Top-notch Yosemite National Park hotels to plan your visit around

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Editor’s note: Due to a surge in snowmelt from intense winter storms, Yosemite National Park will close April 28. While it is expected to reopen May 3, forecasts suggest that rising water levels on the Merced River will continue to threaten roads and infrastructure within the park, affecting access intermittently throughout spring and summer. Always check the latest conditions before traveling. 

One of America’s crown jewels, Yosemite National Park has been leaving visitors awestruck since it became a national park in 1890.

The monoliths of Half Dome and El Capitan, the ancient sequoias of Mariposa Grove, and North America’s tallest waterfall, Yosemite Falls, are just a few of this vast California park’s emblematic attractions that make it one of the country’s best national parks. What makes Yosemite so appealing (and crowded) is that its signature features are easy to access and available pretty much year-round.

Not surprisingly, with close to 3.5 million visitors per year, lodging options within the park’s boundaries come at a premium. Within easy reach of the park, there are several amenity-rich wilderness lodges, quaint bed-and-breakfasts and lavish boutique hotels that cater to multigenerational families, couples looking to disconnect, and adventure-seeking solo travelers.

From budget-friendly in-park lodges to a flashy European-style retreat, here are some of TPG’s favorite places to stay in and around Yosemite National Park.

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A cherished national landmark, The Ahwahnee has been the hotel of choice for celebrities, heads of state and royalty visiting Yosemite for generations.

Located on the southern fringes of Yosemite Valley, the location couldn’t be better, and even just a stroll across the grounds reveals the park’s hallowed attractions: Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point.

Constructed in 1929 of sugar pine logs and rough-cut granite, The Ahwahnee is a paradigm of National Park Service-rustic, or “parkitecture.” Magnificent public spaces with beamed ceilings and colossal stone fireplaces are filled with Native American artworks, Arts and Crafts furnishings and art deco influences.

While the 121 standard rooms don’t have quite the same wow factor, they are clean and spacious with classical detailing, rustic wood furnishings and spectacular views. Suites and junior suites on the upper floors have private fireplaces and/or balconies, and the presidential suite where President John F. Kennedy stayed has a king bedroom, living area and parlor with a sleeper sofa and a large balcony with views of Glacier Point.

What you are really spending up for here, though, is the stately ambiance, unbeatable location and time-honored rituals. The Ahwahnee Dining Room oozes history and charm, with emblematic stonework, iron chandeliers, Native American design motifs and floor-to-ceiling windows framing spectacular views of the valley. Dress the part (that’s required; no T-shirts or flip-flops) and dine on Yosemite’s finest cuisine. Menu favorites include Acadian spiced tiger prawns with smoked cheddar polenta, roasted tomatoes and seasonal herbs ($25), and New Zealand lamb chops with black garlic miso sauce, carrot-yuzu puree, arugula and pickled cucumber ribbons ($27).

Rates at The Ahwahnee range from $521 per night for a standard room up to $1,242 for the presidential suite. 

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Nestled amid 20 acres of woodlands, less than a mile from Yosemite’s west entrance, the 143-key Rush Creek Lodge combines rustic charm with modern conveniences and a fun-loving summer camp vibe.

Impressive amenities and round-the-clock programming are what really distinguish this property. There are zip lines for kids, a 60-foot embankment slide, bocce ball, nightly s’mores around the fire, live bands, themed parties and karaoke. By day, the fantastic pool area is the hub of the action, with a 2,400-square-foot saltwater pool and a large family-friendly hot tub. The guided recreation program includes full-day and half-day Yosemite hiking tours, horseback riding and mountain biking, among other wilderness adventures.

After a day on the trails, parents can indulge in a signature massage at the Wellness Center (80 minutes, $235) or just relax in the Aromatherapy Steam Room or Himalayan Salt Block Sauna.

