Things to Do in Yosemite Besides Hiking

While the trails are a major draw for families visiting Yosemite, the area offers many things to do in Yosemite besides hiking. In fact, this vacation destination includes options for everyone, whether you’re a nature lover, fitness buff, or you simply want to relax and enjoy time with your family. 

Staying at Rush CreekEvergreen Lodge, or Firefall Ranch makes any vacation entertaining and enjoyable whether you hit the trails or not. The fabulous selection of accommodations from vintage Yosemite cabins to hillside Yosemite villas, the beautiful scenery, and the wide variety of things to do beyond hiking make either resort the perfect base for an unforgettable vacation.

Though the Yosemite hiking tours are fabulous, if you’re short on time, you have little children in tow, or you’re simply looking for things for non-hikers to enjoy, these activities will keep everyone having fun from day one.

1 | Daily Resort Activities

Family at Evergreen Lodge.

Trade in your morning hike for a daily dose of other fun activities. When you arrive at Evergreen Lodge or Rush Creek you’ll receive a calendar of free and paid things to do for the week of your stay. These all-ages activities include crafts, nature talks, stargazing, family bingo and trivia, s’mores around the outdoor fireplace, and more. Evergreen also has events for adults, such as a Speakeasy Night at the Tavern.

2 |Pool Time

Besides hiking, hanging at the pool is a favorite thing for families to do. The water amenities at Rush Creek and Evergreen are a treat for everyone. The Evergreen swimming pool is a 2,000-square-foot saltwater pool set in a relaxing forest retreat. Adults love the hot tub and pool bar, and there’s a large shallow area for kids to play. Rush Creek also has a fabulous pool area, complete with a 2,400-square-foot saltwater pool that’s heated and open year-round, a pool bar, family-friendly hot tub, plus a spa just for adults. 

3| Outdoor Games & Activities

Evergreen Lodge offers many other things to do outdoors besides guided hikes. You’ll find activities sprinkled throughout the property, delighting anyone who happens upon them. Explore the grounds to find loads of outdoor fun, including bocce ball, horseshoes, a life-size chess set, and a kids’ zipline! And Rush Creek’s playground isn’t to be missed: The one-of-a-kind nature-oriented playground and play area feature zip lines, a giant rope swing, an explorer’s tunnel, and more.

4 | Non-Hiking Yosemite Tours

Horseback riding in Yosemite.

Touring Yosemite without hiking? You bet! Rush Creek and Evergreen Lodge offer tours to explore Yosemite in new ways, including horseback riding. These tours can accommodate kids as young as two so the entire family can ride along. Other things to do besides hiking include Yosemite flight tours, aerial explorations of the Sierra Nevada wilderness from the air, and the off-road jeep tours where you can hit the trails in a whole new way with your family.

5| Spa Days

Relieve stress, relax, and work on your wellness at the on-site spa at Rush Creek or enjoy a therapeutic massage at Evergreen. Both properties offer innovative amenities and natural treatments that will leave you feeling transformed. Get an individual spa treatment or check out the Rush Creek daily use package or the wellness massage treatments at Evergreen Lodge. 

6| Stargazing Tours

Stargazing is a nature-inspired activity you can do without hiking up a mountain top. The naturalist-led stargazing tour at Evergreen affords you a guide, star charts, and a telescope to view the night sky. Learn about constellations and observe planets, star clusters, and galaxies. This experience is available in the spring and fall and costs $35 for adults and $25 for kids 15 and under. 

7| Rent Bikes, Paddleboards & Snowshoes

A group taking a selfie while snowshoeing in Yosemite.

There are plenty of things to do outside besides hiking, and the equipment rentals at Rush Creek and Evergreen Lodge make sure everyone finds something to enjoy. Take a bike ride to a local river or swimming hole, or check out the trails at Rush Creek. Rent paddle boards and spend the day at Cherry Lake, or take advantage of a fresh snowfall by renting snowshoes to explore the grounds. Rush Creek rental equipment and Evergreen Lodge rentals and day use items are available at the Rec Center rental desks. Prices vary by equipment type, and security deposits are required. 

