Yosemite National Park
Tips Yosemite with Kids
Sunscreen and hats - Days in Yosemite are usually sunny and can get hot in summer, so it's easy to get a sunburn, especially while rafting. Slather on the sunscreen on the kids and wear hats or baseball caps.
Drinking water - Even on a short hike, bring water and plenty of liquids with you. In the dry, warm air in Yosemite, it's easy to get dehydrated. The streams and rivers in Yosemite look pristine, but don't drink the water.
Tip: Rather than buying bottled water, fill up your water bottles at the free "hydration station" in Degnan's Deli (water is delicious).
Pack a picnic lunch - When you go out to hike the Mist Trail, bring a real lunch. Don't start hiking with a bag of chips and bottle of soda for a family of four. Kids need energy to steam up the trail, so bring everyone's favorites. If you need to shop for picnic supplies, in Yosemite Valley, Degnan's and the Village Store are well stocked.
Footwear - Once you start up the trail in Yosemite, you won't want to turn back soon - there's another gorgeous view at every turn. Make sure everyone has comfortable shoes. Closed toes are best. Flip flops and plastic sandals are okay on paved paths, but not on dirt trails.
Mosquito repellent - In early summer the meadows are wet and the mosquitoes can be annoying. Mosquitoes also come out at twilight, so a good mosquito repellent is a "must have."
Changeable weather - Yosemite Valley, at 4,000 ft (1,200 m )has a very different climate from Tuolumne Meadows at 8,000+ ft. In summer, the Valley is hot during the day (shorts and T-shirt) weather, but cools down at night. At Tuolumne Meadows, days can be warm, but nights can have below freezing temperatures in summer. Even on sunny days, clouds may come in and it can rain. Check weather reports in advance, and bring clothing layers (including warm clothes if you're going to camp or stay in Tuolumne).
Don't feed the animals - The gray squirrels know they're cute, and will even pose for you, but don't feed them. At lunch time, chubby marmots (they look like furry slippers) will magically appear from the shade in the rocks, but don't share your lunch. Chips and snacks are bad for many of the animals here - feed them people food and they can end up dead.
Bears - The bears in Yosemite are wild, but are conditioned to people. If you leave food in a cooler or in your car, the bears figure you brought it for them. Don't leave any food in your car (even if you're just day hiking). There are bear-proof storage lockers (big enough for ice coolers) at parking lots throughout Yosemite - be sure to use them.
Don't get close to bears for a photo! A bear about the raid the food truck or a mother bear that thinks her cub is threatened is a dangerous animal. A better memento is to buy a Yosemite bear cookie or one of the adorable stuffed "black" bears at the Happy Isles Nature Center - the profits go to buy bear canisters.