Mama Loves Family Travel – Yosemite Madera

Mama Loves Family Travel – Yosemite Madera

yosemite madera

I remember the day my grandmother gave me The National Geographic Yosemite edition book. It was my 8th birthday.

The pictures that I saw in that book completely amazed me. I knew one day I would get there, but I had no idea how or when.

Fast-forward 25 years, add on 2 kids, a husband and a cross-country relocation and I finally made it!

A few weeks ago we drove up to Yosemite Madera and had an incredible time. Here is my account of that trip right from the planning stages.

Beyond the book that my gran had given me, I knew nothing about Yosemite. I like to use the internet first to plan our trips so I checked out and decided to contact them for guidance.

The staff at Visit Yosemite Madera was incredibly knowledgeable. After my first conversation with them I knew they were the right people to partner up with to really get the full Yosemite Experience!!

Once we had put together our itinerary (Click –> A Family Long Spring Weekend in Yosemite Madera <– to get my free, downloadable, printable itinerary for a long weekend at Yosemite Madera in the springtime), I went about packing.

What to Pack for your trip to Yosemite Madera

I won’t list them all out here, but if you would like my free, downloadable, printable packing lists, click the following links:

Moms Paking List for a long weekend in Yosemite

Dads Packing List for a long weekend in Yosemite.docx

Boys Packing List for Yosemite Madera

Girls Packing List for a long weekend in Yosemite Madera

How do you get to Yosemite Madera

We opted to drive since we had never been north of Pismo Beach. It took about 5 hours from the Malibu area. It was a very pretty drive through the heart of California.

We even found a sign telling us that we were standing in the exact center point of California – love the unexpected things you find on a road trip!!

yosemite madera

We stopped at the Fossil Discovery Center in Yosemite Madera for a little break. This is a great museum that has a full Mammoth skeleton among others and a little dig site set up for the kids.

It was late afternoon when we arrived to our little home away from home which gave us plenty of time to explore the resort before bed!

Where to Stay in Yosemite Madera

yosemite madera

The Pines Resort on Bass Lake! This is a family owned and operated lakeside resort with every amenity needed to have an incredible family holiday.

We stayed in one of their newly renovated Chalet’s which was wonderful. We relaxed together, we laughed together and we played together. The Pines Resort really lets you slow down your pace of life to enjoy each other in nature.

Located on Bass Lake which is just 20 minutes from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park and 15 minutes to a quaint town center, The Pines Resort really is the best place to stay in Yosemite Madera – they have everything!

What To Do In Yosemite Madera

We spent the evening settling in and checking out their pool, hot tub and lake beach. After which we got the kids in bed so Mommy and Daddy could light up the fire and enjoy each other for a bit!

The next morning we got up and headed straight for Yosemite National Park. The sites we saw there were just magnificent. You can see in the video below that this park is simply stunning.

In the afternoon we met with a Park Ranger to do the Junior Ranger Program with my kids. You can read about our full Jr. Ranger experience here.

The Junior Ranger Program teaches children (and their families) all about the park. From the pioneers of the park, to the natural structures, to the animals and plants, this program addresses it all. Most importantly it teaches how to take care of the park and all of its creatures.

It took about 2 hours to complete and then they did a very nice swearing in ceremony where the kids had to take an oath and received a badge.

yosemite Junior ranger program

Afterwards we headed back to the resort, all of us were exhausted and looking forward to the pool and hot tub!

The next morning we got up and had a leisurely breakfast overlooking Bass Lake. A little after 9 we got in the car to go to The Sugar Pine Railroad.

The Sugar Pine Railroad is a family owned old logging train that transports you back to a time when logging was a way of life here.

the sugar pine railroad

It takes about an hour for you to travel about 4 miles round trip. There are 2 steam Shay locomotives in use, one built in 1928 and one in 1913. Both are replicas of the real steam locomotives used there in the late 1800’s. You can read my full review of The Sugar Pine Railroad here.

The kids had a blast on the Sugar Pine Railroad and I must admit, so did I!! This is a must-do for all ages. Not only do you take a picturesque ride through a peaceful forest, but it is narrated so you also learn about the history of the area.

We spent the rest of that afternoon on Bass Lake in a boat from Bass Lake Watersports. Everything you need to know about them is right here and be sure to watch the video below to get a birds eye view of this gorgeous lake. The owners and staff at Bass Lake Watersports have been there for over 20 years and really know their stuff.

They took their time explaining the lake and boat to us and were able to tell us everything we needed to know about the lake so we could have an awesome time – and an awesome time we did have – I think you can tell from the smiles in the video below!!


The next morning, we spent some time hiking and playing around The Pines Resort. They have tennis courts with some fun lawn games and a great playground.

All too soon it was time to check out. We were all sad to leave!

But we did have one last stop! We wanted to check out the craft beer at South Gate Brewing Co.

So we swung by before getting on the road and had such a good time enjoying the delicious food and unique craft beers (they even have their own root beer for the kids!), we plan to make this a regular stop! Click here to find out why!

When to Go to Yosemite Madera

We went in the spring and I feel like that is the perfect time to visit. The weather was spot on. Cooler in the evenings and just right for activities in the day. The lake was moderately tempered and swimmable.

It also was not as crowded at this time of year. We were able to get into Yosemite National Park and all of the other activities without having to battle the crowds – which I love.

The locals shared with me that the Fall is just like this so I may be planning another trip here then… 😉

I have to say that at every place we visited in Yosemite Madera, we found kind, caring people who are conscious of nature and each other. Most folks seemed to know each other and support each other. There was a very strong sense of community up there and it was wonderful how welcoming they are.

Have you been to Yosemite Madera yet?

What was your favorite thing to do there?

Malibu Mama Loves Xx





Author: malibumamaloves

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  1. wow, sounds absolutely amazing. our son is three this year and Id love to do something in the States before he starts school #citytripping

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  2. Thanks for the ideas. I went to Yosemite for the first time last years and totally loved the park. I looking forward to discovering more of the area.

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  3. I found this post at the perfect time: we will be in Yosemite this summer! We only have one night there and we haven’t made a plan yet but the kids would love the railway and the fossils, I will definitely try to make our itinerary to include them!

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