Staying in a Tent Cabin in Curry Village Yosemite

Yosemite was top of the list when we decided to visit California with the teens. Mr CW and I had been before but had left it too late to book anywhere in the valley. Not this time, we would be organised. We would wake up and see the sheer cliffs rearing up in front of us. Staying in a Tent Cabin in Curry Village Yosemite is a bit like staying in a cross between a tent and a hotel room.

View of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View
Yosemite Valley Tunnel view

Planning the perfect Yosemite family holiday

Let me start this tale by telling you that Mr CW hates camping. Here is everything you need to know about booking a harmonious family stay in Yosemite valley. Plan ahead and book early. In January we decided where to go. Mr CW just had to book his leave. Whilst he does that I’ll take you through the accommodation options in Yosemite Valley.

Accommodation in Yosemite Valley

You can stay in tiptop super duper luxury in Yosemite Valley and you can can camp, with options in between. We booked using the Yosemite Park website, which also had details of accommodation elsewhere in the Park.

Ahwahnee Hotel (aka Majestic Yosemite Hotel)

Let’s start with the budget blowing option. The Ahwahnee Hotel opened in 1927 and is not only an extremely grand hotel but also a National Historic Monument. We opted to have breakfast and gawp at the public rooms. This was not included in our plans due to budgetary constraints but one day I will return and cross country ski from here. Prices start from $376 a room and wend their way upwards.

Ahwahnee Hotel

Yosemite Falls Lodge (aka Yosemite Valley Lodge)

Yosemite Falls Lodge is the perfect place to stay with families. There are comfortable en suite family rooms and a swimming pool. This perfection means that you need to book at least year in advance if you are travelling during the school holidays. We were not this organised. Had we been organised rooms start at $229.

Housekeeping Camp

In the Housekeeping Camp you stay in a three-sided concrete structure with a canvas roof. There are beds but you provide your own bedding. This was never an option for us because the bedding would have taken up valuable suitcase space.

Curry Village (aka Half Dome Village)

Curry Village has two types of accommodation. Motel style rooms that come with or without en suite bathrooms and tent cabins that come with or without heating. When we first looked family en suite motel rooms were available. By the time Mr CW had confirmed his leave we were left with a heated tent cabin. Heated tent cabins cost from $152 a night.

Row of white tent cabins Curry Village Yosemite
Curry Village

So you are staying in a Curry Village Cabin Tent: what can you expect?

I will not pretend that the discussions were not fraught in the CW family over whether or not we should stay in a Cabin Tent or somewhere outside Yosemite completely. I confess that finding information about what we would actually find was vanishingly hard to find, hence this guide.

What you get in a Curry Village Cabin Tent

We had a family tent with one double bed and two singles. When you arrive sheets, blankets and pillow cases are neatly folding on your beds. You need to make you own bed. Towels are also provided.

One double bed, two single beds interior family tent cabin Curry Village Yosemite
Inside Curry Village Cabin Tent
Bear lockers in Yosemite

Outside your tent is a large metal bear locker. This is not for keeping bears in but rather keeping bears away from tempting morsels. All food must be kept in the bear locker, as must all toiletries. A bear just smells tantalising stuff, it makes no differentiation between toothpaste and honey. Do not think that you can keep these things in your car: a bear would rip your car apart like a paperbag to get at them. On the Yosemite website it said that food should be kept in a cooler. This caused me much worry before we arrived. People did arrive with bear locker sized coolers but they had driven from their homes, not flown half way round the world. In the end though, all we had was some biscuits and the necessities to make sandwiches which did not require a cooler. What you will need is a padlock for your bear locker.

Green bear proof locker
Bear proof locker …. don’t forget your padlock
Are there electric sockets in a Curry Village Cabin Tent?

It depends. If you have an unheated option then no. Make sure you bring a power pack. You will have a light but no socket. In the heated tents there is one socket, this means a strict timetable to ensure that all phones and cameras get charged.

Where do I keep my valuables in Curry Village?

One thing I wasn’t expecting in our cabin tent was a safe, but I was wrong. We stowed our laptops, tablets and passports in the safe whilst we were out and about exploring Yosemite.

Safe in Curry Village Yosemite
Safe
Do you need to bring a sleeping bag to Curry Village?

Take a sleeping bag, somebody told me. I rang Curry Village and they told me, no I did not need a sleeping bag. We stayed at the beginning of July, when we arrived in the late afternoon our tent was stiflingly hot. When we woke, jet lagged, at silly o’clock in the morning we were freezing. With hindsight we should have packed a thermal base layer to wear in bed. Friends stayed just a couple of weeks later and had no issues with the cold.

