First Timer’s Quick Trip to Yosemite National Park + A San Francisco Night

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Back in August my family and I took a trip to Yosemite. It was amazing! Everywhere you stood was truly astounding and beautiful. We drove up on Tuesday and left Thursday afternoon, so it was a quick trip – but I made sure to soak everything in.

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We stayed in the tent cabins at Half Dome Village. Let me just say, THESE THINGS ARE AWESOME!!! I am not exactly one for outdoors, nature, etc. but these blew me away! Our tent cabin had one light and one outlet. It was extremely clean with fresh sheets on the beds and housekeeping came by every morning to hand out towels.

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The main area of the village had multiple places to eat, grab a glass or wine or beer, shop, and even connect to Wi-Fi! Our tent cabin used the shared restrooms, but we managed to find a good one that many people seemed to pass up since it was a little farther than others.

Okayyyy… So here’s what we did:

Once we entered the park we were all amazed with the views. We came across a pullout area on the road and decided to hop out and get our first look of Half Dome. I was truly speechless. Then we decided to take selfies and family photos, is my millennial showing?! Haha. As we kept driving we came across El Capitan and had to pull over to get a better look.

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The first fall we hiked to was a fairly short and easy one to Bridalveil Fall. The fall wasn’t really flowing since it was the middle of August, but the mist was a cool sight to see. We loaded back in the car and went to explore Half Dome Village before the sun set.

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After we unloaded the car, we went over to The Ahwahnee for drinks before dinner. This gorgeous resort was truly something to see. Even if you’re not staying at their hotel you can make reservations for brunch and dinner. We decided to keep it casual so we opted to sit on their patio for happy hour. I got a glass of white wine and my sister ordered their special cocktail celebrating 100 years of National Parks!

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On Wednesday we woke up fairly early to get coffee and breakfast before heading off into nature for the day. Half Dome Village does provide buses to certain viewpoints but we decided to take our own car.

We started the day off thinking we would do 3 hikes but it became clear we would only be able to fit 2 in. My dad drove us up to Glacier Point first. This was a great starting point since it had bathrooms and a little shop. We hiked up to the top, stopping along the way to read the informational markers. The views were amazing from up here! This was definitely the easier of the two hikes we did that day. The hills were paved and they had ramps if needed.

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We took our time at Glacier Point since there was so much to take in and read about.

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Once we made our way back to the car, we headed for Sentinel Dome. This hike is 2.2 miles roundtrip. Since I’m not used to hiking I did have to stop to catch my breath a few times. Also, the last part of the hike, going up the dome itself is fairly steep. This was probably my favorite part of the hike since we were so close to the top! Once we made it to the top we took in all the magnificent views and scenery around and below us. Since we were all feeling particularly proud we also took multiple pictures.

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This family trip to Yosemite is something I consider lucky to have done and hope to do it again someday! Even though I’m not an outdoorsy person and I’ve never really hiked before, I truly enjoyed taking in each moment while we were there.

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On our final morning, we grabbed our coffee and breakfast and hit the road towards San Francisco. Even though I was born in northern California and we go back to visit often there was still one touristy thing I’ve never done. See the Painted Ladies! You know, the Full House house.

So for our final adventure, we headed into San Francisco with 3 main sites to visit:

  • Lemonade
  • The Painted Ladies
  • Sam Wo

If you’ve checked Instagram in the past few months you’re sure to have seen the trendy lemonade cups all over LA and now SF! Their new location opened up in the Bay Area and I had to try this glorious lemonade. It did not disappoint! Also, the restaurant seemed like a place I would frequent if I lived close enough. Set up in a modern cafeteria-style with healthy seasonal food options.

Next, we headed for the Painted Ladies. At this point it was getting pretty dark out but we didn’t want to miss this. We parked alongside the street and “hiked” our way up a hill for the best view. They’re actually in the process renovating Alamo Square Park but there was still enough room to get some photos and enjoy the space.

Last on our adventure list was Sam Wo, a family favorite Chinese restaurant. We started going here years ago when my grandparents told us stories about when they used to take my mom and uncle there when they were younger. This was back when Edsel Ford Fung was waiting tables. Seriously funny and interesting story, read up on him if you plan on going! In 2012 they closed down and we were seriously disappointed but they reopened last year at a new location. While the new location is nice and clean, I kept wishing we were at the original location–but the food was just as yummy and we enjoyed ourselves like always, and that’s what counts!

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In closing, if you’re planning on going to Yosemite make sure you read up on trails and points you definitely want to see. Planning out your day trips makes everything easier so you have more time to enjoy yourself and your family.

3 thoughts on “First Timer’s Quick Trip to Yosemite National Park + A San Francisco Night

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