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     Nature awakens Yosemite in spectacular fashion-and it's still uncrowded. Savor the freshness and explosion of color right outside the park when same of the world's most breathtaking wildflowers bloom right in front of your eyes. The deer are browsing, the fish are jumping-and some of the most spectacular waterfalls on Earth propel "rivers in the air" above your head. Life doesn't get much better (or meaningful) than this. Here are a few things to do:

  • Take an art class and learn how to paint those wildflowers.

  • Take a hike along what many consider California's best wildflower viewing trail, in the Merced River Canyon right outside Yosemite.

  • Ride a rented bicycle around Yosemite Valley in perfect weather, enjoying the scenery and a picnic at your own pace.

  • Walk right up to the waterfalls as they plummet to Earth at their peak of the year, and discover how fun and bracing their spray is.

  • Sign up for sunrise or sunset photography tours guided by professional photographers-and come back with images of one of nature's crown jewels you can frame and hang in your home.

  • Stand on a wooden bridge in the middle of a meadow as the river roars beneath you, and just smell the freshness of new life.

  • Visit the official California Mining and Mineral Museum, one of the world's most fascinating small museums, in the nearby historic Gold Rush town of Mariposa. Take time to also go on the self-guided tour at the local history museum showing what daily life was like in that momentous period. A low-cast day of fun, learning and relaxation.

  • Make reservations to return to Yosemite.
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