Related: TPG’s favorite national parks: A month-by-month guide

Rush Creek’s rooms, suites and hillside villas all come with large decks, and most have sunset views. Standard rooms, which start at 400 square feet, are appointed with simple, natural wood furnishings and modern tiled bathrooms. Family-pleasing conveniences include air conditioning, a Keurig coffee maker, a refrigerator, hypoallergenic feather pillows, Alexa devices and Earth Therapy bath products.

Larger hillside villas are a great option for groups. Sleeping up to six people, they are configured with a separate bedroom with a king bed, a large sitting area with a queen sofa bed and a cast-iron gas fireplace.

The Restaurant at Rush Creek serves modern American fusion fare, such as king salmon with bok choy, soy glazed shiitake mushrooms and yuzu-ginger butter ($30) and bison chili mac with cavatappi, bison chili and smoked gouda ($28). Dinner and a late-night menu are also available in Rush Creek’s lively Tavern.

Rates at Rush Creek Lodge start at $340 per night.

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Located in the town of Midpines, about 40 minutes west of Yosemite National Park, AutoCamp is one of the more established glamping companies, with nine locations across the U.S. 

Offering a mix of Airstream Suites and Luxury Tents, the setup is perfect for nature lovers who enjoy boutique amenities and creature comforts — as well as those partial to midcentury modern design icons. 

Custom 31-foot Airstream Suites feature a queen bed, a kitchenette, a bathroom with walk-in shower, and a patio with a fire pit and shaded dining area. For families, Premium BaseCamp Suites combine the Airstream Suite with a deluxe canvas tent. There are also Luxury Tents and Classic Cabin Suites — compact pine cabins with a bedroom, galley-style kitchenette with a dining table, sitting area and a stylish bathroom with a walk-in shower and Ursa Major organic bath products.

The AutoCamp experience can be as social or secluded as you want it to be. There’s a clubhouse for happy hour gatherings, a seasonal, heated outdoor swimming pool, daily activities on-site (including yoga classes), live music, fireside s’mores, and wine tastings with local wineries.

Kids age 5 and up can attend the AutoCamp Yosemite Forest School, where scavenger hunts, nature art, science projects and visits from wildlife experts inspire curiosity in Yosemite’s history and landscapes.

The Kitchen serves healthy, local fare with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Campfire items and grill kits are available at the General Store for guests that prefer to light a fire and dine on their private patio beneath the stars.

Airstream Suites at AutoCamp Yosemite start at $292 per night. Classic Cabin Suites start at $519.

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Just a mile from the western entrance of Yosemite National Park, surrounded by the towering pines of Stanislaus National Forest, Evergreen Lodge (a sister resort to Rush Creek Lodge, listed above) is a classic Yosemite resort built in the 1920s.

Significantly upgraded and expanded since the early 2000s, it’s one of Yosemite’s most popular family resorts with a surfeit of amenities, including zip lines, a large saltwater swimming pool and a hot tub.

Daily programming and wellness-focused activities range from yoga, fishing and hiking to arts and crafts, basket-weaving and nightly s’mores. There are plenty of cozy indoor and outdoor spaces to retreat to, or gather with new friends and trade stories.

Across the 88 accommodations, there’s something for every type of traveler and budget. Deluxe Cabins with vaulted ceilings start at 400 square feet and are appointed with simple wooden furnishings and a few decorative nods to the surrounding landscape (plaid throws and Western-themed artworks). It’s the thoughtful touches, though, that really sets them apart — a comfy king bed, a large sitting area with queen sofa bed, a cast-iron gas fireplace, air conditioning, a spacious bathroom with walk-in shower, Wi-Fi, Alexa devices, refrigerator, and a Keurig coffee maker. For families, there are more spacious one-bedroom Cottages and Family Cabins, as well as smaller (250-square-foot) Vintage Cabins, perfect for budget travelers.

At Evergreen’s lively main restaurant, the modern American menu showcases locally sourced meat, fish and produce, and satisfies gourmands as well as less adventurous palates. Perennial favorites include braised bison short ribs ($38), crispy pork belly ($30) and pan-seared salmon ($32), as well as salads, burgers, chicken tenders and grilled cheese sandwiches.