Curry Village Curfew

Well not a curfew but a quiet time. The thing with tents is that the walls are not very thick and sound travels. Having a party tent next door would be no fun. You are expected to be quiet between 10pm and 6am.

Camp rules text on back on tent cabin door with other curry village tent cabins in background
Camp Rules

Showers at Curry Village

Memories of shower blocks from childhood caravan holidays did not fill us with joy at the thought of using the communal shower block. We need not have worried, they were clean and spacious. Soap and shampoo are provided.

Is there wifi in Curry Village?

Hmmmm …. in theory yes, in the Curry Village Guest Lounge. In reality it is extremely patchy.

Wooden Guest Lounge building Yosemite
Curry Village Guest Lounge
What else will I find in the Curry Village Guest Lounge.

There is a wrap-around porch with tempting rocking chairs. These rocking chairs are so tempting that I never saw an empty one. Inside there are large comfy-looking chairs, they might have been comfy years ago but are in need of refurbishment. There are ceiling fans but they were not working when we were staying meaning that the room was extremely stuffy.

Curry Village Swimming Pool

In the heart of Curry Village there is a swimming pool, perfect for relaxing after a long day hiking. Adults pay $5 for a day and children under 12 $3. We didn’t swim in the pool as I prefer wild swimming. If you opt for wild swimming take care and heed warnings about dangerous places to swim.

Swimming pool with Yosemite valley in background
Curry Village Swimming Pool

Where to eat in Curry Village

Cooking is not allowed in Curry Village. There is a supermarket where you can buy cold things to make into salads or sandwiches. Ice is also available to use in your bear locker-sized cooler to keep your drinks cool. In the centre of Curry Village there is a cluster of places to eat.

Curry Village Ice Cream and Coffee Corner

Unsurprisingly this is the place to get coffee and ice cream. It is open from 6am in the morning to 11pm at night.

Curry Village Pavillion

This vast wood panelled dining room is the place to get breakfast and hot evening meals. Everything is on a self-serve basis. We at breakfast here but the teens never fancied the evening offerings. It also has quite short opening times 7am – 10am for breakfast and 5.30pm to 8.30pm for dinner.

Wood panelled dining room Curry Village Yosemite
Curry Village Pavilion Dining Room

Curry Village Pizza Patio and Bar

Pizza and beer are the order of the day here. Be warned, come early or be prepared to queue. Prices looked steep until we looked at the size of a large pizza and realised that it would easily feed the four of us for $20. We stayed three nights in Yosemite and ate pizza twice. You can eat pizzas from 5pm to 9pm during the week and from midday at the weekend.

Meadow Grill

Everything grilled is on offer here. Hamburgers, fish burgers, chips. We ate here once, it was OK but the pizza was better. The grill is open from 11am to 5pm.

Wooden church Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley Church

Ahwahnee Hotel

OK, so the Ahwahnee Hotel is not in Curry Village. It is however only a short hop away on the free shuttle bus. The Ahwahnee Dining room is worth seeing full stop. It is vast. 130 feet long, 51 feed wide with its lofty beamed 34 foot ceiling supported by vast rock columns. For dinner you need to dress in an appropriate manner, so we went for breakfast. We opted for the buffet breakfast at $29 for adult and $14.50 for children. To be honest I have eaten better breakfasts but rarely in such a sumptuous setting.

Large stone and wood formal dining room Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite
Ahwahnee Dining Room

Parking at Curry Village

There is a vast car park right next to the Cabin Tents, be warned that it may be vast but it is also available to all visitors to Yosemite and fills up during the day. We arrived, parked the car and then used the free shuttle bus to get around the valley.

Tip of Yosemite half dome glowing red at sunset
Half Dome Sunset

Yosemite Valley Shuttle Bus

Once you have arrived there is no need to move your car to explore the Yosemite Valley. Indeed taking your car is a recipe for bad temper. The progress around the valley one way system is very, very slow. Once you arrive at the place to want to see or start your hike parking will be horrendous. Free shuttle buses make their way around the valley floor, stopping at all the places you are likely to want to see. They have special bus lanes and so don’t get snarled up in ordinary traffic. You will not have to park. We never had to wait more than five minutes for a bus.

Valley Visitor Shuttle bus Yosemite Valley amid trees
Yosemite Valley Shuttle Bus
Staying in Curry Village Yosemite everything you need to now about staying in a tent cabin in Curry Village, is there wifi, are there electrical sockets, it it cold? #Yosemite #FamilyTravel #TravelTips #NationalParks

What to bring to Curry Village

Some people arrived with huge cars filled with vast coolers, camping chairs and big fluffy blankets. I don’t deny that I envied the fluffy blankets but you don’t actually NEED them. Here is my Curry Village packing list for what you will need in addition to your hiking gear.

