Camping in Yosemite with a Toddler & a Baby

We survived!

photo by Amelie along the River at Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite

photo by Amelie along the River at Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite

For the past few months, I had been looking forward to our Yosemite trip with both dread and delight- knowing the trip could prove a fateful family memory, but could also be a disaster. Last Wednesday night Emery got feverish and fussy. Uh-oh! Our toothless wonder seemed to finally be teething - which would make sleeping a tent at a camp with 30 of our friends and hundreds of strangers even more fun!

But really, it was fine! Grace reveled in the fact that she could walk right outside the tent on her own and go play with a dozen of besties who all had brave parents willing to make the trek. They frolicked along the river, made smores in the campfire, and explored with the wonder I recognized from my own childhood. 

All 9 families stayed at Housekeeping Camp in Yosemite National Park which was a true delight. Somewhere between glamping and camping, each family had their own little tent that has 3 walls and a canvas covered porch area and firepit. Instead of trying to coordinate schedules of a dozen toddlers and babies, each family was kind of on their own but our troop leader Leslye did a great job of hashing out a communal firepit and play area for the kids. 

A few tricks for camping with a 25 month old and 10 month old learned from the trip:

  • Glow Sticks! A last minute grab, I bought dozens of glowsticks (12 for $1 at Walmart) and they were a huge hit with the kids! Also provided a bit of relief to parents as the kids wore the glowsticks, it was easier to keep track of them at night in the woods.
  • Trader Joe's Pre-Cooked foods + Yeti! While we did do some meals from scratch, using TJ's pre-cooked sausage, Balsalmic Chicken Breasts, Veggies and more was far less time consuming and a heck of a lot easier when you have kiddos to keep track of and no walls to contain them. Frozen breadsticks, sweet potato gnocchi and more were all in the line-up and a great hack when you have hungry kiddos. 
  • Christmas Lights: Leslye needs to write a book on camping. By far the best piece of advice was to bring Christmas lights to string along our campsite - made all of the difference! 
  • Bikes/BOB: To optimize space for packing, we didn't bring the Double BOB - and I regret it. We should have brought bikes or the stroller as the path at Yosemite National Park are awesome.
  • Bring a hiking pack for both kiddos. I did the Baby Bjorn with Emery while Grant had Grace in the hiking backpack. My back is regretting this. Definitely investing in a 2nd hand-me-down hiking pack from craigslist soon.
  • Go with friends! There is a certain nostalgia for "it takes a village" when raising kids - and there is no better way to represent that then when camping. I had a blast taking my friends' kids for walks along the river, playing tag and roasting smores. My kids were extra exhausted from playing with their friends. While family camping is great, nothing beats sharing the adventure with good friends.