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Family Travel: Exploring the Redwoods & Yosemite

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Margot Black and her family decided to hit the road for a mini summer vacation, traveling from Los Angeles to the Sierra National Forest and Yosemite. At The Redwoods, they made their home in a wooden cabin, drove a beautiful Model T Ford through the forest, and took a ride on a vintage steam train.

After our last mini-vacation that took me, my husband and 5-year-old son to the coast, we decided to head inland and experience one of the natural wonders of our great country.

Our destination was The Redwoods, located in Wawona, which nudges the Sierra National Forest and is south of Yosemite Valley. This rustic resort offers year-round cabin rentals, set against the backdrop of imposing sequoias, granite monoliths and thick forests. Absolutely stunning.

We filled up our tank in Los Angeles and drove for five hours – on exactly one full tank of gas– along the 5 freeway, north out of LA, stopping only to stretch our legs twice, and so our son could run off some excess energy.

After all that free-wheeling, we checked in at wood cabin in The Redwoods. It was the first time this particular property had come onto the market; the previous owners had raised nine kids and 27 grandkids there, so we had more than enough room for our snug party of three (you could easily fit another two adults and a few kids very comfortably).

We had a outside deck, under giant shady trees complete with gas barbecue, which my Argentine meat-devouring beast of a husband made his kingdom (and that was fine by me). The cabin also boasted a fully stocked library of children’s videos and a healthy games cabinet.

The kitchen had every appliance you could wish for, making it feel like we were at home from the get-go. I loved that after a day of hiking or swimming we could relax in our pajamas and curl up on the sofa, or that I could wake up and pour myself a large mug of coffee in the morning, and not have to wrestle with a hotel buffet breakfast counter.

I have never rented a cabin for a vacation and quickly realized this was an ideal choice for a family adventure.

We were immediately struck by the forest’s beauty – after city life, it truly was a breath of fresh air and has so much to offer, not just families, but any one of any age. From the High Sierras, to the granite cliffs, sequoia groves and valleys, there’s never a dull moment. The Pioneer Yosemite History Center in Wawona is the place to go to learn more. Here, visitors can learn step back in time and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride around Wawona, while learning more about this stunning region. Home to many species including peregrine falcons yellow-bellied marmots and black bears, there are strict guidelines to follow about how to store food and the merits of using the forest shuttle instead of your car – but it’s all designed to make your stay more enjoyable.