Salt & Wind Travel

10 Unique Places To Stay Yosemite National Park (2024)

A stay at Yosemite National Park is high on most California visitors’ bucket lists. And we get why: this picturesque national park is one of the best-known landmarks in California.

It’s a fantastic place, from the giant sequoias to the waterfalls and the jaw-dropping panoramas. Over time, its valley has been inhabited by the Miwok people, its trails hiked by John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, and its landscapes photographed by greats like Ansel Adams.

But a visit to this park requires some planning as millions of visitors (approximately 3.3 million) travel there yearly. Our California trip planner services can help with everything from where to eat to when to go and where to hike, but first, you’ll want to decide on the best places to stay near Yosemite.

As a travel planner and editor at Salt & Wind Travel, I’ve spent over a decade researching and writing about travel. I was born and raised in California and grew up hiking, camping, and skiing outdoors. I now live in Mammoth Lakes, which means I frequent nearby Yosemite. As a travel planner who provides custom California trip planning, I often arrange road trips for people heading to Mariposa and Yosemite National Park.

Stay Yosemite National Park
Table of Contents

10 Best Places To Stay Yosemite

Many outdoor enthusiasts camp in canvas tent cabins or sleep deep in the backcountry, but most day visitors stay at hotels in or near the park.

If you want to stay inside Yosemite National Park, you have options from cottages to reservations at a campground. The Yosemite Valley lodging options include campsites like Curry Village, cabins at Yosemite West, and hotels like The Wawona Hotel and The Ahwahnee. (with its historic dining room).

Most of our travel planning clients prefer to stay outside the park so they can explore the greater area, so we’re going to focus on those spots here:

South Entrance: Oakhurst & Fish Camp

If you book one of these hotels, we’d recommend you also participate in these various activities for food lovers in Fresno before you head to the park.

Queen’s Inn By The River

The Queen’s Inn By The River makes this list thanks to its combination of excellent service and location (just minutes from the park). Stay in the recently remodeled cabins, taste wine at their on-property winery, Idle Hour, and bask in the sun at their beer and wine garden, which serves seasonal food.

Queen’s Inn By The River, 41139 CA-41, Oakhurst, CA 93644

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

One of the best options on this list, the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, is in Fish Camp. This is just a few miles from the park’s Southern Entrance, which means it’s a short distance to the famed Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. It allows you to stay near Yosemite National Park but still has access to the town of Oakhurst. The property has historic lodge vibes but the most modern decor of the hotels listed here. It also has a load of comforts and amenities, like a spa, so you can unwind after a day of exploring.

Tenaya at Yosemite, 1122 CA-41, Fish Camp, CA 93623

Arch Rock Entrance: Midpines and Mariposa

5th Street Inn

This 9-room guest house is one of the smaller properties on our list. Stay at the family-owned 5th Street Inn to easily explore historic Mariposa.

5th Street Inn, 4994 5th St, Mariposa, CA 95338

Mariposa Hotel Inn

Step back in time at the Mariposa Hotel Inn, whose building dates back to 1901. The property includes six queen or king rooms with antique furniture and walls adorned with old town photos. Its downtown location can’t be beaten, and guests love the homemade breakfast.

Mariposa Hotel Inn, 5029 Highway 140, Mariposa, CA 95338 

Yosemite Plaisance Bed & Breakfast

The most positively reviewed property on this list, the only problem with the Yosemite Plaisance Bed & Breakfast is that it’s often booked up well in advance. The location in a residential neighborhood makes you feel like you’re a local, and the guests love the food, from the breakfast to the homemade treats they’re often given for hikes or road trips.

Yosemite Plaisance Bed & Breakfast, 4953 Trabucco Street, Mariposa, CA 95338

Autocamp Yosemite

Set between Mariposa and the park entrance in the town of Midpines is Autocamp Yosemite. You have various high-end camping options with 80 Airstream trailers, 15 luxury tents, and three cabin suites. Stay here to unplug nature while enjoying conveniences like a pool, a bar, and an artisanal marketplace.

Autocamp Yosemite, 6323 CA-140, Midpines, CA 95345

Big Oak Flat Entrance: Groveland

The Berkshire Inn

The family-run bed and breakfast The Berkshire Inn gets high marks from our travel planning clients who want to stay local. Just a couple-minute drive from the town of Groveland, you can enjoy this quiet escape in the wilderness while having the conveniences of town nearby.

