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Why Book a Stay at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park

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If you’re planning a visit to Yosemite during this centennial anniversary year of National Parks, you definitely want to book a stay at the renowned Tenaya Lodge. With its wide-ranging resort comforts, amenities and family-friendly vibe, Tenaya will make your visit to Yosemite National Park even more memorable.

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park

For the past 25 years, Tenaya Lodge has been a popular vacation resort at the south gate of Yosemite National Park. The large resort property hosts 300+ rooms, family cottages, conference facilities, a wellness and spa retreat, and lots of family activities all year long. Just like Yosemite, the resort attracts visitors from all over the world. You’ll hear every language under the sun while walking through the lobby or hanging out poolside, making for an international atmosphere in the most American of locales.

The impressive lobby of Tenaya Lodge feels as grand as it looks (Credit: C Laroye)

The impressive lobby of Tenaya Lodge feels as grand as it looks (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

A Grand Welcome

I love the motto at Tenaya Lodge: “It’s like roughing it, minus the rough part.”  Now, I don’t mind roughing it from time to time, but after a blistering hot drive across the central agricultural valley of California, it was pure delight to pull up to the shade of grand Ponderosa Pines and walk into the impressive lodge lobby. I’m sure many visitors feel the same.

Choose from a wide range of room options at Tenaya Lodge

Choose from a wide range of room options at Tenaya Lodge (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Lodging Options

Tenaya Lodge offers more than 300 accommodation options, from deluxe rooms that sleep four to luxury suites of over 850 square feet for larger parties. Our own Extended Two-Queen Room offered our family just the right amount of space for two large teenagers and their parents to stretch out. Our suite had a lovely view of the pool and Yosemite forest, but the noise level was never a concern. There are also adults-only luxury suites in a more private, quieter wing of the lodge, which have been beautifully refurbished with local Yosemite flair.

For those seeking even more privacy or to share accommodations with extended family or friends, the Lodge’s Cottage Rooms are fabulous stand-alone options. These delightful cottages are a short walk from the main lodge, secluded among tall pine and fir trees. Of course the Cottage Rooms also have access to all the amenities and services of the Tenaya Lodge.

Tenaya Cottages are a great resort option for larger families (Credit: C Laroye)

Tenaya Cottages are a great resort option for larger families (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

A Pet-friendly Property

Teneya Lodge is very pet-friendly. The resort considers pets members of the family. Their deluxe Pampered Pet Package includes a dog bed, bowl, and pet etiquette guide, plus suggestions about pet-friendly areas to roam. Pet-siting is also offered at an additional charge.

A refreshing dip at Tenaya Lodge after a hot summer day visiting Yosemite National Park

A refreshing dip at Tenaya Lodge after a hot summer day visiting Yosemite (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Activities at Tenaya Lodge

As a year-round resort, Tenaya Lodge offers a wide variety of programs and activities for every season. Winter activities include ice skating, skiing, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, tubing and snowshoe hikes. In spring, summer and fall, options also abound with archery, swimming, fishing, rock climbing, hiking, biking, and Perseid meteor shower viewing in July and August.

There’s both an indoor and outdoor pool at the lodge. Both pools are totally kid-friendly, with a spacious seating area and several hot tubs (one adult-only). The outdoor pool bar sells refreshing drinks and snacks chargeable to your room. In summer, family-friendly poolside movies are shown after sunset hours.

Taking aim during a family archery lesson at Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite National Park

Taking aim during our family archery lesson (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

My family had the opportunity to experience a couple of the fun family activities at Tenaya. After a long day of hiking and visiting Yosemite, we weren’t sure what to expect during our 30-minute archery lesson. However, my inner Katniss awoke, and we quickly got right into the competitive spirit of counting who could hit the most bullseyes. My oldest son won with a score of five out of six direct hits!

My family also thoroughly enjoyed a guided night hike during our visit. Our knowledgeable local guide, Tyler, equipped us with flashlights as we set off from the Lodge property on a 1.5-hour moonlit hike. Tyler showed the group of 20 kids and adults the variety of Sugar and Ponderosa Pines in the forest, quizzing us on the difference between Cedars, Sequoias and White Fir. While we didn’t come across any bears, Yosemite is famous for its black bear population, as well as other wildlife like coyotes, foxes, mules deer, bobcats, mountain lions and all manner of squirrels.

A guided Tenaya Lodge night hike is a great way to learn about Yosemite National Park

A guided Tenaya Lodge night hike is a great way to learn about Yosemite (Credit: Claudia Laroye)

Just for Kids

The kids programming at Tenaya Lodge is extensive. In addition to the many fun outdoor activities and programs, Tenaya offers child care for infants and kids up to 12 years of age, in both the daytime and evening at their Adventure Clubs and Kids Camp.

Ascent Spa

Nothing beats ending a day of hiking with a massage of weary muscles at the Ascent Spa at Tenaya Lodge. The 10,000-square-foot spa offers a wide variety of services (facials, massages, body treatments) and a fitness center. Choose from a variety of wellness programs, including yoga classes and an annual retreat. There are men’s and women’s facilities, relaxation rooms, dry saunas and steam rooms. No roughing it here!

Great food adds to a memorable stay at one of Tenaya Lodge's five dining establishments

Great food adds to a memorable stay at one of Tenaya Lodge’s five dining establishments (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

Dining at Tenaya Lodge

Tenaya has five seasonal dining options that meet all tastes and budgets. From the fine-dining of Embers to the casual Timberloft Pizzeria and the outdoor patio of Jackalope’s Bar and Grill, the attention to quality and service is high. We were surprised by the variety of fresh and local food choices, and delighted by the excellent dishes.

The resort offers a buffet breakfast at Sierra’s that is excellent value. There’s a huge assortment of hot and cold breakfast favorites, fueling you with the energy you’ll need for a full day exploring Yosemite. The resort is very popular with European guests, and as such, many of the dishes and baked goods are on par with those found in a Parisian bakery.

If you’re taking the family to Yosemite, don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy the fine dining, accommodation and amenities of this excellent resort property. Tenaya Lodge makes a wonderful place to relax and play during an incredible vacation in one of America’s most iconic and beautiful public spaces.

Have you visited Yosemite? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Curious Travel Mama: Tenaya Lodge hosted my family’s stay for purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

About Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama

Claudia Laroye lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two sons. She started traveling at a very young age, and has never stopped. She’s had the fortune of visiting more than 20 countries on four continents, and has also lived abroad in Sweden. Claudia is passionate about the travel experience and the value of traveling as a family. She is the founder of, and contributes to many online and print media publications around the world. Connect with Claudia on Twitter as @travelling_mom or Instagram as @itsclaudiatravels.

  1. I looooove these majestic lodges…reminds me of Yellowstone. Adding Tenaya Lodge to my must-travel list

  2. Wilderness opportunities plus comfort. This is a great combination. It’s been over 20 years since we visited Yosemite and I think a return visit is due. The park accommodations fill up fast so this 300 room resort might be the answer. Is it walking distance from the South Gate?

    • Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama says

      Roughing it without the rough part! 😉 While you could walk to the South Gate, a car or tour bus is really necessary in my view. Getting into Yosemite Valley is about 30 minutes from the South Gate. Happy trip planning!

  3. This place sure looks interesting. Nice post indeed.

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