One of travel’s true rewards is relaxing with friends, old and new, as you’re living your vacation dream. When you’re on a shared journey to a place as naturally appealing as Yosemite Mariposa County, the destination can inspire a newfound sense of camaraderie.
There are many places to stay in Yosemite that foster a sense of community among fellow travelers, where opportunities for socializing are as abundant as its cirrus-kissing peaks, where conversation flows like waterfalls! After all, part of traveling is connecting to the people around, be they local or fellow travelers. Here are just a few socially focused lodging options to consider:
Tenaya at Yosemite
Tenaya at Yosemite is a full-fledged resort tucked into the Sierra National Forest and geared for communing with outdoor recreation. Tenaya is also remarkably good at creating opportunities for guests to connect with always-on activities. Adding to Tenaya’s allure are perfect places to gather and connect. Roaring fire pits, swimming pools, and hot tubs keep the conversations glowing. And speaking of glowing, the comfortable barstools at Jackalope’s Bar & Grill are the perfect perch to toast and share your tales of Yosemite wonder with fellow sojourners, both familiar and freshly-met.
Located just 25 miles from Yosemite National Park in Midpines, AutoCamp Yosemite’s pod of silver Airstream travel trailers are repurposed into boutique hotel suites to create an elevated “campground” vibe. All-together-now amenities include indoor and outdoor lounge areas, pool, hot tub, and a cool clubhouse with its stargazing-ready scenic roof deck. Settle into a low-slung seat next to one of AutoCamp’s fire pits situated throughout the 35-acre property to share a communal, outdoor experience. Facts: fire pits tap into a primal state of mind that forges fast friendships.
Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort
Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort delivers a retro-relaxed lodging experience with Golden State spirit. There’s a shared feeling among guests at the “Bug” that they’ve happened upon a hip and hidden gem tucked into a Midpines canyon just off Highway 140. Common spaces exude good friendship vibes – even if you just met on a van tour or the path to the cafe. The kitchen at the June Bug Café creates scrumptious homemade fare and family seating options make it easy to break bread with other guests. Accommodations range from private cabins with forest-view decks to timber-framed tent cabins and even a hostel. Plus, there’s a trio of vacation rentals.
With direct access to the Wild & Scenic Merced River, and Yosemite Valley just a few bends up Highway 140, El Portal’s Yosemite Cedar Lodge is perfect for family and friend forays. The property’s great Game Room offers a pool table, ping-pong, and classic arcade games sure to bring folks together in the spirit of friendly competition. The Cedar Lodge Restaurant is a tasty option for home-style cuisine with comfortable, family-style ambiance, and the Canyon Bar is a great place for making the happy hour rounds with fellow travelers, or a nightcap toast to close out a perfect Yosemite day. Outside around the pool, newly added firepits and elegant lights strung from tree to tree above make for a great place to share a bottle of local wine.
Yosemite View Lodge
Also in El Portal, the riverfront Yosemite View Lodge has the unique distinction of being the closest resort to Yosemite Valley that’s located outside Park gates. Rooms and suites with personal balconies overlook the Merced River, perfect for popping a bottle of local wine with another couple to watch the “River of Mercy’s” mesmerizing, ever-changing flow. Riverside picnic areas and fire pits encourage meet-and-greets. Yosemite View Lodge has a nice pop of amenities including the two restaurant options, seven hot tubs, convenience store, and 120v outlets in the parking lot for EV charging.
The Ahwahnee Hotel is a luxury mountain lodge, renowned for an elevated yet rustic authenticity. Upon opening in 1927, it became one of the crown jewels among national park lodges and today it’s an iconic National Historic Landmark. Inside its massive front doors, expansive spaces like The Ahwahnee Dining Room and Great Lounge are wonderful places to convene, dine, and settle in for a nightcap in front of its soaring stone fireplace on hand-carved furniture. Extra credit for learning about the property’s illustrious past and spinning a yarn or two with newfound friends.
Yosemite Valley Lodge
Yosemite Valley Lodge is another Park classic, and its mist-through-the-trees proximity to Yosemite Falls and family-forward amenities make it a perennial favorite. The Merced River flows adjacent to the hotel and the lodge’s outdoor swimming pool brings guests together to cool off after a day exploring the Park.
Group tours depart directly from the lodge, and nearby, there’s a bike rental stand for two-wheeled exploration. In the evenings, Yosemite Valley Lodge’s outdoor theatre is the place to convene for wildly-popular ranger presentations. Meet you there!
Founded in 1899 with a dozen tents, Curry Village is still the perfect expression of the trademark hospitality of its founders, David and Jennie “Mother” Curry. Actually… socially-forward lodging may have been invented right here! Today, this National Historic District remains a prized place to stay with standard hotel rooms, wood cabins and wood-framed canvas tent cabins. Curry Village is the unofficial social hub of Yosemite with a network of paths connecting shops, and restaurants. Check out the patio of Bar 1899 for its al fresco conviviality and share tales of your legendary days.
The Blackberry Inn is a Yosemite B&B Association-certified property at Buck Meadows, with 10 extremely well-appointed rooms and suites (think luxury thread-count organic sheets, fireplaces, six-foot bathtubs and spacious patios with tables for enjoying the views). Communal breakfast in the dining room is a golden opportunity to engage with fellow guests over an unforgettable, home-cooked meal. Proprietors Anne North and Steve McCorkle create a shared sense of splendor for their guests at this special property. Quite civilized!
Posada Mariana Bed & Breakfast offers the vibe of a classic Spanish Hacienda in a tranquil, rural setting. Set on 25 acres in the Sierra Nevada foothills with beautifully landscaped grounds, the gorgeous Posada Mariana features three guest rooms, each entering from a shared central courtyard. Proprietors Mariana and Rob create a throwback, genuine good-times vibe as guests are always welcomed in the family common areas – the large main house, the pool deck, and lush garden areas. Bring a bottle of vino or spirits from home and salud to their generous hospitality! Visitors from around the world gravitate to this special place in the California Gold Country to enjoy Posada Mariana’s surrounding superbloom of wildflowers, do some birdwatching, and meet new friends.
Kindling Friendship on Vacation Time
The very best vacations add to your life in ways that change and expand your perspective. When you can also expand your circle of friends along the way by staying at a property that naturally brings guests together, your vacation gets even better. Having something in common moving forward, whether it’s that sunset view of Half Dome or the conversation around a flickering fire pit, forges enduring bonds. Bring it in and let the good times roll in Yosemite Mariposa County!