While mention of California's Napa Valley may conjure up visions of adult activities such as wine tasting, Napa also has much to offer for a family getaway. While you can make any of the Napa Valley towns a base for family fun, we suggest settling down in Calistoga, a quiet town at Napa's north end, where you can walk to many attractions from your hotel or B and B.
Things to do with the Kids in Napa
- Go on Safari: Safari West offers tours that combine a walk around their wildlife compound with a safari jeep tour to see antelope, zebra, wildebeest, and dozens of other animals roaming the wine country foothills. You can even stay overnight in their safari-style tent cabins.
- Trees of Stone: Ace wizard Harry Potter himself couldn't have done a better job of turning trees into stone than Mother Nature did at the Petrified Forest. Hike through the woods and discover how water and silica transform wood into rock or just say: "Wow! Would you look at that?"
- Gawk at the Geyser: Kids and adults alike are fascinated by the Old Faithful Geyser, which erupts as regularly as its more famous cousin in Wyoming, but it costs as much to see as a night at the movies.
- Kid-Friendliest Wineries: If you'd like to do a little wine-tasting, try Castello di Amorosa, where the tour of the big castle is lots of fun (many kids like their dungeon best). They charge a reduced admission fee for youngsters and provide juice for them to enjoy while the adults sip the fermented kind. Sterling Vineyards is also a good option, with a tram ride to the hilltop and a self-guided so you can go at your own pace.
- Take the Train: The Napa Valley Wine Train is also kid-friendly on selected Family Fun Nights, offered twice a month during the school year and on summer Sundays. One child per paid adult travels free, entertained by a professional care provider in a separate car with their own meals, while the adults have an uninterrupted dinner. Ages 3 to 12 only.
- Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade: The town of Calistoga hosts one of the most old-fashioned Christmas parades anywhere, featuring farm equipment decked out in lights and carrying everything from kids to Kris Kringle.