If you’re planning on visiting California, I urge you, no, beg you to visit Yosemite National Park.
Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places you will ever experience.
Situated between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite is a photographer and hikers dream. It has breathtaking mountains in El Capitan and Half Dome (rock climbers love to scale these mountains), giant, ancient sequoia trees, and water falls which will be extremely powerful this year thanks to all of the rainfall and snow pack at Bridalveil, Yosemite and Horsetail falls.
The park is always busy, but you can find peace, beauty and solitude just off a hiking path. Visit in the fall for the turning of the leaves. Visit in the winter for snowfall and quiet. Or visit in the spring for the bloom of the dogwood trees and the clear night sky full of stars.
You can visit for the day for a taste of Yosemite, but we suggest at least three days if possible. If you like to camp, camping requires reservations must be made at least a year in advance. There are many area hotels of various qualities and distance from Yosemite Village, so a place for every budget and interest can be found. Make sure to spend time in Yosemite Village, and take a turn in the Ansel Adams Gallery, containing many reprints of his famous Yosemite photos.
Make a dinner reservation at the famous Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly the Ahwahnee Hotel). The dining room is an experience in itself, with soaring, painted ceilings and breathtaking views of Yosemite Valley. Designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood (who also designed the Zion Lodge, Bryce Canyon Lodge, and Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge) this hotel, and it’s dining room is considered a masterpiece of "parkitecture". Can’t get a dinner reservation? Order drinks and grab a seat in the lounge around the roaring fire, or if the weather permits, sit outside under the glory of Yosemite’s skies.