Autocamp Yosemite: How to Go Camping If You Hate Camping


    camping in yosemite

    I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t like camping. The good news is that my husband doesn’t like camping either. We feel exactly zero pressure to take our kids camping. While I’m sure camping with kids could be fun for those who are into it, nothing sounds worse to me. Except for maybe 20 hours on a plane with two toddlers. 

    You know what I am into? Glamping. I’m 100% on board with “fancy camping” where there’s running water, AC, a pool, helpful staff, and just a touch of nature. If this sounds like your kind of camping, read on for all the glamorous details.

    The Deets

    Autocamp properties consist of mainly tricked out Airstream trailers and a handful of cabins. The trailers are stunning and come fully outfitted with top of the line finishes and amenities. There’s air conditioning, running water, a large shower, toilet, comfy bed, mini-fridge, microwave and more. 

    Most sites also have a main clubhouse where you check-in, purchase supplies and sit around a communal firepit roasting s’mores. We stayed at Autocamp Yosemite which also has a pool. 

    Autocamp Yosemite is about 40 minutes away from Yosemite National Park and the valley floor. I’ll start right off by saying thanks to one very carsick toddler, we never actually made it to the park during our trip but we still enjoyed all that Autocamp had to offer. 

    Renting a campsite will surely cost you less than staying at Autocamp, but as I mentioned earlier, I have no interest in camping. You’re paying for convenience, ambiance, and modern luxuries, and it was great. 

    What to Bring

    You can really decide which path is best for you when it comes to packing. We saw lots of families bring bikes, food for their whole stay, charcoal, and various other camping essentials. In the end, you could get away with just bringing clean underwear because Autocamp has almost everything else. 

    We opted to bring the food we’d need for our 3-night stay which meant lots of snacks, items to grill (burgers, hot dogs, corn) and a gallon of milk (#toddlerlife). Autocamp Yosemite actually provides a light breakfast of yogurt, pastries, fruit, and coffee each morning which was a nice surprise. We brought some alcohol as well but you could also purchase more at the clubhouse. They also provide sacks of wood to light your fire pit if you don’t want to bring your own charcoal.

    camping in yosemite

    What to Do

    The cute town of Mariposa is just 7 minutes away so if you prefer to eat your meals in a restaurant, that was definitely an option. We also saw guests bringing pizzas back to their trailers. Like I said, definitely glamping. 

    Hiking and exploring Yosemite is clearly the main attraction so take some time to research the sites and plan out some routes that will work for you and your family. Bring Dramamine for those with weak stomachs as the road to Yosemite is really windy.

    Even though we missed out on hiking, there was plenty for us to do close by. We hung out at the pool, played lawn games, road around in wagons, and dipped our toes in the icy Merced River.

    Something to Consider   

    This site is super family-friendly but not all Autocamp locations allow kids (like the one in Sonoma). We traveled with our friends who also have almost 2-year-old twins and it was fun but chaotic. We were able to fit two portable cribs inside the trailer but we had to put them up and take them down for each nap and nighttime sleep. If the kids were a little older I think we would have had even more fun because they’d be able to explore more independently and play in the pool. 

    On Vacationing with Toddlers

    We were really excited for this trip initially, but as the departure day loomed, we worried. Taking trips like this with two temperamental toddlers is a lot. There’s a lot of gear and a lot of planning. There are nap schedules and snack shortages. We spent a lot of time making sure the twins didn’t each too much mulch or dive headfirst into the fire pit. I’m glad we did it, in the end, but it wasn’t a vacation. It was fun and tiring and exciting and exhausting and frustrating. 

    How do you feel about vacationing with little kids? 



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