It’s hard to be in the moment these days when there’s an almost-gravitational pull to look at the news on our phones for the one-billionth time. But one of the most powerful lessons we’ve learned while traveling is how valuable it is to immerse ourselves in the experience at hand. To refocus your attention away from the news, here are 8 exceptional ways to have fun and be present, Yosemite-style.
We independently source all of the products that we feature. If you buy from the links on our site, we may receive an affiliate commission, which in turn supports our work.
Do A Puzzle
Focus your attention on putting together a gorgeous image of the Yosemite Valley shot from the Merced River in Yosemite National Park. This 1,000-piece puzzle will keep you occupied while giving you a glimpse of arguably the most beautiful view in the park.
Immerse Yourself in a Book (or two)
Curl up with Ansel Adams’ Yosemite: The Special Edition Prints, a book of stunning photographs taken in Yosemite National Park by Ansel Adams. This 160-page book is written by Pete Souza, chief official White House photographer for President Obama, and Alan Ross is an internationally acclaimed artist whose expert knowledge of Ansel Adams’ approach and technique is, in part, from direct experience. Ross served as Adams’ photographic assistant from 1974 to 1979. In 1975, Adams personally appointed Ross to be the exclusive printer of the Yosemite Special Edition negatives.
Or spend some time with John Muir, the man who helped create Yosemite National Park and founded the Sierra Club. Sparking a movement to preserve nature that exists to this day, Muir’s writings in Essential Muir: A Selection of John Muir’s Best Writings capture his passion for nature and places like Yosemite.
Dive into the Climbing Culture
Whether you’re a rock climber or not, watch with Amazon Prime, rent or buy the film Valley Uprising, a great window into Yosemite’s famed rock climbing culture spanning more than 50 years. You’ll see original footage from the park’s earliest climbers all the way to present day, including the climbing community’s somewhat uneasy relationship with the park service.
Get in touch with your artistic side with the stunning The National Parks Coloring Book by Jen Racine. You’ll feel like an artiste as you work on these pages featuring 24 of the most popular national parks in the country.
Ignite Your Child’s Imagination
Are your kids complaining about being bored? Let them take themselves on a virtual trip to 20 national parks with National Parks of the U.S.A. Kids ages 6-9 will love this beautiful, award-winning hardcover book by Kate Silber and illustrated by Chris Turnham, which covers 20 national parks with gorgeous maps, illustrations and fun trivia about the animals and flowers that inhabit the parks. It’s available in hard cover.
Play a National Parks Board Game
Looking for an award-winning board games that highlights the amazing national parks across the country? Play Trekking the National Parks, in which players compete for points by claiming park cards and collecting trail stones as they travel across the country, stopping at national parks along the way. Every park card has a beautiful park photo accompanied by an interesting fact, inspiring and educating players.
Laugh Out Loud
Order Subpar Parks: America’s Most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors. This gorgeous book is from the wildly popular creator of @subparparks (https://www.instagram.com/subparparks/) and features illustrated one-star reviews of over 75 our nation’s national parks along with informative text, anecdotes and tips from park rangers and more.
Dream with Our Magazine
Want to see a park map, pour over the details of five epic road trips to Yosemite and discover all the great things to do on the way? Read National Park Journal, Yosemite, that includes a panoramic, fold-out poster of the park in the center of the magazine.