The historic, all-wood Tavern — a local institution for nearly a century — is an atmospheric setting for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail or beer, and it packs in the crowds for live music on the weekends. 

Rates at Evergreen Lodge start at $335 per night. 

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Located 16 miles from Yosemite National Park, this intimate, elegant retreat combines haute cuisine, impeccable service and sumptuous accommodations amid the majestic landscapes of the Sierra Nevada.

Part of the Relais & Chateaux hotel collection, a luxurious Old World aesthetic runs through individually styled rooms and public spaces, which are spread over 9 acres of delightful gardens. The 10 individually styled guest rooms feature four-poster beds dressed with plush pillows and luxe linens, fireside reading nooks with desks, walls hung with tapestries, Empire-era furnishings, a smattering of antiques, and modern, marble-clad bathrooms with soaking tubs.

Hidden behind a private, gated entryway, Francophiles will swoon for the palatial two-bedroom Villa du Sureau. At 2,000 square feet, it features a grand salon with a wood-burning fireplace and a Steinway & Sons piano, two king bedrooms, a library and office, a private Roman spa, a lavish tiled bathroom with a marble tub and a separate steam shower, and a private garden.

As you’d expect of a Relais & Chateaux property, the on-site restaurant is a destination unto itself. The Elderberry House has garnered a loyal following for over 30 years, serving three- and six-course menus ($95/$155) that incorporate seasonal produce from local farms — an amuse-bouche of sea urchin and sweet pea followed by ahi tuna with sorrel, for example, and then an entree of local steelhead trout with lemon thyme nage and snap peas. 

The cozy, stone-walled Cellar bar is a great place to start the evening with a cocktail (perhaps an Elderflower Sour with gin, lemon juice, elderflower syrup and egg white, $17).

At the Spa du Sureau, you can book a range of European-inspired treatments, facials and massages or take a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool.

A major draw of this property is the complimentary perks, including a copious daily breakfast and such welcome beverages and treats as a bottle of wine and a house-baked Gugelhupf cake. There’s also nightly turndown service and daily housekeeping (not always a given these days).

Rates at Chateau du Sureau start at $395 per night. 

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A secluded, adults-only sanctuary, The Blackberry Inn Yosemite is set on 36 acres bordering Stanislaus National Forest, just 12 miles west of Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat park entrance.

With meticulous attention to detail, warm service and a peaceful ambience, it’s a great nesting place for discerning travelers looking to truly disconnect and immerse themselves in the area’s natural splendor.

Behind an egg yolk-yellow facade, wrapped with a white porch, the 10 elegant rooms and suites with vaulted ceilings start at 350 square feet and are individually designed with classical furnishings and decorative touches — solid wood furniture, refined wing armchairs, floral duvets, plush drapes and carpeting, and a smattering of antiques and landscape paintings. All rooms are appointed with luxury linens, a separate sitting area with recliners and fireplaces — suites also have deep soaking tubs. At every turn, there are beautiful views of Stanislaus National Forest and the innkeeper’s Arabian horses grazing on the property.

Beyond the refined rooms and personal service, the inn is known for its delicious homemade breakfast, served on fine china in the elegant dining room or on your private patio or porch (if you reserve a suite).

Rooms at Blackberry Inn Yosemite start at $290 per night, including breakfast. Children over 13 years are welcome and there’s a two-night minimum stay (although single nights are often available).

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This attractive lodge, just 2 miles from Yosemite National Park, is an appealing option for multigenerational families looking for a streamlined and activity-rich national park experience.

One of the largest lodges in the area, Tenaya comprises 223 guest rooms, 26 suites, 53 cottages and 50 creekside cabins extending across 75 wooded acres bordering Sierra National Forest at an elevation of over 5,000 feet. Drawing many repeat visitors, the AAA Four Diamond-rated property boasts exceptional amenities, a prime location and outstanding tours and activities for all ages.

