8308 Wawona Rd, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
Photo courtesy of Yosemite Hospitality
Wawona HotelFormerly the Big Trees Lodge, this National Historic Landmark opened in 1856—more than 30 years before Yosemite became a national park—to accommodate tourists visiting the giant sequoias in nearby Mariposa Grove. On the exterior, broad wrap-around porches with Adirondack chairs welcome guests to take in the manicured grounds and forest beyond. Inside, period furnishings and Victorian details transport visitors back in time to the California Gold Rush. Of the 104 rooms set among six buildings, 50 have private baths; the rest share. Almost all rooms have access to a porch, though, in keeping with the era, there are no TVs or telephones. Open from March through November, the hotel is convenient for skiing and snowshoeing in winter. Come summer, there’s a nine-hole golf course (in operation since 1918), a swimming pool, a hot tub, tennis courts, and horseback riding. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the spacious, sunny dining room; when the weather’s warm, guests can also enjoy their meals outside on the veranda. If you’re visiting in the summer, plan your trip around the Saturday night barbecues, served chuck-wagon-style with an entrée, unlimited side dishes, and dessert.