The Napa Valley may be best known for its world-class wineries and restaurants, yet it is also a welcoming destination for families. Year-round mild temperatures and more than 70,000 acres of protected land allow visitors of all ages to fully enjoy the outdoors, while hands-on adventures, full-service hotels, and family-friendly restaurants result in itineraries that appeal to all.
The Great Outdoors
From the Napa River to Lake Berryessa, Napa County is home to several large bodies of water, and all the associated fun, water-related sports. Rent a kayak or paddleboard at Napa Valley Paddle or Getaway Adventures, and spend the day afloat. Families can take an authentic Venetian gondola ride on the Napa River with Napa Valley Gondola one of the newest additions to the area. Enjoy the scenery and nice breeze, spot the wildlife and listen to fabulous melodies as your gondolier serenades you in Italian. Or, catch some fish with Wombat Charter Tours. For an altitude adjustment, hike in one of Napa Valley’s many protected outdoor areas such as Alston Park, Newell Open Space Preserve, Skyline Wilderness Park, The Napa River Bay Trail, or Bothe Napa Valley State Park. The valley is also full of great biking trails. The Napa Valley Vine Trail, which currently provides a 12-mile trail between Napa and Yountville, will eventually link 47 continuous miles along the valley floor. Bicycle rentals are available at Napa Valley Bike Tours, St. Helena Cyclery, and the Calistoga Bike Shop. For younger kids, there are playgrounds at Napa Fuller Park, Yountville Park, and St. Helena Crane Park.
Bothe State Park offers both day-use and overnight camping, picnicking, swimming (weekends during the Summer), and hiking trails through stands of coastal redwoods as well as forests of Douglas-fir, Tanoak, and Madrone. The large picnic grounds are located in the day use area and are available for group events and getaways. A visit to the working Bale Grist Mill is like stepping back into 19th-century Napa Valley, and visitors can even buy flour milled on site. Skyline Wilderness Park in the southeastern hills offers both disc golf and archery. The Carolyn Parr Nature Center is dedicated to helping people of all ages learn more about local native plants and animals, including a collection of raptors, a mountain lion, and some non-native animals. In addition, hikes are offered in the nearby Westwood Hills Park. The Land Trust of Napa County offers hikes on several of its protected preserves on most weekends. These hikes are free but often fill up quickly so advance registration is recommended.
Activities & Attractions
For one of the newest and “greenest” ways to see the Napa Valley, Laces and Limos offers tours in their eco-friendly tuk-tuks, a modern-day version of a rickshaw, with kid-friendly itineraries as well as pricing. A family favorite is Calistoga’s Old Faithful Geyser, one of the world’s three such named geysers, which erupts a spout of 350-degree water every half hour. While waiting for the eruption, families may visit the petting zoo’s Tennessee Fainting Goats, four-horned sheep, and llamas. Just up the road is the Petrified Forest, with giant redwood trees that were turned into stone following a massive volcanic explosion that took place more than three million years ago. Or, give the kids a wine-country memory they will never forget and reserve a hot-air balloon ride in the wee morning hours with Napa Valley Aloft or Balloons Above the Valley that provide breathtaking views of the valley at sunrise. Napa Valley Aloft launches from V Marketplace in Yountville and accommodates children as young as six years old. Balloons Above the Valley features a package that includes brunch in the Napa’s Oxbow Public Market, another family favorite.
Foodies on Foot is a family and pet-friendly walking tour of downtown Napa restaurants. Tours feature easy to eat items such as pizza and ice cream from local vendors, and kids under six are free, while kids between 6-12 are half price. Rooted Fork Foodie Tours also offers walking restaurant tours, brunch tours or a private and customized group tour in downtown Napa.
One of the few active historic passenger railroads in the United States, the Napa Valley Wine Train offers several memorable experiences for families spending a day in Wine Country. The Gourmet Express lunch and dinner journeys allow families to enjoy a fresh multi-course meal and sweeping views of famed vineyards, all while relaxing in two different types of stylishly refurbished antique Pullman railcars that echo the glory days of train travel.
