Perhaps the last time you visited the Napa Valley was on your honeymoon, or the weekend you got engaged. Your perspective on this region was all white tablecloths and gorgeous views. Now you’re coming back and – what? – you have three kids in tow! Not to worry, the Napa Valley is as kid-friendly as destinations come. Here are a few ideas to make your vacation a memorable trip for the whole family. Connolly Ranch seeks to connect children and families to nature through farm-based education, encouraging the next generation of environmental stewards. Here you can learn about farm life, organic gardening, ecology, sustainability, and the wonders of nature. Current programs include day camps, classes, and parent-child experiences.
Bale Grist Mill is one of the valley’s most cherished historic sites, with a 36-foot water-powered mill dating from 1846 that was once the hub of Napa Valley social life. You can watch a milling demonstration of different kinds of flour (available for purchase) and learn about this beautifully restored state historic landmark. Visitors can hike from the mill to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, which leads to other trails and extensive picnic grounds. The park also includes the site of the first church in the Napa Valley as well as the Pioneer Cemetery.
Lake Berryessa is the perfect spot for water sports on a hot summer day – water temperatures reach 75 degrees during high season. With more than 165 miles of shoreline, Pleasure Cove Resort and Marina is one of California's largest bodies of fresh water, and the lake is a popular fishing spot. In addition to camping, there are houseboats, small watercraft, and cabins available for rental.
St. Helena’s Summer Concerts at Lyman Park are held every other Thursday evening, running June 14 through August 9, from 6 to 8 pm. Enjoy live music by bands of all genres – including rock, blues, and even jazz-punk – while picnicking on the grass. Food trucks make it easy to feed the troops, and little kids love the freedom to dance like no one’s watching.
Walk for Animals, the Napa Valley’s only dog walk and festival, will be held this year on Sunday, August 5. Registration and festivities begin at Oxbow Commons in downtown Napa at 7:30 am and the walk starts at 8:30 am. There will be music, contests, give-aways, a silent auction, and more. Visit napahumane.org or call 707-255-8118 x203 for details.
The Napa Valley Vine Trail is 12.5 continuous miles of multi-use path from Napa’s Kennedy Park to Yountville, a perfect morning or afternoon jaunt with bikes or walking shoes. The ultimate goal is to provide a continuous trail from Vallejo all the way to Calistoga. More than 300 new trees have recently been planted, which will eventual provide shade for all trail users.