Napa Valley? With kids? You may be wondering if you read that title correctly…Though Napa Valley is usually thought of as a great place for a girlfriend’s getaway or a romantic celebration, you can go to Napa Valley with kids and actually have a good time. How do I know? Because we did it! Whether you’ve been wanting to visit this beautiful place and don’t have the option to leave the kids behind or you think this would be the perfect spot for your next family vacation but you’re wondering what you can do, then check out this list of things to do in Napa Valley with kids that the whole family can enjoy!
Things To Do in Napa Valley With Kids
We’re going to kick off this list with the top thing to do in Napa Valley which is….wine tasting! You’re in wine country after all! If the thought of bringing your kids to a fancy winery gives you hives, don’t worry, because there are kid-friendly wineries that you can visit.
Best Option: Castello Di Amorosa
This winery is thought of as the ultimate place for family-friendly wine tasting. From a drawbridge moat to a torture chamber, what kid (or adult) wouldn’t want to visit an authentically designed Tuscan castle?
Children over 5 are allowed on the guided tour with you and will be given a cup of grape juice to enjoy when it comes time to sample the wines. If your children are under 5, then have fun exploring the property as all “well-behaved and well-supervised” kids are allowed. They will even supply a coloring book to keep the kids entertained!
Unfortunately, we only got as far as the gate because, at the time of visiting, most wineries were by reservation only.
If you’re like me and find that you can’t enjoy dining at nice places or going into fancy tasting rooms because you’re too worried if your kids are going to “behave” or not, then a picnic-style winery is for you. Yes, it exists and in my opinion, it’s one of the best things to do in Napa Valley as a family. Adults get to experience the beautiful atmosphere of a winery in a casual environment that tends to be more suitable for kids.
There are different wineries that offer different experiences. At a winery like Laird Family Estate, you can get your own food (try Oxbow Public Market) and enjoy lunch on their grounds. All you have to do is buy a bottle of their wine and they will even supply you with wine glasses!
At a winery like V. Sattui, you purchase food from their deli and eat it at their picnic tables. It’s the perfect place for both older kids and younger kids since you can be in an outside space that is laidback.
Other family-friendly winery options:
- Beringer Vineyards
- Chateau Montelena
- Honig Vineyard & Winery
- Frog’s Leap Winery
- Dutch Henry Winery
- Materra Cunat Family Vineyards
- Sterling Vineyards
Make sure you research each one you’re interested in, as some have different rules. At some wineries you can not bring your stroller, some have cover charges, and some have age minimums. And at the time of our visit, most wineries were by reservation only.
Now that you know you can experience the best that Napa Valley has to offer (beautiful vineyards) as a family, it’s time to move on to the other activities you can do. Because a trip to wine country can be more than just drinking wine!
Related: What to Wear in Napa Valley
Napa River- A fun day in the sun? Yep, you can do that in wine country! The Napa River has many opportunities for water play such as kayaking and paddling. VisitNapaValley keeps a great directory of all of their parks and water spots.
Venetian Gondola Ride- Experience beautiful river views during this European-inspired activity! Though these rides are popular for couples, the boats do fit up to 6 passengers, potentially making this a fun family activity.
Napa Valley Trail Rides– For your older kids (12+), saddle up and explore the vineyards in a fun and unique way!
Bothe Napa Valley State Park– This state park has it all. Yes, this is where you can tour the historic Bale Grist Mill, but if you’re looking for a fun day in nature, you won’t be disappointed. This park offers camping, picnicking, swimming, and hiking trails for a fun family day. You can also pack a lunch and eat it in one of the towering forests of coastal redwoods, Douglas-fir, tanoak, or madrone trees.
Old Faithful Geyser– No, this is not the one in Yellowstone and though this one is not as dramatic, kids would still love seeing this one erupt as well as looking at the rescue animals on site!
Connolly Ranch– Head to Connolly Ranch for some hands-on wildlife and nature fun. This is a working farm and educational center that aims to teach kids and families about farm life, sustainability, and animals, all the while instilling a deep appreciation for nature. Connolly Ranch doubles as a petting zoo too for the little learners!
Safari West- Safari West offers a unique experience where you can go on an African safari without even leaving the country! Though technically in Sonoma County, it may be worth the drive to be able to see over 80 species of animals, including lions, tigers, and bears, oh my…that will be fun! 😉
The Petrified Forest- Also in Sonoma County, you have the chance to check out the only petrified forest in California from the Pliocene (a time period that happened over 2.5 million years ago). This park offers history and trails that allow you to check out the largest petrified trees in the world.
EXPLORE THE CITY
St. Helena- St. Helena is a city in Napa County, part of the north region of the San Francisco bay area. It’s a charming area that’s considered Napa Valley’s main street. This town offers many activities for families! For a delicious meal and kid-friendly atmosphere, head to Gott’s Roadside for a burger and milkshake.
There are a few kid-friendly shops and museums you could visit, but in my opinion, your time in Napa Valley is best spent outside enjoying that lovely California weather and taking in the beautiful views!
Though perhaps some activities may be best kid-free (such as the Napa Valley wine train and hot air balloon), Napa Valley is not a place you have to skip if you have little ones in tow! When it comes to scenery, atmosphere, wine, food, and feeling like you’re in Europe, Napa Valley can’t be beaten.
For more family adventures, check out the next post!
How to Have a Great Time in Charleston With Kids