Destination: Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the more popular destinations people take their rented GoSilver Airstreams. From our shop in San Jose it is about a 3.5 to 4 hour drive, but that’s worth it for the opportunity to be surrounded by completely breath-taking scenery like the photo above. The scale and majesty of these granite cliffs and waterfalls cannot be captured by photos (though of course we tried). But you really have to see Yosemite for yourself to appreciate its beauty.
First a note on the drive to Yosemite from our San Jose shop: you can follow directions via Google Maps or Apple Maps until you get to CA-120E. You will be on Hwy 120 for about 60 miles when the maps app will tell you to turn right onto Old Priest Grade. And this is important: for all those towing trailers DO NOT go on Old Priest Grade. This route is a shortcut meant for cars only. Instead all those towing trailers should stay on the CA-120E. We’ve had a couple of our customers go on Old Priest Grade and even though they made it, it was a white-knuckled experience which we would not recommend to anyone. Hwy 120 isn’t exactly a walk in the park either but if logging trucks can make their way up and down this road, so can Airstream towers.
Along Hwy 120 from Groveland to Yosemite, there are a handful of RV parks and campgrounds you can stay at. But to make it easy for you guys, we’ve checked them all out and here are our recommendations (and just to note our top recommendations are Yosemite Lakes RV resort if you want hook-ups and Dimond-O Campground if you can do without hook-ups).
RV Parks with full hook-ups
Yosemite Lakes RV Resort: We recommend this park for beginner Airstreamers or for those who want the glamping, rather than camping experience (i.e. no “roughing it” required). This RV resort is a part of the Thousand Trails RV park collective (which requires a membership), but they also have quite a few spots available for non-members as well. These spots are pretty close together but do come with full hook-ups and the whole RV resort is fairly well maintained. The biggest bonus is that this is the closest RV park to Yosemite with full hook-ups (it’s only 9 minutes away from the park entrance). But also be aware that this RV resort is very popular with families and can be quite crowded during peak season.
Yosemite Ridge Resort: This is another great option for those who are looking for an RV park with full hook-ups. This RV resort is quite a bit smaller than Yosemite Lakes with only 15 spaces. But that also means there are no large crowds unlike the RV park above. This RV resort also has a pool, its own gas station, general store and restaurant. But in exchange for these amenities you’re further from Yosemite park entrance (about 17 minutes), and there are no fire pits at this resort.
Yosemite Pines: Another RV park with full hook-ups on HWY 120 is Yosemite Pines, which is the closest to Groveland (with its restaurants, bars and grocery markets) but it’s the furthest from the Yosemite National Park entrance (about 28 minutes away). This RV park has about 200 sites with both full and partial hook-ups. There is also a general store, pool, petting zoo, and other fun activities for families with kids. Each site comes with a fire pit as well. We stayed here during our short trip to Yosemite but we weren’t a fan of the really close sites and the fact that there are quite a few people who live long-term at the park.
Campgrounds with no hook-ups
Dimond-O Campground: For those who are a bit more adventurous or experienced with towing & backing up we highly recommend this campground that is just 15 minutes away from the park entrance. There are only 38 sites here so reserve as soon as you know your vacation plans (one customer said she had to book as soon as the reservation window opened for the date she wanted, which is 6 months in advance. And this is particularly true if you’re looking to book during peak season which is April to September). Also, we advise those with towing and particularly backing up experience with trailers come to this campground because most of these sites are back-in (but of course we’ll send you off with some walkie-talkies if you and your travel partner are feeling up to the challenge). And last but not least, this is a campground so there’s no hook-ups. Read what it means to dry-camp here (and we recommend renting a generator for those camping here). But in exchange for these challenges, you’re rewarded with a secluded and private campground surrounded by trees and it’s quite possibly the most serene and beautiful campsite on HWY 120. And like I said you’re only 15 minutes from the park entrance.
Sweet Water Campground: This is a good option for those who are willing to rough it but aren’t quite there yet with their Airstream backing skills. This campsite, which is 13 minutes away from the park entrance has 14 sites, some of which are pull-through. Again because space is limited you will need to make reservations far in advance. We would advise also bringing a generator to this campground to make the most of your Airstream camping experience. This campsite is located in a large cleared area so there’s not as much privacy from your neighbors, but some of the campsites have clear and beautiful views of the surrounding forest.
The Pines Campground: This campground is the smallest and furthest from the park entrance (21 minutes), but is located in the Stanislaus National Forest and comes its own hiking trails. There are only 12 sites but there is also a group camping option that can be great for large parties. Open year-around and reservations are highly recommended.
We do not recommend staying at Lost Claim Campground due to the narrowness and bumpiness of the roads within the campground.
And last but not least, camping inside Yosemite National Park is also a great option. You can find the details about camping in the National Park here. Sites for RVs (described as both RV non-electric and Standard non-electric) book up quick so we recommend making reservations as soon as they open up (5 months in advance). You can find information about making reservations here.