7 Things to Do Near Yosemite National Park in 2023

February 20, 2023
Food & Drink
jason wolfe
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Here’s A List of All Kinds of Fun Activities You Can Find Near Yosemite National Park!

Good morning, good day, or good evening and welcome to my article on great things you can do around Yosemite National Park. I’ll be sure to include some of the best things you can do in the park itself, as well as have plenty of other options in the surrounding area. I’ll link you to their website where I can, and I’ll also be sure to find a customer review so you can see what other people have had to say about it. And I’ll give you a link anytime you can get a convenient digital GiftYa gift card to one of these great things to do around Yosemite National Park.

If you haven’t used GiftYas before I can tell you that they can really be a lifesaver when it comes to planning a trip or vacation. Since you can get the digital gift card instantly, you can really make budgeting your trip a lot easier. Instead of setting the money aside and trying not to spend it, you can just have it spent in advance by putting it on a gift card. And the great thing about the digital format means you never have to worry about forgetting to pack the card while you are in the hustle and bustle of packing for your vacation.

But that’s enough about how convenient GiftYas are for planning vacations, let’s get to that list of amazing things near Yosemite National Park that brought you here in the first place!

1 - Yosemite Valley

The Most Popular Location In All of Yosemite National Park

Highway 41, Highway 140, Highway 120 W  | yosemite.com/yosemite-valley

Yosemite Valley only technically makes up one percent of the total landmass that makes up Yosemite National Park, but it is so beautiful and serene that it ends up being where the majority of people end up spending huge parts of their journey. There are tons of iconic views and attractions that you can experience right in this one part of the park.

In fact there are plenty of great locations you can check out like the Yosemite Lodge, Yosemite Village, and The Ahwahnee if you are hoping to get some shopping done or hoping to grab a great meal. But besides the great local businesses, there are also plenty of absolutely breathtaking natural features you can experience right in Yosemite Valley!

Tunnel View

One of the Most Famous Scenic Viewpoints in Yosemite National Park

Highway 41, Highway 140, Highway 120 W | Yosemite Valley | yosemite.com/tunnel-view

Tunnel View is such an iconic viewpoint in Yosemite that it helped make photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams famous! But you don’t need to be a world class photographer to enjoy the views from Tunnel View. And one of the nicest things about Tunnel View is that it does not require any long hikes through rough terrain. You can find it just past the Wawona Tunnel on State Highway 41. You can simply find a parking spot (if there is one) and just take a brief walk over to the view. Now obviously as one of the park’s most iconic views you can expect it to get incredibly busy especially during the summer season.

From this vista alone you can see El Captain, Bridalveil Fall, and even the famous Half Dome!

“Lots of well-known landmarks are visible here, including, from left to right, El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, Sentinel Rock, Cathedral Rocks, and Bridalveil Fall. There's ample parking available as well. I'd highly recommend making a quick stop here just to soak in the wonderful views” - Yelp Review

Half Dome

The Most Recognizable Landmark In All of Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Valley | Yosemite National Park  | yosemite.com/what-to-do/half-dome

Half Dome may be one of the most recognizable landmarks in the entire national park, but it really is something you have to see in person. The face of the rock gives it the appearance of being an enormous rock that has been split in half, giving it the name Half Dome. The rock itself rises 4,737 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley, but stands 8,844 feet above sea level.  The rock itself can easily be seen from Tunnel View and even Glacier Point. But for those of you who aren’t happy just looking at the rock, you totally have the option to scale the rock and hike up to the very top of it! The national park even has a whole guide to climbing Half Dome that you can check out right here!

“Half Dome was the best hike & climb I did so far. The waterfall looks stunning at night with the moonlight. Pictures won't do Justice just gotta see it for yourself. Can't wait for more adventures like this one.” - Yelp Review

Glacier Point

Another Point to Get Breathtaking Views of Yosemite’s Natural Beauty

Yosemite Valley | Yosemite National Park  | nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/glacierpoint

Glacier Point was closed down through most of 2022 in order to help repair and improve the roads that lead up to it. But the good news is that now it’s open once again and ready for the rush of traffic this summer. You can get there by car or by bus in the summer season when the roads are open to the public. And it’s well worth the hour or so drive because you will get incredible views of the Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls! And you will also have a great starting (or finishing) point for some of Yosemite’s most popular trails including the Four Mile Trail and the Panorama Trail.

“Love love love this place. The photos are absolutely stunning! Must visit if you are in Yosemite. It gives a panoramic view of the whole valley with all the waterfalls.” - Yelp Review

Yosemite Falls

One of the Tallest Waterfalls In North America!