Wineries with "Kid Appeal"
Many Napa Valley wineries cater to families to ensure that both adults and children have a memorable and enjoyable experience. Sterling Vineyards is reached by a gondola rising 300 feet to a mountaintop winery designed to resemble a contemporary Greek fortress. The self-guided tour allows guests to walk around the grounds rather than stand in a tasting room. Honig Vineyard & Winery offers coloring books, puzzles and games, as well as Goldfish crackers and juice boxes, so everyone in the family can enjoy the visit while parents enjoy a tasting. At Regusci Winery, families are invited to explore the bountiful one-acre culinary garden to harvest and savor seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs.
Materra Cunat Family Vineyards is not only child-friendly, but also welcomes four-legged fur babies on a leash. Frog’s Leap Winery, which is also a working farm, complete with vegetable gardens and fruit orchards, also features a large pond for frog catching and goldfish spotting. Or, take a tour in a 4x4 vehicle at Long Meadow Ranch’s mountain vineyards. Its tasting room in downtown St. Helena has a petanque court and large lawns for working off excess energy. Castello di Amorosa is a meticulous reproduction of a 13th-century Tuscan castle that will fascinate all ages with its dungeon, moat, suits of armor, and courtyard. Outside, there are emus, peacocks, and sheep to entertain even the most tired toddler, child, or teen. Dutch Henry Winery features picnic tables and a bocce ball court where families can rest and relax after a tasting. Alpha Omega winery offers little ones crayons and “Exploring the Napa Valley with Traveler Teddy,” a coloring book and kid-friendly guide to Napa Valley. Alpha Omega also welcomes children with paws. The winery provides dog biscuits and refreshing water in stainless steel dishes to pampered pooches on leash. Canine companions can accompany their “pawrents” in Alpha Omega’s tasting room and private rooms as well as on the terrace. And at Chateau Montelena, families can explore the castle-like winery with its lake, Japanese gardens, and koi fish. Here is a link to other family friendly wineries.
Menus that Cater to Kids
Oxbow Public Market in Napa is an upscale food court for the entire family that appeases every palate or craving. Gott’s Roadside, both in Napa and St. Helena, provides American classics such as burgers, fries, and shakes, and wines by the glass or bottle for adults. Pizza requests may be fulfilled at Azzuro Pizzeria and Enoteca, and Pizzeria Tra Vigne where kids like to play bocce on Tra Vigne’s new court. The town of Yountville offers seasonal picnic items from Addendum, which offers cuisine from 3 Michelin Star Chef Thomas Keller spring through autumn in a relaxed, family-friendly environment. In St. Helena, Archetype features signature dishes such as wood-fired cheese pizza and sugar maple donut holes. Calistoga has Checkers and Café Sarafornia, both offering kid-friendly menus.
Napa Noodles features a fun Keiki (kids) menu, coloring books, and four big screens including one dedicated to kids' movies. Fans of global cuisine will enjoy Heritage Eats, a fast-casual eatery offering meals for kids and adults at an approachable price point, including kids’ quesadillas, PB&J's and grilled cheese, as well as tacos, wraps, pitas and more. Monday nights is their Kids Eat Free promotion -- for every adult meal, kids 12 and under received a free meal. For sports fans, Norman Rose Tavern in downtown Napa offers elevated pub fare, a kid-friendly menu, and TV’s for watching live sports. For sampling the best of Napa Valley’s fresh produce offerings, visit one of the many Farmer’s Markets April through November.
The recently opened Cheer Bar on Lincoln Avenue in downtown Calistoga describes itself as a “soda fountain reimagined.” The bright, open space offers two free ski ball machines and an arcade machine where kids can play to their hearts' content as well as kid-approved treats like S’more sundaes, banana splits, handmade shakes and sodas made with homemade syrups such as black cherry, vanilla bean cream and grape. Parents looking for savory alternatives can indulge in Cheer Bar’s avocado toast on Model Bakery sourdough or choose from one of their freshly made salads.
Arts & Culture
di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art presents contemporary exhibitions and educational programs for all ages, with complimentary admission for all visitors 17 and under. Families may visit the center’s multiple galleries, the outdoor sculpture park, and 35-acre lake, all located on 217 scenic acres in Napa Valley’s famed Carneros region. Every second and fourth Friday, they feature a “Short Stories” program for kids ages 2 – 5. The Napa Valley Museum in Yountville offers a range of family-friendly activities. The Yountville Art Walk and Napa Art Walk are similar to outdoor treasure hunts for art and are perfect activities for kids of all ages. For those visiting the Napa Valley in April, be sure to review Napa Valley’s Arts in April program. Experiences include the annual La Strada dell' Arte Street Art Festival where students and professionals create chalk art right on the street. Founded in 2016, the Rail Arts District Napa (RAD Napa) is a free outdoor contemporary art museum beginning in Napa’s Oxbow District continuing northward for two miles along the Napa Valley Vine Trail bike and pedestrian path and the Napa Valley Wine Train tracks. Murals, sculptures, landscaping, and parks are just some of the examples of how these semi-industrial areas and neighborhoods are being enlivened and transformed by the district.
