Checking In: Glamping at AutoCamp Yosemite

autocamp yosemite
Courtesy of AutoCamp

Home to over 1,200 square miles of protected land, Yosemite National Park is one of those places that tops bucket lists of outdoor enthusiasts of all types. Climbers, hikers, photographers, and families from across the globe travel to the Sierra Nevadas to awe at the towering granite faces, giant Sequoias, and cascading waterfalls that the park is world-famous for.

Although I grew up in California – and am in no way immune to the lure of the beauty of the park – I’ve only visited a couple of times. My reasons for the very few visitations are not due to a lack of desire, but rather a result of the challenge of finding accommodations in or near the valley – campsites book up months in advance and lodges can be very expensive and rooms difficult to acquire.

After assuming another year would pass without visiting, I stumbled upon a unique location just outside of the park: AutoCamp Yosemite.

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Courtesy of AutoCamp

AutoCamp Yosemite is a converted KOA camp near Mariposa that offers modern Airstream suites, luxury canvas tents, and even cabins. AutoCamp is glamping at its finest: it has the feel of traditional camping combined with the luxuries of a boutique hotel. Airstreams range from $229-$379 per night while tents cost $189-$279 a night, depending on the season.

The outdoor lodging company first set up camp in Santa Barbara in 2013 and then expanded to include a Russian River location in 2016. Yosemite is AutoCamp’s newest location and opened in April 2019.

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Autocamp Yosemite features 80 Airstreams, five ADA accessible suites, 15 luxury canvas tents, two cabins, and five base camps (Airstream/tent combo). The iconic Airstreams are by far the most popular option and each unit is 31-feet long, includes a full bed, pullout couch, kitchenette, spa-inspired bathroom, and a private deck with a fire pit/grill.

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AutoCamp is designed to foster community and the Yosemite location boosts a clubhouse complete with a camp store, heated pool, outdoor games, lounging areas, weekly yoga, and evening campfires.

Each morning, a complimentary breakfast is available in the clubhouse and guests gather to chat over coffee and pastries.

While there are a number of hikes located a short drive from Autocamp, Yosemite National Park is by far the biggest draw. Guests have the option of driving their personal vehicles into the park or taking one of the YARTS shuttles that pick up out of front of AutoCamp daily.

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If you’re unfamiliar with the area, or simply prefer the expertise of a guide, AutoCamp Yosemite has partnered with REI-Coop to offer guided hikes in the park. There are six hikes available to some of the park’s most iconic locations: Nevada and Vernal Falls, Taft Point and Sentinal Dome, Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Cathedral Lakes, Yosemite Mariposa Grove, and Yosemite Valley. Hikes range from easy to difficult and guests can meet their guide in the park or arrange private pick up.

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Diana Zalucky/REI

While the Nevada and Vernal Falls tour is the most popular option, my dad and I opted for an easy hike in Mariposa Grove. Our guide, Jeff, was a wealth of knowledge and shared fun facts about the local flora and fauna as we walked beneath the towering Sequoias. After completing our hike, we enjoyed a picnic lunch and swimming in the Merced before returning to AutoCamp.

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Rebecca Parsons

AutoCamp was everything we hoped it would be and more. The modern and stylish accommodations make it easy to connect with the outdoors while still enjoying the creature comforts of home.

Open year round, the camp is perfect for families, couples, dogs, and anyone looking to explore Yosemite and the surrounding area. At AutoCamp, their motto is “adventure simplified,” and we would certainly agree that they have achieved just that.

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