Camping Without A Camper at Yosemite National Park

Half Dome at Yosemit National ParkSo you want to go camping in Yosemite National Park, but you’ve encountered a few problems. You don’t own a camper or a tent and even if you did, campground spaces in Yosemite fill up quickly for months/years in advance and it would take winning-the-lottery level luck for a site to be available in the same week you are available for vacation.

But here’s a solution: Yosemite Pines Campground in Groveland, California.

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Camping Near Yosemite National Park

Even if you own a trailer, RV or a tent and all of the necessary gear, perhaps you live a long way from Yosemite and simply getting to this premiere national park would eat up too much of your vacation time. So you fly to Sacramento or San Francisco (whichever is cheaper_ with just your carry-on, rent a car and head toward the Big Oak Flat Entrance of the park. The last little town you’ll come to is Groveland, a funky little Old West town that is home to about 600 year round residents. Just a few miles out of town is the Yosemite Pines Campground and RV Resort.
This image is a vintage Shasta camper from the 1970s, complete with Adirondeck chairs and other gear near Yosemite National Park.

Some people show up with their own tents, RVs and campers, but this place has about a half dozen vintage trailers fully-restored, stocked and ready for you to settle in. It reminds me of family vacations when I was a kid. Aren’t these too cute?

However, we found ourselves in something equally cute that met our dreams of owning a log home some day. We had two big beds, a mini kitchen and a full bathroom. Other cabins at Yosemite Pines have larger configurations and a full kitchen.

Log cabins at Yosemite Pine Campgrounds near yosemite National Park

But if you’re more into roughing it and don’t mind walking a few hundred feet if you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, this multi-faceted campground has a half dozen yurts available to rent.

A selesction of yurts at Yosemite Pine Campgroud near Yosemite National park

Like every good campground, Yosemite Pines has a nice little store and small cafe, a laundry, a dump station and a pool. There’s a sand volleyball pit, bocce ball and I believe even a dog wash.

Driving to Yosemite National Park

Vintage campers near Yosemite National parkBut one of the best reasons to choose Yosemite Pines for your Yosemite National Park vacation is the fact that you don’t have to drive into this very popular national park. In an effort to minimize traffic in this frequently over-crowded park, the NPS operates a shuttle bus that picks up at several locations just outside the park.


Mariposa GRove at Yosemite National Park

Yep, walk just to the entrance of the campground and let someone else manage the traffic while you ooh and aah at all of the magnificence that John Muir saved for our enjoyment, all of the things that brought you to Yosemite in the first place.

Another delightful place that has been saved for our enjoyment is the nearby Columbia State Historic Park, a former mining community from the 1850s. Check it out.

Get Prepared for Yosemite