Summer Family Fun
Summertime is especially fun for families visiting the Napa Valley, offering professional baseball, free music concerts and even outdoor movies. The Napa Silverados baseball club is enjoying its second season as the newest member of the six-team Pacific League of Independent Baseball clubs, the only remaining independent league on the West Coast. Forty home games will be played each summer (June through August) at the Napa College Baseball complex. With extremely reasonable ticket prices and food and beverage options, it's a great way for families to enjoy America’s favorite pastime.
Several free summer concerts are held up and down the Valley. The town of Calistoga offers Concerts in the Park, a series of free summer concerts, on Thursday evenings 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Pioneer Park. The City of St. Helena also presents its annual Summer Concerts, a series of free, family-friendly concerts in Lyman Park 6 to 8 p.m. every other Thursday evening through the summer. The Town of Yountville presents Music in the Park at Veterans Memorial Park 5 to 7 p.m. on Sundays during the summer. The City of Napa features two opportunities to enjoy free music during the summer. Napa City Nights takes place at Veterans Park on Main Street each Friday evening at 6:30 to 10 p.m., and monthly at the Third Thursday at 5 concerts at Fuller Park.
Film fans may also enjoy their favorite movies at the Yountville Hot Summer Movie Nights in the Park. This summer film series runs one Friday each month from June through September and features family-rated films, snacks and dinner from a food truck that varies each month. Low back lawn chairs, blankets, warm clothes, and a flashlight for after the movie, are recommended. Food trucks and concessions start at 6:30 p.m. and movies will begin at dusk. Please leave pets at home.
From cooking schools to working farms, families can have fun together and take home a new skill or a new appreciation for the land. At the CIA’s Napa outpost, The Culinary Institute of America at Copia, every Sunday is “Family Funday,” where the entire family can take part in hour-long cooking demonstrations followed by samplings of that day’s topic, and The Grove, open daily from 11:30 a.m. to midnight and later on weekends, is the perfect spot for families to spend a relaxing afternoon grabbing a bite to eat or playing a game of bocce among the surrounding gardens. Silverado Cooking School offers two classes that appeal to families with teens in tow (minimum age 12), the Farm Class starts on an actual working farm, and the Napa Farmer’s Market Lunch Class, has the chef lead guests on a culinary journey to seek out the perfect ingredients. After exploring the market, guests head to the school’s kitchen to transform their selected ingredients into a three-course lunch that they prepare and enjoy together.
Connolly Ranch is a nonprofit educational 12-acre farm in the heart of Napa featuring three barns, a duck pond, greenhouse, hiking trail, natural playground and 86 animals including donkeys, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, rabbits and more. Enjoy life on the farm through programs such as Farm Fridays, Second Saturdays and Walk-in Wednesdays. For a more personalized experience, schedule a Farm Day Vacation, featuring farm-related activities complete with a gourmet picnic lunch paired with Napa Valley wines.
A few family favorites at Calistoga Ranch and Solage in Calistoga include hiking, enjoying a game of bocce ball, and taking private painting lesson. The bocce courts are exclusive to guest-use only, and families have the option of playing a leisurely game or hiring an instructor to sharpen skills. Families also have the opportunity to learn new techniques to capture the beautiful surroundings at both properties, with painting classes held at any scenic location requested by guests.
Calistoga Ranch also offers mindful hikes, the guided garden and vineyard walk, and the Fun Around the Sun program. The Fun Around the Sun program, offered for children 12 years and under, features a variety of different adventures ranging from getting close with the resident goats, harvesting eggs from the chicken coop for the morning scramble, making a splash in the kids’ pool, stargazing, grape-stomping and taking gardening lessons. Mindful hikes include three private themed trails, “love,” “hope” and “joy.” On each trail guests can journal thoughts, wishes and happy experiences for guests to read, as they embark on the hikes in the future. Lastly, families can experience the guided garden and vineyard walk where they can explore the produce gardens, working vineyard, chicken coop and beehive, where guests join the resident beekeeper to visit the on-site beehive roaring with 60,000 bees, and learn the process of how bees make honey, how the resort harvests honey, and the importance behind honeybees contribution to the sustainability of Calistoga Ranch and throughout the Napa Valley.
