What do you get when you drop a New York City girl in the middle of the great Yosemite Wilderness? Fear and confusion. And yet Hotels.com asked me to share my best tips for staying near Yosemite National Park.
I can’t even survive Whole Foods running out of brown rice sushi, so here I write from the great Sierra Nevada mountains, safely behind bear-proof doors, under a warm, Egyptian cotton duvet with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in hand.
There are lots of hotels in Yosemite Valley if you want to be close to the action and there are more hotels and inns in nearby Mariposa and Midpines, just seven miles away. You’ll find choices for every style and budget on Hotels.com, depending on where you want to stay.
If you want to pitch a tent and sleep on the cold, hard ground, I’m not judging. But I highly recommend getting yourself a sleek Airstream cabin with electricity, heat and indoor plumbing like I did. Your joints will thank you.
I spent a few nights at the gorgeous, very instagrammable AutoCamp in Mariposa, one of the closest towns to Yosemite Valley. Just a few miles away, Mariposa has everything you need–grocery stores, restaurants, cafes, and even a cool little natural spring spa at the Yosemite Health Spa.
Plan your excursions accordingly to the time of year. In September, Yosemite is cooler since it’s in the mountains, even dropping down to frigid temps at night. Pack accordingly! Wine and s’mores will only keep you so warm.
As a non-hiker, I enjoyed the scenic drive to Glacier Point, the most breathtaking view you’ll find in Yosemite Valley. In the distance is Half Dome, the massive granite rock that looks like it’s been sheared in half. It stands at a majestic 8,839 feet tall. That’s four times taller than the Empire State Building, which explains why it took two hours to drive up winding mountain roads! Totally worth every death-defying turn.
Not hiking all day makes a girl hungry and thirsty. Make sure to stock up on award-winning California wine, which is some of the best in the world, famousing beating France in the Judgment of Paris. At Autocamp, each cabin has its own fire pit–perfect for grilling. Look ma, I made pork chops!
Do be mindful about safe fire practices no matter where you are. California is experiencing severe droughts, making many areas vulnerable to wildfires. Ask your local park ranger about how to safely conduct and enjoy a campfire. Autocamp has an onsite shop to buy coffee, wine, groceries and approved fire starter kits.
This is as close to living outdoors as I get, but I will say this–when the zombie apocalypse comes, I will fend off the undead with puffy vests, leather boots, pumpkin spice lattes and lines from Clueless. It’s guaranteed to work.
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.