Napa Valley, California is best known for its sprawling wineries set amidst rolling hills. Despite its obvious appeal to adults and honeymooners, Napa can be a great family vacation destination if you know where to look. From family-friendly wineries to playgrounds and Napa’s own Old Faithful geyser, California’s beautiful wine country offers plenty of entertainment options for kids of all ages. Here are 12 fun things to do with kids that are located within a short distance of your unforgettable Napa vacation rental.
1. See the Castle at Castello di Amorosa Winery
Visitors of all ages are welcome to step into a real-life fairy tale at this Tuscan castle complete with a drawbridge, a moat, and an armory. While adults enjoy wine tastings in the chambers of this authentic castle, kids get to join in on the fun with grape juice tastings. Kids can also color on complimentary coloring pages provided in the Knight’s Hall where tastings take place.
2. Hike Through Robert Louis Stevenson State Park
Behind the vineyards, Napa boasts an unrivaled natural beauty amidst wooded rolling hills and meadows. Discover the beauty of wine country with a family hike through this state park, which features trails beneath volcanic cliffs and several steep mountain climbs most suitable for older kids and teens. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike to the top of Mount St. Helena for unbeatable views of the surrounding mountains and vineyards.
3. Explore the Sculpture Gardens at Di Rosa
This quirky open-air museum spans more than 200 acres that showcase over 2,000 pieces from hundreds of artists. Kids enjoy strolling past the interesting, and sometimes bizarre, sculptures and other works set against a scenic backdrop. Although kids are welcome, keep in mind that some works may not be appropriate for younger children.
Once declared by National Geographic as one of the few regularly erupting geysers in the world, Napa Valley’s Old Faithful is a spectacle for all ages. It erupts with sprays of mist every 15 to 35 minutes depending on the time of year. After seeing the geyser erupt, enjoy a cabana-shade picnic packed from your vacation rental, or stop by to feed and pet the goats and llamas at the goat farm. You can also play a game of bocce ball or step into the Old Faithful Geology Museum for a bit of natural history.
5. Have Fun at Playground Fantastico
If you’re visiting Napa with younger kids, you can’t miss the chance to stop by this expansive play area where your little ones can climb on castles and connected play structures, sit atop a giant lizard, and explore replica geysers. Just outside the playground entrance, kick back on a bench under the shade of an intricate art sculpture.
6. Explore the Scientopia Discovery Center
After visiting a few wineries, give your kids their own day of fun at this children’s museum that offers outdoor play areas and plenty of interactive exhibits. Here, little ones can experiment with music, build Lego structures, pretend to be a grocery clerk, and make their own souvenir with recycled materials in the arts and craft area. The Scientopia Discovery Center also includes plenty of educational exhibits.
7. Go Wild at Safari West
The native wildlife of Napa may be interesting, but families with kids of all ages don’t want to miss the chance to ride a vehicle through enclosures of giraffes, rhinos, zebras, lemurs, and other exotic animals while learning about wildlife conservation. As your Jeep cruises across the rugged terrain that spans 400 acres, you’re likely to come away feeling that you’ve experienced the most authentic safari this side of Africa.
8. Feed the Fish at Robert Sinskey Winery
Kids are welcome to step into the rustic halls of Robert Sinskey Winery. While adults are sampling fine wines, younger kids love feeding the fish in the koi pond with handfuls of fish food they can get from the front counter. On a beautiful day, be sure to get a table on the outside patio to enjoy some appetizers with the family while enjoying the views of the surrounding hills.
9. Ride the Aerial Tram at Sterling Vineyards
If you’re not up for a hike up Mount St. Helena, give your legs a rest with a fun ride to the hilltop Sterling Vineyards via a suspended tram. Kids of all ages enjoy the fun ride, and once you get to the top, you can snap a few family photos while soaking up the breathtaking panoramic views.
10. Catch a Barbecue Night on the Napa Valley Wine Train
Your little train fans are sure to enjoy a lunch or dinner ride on this vintage train while enjoying views of Napa Valley, but for the most exciting family train-ride experience, embark on a family barbecue train ride while the wind blows your hair back in the open Silverado Car. Traveling during the holidays? Take a ride on the Santa Train, where kids can meet Santa while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies.
11. Play Bocce Ball at Ceja Vineyards
If you have the energy to visit one more winery, make a stop at Ceja Vineyards. The family-owned winery has a bocce ball court in the back where kids can have fun playing while the adults taste some wine.
12. Check Out Bothe Napa Valley State Park
Hike through stands of coastal redwoods and other evergreen trees in this relaxing park that offers leisurely strolls ideal for all ages. During the summer, kids can even play a game of horseshoe or splash around in the swimming pool, which has a lifeguard on duty. During your hikes along the park’s 10 miles of trails, keep an eye out for woodpeckers, bobcats, coyotes, and foxes, and be sure to check out the fascinating pioneer cemetery.