housekeeping camp yosemite national park

Review: Housekeeping Camp, Yosemite National Park

By Heather

When you hear “housekeeping” you may think of this:

Ah, that kills me every time. RIP, Chris Farley, you funny, funny man.

Housekeeping, however, has nothing to do with, well, housekeeping. No one is bringing you towels or turning down your bed at night. Nor are you bunking with the cleaning staff of Yosemite. It’s just the name.

Aside from the awkwardly evocative name, there’s not much I don’t like about Housekeeping. I’m so in love with this camp that I have no desire to stay anywhere else in Yosemite. Curry Village? Forget it!

Let me count the ways

1. You don’t need a tent. I repeat: You don’t need a tent!

Housekeeping is a campground of tent cabins. Each one has two beds – a full/queen and a bunk bed. Know what that means? Leave your tent and air mattress at home!

housekeeping camp yosemite national park

Photo courtesy of Yosemite National Park.

2. Privacy fence.

Yosemite is a crowded place, but the setup at Housekeeping makes it feel like you’re not crammed in with thousands of other people. The fence that goes around each site gives a little bit of seclusion so you don’t feel like you’re on display.

3. A river runs through it.

The Merced runs alongside Housekeeping. If you’re lucky, you can score a river front unit. Even if you’re not so lucky, the river is only steps away. We spent a lot of time on the bridge and sometimes, in the water.

4. Flush toilets and sinks.

Although the Outdoor Types become accepting of the necessary evil that is the vault toilet, we can’t help but get excited about the flushing ones.



5. Hooks, hooks, glorious hooks. And shelves.

Our site this most recent visit had nails instead of hooks, but the effect was the same: Organization. And there’s a nice, big shelving unit inside the tent for more organizing fun.

6. Electrical outlets.

Charge your gadgets! A lot of campers take advantage of the outlets and deck out their sites with elaborate Christmas tree light configurations. We haven’t done that yet, but it’s on our “To Do” list.

We’ve also talked about bringing our blender with us to make margaritas. Excessive? Sure, but how often do you get to frozen margaritas in the woods?

7. It’s close to everything.

We walked everywhere from Housekeeping… to Yosemite Village, to the Valley Trail. You don’t need a car. Actually, I guess this is true of nearly anywhere in the Valley.

8. You can bring your own food.

Unlike Curry Village, you can bring your own food into Housekeeping. Maybe this isn’t important to some people, but cooking over the fire is one of my favorite things about camping and I’m not about to give it up.

9. A well-stocked store.

There’s a general store nearby that has ice ($10 for 20 pounds; $4.99 for seven pounds) and firewood (about $8 per bundle), food, supplies, drinks and souvenirs. If you need a bigger selection, the Village Store is about a 20-minute walk away.

There’s an ice machine in the parking lot that will dispense 10 pounds of ice for $5.50, but it always seems to be broken.

10. Showers! And laundry!

Even though that fresh and clean feeling lasts for about an hour, the showers in Housekeeping are glorious. And free. And if that’s not enough, they provide you with towels, shampoo and body wash.

Although we didn’t partake, there’s also a laundry room charging $1.25 for a wash and 25 cents for 10 minutes of drying.

11. Big sinks for doing dishes.

You don’t have to clean up at your campsite. Yeah!

The not-so-great

1. It’s not dog friendly.

Some people did sneak their dogs in, but Housekeeping rules don’t allow them. Boo.

2. Squirrels and raccoons

The signs in Yosemite warn about bears. What they don’t warn you about are the other critters, who swarm around you as soon as you pull in.

You can’t leave your food unattended for even a second before some squirrel is making a go at it. Shoo them away, and they’ll come right back. They are not afraid of you, puny human.

3. It’s a tad spendy.

Since Housekeeping has more amenities and comfort than your average campground, it does cost a little more. But you’re worth it.

What you should bring

Housekeeping has you covered for most things. You can even rent bedding and such, if you’re so inclined.

Here’s what you’ll need to bring if you don’t want to rent anything:

  • Sleeping bags
  • Sheets (it will make those beds a little more comfy)
  • Extra blanket, in case the temps dip
  • Pillows
  • Chairs, for sitting around the fire
  • Water cooler
  • Your usual supplies and toiletries for cooking and cleaning

The bear boxes are massive, so what you bring in the way of food is highly likely to fit. Just don’t forget that you’re going to need to store all of your toiletries and dirty clothes in there, too.