp but I personally think Fish Camp Yosemite Hotels and cabin are both too far from nightlife and too far from the valley to make it the best choice out there. The exception is Tenaya Lodge, which has multiple dining options, stores and activities and is still a close drive to Oakhurst for more nightlight. But they also provide enough of their own nightlife!
Where To Stay In Yosemite In Winter?
Winter in the park is stunning. Everything is covered in snow and it’s a true winter wonderland and a fraction of the crowd. But – everything is covered in snow, which means it takes longer to drive into the valley, you’ll probably need chains and some of the roads will be closed.
During the winter, it may make sense for your to stay at the Ahwahnee inside the park to limit the number of times you make that commute. Or, somewhere near the Mariposa or Groveland entrance. This is because Tioga Pass always closes in the winter,r ti’s it not uncommon for Wawona Road (Southern Entrance) to have limited driving hours in the winter.
Do I Need Yosemite Reservations?
Ever since 2020, you may need to make Yosemite reservations prior to entering the park, even if you have a annual pass. They seem to bring this back around in the summer months, and drop it in the fall and winter.
Check before you road trip out there and make sure to book your slot early! This is different from the Yosemite day pass / annual pass. The good news is, if you didn’t grab passes in time, you can still enter the park as long as you get in before the gates open at 9am!
I hope this guide helps you decide where to stay for Yosemite National Park! You’ll have so much fun no matter the season you go, but your Yosemite lodging does matter to help you have the best trip possible.
Did the best Yosemite hotels and cabins not make the list? Drop your favorite hotel at Yosemite reviews below in the comments so everyone can see. Got more questions? Comment below or DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll be happy to help!