Savor Summer Under the Stars at Yosemite
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Phone: (209) 372-0200
http://www.nps.gov/yose

Drive in to less crowded campgrounds outside the valley.

Few things are more breathtaking than a starry summer night in the High Sierra, the sky filled with an impossible number of twinkling constellations. While hotels and rooftops certainly have their place, why not opt for a snug campsite in one of the world's most spectacular destinations in the Sierra--and the world--Yosemite National Park .

This World Heritage Site has several drive-in campsites to consider in summer. If you want to stay in the valley you'll likely need to book months in advance. Instead, consider venturing to less crowded camping options, such as the White Wolf Campground, nestled in a wildflower dotted subalpine meadow ringed by lodgepole pine forests at 8,000 feet. A nice touch--you can take advantage of meals served at the nearby White Wolf Lodge (open early July to mid-September), which dishes up delicious breakfasts, box lunches, and dinners.

Two more high-country options for car camping off Tioga Road (State 120) include Porcupine Flat, which often tends to have spaces available longer than the other campgrounds, and it has great access to stunning alpine hikes. Yosemite Creek Campground is a 5-mile drive off the Tioga Rd., but it delivers the most seclusion of any drive-in campground in the park.

Tip: All three campgrounds are first come, first serve. If you show up at the 10 a.m., checkout time for campers from the night before, you'll have the best shot at getting a choice campsite.