You can certainly buy groceries inside Yosemite National Park. However, we strongly recommend stocking up before coming to our house. The nearest restaurants and grocery stores are 30 minutes away. So as a minimum, you should arrive with enough food for your first dinner and breakfast (we do try to keep the place stocked with coffee and tea).
We’ve arranged this guide based on which highway you’ll be driving on your way to Yosemite.
Also, we have two “eco” requests for you to consider while shopping:
- Our water source is excellent. Please don’t add to the world’s massive plastic problem by bringing cases of single-use water bottles.
- If you can, please avoid styrofoam ice chests. There is nothing we can do with these except put them put them in the trash.
Yosemite Valley Groceries
Given its size, the Village Store in Yosemite Valley is an good little store, not the “nothing but chips and soda” that you often find with small stores in tourist destinations. It’s easy to buy staple foods there, and the store contains many vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well as more standard fare. They also have a contract with a local CSA to bring a small selection of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables into the store as they come into season.
The Village Store is approximately 17 miles from our house in Yosemite West, in the same general area as the Visitor Center, so if you are planning a trip into or through Yosemite Valley, then it is relatively easy to swing through and get some last-minute supplies.
Hwy 41 (from Fresno, Los Angeles)
Your last outpost of 21st-century American civilization (using that term loosely), is Fresno. There you have access to various alternative grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Sprouts, as well as giant stores like Costco and Target. Fresno also has wide range of restaurants. For healthy cheap eats, we tend to go to Sweet Tomatoes.
Your next stop is Oakhurst which has dueling grocery stores on opposite sides of Highway 49 and both within sight of Highway 41 as you drive through town. We are generally fans of Raley’s, which seems to have a slightly better “natural” foods selection, but we know plenty of people who prefer Von’s. For foreign visitors they are probably close to indistinguishable.
Oakhurst also has a selection of fast-food restaurants, some local restaurants (Greek, Mexican, Japanese and, as of 2018, a vegan restaurant).
Hwy 120 West (from SFO, Sac)
If you’re coming from the Bay Area or Sacramento, you should shop before you leave the big cities if you have specialty needs that you won’t find at a standard American grocery store. You’ll also find a Costco in Manteca and, if you go the southern route and come in via Highway 140, you’ll find a Trader Joes in Modesto.
Normally, though, we recommend shopping at the Raley’s in Oakdale. That’s about two hours before you get here and shortly before you start climbing out of the sweltering Central Valley.
Like Oakhurst, Oakdale has a variety of fast food restaurants, pizzeria, Olive Garden and a few local restaurants, none of which we know well enough to recommend. Beyond Oakhurst, at the top of Old Priest Grade, just before you arrive at Big Oak Flat, you will find the Priest Station Cafe, which offers good food in a memorable setting.
Hwy 120 East (coming via Tioga Pass)
In the summer, when Tioga Pass is open and coming from the South, you’ll be passing close to Mammoth Lakes. Coming from Bishop or other points south on Hwy 395, we do our shopping at Von’s in Mammoth.
Carson City and Garderville
If you’re coming from the Northeast (Tahoe or Reno) on Hwy 395, there is a Trader Joe’s, Costco and standard grocery stores in Carson City. The major grocery store that is the farthest south is Raley’s in Gardnerville. You are still quite a ways away (well over three hours), so it’s not a place to buy ice cream.
Also, in the town of Lee Vining you’ll find the diminutive but surprisingly good Mono Market.
Other Stores in the Park
There are also much smaller convenience stores in various places within the park for quick snacks and some basic supplies.
If you leave from our house heading toward the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (toward Oakhurst, not toward the town of Mariposa), you’ll pass one of these stores in Wawona, just before you get to the gas station. Basically, it specializes in chips, soda and beer. You can do a little better at the Pine Tree Market in Wawona, which has more real food. Even some fruits and vegetables (shocking!).
Tuolumne Meadows and Crane Flat
Tuolumne Meadows Store, located in along Tioga Road in Tuolumne Meadows carries a selection of grocery items. In addition to the standard chips and beer, they stock real food to supply the campers in the Tuolumne Meadows campground and passing hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail.
There is also a basic chips and beer convenience store at the Crane Flat gas station.
Neither of these stores is open in the winter.
If you are not planning to stop in Yosemite Village, you can also pick up very limited groceries at the Curry Village Gift Shop, located in Curry Village on the deck to the right of the Mountain Shop and Grill, or at the Yosemite Lodge Gift Shop, which has a small number of food items in addition to souvenir gifts.
And then, of course, it is legal within limits to harvest nature’s bounty. If it’s for personal use and you harvest only a small amount, you can pick currants, thimbleberries, morels, acorns and elderberries if you find them. Note that elderberries, though one of our favorites, are potentially dangerous due to the cyanide in the leaves, twigs, roots and seeds. So you’ll need to educate yourselves a bit before planning on this option.