(Not Really) Roughing It at Housekeeping Camp
Ever dream of sleeping comfortably under the stars and waking up to a view of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world? Yes!? Then you need to go glamping in the Yosemite Valley!
Yosemite National Park is approximately a four hour drive West of San Francisco, CA and has some of the most incredible sights in the world. The park itself is MASSIVE, but a good chunk of it is easily accessible by car, shuttle or on foot. There are many accommodation options both inside and outside of the park but my favorite is a stay at Housekeeping Camp.
Housekeeping Camp is centrally located within the Yosemite Valley and gives you the roughing it experience without really having to rough it. Situated on the banks of the Merced River, each unit has three concrete walls and a fourth canvas wall with a flap and is furnished with a double bed, twin bunk beds, storage shelf, mirror, lights, a partially enclosed and covered patio with a kitchen counter & picnic table as well as an outdoor fire ring and bear locker. Oh, and did I mention electricity?! (Gotta keep those camera batteries charged! Tip: bring a power strip.) There are also bathrooms, a shower house, laundry facility and a general store on the property as well. Included in your stay are daily clean towels and soap and for an extra fee you can also rent sheets, pillows, stoves and chairs. If you book early enough you can even request a river view unit (and remember, book EARLY! All in-park accommodation books up ridiculously fast.) The units feel spacious and even though your neighbors are not too far away we never felt crowded.
Founded in 1920 as an automobile camp, they later began renting camping supplies for visitors who didn’t wish to lug in everything they needed. The units you see today began to be added in the 1960’s and currently stands 266.
One thing I found fun is everyone seems to bring things to decorate their space! We brought banners, table cloths and string lights that really made our space homey. It’s fun to take a stroll through camp to see everyone’s ideas from decor to camp games.
Housekeeping Camp is one of the only places where you are allowed to grill outdoors. We loved being able to cook all of our own meals during our stay too since park food isn’t always the best and can become tiresome and pricey after awhile. All of our breakfasts were made on our camp stove and our dinners in our fire pit. We brought with us a few dehydrated egg packs and made some delicious breakfast burritos. However we didn’t end up eating all of what be brought though because we found if we hopped on the bus for one quick stop, Degnan’s Deli served up some tasty egg, ham and cheese on croissants that we became a little obsessed with! We always packed our lunches to eat on trail, and it was so nice to have our little enclosed kitchen to prepare them. Each bathroom facility also has an outdoor kitchen sink for you to clean your dishes as well that is very convenient. Every evening of our stay ended with a roaring fire and tasty s’mores. Camping at its finest.
I mentioned earlier that each unit comes with a bear locker...and they are no joke! The park has very strict policies on storing your food and any scented items you might have with you when they are not being used. The bears in the area have become a little too friendly and smart when it comes to finding human items, so nothing can be kept in your tent unit and is suggested not to be kept in your car either. There are Camp Hosts that come around a few times each day to make sure you’re having a good stay and to make sure you’re also closing that bear locker. The garbage and recycling containers in the camp are also bear proof and open with a latch. That being said, we were pretty ok with never seeing a bear.
That doesn’t mean we didn’t see any wildlife at camp though! Squirrels always seem to be near by and curious....and hungry. A few mornings we saw deer, coyotes and tons of birds. We did have a raccoon give us a little scare one night. We had seen one walking around the perimeter a few nights but it never bothered us. One night I awoke to see the flap of the tent open and in walks the raccoon. I may have screamed RACCOON and scared everyone else in my tent, but it also startled the raccoon and he eventually found the flap again and promptly left never to return! We checked the tent to make sure we didn’t forget any snacks or scented items that should be in the bear locker in case any larger animals came exploring in the dark, but didn’t find anything. Guess the little guy just wanted to say Hi!
Being located in the Valley also situates you near a lot of points of interest and trail-heads. There is a free shuttle that runs through the valley and you can hop on and off all day. It’s really convenient especially with the car traffic within to be able to get around quickly and not have to worry about directions. The shuttle runs in one direction, but certain stops have buses going in both directions so you can hop off and grab the shuttle across the way to cut some time off your trip. There is a little marina located right up the road from camp that will rent tubes for a nice little float on the river, right passed your unit.
Whether it’s your first visit or your 100th I highly recommend Housekeeping Camp, and blending a little glamour with camping in one of America's most scenic destinations. It strikes the perfect balance between being in the outdoors but still having a comfortable and good nights sleep.
Housekeeping Camp: Open May-October. 4pm Check-in; 11am Check-out
9005 Southside Drive, Yosemite Village, CA 95389
For reservations: http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/housekeeping-camp/
Sometimes grabbing a reservation can be tough, but there is always a chance of a last minute cancellation, so call for the most up to date availability.