9 Unusual Places to Stay Near Yosemite National Park

Don’t let your trip to Yosemite sound just like your neighbors’ vacation. Set it apart by staying at some of the fantastic and unusual lodging options along the way.
By Staff,

You can stay in B&B that gives Model T tours, find yourself at an Art Deco resort, or reminisce in a restored travel trailer. Here are our top nine places to stay in the Yosemite area, if you are seeking unforgettable, adventurous experiences.

1. Glamp in a Classic Avion Trailer

A restored classic Avion trailer at Yosemite Pines RV Resort & Family Lodging. Courtesy photo

Do you want to relive some of your childhood vacation memories? Yosemite Pines RV Resort will set you up in a mid-century trailer with nostalgic furnishings. You can pick from classic trailers that have been carefully restored, or stay in a brand-new trailer with retro-styling. You'll have all of the fun without having to drive a trailer up Highway 120.

For more information:
Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging
209-962-7690
20450 Old Highway 120, Groveland, CA 95321
yosemitepinesrv.com

2. Get a Tour in a Model T with Your Room

Two miles from the south entrance to Yosemite, you'll find the Tin Lizzy Inn B&B and Model T. The Victorian home is true to the 1890s with original stain-glass windows, ornate fireplace mantels, claw-foot tubs, and pull-chain toilets. There are actually two antique automobiles, a Model T and a Model A. They aren't just for show. Each guest gets a ride around the tiny town of Fish Camp, the southern gateway to Yosemite. Want to drive the car yourself? It's available for rent as a package with your room.

For more information:
Tin Lizzy Inn
559-641-7731
7730 Laurel Way, Fish Camp, CA 93623
www.tinlizzieinn.com

3. Old-time Resort and Spa with Art Deco Flair

Bug sculpture at Yosemite Bug Hostel. Photo by Orin Zebest via Flickr

Some call it a resort and spa. Others, a hostel. One thing for sure is that it's unique. The Yosemite Bug is a magical place 26 miles from Yosemite on Highway 140. It features a wild variety of lodging from tent cabins, to bunkhouse dormitories, to private hotel rooms, a hand-crafted homesteader house, and a barn studio apartment. The Bug also has venues for live concerts, weddings, yoga, and classes. All this among whimsical artwork of bugs, a spring-fed hot tub, and an organic kitchen, the June Bug Cafe.

For more information:
Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort
866.826.7108
6979 Highway 140, Midpines, CA 95345
www.yosemitebug.com

4. Christmas Spirit All Year Long

The Christmas Cabin at Yosemite's Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals. Courtesy photo

Many park visitors don't realize that there are private cabins for rent inside Yosemite. In the Wawona area near the Mariposa Sequoia Grove are dozens of vacation rentals including the Christmas Cabin. The red-roofed, red-door home has a holiday theme with stockings hanging on the stair railing, plaid tree-adorned bed quilts, and even more red accents throughout. But the decorations are tasteful giving it a warm and welcome feeling for a family gathering any time of year.

For more information:
Christmas Cabin at Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders Vacation Rentals
888-967-3648
7413 Yosemite Park Way, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
www.scenicwonders.com/yosemite-rentals/christmas-cabin

5. Ski to a Backcountry Hut

Glacier Point Ski Hut in Yosemite. Photo courtesy of DNC

Winter visitors with an appetite for cross-country skiing should check out the two ski huts inside Yosemite. After a 10.5-mile trek to reach the Glacier Point Ski Hut you'll have breath-taking views overlooking Yosemite Valley and Half Dome. If you spring for the sleeping bag rental, it will be waiting for you at the hut. The historic Ostrander Ski Hut is also a 10-mile swish but it has steep slopes above Ostrander Lake that require experience and endurance. This hut is so popular that there is a lottery in November.

For more information:

Glacier Point Ski Hut
888-413-8869
www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/glacier-point-ski-hut

Ostrander Ski Hut
209-379-5161
www.yosemiteconservancy.org/ostrander-ski-hut

Related story: Backcountry Huts for X-country Skiers and Snowshoers

6. Stay in an Old Gold Rush Town

Vacationers board the stagecoach at Columbia State Park in California. Photo by Michael Sharps

The town of Columbia is a living gold-rush town encompassing Columbia State Historic Park. Imagine riding a time machine back to the 1850s and experiencing gold panning, blacksmithing, and stagecoach rides. That's Columbia. There are two 19th-century hotels and three charming cottages available to visitors. The rooms are as true to period as possible while still being comfortable. Enjoy antique furniture, lithographs on the wall, and authentic decor. But forget about the outhouse. Each room has a half bath with a shower room down the hall.

For more information:
Columbia State Historic Park Hotel and 3 Cottages
209-532-1479
22768 Main Street, Columbia, CA
www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com/business-directory/1272/columbia-city-hotels/

7. Charming 100-year-old Toll Station Across from Salty Lake Sculptures

Hammond Station at Tioga Lodge in Lee Vining. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski

On the eastern edge of Yosemite near Tioga Pass, stay in the little burb of Lee Vining. You'll notice the pretty white-fenced Tioga Lodge right across the highway from Mono Lake, a salt water pond with tall protruding tufa formations. The resort is made up of two buildings relocated from a nearby ghost town and several old-time vacation cabins. While eating at the restaurant, ask the staff to tell you the story of how it started as a toll station and became an early-century fine dining establishment with tuxedoed waiters. Today the atmosphere is a bit more casual. The cabins have retained their rustic cottage charm with no telephones, televisions, or air conditioning. At the high altitude, ceiling fans are usually all the cooling you need.

For more information:
Tioga Lodge at Mono Lake
(619) 320-8868
54411 US-395, Lee Vining, CA 93541
www.tiogalodgeatmonolake.com

8. Turn-of-the-century Guest Rooms

The town of Jamestown is known for its train museum, antique shops, and Gold-Rush history. It's only fitting that the luxurious National Hotel calls it home. Established in 1859, the historic hotel will make you feel like you struck it rich. The brass beds, pull-chain toilets, ornate papered walls, and a balcony overlooking Main Street take you back to a time when they knew how to pamper travelers. Try the Soaking Room with an antique claw-foot tub sized for two.

For more information:
National Hotel & Restaurant
800-894-3446
18183 Main Street, Jamestown, CA 95327
www.national-hotel.com

9. Crazy About Apples

In an organic apple orchard south of Yosemite National Park is the Apple Blossom Inn. Johnny Appleseed couldn't love apples more than the owner of this bed and breakfast who themed each room with an apple theme such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious. If you wake to the smell of baked apples, it's not a dream. The inn's kitchen is busy making flower-shaped Apple Blossom Pancakes, Cheesy Apple Blossom Quiche, Apple Cider Sausages, or Candy Apple French Toast for breakfast. The later is named after the owner, Candy Arthur.

For more information:
Apple Blossom Inn Yosemite
(559) 642-2001
44606 Silver Spur Trail, Ahwahnee, CA 93601
www.appleblossombb.com