The mineral pools of Calistoga Spa Hot Springs have been a mainstay of Napa Valley visitors for generations. Geothermal forces elevate the temperature of the mineral water to 180 degrees Fahrenheit at the source. In addition to the resort’s three core pools, Calistoga Spa Hot Springs features a wading pool and water feature for younger guests.
Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga depicts a family vacation circa 1930, with a range of accommodations that include rooms, bungalows, cottages, and houses. A big attraction for kids is the Olympic-sized mineral pool, one of the largest pools in California, which is kept at 82–102 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the season. The resort also offers complimentary bikes to ride around the property or into town.
Meadowood Napa Valley is the perfect home base for an active family. The 250-acre resort includes spacious cottages, activities such as Family Cooking Classes and Wine & Juice Tastings and an array of sports offerings: tennis courts, golf fairways, croquet lawns and hiking trails. During the summer, the Children’s Sports Camps are open to children ages 6 to 11 and offer instruction in tennis, golf and croquet.
A luxury resort in the heart of Napa Valley’s wine country, the Silverado Resort and Spa provides its own forms of relaxing and getting away with two golf courses, 10 tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, and a variety of dining, all on property. In the summer, kids can join the Kids Golf Tennis Swim Camp, a four-day program that encompasses all four activities. The resort’s pool features cabana rentals with shade, bottled water, and fresh fruit for up to four people. Bikes are available to rent on an hourly basis to enjoy the 1,200-acre resort, and half- and full-day tours with picnic lunches may be arranged. The two- and three-bedroom suites include full kitchens, living and dining space, ideal for a family getaway to Napa Valley.
Embassy Suites Napa Valley features both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, a children’s menu, bicycle rentals, and the Embassy Suites weekly supervised swan and duck feeding.
Carneros Inn in Napa offers a collection of cottages with plenty of space for families, along with a family pool (as well as an adults-only pool), which includes toys and snacks. On Saturdays, June through September, parents can have a night out while kids enjoy dinner, games, and a kid-friendly movie. Carneros Kids’ Night also includes a game room complete with ping pong, foosball, shuffleboard and an array of board games.
The Meritage Resort and Spa features the Crush Lounge, offering six lanes of bowling, sports entertainment and dining all in one area. Lanes may also be reserved for special celebrations, including birthdays.
Vista Collina Resort offers families a home-away-from-home with 39 suites, each offering spacious living rooms, dining areas and full kitchens, ideal for family dinners. In partnership with Hestan Cue, the resort offers guests an in-suite culinary experience where families can select farm-fresh ingredients from The Market and learn to cook gourmet kid-friendly meals.
Other family-friendly non-resort properties, each which feature swimming pools for a relaxing splash at the end of the day, include Holiday Inn Express & Suites and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Napa Valley in American Canyon; Westin Verasa, the Hilton Garden Inn, and Hampton Inn and Suites, each in Napa; the El Bonita Motel in St. Helena; and the Best Western Plus Stevenson Manor in Calistoga.
About Visit Napa Valley
Visit Napa Valley is the official tourism marketing organization for the Napa Valley, with a mission to promote, protect and enhance the region’s position as one of the world’s premier wine, food, arts and wellness destinations.
The Napa Valley, conveniently located just an hour from the San Francisco Bay Area, consists of the following distinctive towns, including, from north to south, Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford/Oakville, Yountville, the city of Napa, American Canyon, and the outdoor recreation area of Lake Berryessa.
The Napa Valley Welcome Center, located at 600 Main St. along the riverfront in downtown Napa, provides visitors with expert Concierge services from Napa Valley Ambassadors who offer complimentary Napa Valley Guidebooks, maps, brochures and winery tasting passes. The Welcome Center, open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., also offers complimentary Wi-Fi and a mercantile shop featuring locally sourced gift items.
For additional information on the Napa Valley, or to plan your Napa Valley experience, please explore VisitNapaValley.com, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @VisitNapaValley.
Angela Jackson, Director of Media Relations
Visit Napa Valley