Inviting public spaces set a homespun tone with earth-hued walls, large windows framing forest views, beamed ceilings, hardwood floors bedecked with Western-style rugs and walls decorated with landscape paintings and Native American motifs.

Premium rooms are kitted out with simple furnishings and give off cozy, mountain vibes. Extended queen and king rooms have an additional 100 square feet, a small living area with plush chairs and a sleeper sofa that’s perfect for smaller families.

Larger families or those looking for a little more luxury might want to consider spending up for a suite, which offers major upgrades in style, size, character and amenities — high ceilings, a soothing neutral color palette, hardwood floors, contemporary design-forward furnishings, a fireplace, and a swanky bathroom with soaking tub. There are also accessible rooms and adults-only suites with private patios and gardens.

For adventure seekers, biking and hiking trails lead directly from the property into Sierra National Forest. Guests can sign up for on-site and off-site activities and daily tours (additional fees apply), including gold panning, guided hikes, mountain biking, archery lessons and horseback riding. Telescopes are also available for stargazers.

There are five dining venues, including a pizzeria and Jackalope’s Bar & Grill (the main restaurant), which offers chef-driven cuisine as well as bar-food staples. The Ascent Spa has 12 treatment rooms and offers reasonably priced facials, body wraps and massages (90 minutes for $180).

Rates at Tenaya at Yosemite start at $269 per night. 

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This popular, no-frills NPS lodge frequently books up 12 months in advance, largely due to its prime location — it’s the closest property to Yosemite Falls and many of the park’s most popular hiking trails start near the lodge. It’s also considerably cheaper than nearby Ahwahnee, making it a good budget option at a time when lodging prices in and around U.S. national parks have soared.

For nature-loving families and couples that value location over luxurious amenities, it ticks a lot of boxes. There are 245 simple hotel rooms (many recently updated) across three room categories — Traditional Rooms, Bunk Rooms and Family King Rooms. All share a homely aesthetic and provide a clean and functional place to bed down at the center of the action. There is no air conditioning, Wi-Fi or TVs in any room categories.

The Mountain Room restaurant serves sustainably sourced modern American cuisine — steak and seafood, as well as vegetarian and vegan options — along with iconic views of Yosemite Falls. At the canteen-style Base Camp Eatery, you can get your caffeine fix, fuel up for the day on casual fare and head out with some packable grab-and-go items.

There is also a seasonal swimming pool on the grounds, and bike rentals to explore the area — the lodge is located just a 5-minute bike ride, or 10-to-15-minute walk, from Yosemite Village’s shopping, dining and visitors center.

Rates at Yosemite Valley Lodge start at $329 per night.

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Dating to 1856, the Victorian-style Wawona Hotel is located within Yosemite National Park’s more secluded recesses, some 45 minutes from the valley floor. Open during the winter season (December through March), it’s popular with snow-sports enthusiasts visiting nearby Badger Pass, as well as nature lovers keen to view the famed sequoias of Mariposa Grove — namely the 1,800-year-old Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree.

There are 50 standard rooms with en suite bathrooms and 54 budget-friendly rooms with shared bathrooms. While they are spare and compact and, some may say, fusty in design (floral bedding, heavy carpeting and simple furniture), with rates from $157 per night, you won’t find anywhere cheaper (apart from camping) within the park. It’s certainly a hot ticket, with rooms selling out 6 to 12 months in advance.

For active types, there’s an array of adventures close by: hiking trails, mountain biking, golf and horseback riding, as well as a seasonal outdoor pool on the property. Public spaces are a joy to return home to, with a light-filled sunroom, cozy dining room filled with period detailing, wide verandas and patios overlooking lovely gardens, and daily rituals such as live classical music and cocktails in the cozy lounge, fireside gatherings and summertime barbecues.

Rates at the Wawona Hotel start at $157 per night.

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