  • Padlock for the bear locker
  • Head torch for those late night trips to the shower block
  • Flip flops to wear around the shower block
  • Refillable water bottle, there are water fountains around the village
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun tan lotion
  • Thermal base layer to sleep in
  • Books and a pack of cards, with patchy wifi and limited charging facilities old fashioned entertainment is the order of the day
  • Power pack to keep your camera topped up with power during the day

We ended our Californian road trip with a stay in San Francisco click here to find out about our adventures.

Suitcases and Sandcastles
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22 Comments

  1. November 21, 2019 / 3:00 pm

    Did you know Steve Jobs was married at the Ahwanhee?

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 21, 2019 / 3:04 pm

      No I didn’t but I am adding that nugget to my store of fabulous facts

  2. November 21, 2019 / 3:48 pm

    Ha ha I love your comment about the bear locker. It looks surprisingly comfortable but I think I would have to book early and go for the Yosemite Falls Lodge although that Ahwahnee Hotel looks fabulous for a splurge. Will be looking out for more content on Yosemite as it’s one place I really want to go

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 21, 2019 / 6:57 pm

      Looking forward to the splurge when we are only paying for two of us!

  3. Maddie
    November 21, 2019 / 4:14 pm

    Excellent post and fabulous scenery but….Bear Locker. Hmmm. I think I’ll stay at the Ahwanhee.

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 21, 2019 / 6:56 pm

      We didn’t see any actual bears

  4. November 21, 2019 / 4:32 pm

    I’ve heard so much about how early one needs to book to visit the US National Parks. We’re heading to the West coast next year and are renting an RV for a couple of weeks. I feel like I need to get started making my list of sites to camp at! Yosemite looks amazing – that view of tunnel valley would keep me happy for hours. #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 21, 2019 / 6:55 pm

      We would have had a far wider selection of accommodation if we had started to plan in November rather than January

  5. November 22, 2019 / 8:35 am

    What a fantastic and comprehensive guide, Catherine. I must admit I initially thought I was going to be reading about a park with Indian food on offer…which would have been interesting given the close proximity in which everyone sleeps! I don’t think I would sleep a wink at thr thought of Mr and Mrs Bear popping in for a nightcap. #farawayfiles

  6. Clare Thomson
    November 22, 2019 / 3:28 pm

    I can’t believe you have to put all your food and smellies in a padlocked bear locker! Those bears must be really persistent. It looks like a good option for staying right inside Yosemite. Who are these people organised enough to book their holidays a whole year in advance?! Not me for sure. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 22, 2019 / 3:46 pm

      I thought we were being super organised starting in January!

  7. Alma
    November 23, 2019 / 12:34 pm

    It sounds much like monkey-proofing our tents and chalets at our national parks, although I think I would be far more scared of a bear! I must admit (she says sheepishly) that the most I know about Yosemite is through Dennis the Menace comics that I read while growing up! Yes, I know, it is shocking and I hope to remedy that one day.

  8. November 23, 2019 / 12:56 pm

    This brings back so many lovely memories of my two previous visits. The Curry Village looks like a really great option for being in the heart of the action.

  9. November 27, 2019 / 3:08 am

    I would not have imagined a tent to be this luxurious. I’m not quite convinced I would choose this over a hotel outside Yosemite, but you’ve given me a clear idea of what to expect. And you can always visit the nearby Awhanhee! #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 27, 2019 / 10:53 am

      We’ve stayed on the outskirts before and waking up in the Valley is amazing

  10. November 27, 2019 / 11:01 pm

    I loved this post Catherine! Lots of really helpful info – especially the booking early. I think I’d quite like the posh tent option for a couple of nights just to be able to wake up on site. The only thing that might hold me back is the possibility of bumping into a bear on that late night trip to the shower block! #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      Author
      November 27, 2019 / 11:25 pm

      I think it would have to be a really brave bear to come so near to so many people

  11. December 4, 2019 / 12:26 pm

    How interesting that the bears will go for toothpaste as well as food, I hadn’t realised they were like that. I would love to go to Yosemite, looking forward to hearing more about that part of your trip.

    • Catherine
      Author
      December 4, 2019 / 1:22 pm

      Yosemite is awesome, I would love to see it in the winter as well

  12. pigeonpairandme
    December 4, 2019 / 8:35 pm

    I wonder how many people wake up to find bears prowling around the tents?? Much as I’d love to stay in one of the lavish hotels, there must be something special about being so close to the elements in the tents. I’m glad it turned out ok in the end.

    • Catherine
      Author
      December 4, 2019 / 8:53 pm

      It was very special, even Mr CW enjoyed it

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