Yosemite Valley | Yosemite National Park | yosemite.com/what-to-do/yosemite-falls

This is one of the most popular things to see in all of Yosemite National Park, and that is because at the height of more than 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls is one of the highest waterfalls on the entire continent and the highest waterfall period in the United States. So if you are hoping to see something awe-inspiring and breathtaking then this is going to be the thing near Yosemite National Park for you. The waterfall flows from November through July, but if you want to catch it at its peak you’ll want to go in May when the waterfall is at its fullest and most vibrant

“It's been decades since I've been back and it's truly amazing. The falls are popular with many tourists taking photos and walking on the hiking trail below.” - Yelp Review

But if you are looking for something great to do outside of the park, check out some of these great attractions that are listed below!

2 - Virginia Creek Settlement Restaurant

One of the Most Popular Restaurants Near Yosemite National Park

70847 US Hwy 395 | Bridgeport | virginiacreeksettlement.net

Virginia Creek Settlement Restaurant is one of the most beloved restaurants in the area. And it’s easy to see why. They have a really intimate atmosphere that is backed up by a knowledgeable and attentive staff. And on top of that they are located at The Virginia Creek Settlement that was built into the natural beauty of the eastern slopes of the High Sierra mountains. They feature a full breakfast and brunch menu as well as a full dinner menu and great pizza.

“The quality of the food and service for this remote restaurant is amazing. I highly recommend it. It is worth the drive if you aren't that close by.” - Yelp Review

3 - South Gate Brewing Company

One of the Most Popular Breweries In the Area

40233 Enterprise Dr | Oakhurst | southgatebrewco.com

If hiking or backpacking all over Yosemite doesn’t sound like what you are in the mood for, and are instead hoping to have a great afternoon of wonderful food and excellent drinks then be sure to check out South Gate Brewing Company. Their name comes from the fact that they sit at the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park. They are gonna have some fantastic pub style food. So you can expect things like burgers, fish tacos, and buffalo chicken sandwiches. And of course you can wash down any of their excellent meals with a nice cold in house made beer. They strive to ethically source their menu and provide a warm and hospitable environment that makes them a fun, and family-friendly brewpub!

“Stopped for lunch on our way to Bootjack, expecting typical pub fare. It was delish!! Sweet/spicy burger, pork belly BLT, Beyond Burger options, fantastic fries, great beer selection to top it off super friendly/attentive service. Thank you!” - Yelp Review

4 - Moaning Caverns Tour

Get A First Hand Look At A Piece of the Nation’s History

5350 Moaning Cave Rd | Vallecito | moaningcaverns.com

If you are looking to have a natural adventure that is a little bit different from what you can find in the national park, then be sure to check out Moaning Caverns Adventure Park. It’s an amusement park in the area, but the real highlight is being able to go on the tour of the caverns that are featured there. The Moaning Caverns were first explored by gold miners in the 1840s and 1850s during the height of the national gold rush. And it is the largest single cave chamber in all of California. This is a super interesting tour you can take that is fun for families and people of all ages

“did the three hour cave crawl tour and what an adventure! totally worth every bit of it. Our guide was amazing. knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely helpful in getting us through the tough spots. 5/5 would recommend” - Yelp Review

5 - Sierra Star Golf Course

One of the Area’s Most Pristine Golf Courses

You can get a Sierra Star Golf Course gift card in just seconds following the link!

2001 Sierra Star Pkwy | Mammoth Lakes | mammothmountain.com//activities/golf

If you are just hoping to have a great relaxing day out in the sun, without the crowds and bustle of the national parks, then I would recommend you check out one of the area’s amazing golf courses. At Sierra Star Golf Course you can enjoy pristine lakes and emerald fairways all while drinking in breathtaking views of the mountains!

“Awesome Golf experience. I was up in Mammoth for a few days and wanted to get out during the challenging times. Booked a twilight round As soon as we parked they brought a cart to our car. Course was incredible, perfect condition and picturesque Will plan on playing this many more times” - Yelp Review

If you are looking to spend a beautiful day out in the sun playing 18 holes then you can get a Sierra Star Golf Course gift card instantly by using this link!

7 - Regal Cinemas

A Great Indoor Activity for Rainy Days Near Yosemite National Park

Grab a Regal Cinemas gift card by following the link!

901 Sanguinetti Rd | Sonora | regmovies.com

Listen, I can’t promise that the movies they are going to be showing are going to be fantastic, but that’s really only because everybody's taste in movies tends to be different. But if you are near Yosemite National Park and the weather is looking gloomy and gray, then I would definitely recommend you stop in at the Regal Cinemas in nearby Sonora California. They show all of the latest releases in a theater with nice comfortable chairs, a big screen, and an incredible sound system. So just be sure to find a movie you think you’ll like and you should have a great day here!

“The day we visited the theater was not busy. Friendly staff. Will definitely come back when we are in Sonora.” - Yelp Review

Anybody can grab a Regal Cinemas gift card in just a seconds by following this link!

And there you go dear internet reader. That is my list of some of the great things you can find to do around Yosemite National Park. I tried to make sure I included plenty of great things to do in the park itself, as well as plenty of activities you can find in the area around the park. But if you are looking for more dining options in the area be sure to check out our other article on great restaurants near Yosemite, as well as our article on great activities you can find around Sonora, California!

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