Frozen Fun in Yosemite National Park

Last Saturday we took Bridget on her second gift of experience date, Frozen Fun. We were unsure of exactly where we’d take the kids to play in the snow but we figured we would stumble upon a decent place to build snowmen and throw snow balls. Our previous two snow outing with the kids over the past couple of year basically left us playing in the snow along the sides of parking lots, so we really we were pretty easily entertained with any open area of snow 🤣. After asking around for recommendations we decided to head toward Fish Camp and possibly Yosemite to see what we could find and we seriously could not have had a better time!

As is often the case, we didn’t plan ahead for a picnic so we decided to wing it once we got up to Oakhurst and find lunch up there. A couple of our ideas didn’t pan out because of seasonal restaurants so we headed into Tenaya Lodge to see what food options they had. Now this is definitely not the budgeted route, but the Harvest and Grounds Deli in the hotel has a fantastic bag lunch option, that is perfect for hiking trips or picnics in the back of a car before playing in the snow. We each got a sandwich, chips, fruit, a cookie, and a water and it was really good! So if you don’t plan ahead (like us) and don’t mind spending a little extra, this is a great option.

With lunch figured out, it was now time to find our snowy playground. Continuing up highway 41 toward Yosemite, we saw that the snow parks that we were considering were full of people, mostly bigger kids, sledding on the newly fallen snow. So with our America the Beautiful National Parks pass we opted to venture into Yosemite and see what we could find in there. I had Wawona in mind and it did not disappoint!

As we approached the hotel property, the golf course was full of people building snowmen and sledding but pulling into the parking lot of Wawona Hotel I looked all around for signs warning that the area was closed because there was not a soul in site. The hotel closes from January to April so there were no guests or staff, but the expansive grounds in front of the hotel were still fully accessible and absolutely untouched. The snow from two days before lay softly on the grass about a foot deep and it made for a perfect winter wonderland for the kids (and us) to play in.

When we first arrived, Rob and Kellan were somewhat unenthusiastic about this giant area of snow that we had entirely to ourselves. So we discussed walking over to the golf course after playing a while in front of the hotel… but after just a few minutes of realizing all of the fun that we could have right there, neither mentioned crossing the street to the golf course again.

The powdery, untouched snow made for easy construction of Olaf-like snowmen, which was one of the main goals of our day.

The snow was also perfect for snowball fights – the main focus of Kellan’s day.

And even though we didn’t have a sled, the kids were still able to slide and roll around on the small hill just above the drained pond in the center of the hotel grounds.

It was all even more than what we had hoped to find!

After two hours of ideal Frozen Fun, we headed back down the mountain to end the date with some frozen yogurt. A sweet, though slightly chilly, ending to a nearly perfect day of frozen family fun!

Now, I think our day was partly due to luck, but I also think it could be recreated with a little bit of planning. It seemed that most people go to the snow to sled, which was not our goal. So a relatively flat open area of snow was ideal for us but not many others. Which leads me to assume that the grounds of Wawona stay fairly vacant, so if you are looking to plan a fun snow day with your littles, keep an eye on the weather and head into Yosemite after the next snow to find your own winter wonderland!

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