It goes without saying that summer vacations are always a good opportunity to head out of town, such as having a holiday in Napa Valley. There are a lot of fun things to do in Napa besides visiting the wineries and hitting the best restaurants.
While the summer vacation days are winding down before the new school year officially starts, it’s always a better idea to experience unique (and educational) adventures while you’re away on a Napa holiday. Suppose you have decided to bring your kids along to Napa, you might be worrying that they may get bored while you visit the wineries, or they would be barred from entering the tasting rooms.
Unlike bars, most wineries in Napa do not restrict minors from entering the tasting room, as long as they don’t partake in the wine tasting. Especially for older children, they may be allowed to do tours around the winery and the vineyards, and to discover the process of winemaking as well as the proper methods of tasting. If your kids are also interested in visiting wineries, then it can be good for you and them.
There are a lot of wineries with some surprises to offer. The Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga is a serious castle that’s inspired by medieval Tuscan palaces. There’s a moat, a drawbridge, defensive towers, a courtyard and even an authentic torture chamber that was imported straight from Italy. Children and teenagers who are interested in history will be instantly drawn to this castle. Another winery in Calistoga is Sterling Vineyards, which sits on top of a hill. In order to get there, you have to take a short cable car ride from the main entrance to the villa and the winery itself, which boasts a stunning Greek-inspired architecture and landscape.
If your kids’ interests lean toward art, they’ll be in for a surprise in the Napa Valley, as it is also home to the world’s best-known and interesting art pieces to offer. A lot of the wineries display painting, sculpture and other art installations created by both local and national artists. Some of the wineries also function as an art or photography gallery. Wineries for art lovers include Artesa Winery, Turnbull Wine Cellars, Mumm, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Peju Winery, Del Dotto Winery, and a lot more.
One of the fun ways to get around Napa is to try out the Napa Valley Wine Train. It travels through the heart of Napa and brings you to the famous wineries (Robert Mondavi, Charles Krug), restaurants and other attractions. The amazingly restored vintage Pullman cars run the tracks from Napa to St. Helena, and they also function as a moving fine-dining restaurant. Dine and enjoy the scenic views as you’re coasting towards the next destination of your journey.
With its naturally crafted landscapes, Napa Valley is also perfect for adventure seekers. They can go hiking and camp out at Napa Valley’s several hiking trails and RV camping parks, kayaking on the Napa River or fishing, waterskiing, and boating on the Lake Berryessa.
Hot air ballooning is also a popular activity in Napa Valley. Once you’re in the basket and are prepared to lift off, be ready to experience the adventure of a lifetime. The open atmosphere allows you to enjoy uninterrupted views of Napa, with “beds” of neatly-arranged vineyards, lush trees, estates and wineries that dot the fields.
The feeling of reaching the sky is an experience that’s utterly incomparable. Children, as long as they are old and tall enough to look over the basket, will surely love flying in the hot air balloon and exploring the vast Napa landscape. They will also learn a thing or two about geography and physics in the process. And most importantly, flying will also help them overcome their fear of heights and become comfortable with them.
Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers hot air balloon flights for the whole family. Our basic packages include a pre-flight breakfast and an after-flight brunch, while our more comprehensive packages add the comfort and luxury of limo bus transportation and a picnic lunch against a beautiful garden setting at one of the wineries you visit.
It’s just a matter of weeks before school starts all over again, so take advantage of the moment by trying out fun things to do in Napa Valley. They range from visiting unique wineries to flying in a hot air balloon during sunrise — the possibilities of fun are endless!