The Berkshire Inn, 19950 CA-120, Groveland, CA 95321

Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite

Many a Northern California family has stories of staying at the Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite. Set between Groveland and the Big Oak Flat Entrance, this is a sprawling mountain lodge with everything you need, from food to live music. The Hetch Hetchy Park entrance is just one mile away, while the Big Oak Flat Entrance is a few minutes beyond that.

Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite, 33160 Evergreen Rd, Groveland, CA 95321

Rush Creek Lodge

The Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite is the newest lodging option and is the sister property to Evergreen. Along with the Evergreen Lodge, this is one of the largest resorts in the area and has many options for lodging, dining, and activities. Both properties also have a youth program that teaches job and life skills to underserved Bay Area youth.

Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite, 34001 CA-120, Groveland, CA 95321

Tioga Pass Entrance: June Lake & Mammoth Lakes

The closest town to this entrance is Lee Vining (adjacent to Mono Lake, FYI), but we recommend the larger village of June Lake because there are more recreation and dining options. Our pick of where to stay is the Double Eagle Resort & Spa.

Or head 20 minutes south to explore the even bigger town of Mammoth Lakes and stay at the historic Tamarack Lodge. Since the Tioga Pass entrance is not open year-round (see below), you’ll want to stay here during the warmer time of year from about June to October.

Empty road in Yosemite National Park looking at a tunnel on Big Oak Flat Road

What Are The Main Entrances To Yosemite National Park?

There are five entrances to Yosemite National Park, but four are the most frequented. Having been born and raised in California, I have visited the various entrances over the years.

But also, living in Mammoth Lakes, the easiest way to get to the Bay Area in the summer is through the park. Bottom line: I have crisscrossed the park countless times and have thoughts on everything from where to hike and grab a bite to where to stay in Yosemite. But first, let’s get into the Yosemite Park entrances:

South Entrance: Oakhurst & Fish Camp

Known as Yosemite’s South Entrance and accessed via Highway 41, this park’s southwest corner entrance is nearest to San Diego, Los Angeles, and Fresno. The village of Fish Camp is the closest town to the park entrance on this route, while the town of Oakhurst is nearby.

It takes 1 hour to drive along wooded, curving roads from Fish Camp to get to the heart of Yosemite Valley. This road includes some of Yosemite National Park’s most significant sights, like the famed Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Badger Pass Ski Area, and Glacier Point.

The nearby town of Oakhurst has the most lodging options and stores near the park. You can easily access Bass Lake or horseback in the park. The disadvantage is that Oakhurst has chain hotels and restaurants, so it’s not as charming as the other options.

Arch Rock Entrance: Midpines & Mariposa

Coined the Arch Rock Entrance and accessed via Highway 140, this entrance west of the park crosses the towns of Mariposa (pronounced “Mair-eh-pose-ah” FYI) and Midpines before following the Merced River past El Portal and into the park. This is the entrance most travelers from the Monterey Peninsula or the Bay Area use.

It takes about 1 hour from Mariposa to the Arch Rock gate, and the valley floor is a few minutes beyond that. It is also relatively less windy than the other park entrances.

El Portal and Midpines are small outposts, and the main town is Mariposa, on the southern edge of California Gold Country. Mariposa has many things to do, from dining at local restaurants and shopping boutiques to visiting Sierra Foothills wineries or museums, like the Mariposa Museum & Historical Center.

This entrance lets you dive into California history in the historic town of Mariposa and provides access to world-class hikes and rock climbing. As a company that loves to dig into local culture when traveling, we consider this the best place to stay near Yosemite on the park’s western side.

Big Oak Flat Entrance: Groveland

Another option for Bay Area visitors is to drive east on Highway 120 and enter the park via the Big Oak Flat Entrance. After leaving Modesto, this route passes the farm towns of Oakdale and Knights Ferry and crosses Woods Creek before climbing the Priest Grade to Groveland. The drive gets windy and steep (no guardrails!) on New Priest Grade Road, so we prefer to take the steeper and windier but shorter Old Priest Grade Road.

This stay near Yosemite allows you to explore the historic town of Groveland, home to the Iron Door Saloon, the oldest continuously operating saloon in California. It takes about 1 hour to get from Groveland to the Yosemite Valley Floor via the Big Oak Flat Entrance.

For your information, the least used entrance, the Hetch Hetchy Entrance, is also reached from Groveland. It is one of the park’s least visited corners and is quiet and beautiful but does not provide access to Yosemite Valley. However, these entrances are the closest to Tuolumne Sequoia Grove and Merced Grove, which are smaller but less crowded than Mariposa Grove.