8 | Hike-Free Exercise Classes

Get exercise beyond hiking at Rush Creek’s fitness classes. These on-site, instructor-led fitness sessions are a fun way to stay active. Yoga classes are available to all skill levels, ages 12 and up. The outdoor classes are even more relaxing when you watch the sun setting over the mountains, and when combined with fluid breathing, will refresh you in no time. Yoga costs $35 per person for a 60-minute class. 

Add the Rush Creek BOGAFit classes to your itinerary if hiking tours aren’t for you. This aquatic exercise is a cross between paddle boarding and yoga and takes place on the Rush Creek saltwater pool. BOGA is a practice that builds balance and strength, and the addition of water makes it challenging in a new way. Classes are open to anyone age 5 and up who knows how to swim. The 50-minute sessions are $35 per person.

9 | Live Music & Entertainment

When you need things to do in the evening, the entertainment at Yosemite resorts provides a relaxing end to an active day outside. Evergreen Lodge offers free seasonal live music and events. Dance or sing along to bluegrass, soul, rock, or disco performed by local and regional bands. Head to The Tavern at Rush Creek for nighttime theme parties, karaoke, or just to enjoy a bite from their late-night menu and a specialty cocktail. 

10 | Board Games on the Main Plaza

Instead of hiking another trail, head to the main plaza at Evergreen Lodge for some relaxing family time. Hanging at this spot is a favorite thing for families to do in any season. The Sun Deck kids’ play area is nearby so the little ones can dig in the sandbox, climb, and explore without venturing too far. And, each Yosemite cabin includes a selection of games to play to enjoy friendly competition by the outdoor fireplace. If you’re looking for places to hang out at Rush Creek, head to the Poolside Terrace, which offers comfy seating and a view overlooking the pool area. 

11 | Indoor Game Room

Family with kids playing billiards at Rush Creek Lodge in Yosemite.

Playing in the game room is one of the best things to do at Rush Creek for kids, or for adults who want to feel like kids again. Head to the main lodge to challenge each other to classic games including foosball, bumper pool, and lever hockey. You’ll also find a selection of board games and toys, plus there’s a tree house play structure wrapped around the room that’s fun for children to explore. 

12 | Fly Fishing 

Anglers will love trying their luck at fly fishing at Yosemite, and it’s a great activity to keep non-hikers busy while the rest of the party tries a new trail. Bring your own rods, reels, and flies, or rent equipment from the Rush Creek Rec Center. Fly-fishing rods and basic gear (backpack, net, basic tackle) are available for a daily fee ($35 for all) and security deposit. Nearby Cherry Lake is a great spot to try your luck. Private full-day fly fishing trips and fishing lessons are available, but do require some hiking to arrive at the watershed areas. 

13 | Learn Glass Blowing Techniques

Learning a new skill is one of the best things to do at Evergreen Lodge and Rush Creek. Sign up for a glass blowing experience at Rush Creek to take a 45-minute introductory class on this creative art. Your handmade piece will be ready to take home with you the next day, and makes a one-of-a-kind vacation souvenir. Reservations are required. See the Rec Desk at your resort for more details and pricing.

Now that we’ve filled your itinerary with ideas for things to do in Yosemite besides hiking, it’s time to book your dream vacation. Try out Rush Creek Lodge, our hotel near Yosemite, enjoy the historic Evergreen Lodge Yosemite cabin experiences, or stay at Firefall Ranch, Yosemite’s newest lodging option. Both resorts will give you plenty to enjoy indoors and out, in addition to hiking, and you won’t need to travel far to enjoy it all. 

FAQs About Things to Do in Yosemite Besides Hiking

Can you do Yosemite without hiking?

Other activities in Yosemites besides hiking includes whitewater rafting, fishing tours, horseback riding, flight tours, snowshoeing and many activities and services offered at these Yosemite hotels.

How do you spend one awesome day in Yosemite?

If you were to spend just one day in Yosemite, we highly recommend visiting Bridalveil Falls and taking the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail for views of Yosemite Falls in the morning. In the afternoon, we recommend taking the Mist Trail Trailhead to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. Get the complete Yosemite itinerary.

What can tourists do at Yosemite National Park?

Depending on the time of the year vacationers visit Yosemite National Park, they’ll have an opportunity to see many of the country’s most famous natural landmarks including Half Dome, El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls. Other things to do at Yosemite National Park include horseback riding, flight tours, jeep tours, whitewater rafting, and trail hiking.