Yosemite National Park, CA
Crown Jewel of the Sierras
If you're thinking of visiting Yosemite next summer, think again. That's when more than 1.5 million visitors descend on this popular national park. Imagine how much more enjoyable this national treasure might be in fall or spring -- without all those people!
You could hike a quarter of a mile to the base of Bridalveil Fall without first jockeying for a parking spot. Or enjoy the majestic beauty of Mirror Lake, Happy Isles, or Vernal Fall Bridge without hitting pedestrian traffic jams.
For many families, fall, winter, and spring are when Yosemite -- east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada Mountains -- is at its best. In contrast to July and August, October and November are delightfully deserted. January and February are even better times to appreciate the park's breathtaking valley, towering granite domes, and giant sequoias.