Camping with children can feel daunting at times, but few things are more rewarding than the memories created during a family camping trip. Instilling your kids with a love of the outdoors and confidence in their camping skills is a gift that will serve them their whole lives. But how do you tackle a visit to Yosemite with little ones in tow? Our answer: ditch the tent and reserve a spot at Housekeeping Camp.
The River Unit at Housekeeping Camp, adjacent to the Merced River.
Yosemite National Park Lodging for Families
Centrally located in Yosemite Valley, Housekeeping Camp features three-sided structures made of concrete, plus a tent roof and privacy curtain. Each unit is enclosed with a private patio and campfire ring, perfect for cooking meals or making s’ mores. Units also have a double bed and a set of bunk beds, with the ability to add an additional cot or bed railings for little ones. These unique sites are essentially a hybrid of a tent and a cabin!
The exterior of the standard Unit at Housekeeping Camp.
This lodging option is great for families for several reasons:
- No need to pitch a tent
- No need to fly or travel with all of your camping gear
- A patio to enjoy your meals with plenty of space for kiddos to play
- Each site has electricity, perfect for warming bottles, prepping hot breakfast, or plugging in a coffee maker
- Each site has enough room for an additional pack & play crib if you’re traveling with very young children
- Each site is a duplex set up, which is perfect for creating a community feel for families camping together
- With laundry facilities on-site, families don’t need to pack too much clothing
- Clean showers with shampoo and towels provided
- The central location allows for an early start on the most iconic hiking trails
Families enjoy the camp’s proximity to the Merced River, where children can play and wade in the slow-moving water, while not being too far from camp. Because this campsite is centrally located, you’re just a hop away from shuttles to take you to Glacier Point, Yosemite Village, and Tuolumne Meadows. And of course, you’re positioned front and center for some of the most stunning views of Yosemite Valley: Yosemite Falls and Half Dome.
Walking along Yosemite Valley.
Making Yosemite Housekeeping Camp Reservations
Families looking to plan their next summer vacation should make reservations early, as sites can be booked as much as a year in advance. However, if you’re traveling with kids to Yosemite during the fall or “shoulder season” (early spring or fall), you can experience fewer crowds and you may be able to book reservations just a few days or weeks out from your camping weekend.
Things to Do in Yosemite with the Kids:
Yosemite is brimming with activities for kids of all ages. From learning how to become a Junior Ranger, to art classes at Happy Isles Nature Center, to river walks, Yosemite is the perfect place for kids to learn about the great outdoors.
Still unsure about what to do at Housekeeping Camp? Take it from other families who have enjoyed their stay.
- “We hiked to Vernal Falls Bridge, it was about 3 hours round trip with kids.”
- “Our kids love that the cafeteria was about 15 minutes from our campsite for hot breakfast, and of course, the pizza place. We found the general store quite helpful too.”
- “Housekeeping Camp is right in the center of the valley, which is great for twilight strolls with the kids.”
- “The Merced River is nearby as well, which was great for my daughter to play in its slow-moving water. It was also great for fishing or lounging on one of the many beach areas.”
- “Our family of 4 loved being able to experience camping, yet sleep comfortably in regular beds. We roasted marshmallows, went on a float trip, rented bikes, and enjoyed hiking with our ten-year-old (who has been begging to return).”
- “Be sure to go to the Conservatory Center across the street next to the shuttle stop. It’s full of great info about Yosemite.”
Please note: Housekeeping Camp is open from April to mid-October. So plan your next family vacation accordingly!
Standard Unit interior.
Packing Your Family for Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite:
Housekeeping Camp is truly unique because it offers many opportunities to rent gear, meaning that flying or road-tripping families don’t have to pack too heavily.
While bringing your own sleeping bag is highly advised, guests can rent just about all of the essentials for their stay at Housekeeping Camp:
Many families pack some of these items to keep their camp extra comfortable:
- Electricity power strips (2)
- Sleeping bags
- Rope, tarps for added privacy or additional warmth from canvas roof and doors
- A few strings of white or clear Christmas lights to help light your cooking area and create a festive feel
- Small frying pan
- Large bottles of water and refillable bottles for on-the-go use
- Paper towel rolls
- Groceries for the length of your stay (don’t forget there’re restaurants close by as well as a camp store and a grocery store in Yosemite Village if you forget anything)
- Sporks or reusable spoons and forks for camping
- Reusable cups (make sure they’re safe for hot beverages like morning coffee and cocoa)
- Trash bags
- Camping lights or headlamps for when it gets dark
- Camping soap, washcloth, a bin for doing camp dishes
- Percolator for coffee over a fire (or, since you have power, you can bring your own pot from home!)
Bikes fit for the whole family can be rented near Housekeeping Camp — a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Families often bring the following to make sure they have everything they need for summer and fall activities:
- Floaties for floating in the river
- Camp chairs to lounge on the river bed
- Bikes for family bike trips (these can be rented as well)
- Hiking shoes and gear (hiking baby carriers if you’re traveling with very young children)
Please leave your furry companions at home. Housekeeping Camp is not a pet-friendly campsite.
Yosemite is ready and waiting for you and your family! We hope that Housekeeping Camp is the perfect home-base for your family adventures!