AAA Travel Tips / Where to Stay When Visiting Yosemite National Park

Where to Stay When Visiting Yosemite National Park

AAA/Frank Swanson
By AAA Travel Editor Michelle Palmer
August 24, 2022
You want to see the giant sequoias, wander around Yosemite Valley, spy Half Dome, hike the Yosemite Falls trail and experience everything else at Yosemite National Park, but you also need to know where to stay. There are hotels in Yosemite National Park and hotels near the park, but which one is the right choice for your trip?
Check out our list of AAA Diamond hotels to stay at when visiting Yosemite. Each AAA Diamond-designated property has passed a rigorous inspection process, so you can book with confidence knowing you’ll have a clean and comfortable experience at any Diamond level.
Wikimedia Commons/Mark James Miller

In the park

If you want to stay in the park, try to snag a reservation at The Ahwahnee. You typically have to plan about a year in advance. The hotel is in Yosemite Valley with views of Glacier Point, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. The hotel, built in the 1920s, has a lodgelike feel with a stone façade. The public areas feature high ceilings, stained glass and large windows, so you can mingle with other guests, relax and eat while enjoying the majesty of the park.
Amenities at the hotel include a heated swimming pool, electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot, the Sweet Shop that sells chocolates, snacks and local wines, and The Ahwahnee Dining Room. The hotel concierge can answer your questions about park programs, what to see and park transportation. The Ahwahnee is at a higher price point, but it is well worth it if it fits your budget.
AAA/Inspector 569

Big Oak Flat and Hetch Hetchy entrances

The town of Groveland is convenient to both Big Oak Flat and Hetch Hetchy entrances, so if you are planning to enter the park through either of these, consider staying at Rush Creek Lodge. This Three Diamond hotel looks like a giant wood lodge with a rustic beauty that fits perfectly in the area. You can enjoy the many amenities including a heated pool and two on-site restaurants. The rooms do not have televisions, but if you’re looking for things to do when not in the park, they offer ping pong, a kids playground, rope swings and nightly s’mores, among other activities. You also won’t miss any major sporting events; head to the Tavern to catch the game. The hotel also has EV charging stations for electric vehicles.
Yosemite Westgate Lodge, AAA Approved
If you prefer a more low-key location that doesn’t have as many activities on the grounds, the AAA Approved Yosemite Westgate Lodge is an excellent option. The simple and clean room design offers a peaceful space to relax after a long day in Yosemite, and when you are not in the park, they have a children's playground, an outdoor pool and a hot tub. Guests are given a voucher for breakfast at the restaurant next door, and the motel has four EV charging stations for electric vehicles.
Courtesy of Best Western

Arch Rock Entrance

The Three Diamond Best Western Plus Yosemite Way Station Motel could be ideal for travelers who plan to use the Arch Rock Entrance (sometimes referred to as the west entrance). The hotel, located in Mariposa, is also near South Entrance if you want to switch up routes during your stay. It also is located close to stores in case you need to stock up before heading out for a long day in Yosemite, and nearby restaurants provide dinner after you return to town. The hotel has a complimentary breakfast for guests and an outdoor pool.
flickr/Prayitno Hadinata

South Entrance

If you plan to enter the park through the South Entrance, consider staying in Fish Camp. The Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is about 3 miles from the entrance and has many amenities and activities to entertain you when you aren’t in the park. The spa offers massages, and there are indoor and outdoor pools as well as four hot tubs. Our AAA inspector also notes this is an excellent hotel for pets; you can get your pup a dog massage. Tenaya Lodge has a restaurant that serves food year-round as well as some seasonal options, and if you need to pack a lunch for your day in Yosemite National Park, head to the Parkside Deli to get a few items. The parking lot features eight Tesla Superchargers for road-trippers in electric vehicles.
For a bit more seclusion, book a cottage room at The Cottages at Tenaya Lodge. They are in duplex and triplex buildings set off from the main Tenaya Lodge, so you can enjoy a bit more privacy and quiet time but still have access to all of the lodge's amenities.

Tioga Pass Entrance

Murphey's Motel, AAA Approved
The last entrance to the park is Tioga Pass. It is closed in fall and winter, so plan your trip accordingly. The AAA Approved Murphey’s Motel in Lee Vining is about 13 miles from this entrance to Yosemite National Park. You won’t find the kinds of amenities that are offered by big resorts, but you will find clean, comfortable rooms. Some rooms feature a small kitchen area, and the motel is near restaurants and a small grocery store.

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