In general, one does not think “Napa Valley + Kids”, but on our recent visit, our kids had the best time (and so did we!) Here is a guide from our friends Mark & Kris Hoffmeister of the Wydown Hotel in St. Helena and their favorite picks for 10 Family Friendly Things to do in Napa Valley…
Here’s what Kris wrote:
My husband and I love living, working and most importantly raising our three little girls (ages 5,4 & 1) in a truly beautiful and unique place, the Napa Valley. Our kids are exposed to nature, agriculture, fresh, wholesome food and have limited knowledge of fast food and strip malls (no chain restaurants are allowed up valley). While most visitors come to Napa for girls’ weekend, birthday celebrations and romantic getaways, there are many family friendly options as well. Here is a list of our favorite family activities (the list does not end here). . . . . Happy reading and cheers to planning your wine country weekend!
Wine tasting is not off limits with the kids. Stick to larger wineries with outdoor space to run. Here are a few of our favorites.
1. Frog’s Leap: Opt for the Garden Tasting. This casual tasting allows you and the kids to explore the surrounding gardens and orchard. There are chickens, a resident cat & straw hats to borrow while roaming.
2. Velo Vino: This tasting room for Clif Family Wines (yes, Clif Bars) offers a unique experience blending, wine and cycling in an inviting setting. The patio out back offers more room to roam and frequent live music. They give the kids snacks & offer free wi-fi in case you need to re-load the iPad with movies & games for the wee-ones.
3. Rombauer: Explore the winding garden and sculpture park at this winery. You will end up with a breathtaking view of the valley.
4. Frank Family: There is room to run and roam at Frank Family. After your tasting, relax at the picnic tables, run in the grass or sit under the giant elm trees.
5. Gotts: The original St. Helena locale specializing in burgers and shakes has ample outdoor seating, more grass to run around and a view of the wine train. Save room for a milkshake!!
6. Oxbow Public Market: Wander and taste through this gourmet food hall. Sit indoors or out. Wander out back for a view of the Napa River. Our favorite stop for lunch is C Casa for tacos followed by coffee at Ritual. Kiddo faves include Kara’s Cupcakes and three twins ice cream.
7. Farmstead: Farm-to-table and family friendly. The menu changes seasonally- but don’t miss out on the meatballs. If the kids need a break during dinner stroll through the garden or take a seat at a picnic table outside.
8. Yountville Park: A favorite playground right off highway 29. Pack a lunch, stretch your legs and let the kids have some fun.
9. Cornerstone Sonoma: If you are driving from Napa to SF, take the scenic route through Sonoma and stop at Cornerstone. Take the kids and walk around the one-of-a-kind garden installations (free admission). Need a shopping fix – explore Zipper and Artefact. There is also a restaurant and tasting room on the grounds.
10. Market at Carneros Inn & Play Bocce: Located on Carneros Highway between Sonoma and Napa. Grab a quick sandwhich or salad at the Market and eat while playing a game of bocce.
Wydown Hotel, St. Helena