Women sitting on rock in Tenaya Lake looking east to Cathedral Peak

Tioga Pass Entrance: June Lake & Mammoth Lakes

Yosemite’s east side entrance along Highway 120 is known as the Tioga Pass Entrance, the highest elevation pass in California. It climbs over 3,000 feet from the town of Lee Vining to the park along Tioga Road. This is the closest entrance to Tuolumne Meadows, Olmsted Point, Tenaya Lake, and legendary hiking, including the Pacific Crest and John Muir Trails.

Cabins and campsites are on the park’s east side, but most drive-in day visitors stay in June Lake or Mammoth Lakes (home to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area). While all the other entrances are open all year, this entrance is closed in the winter. It is open from late May to November but is weather-dependent, so check before planning a trip there.

View of Yosemite Valley floor with fog and fall foliage

Where Is Yosemite National Park?

Yosemite National Park is in eastern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the area has been inhabited for over 8,000 years. Yosemite Valley is known as Ahwahnee, named by the Ahwahneechee indigenous people.

The majority of visits center around Yosemite Village in Yosemite Valley. Here you’ll find the visitor center, the best-known waterfalls (like Vernal Falls, Yosemite Falls, and Bridalveil Falls), and legendary landmarks like El Capitan and Half Dome.

How To Get To Yosemite National Park?

The park is located east of California’s Central Valley and is a 5-hour drive from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Visitors centering their California travels around the park often fly into Fresno, the closest major airport and a 90-minute drive to Yosemite National Park.

Most day-trip visitors drive into Yosemite, but you can also take public transportation thanks to the well-organized YARTS network. If you’re driving, be sure to fill up on gas before entering the park, as there is only one station, which is expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Popular towns near Yosemite National Park for accommodations include Groveland, Mariposa, Oakhurst, Fish Camp, and June Lake. Groveland is located near the Big Oak Flat entrance and offers a historic charm. Mariposa is close to the Arch Rock entrance and provides various lodging options. Oakhurst nad Fish Camp are convenient for accessing the park via the South Entrance and has numerous services and amenities. June Lake is near the Tioga Pass entrance, making it ideal for visiting the eastern side of Yosemite, Mono Lake, and Mammoth Lakes.

The distance to Yosemite National Park can vary by town:

  • Groveland is approximately 25 miles from the Big Oak Flat entrance.
  • Mariposa is about 20 miles from the Arch Rock entrance.
  • Oakhurst is around 20 miles from the South Entrance.
  • Lee Vining is about 30 miles from the Tioga Pass entrance.

These distances make the towns convenient for day trips into Yosemite, providing a good balance between accessibility to the park and the amenities available in larger towns.

 Yes, during the peak tourist season, Yosemite area regional transit systems (YARTS) offer shuttle services from towns like Mariposa, Groveland, and Oakhurst directly into Yosemite National Park. These shuttles typically run daily with multiple departures, especially during the summer, providing a convenient and environmentally friendly way to access the park. Schedules and fees can vary, so it's advisable to check the latest information on the transit websites or local tourism boards.

 The towns near Yosemite offer various accommodations suitable for different budgets and preferences. Options include hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and campgrounds. These accommodations often provide more space and amenities than those available within the park, such as swimming pools, restaurants, and easy access to local shops and services.

California Road Trip Tips

California Road Trip Guide

Need more insight about doing a road trip in California? You’ll want to check out our complete California Road Trip Tips Travel Guide. It’s a collection of tips (and recipes) to make your Golden State exploration the best ever!

Have Us Plan Your California Trip

Did you know we’re also a boutique travel agency specializing in California vacation planning? If you’re looking to plan a trip to California, our California trip planner services are here to help you plan your perfect itinerary.

Photo Credit: Man looking at Half Dome and A tunnel heading into Yosemite By Kristen Curette & Daemaine Hines; Yosemite Valley photo by photo by Dan Newman on Unsplash; other photos by Salt & Wind Travel

Travel Planning Resources

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to our privacy policy.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


We'll help you taste Italy Mexico California Hawaii Mexico France Spain the world

We specialize in food-focused experiences in the most interesting culinary regions of the world.

We host unique small group trips to California, Italy, and Mexico from Sicily to Oaxaca.

Our tailored-to-you trip planning services help you make the most of your trip.