Don’t wait for a kid-free weekend to head to wine country—bring them along! There are plenty of wineries that are ready with some grape juice, crayons, lawn games and farm animals to keep their smallest patrons entertained. And when the kids get tired of being the tag-alongs, check out a geyser, visit some giraffes or relax by the pool. There are even kid-friendly eateries and lodging if you are looking to make it a long weekend. Read on for all of our wine country recs!
photo: Mari S. via yelp
Castello Di Amorosa
There’s a special place in Napa for all of your little Frozen lovers and/or knights-in-training—a full sized 13th century castle that’s straight out of a fairy tale book. It comes complete with a moat, emus, peacocks, guided tours and the coolest dungeon tasting room ever where you get to sip while the kids are kept happily occupied with breadsticks and grape juice. A knight’s suit of armor in the corner completes the ambiance.
4045 St Helena Hwy
This “green” winery welcomes children and four-legged furry friends alike (note: on a leash, please! The dogs, that is). While they don’t allow picnicking there’s plenty on the grounds that cater to families including a barn, farm animals and bountiful fruit and vegetable gardens.
8815 Conn Creek Rd
Long Meadow Ranch
High above Napa Valley sits a winery with 4×4 tours of their mountain vineyards. They also offer everything for the foodie-focused family including a farmer’s market for all of the season’s latest picks, culinary provisions from their General Store that even the pickiest of young eaters will enjoy.
738 Main St
Saint Helena, CA
Paradise Ridge Winery
Paradise Ridge Winery suffered a devastating loss to their property during the Tubbs Fire. You can still support them by visiting their Kenwood Tasting Room
photo: Frank J. via yelp
The Dry Creek Valley is home to this scenic gem that offers creekside Adirondack chairs and picnic tables where you can enjoy a glass of their Salmon Run Zinfandel and, if you are lucky, spot one of the namesake fish as they spawn in the creek. Ask the winery staff for their special glasses that make spotting the salmon even easier. Kids will also love the goats, chickens and organic gardens on the property.
5610 Dry Creek Rd.
photo: Amanda Marsalis
Francis Ford Coppola Winery
If you are looking for a spot to park your posse poolside, then head to Geyserville to spend the day at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. In addition to tasting rooms and a family-friendly restaurant, this historic winery has two large pools that are open to the public. Make your reservation well in advance to grab one of the poolside cabines that include lounge chairs and umbrellas for the perfect pool day. You can even order from the Pool Cafe and have your food and beverages delivered to your lounge chair. Perfecto!
300 Via Archimedes
Matanzas Creek Winery
Plan your visit to this Santa Rosa gem when the lavender is in bloom. The calming scent takes over the property and you will want to spend the day sipping sauvignon blanc as the kids play cornhole under the massive oak trees. Swing by the lavender market if you want to bring home some lavender-scented bath products or even a bunch of lavender grill sticks for your next barbecue.
6097 Bennett Valley Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA
V. Sattui Winery
V. Sattui knows that there’s nothing that pairs better with a great wine than some delicious meats and cheeses. Their artisan deli offers something for everyone – over 200 cheeses, desserts including creme brulee and gelato, and on the weekends you can dig in to some barbecued ribs and wood-fired pizza. Kids will enjoy romping through the over two acres of picnic grounds.
1111 White Lane
St. Helena, CA
photo: Sterling Vineyards
Your visit here is guaranteed to start off with adventure—and sweeping views—since a gondola ride (300 feet above the valley) is the only way to get to the winery. There’s a self-guided tour (so take as many bathroom breaks and selfies as needed) plus coloring books and grape juice in the tasting room.
1111 Dunaweal Lane
Benziger Family Winery
This Earth-friendly, family-run winery showcases it’s “green” philosophies through their sustainable farming practices, which families will love learning about via a Biodynamic Tram Tour. On top of prize-winning labels you’ll also find picnic grounds, loads of space for the kids to run around and a small bird zoo.
1883 London Ranch Rd.
Glen Ellen, CA
photo: Jennifer Lin via flickr
Having been around for over 150 years makes this the oldest family-owned winery in California. With seasonal events like a concert series and an outdoor movie night under the stars—combined with beautiful grounds and valley views—it’s the perfect picnic setting.
2000 Denmark St
Cline Cellars Vineyard and Winery
350 acres means something for everyone at this family go-to. And while the grounds don’t look like much driving in, once you’re behind the wall kiddos get treated to a breadth of pretty lawns, ponds, paths and fountains, and the California Mission Museum with its historic display of all 21 missions built to scale in 1939. They’ll love seeing the turtles, fish and exotic birds while you’ll love the wine tasting in a charming 1850s farmhouse.
24737 Arnold Dr
Preston Farm and Winery
As the name implies, this winery is also home to animals like sheep, hens and occasionally pigs. Kids will love the many cats that roam the property (but leave Fido at home for this visit). Grab one of Preston’s famed Rhône varietal wines and enjoy it with a picnic lunch on the grass. Grab some pastured eggs and ground lamb in the shop to take home with you (along with your vino, of course).
9282 West Dry Creek Road
photo: John Morgan via flickr
They offer a fascinating family history where the owners are descendants of John Deere (think: tractors) plus seasonal weekend wagon tours, plus beautiful fountains and grounds.
101 Adobe Canyon Road
Larson Family Winery
This winery boasts a laid-back atmosphere and “fun for the whole family” with vineyard views (expansive and picturesque), a 70-acre ranch (where you can spend the night) and a beautiful setting with picnic areas for rent and tasting package reservations.
23355 Millerick Rd.
photo: Kate Loweth
Husband and wife restaurateurs, Chef Roberth and Andrea Sundell, know what it’s like to dine out with kids. Parents to four kids themselves, they opened Stockhome in their Petaluma hometown with a keen eye to what would be convenient for families. The counter-service restaurant serves the popular cuisine of Stockholm including Swedish favorites like meatballs with lingonberries, mashed potatoes and gravy.
Other favorites include the kebab plate with pommes frites and the little gem salad with fried garbanzo beans. Kids will especially love the massive-but-delicate Swedish pancakes with fresh berries and vanilla cream and the pita pizza. Bonus: you can be sure they’ll behave during the meal as you can bribe them with some of the restaurant’s authentic Swedish candies. A few dozen varieties are available for purchase by the pound at the counter, after you finish what’s on your plate, of course.
220 Western Ave.
Open for lunch and dinner, Wed.-Sun.
Oxbow Public Market
The benefit of visiting this spot is that there is literally something for every taste available. Burgers, cupcakes, oysters and more, grab your fave, pick a table and dig in.
610 & 644 First Street
photo: Jackie D. via yelp
Boxcar Fried Chicken & Biscuits
After the ever-popular Fremont Diner closed, Boxcar Fried Chicken & Biscuits took over and we are more than thrilled. The drool-worthy menu includes many of the Fremont Diner favorites: fried chicken, biscuits, sandwiches, deviled eggs, pimento cheese, collard greens and baked beans. Desserts include fried pies, milkshakes and soft serve. Breakfast is no longer available and service changed from table-side to counter, making for a much faster dining experience. Choose a spot on the patio where the kids can dig in the rocks with the dump trucks while you enjoy every last bite of those shrimp and grits and smoked brisket hash.
2698 Fremont Dr.
Right in the middle of Sonoma’s central square you will find the simple, delicious food of Sunflower Caffe. Open for breakfast and lunch, the lines can get long but it’s worth the wait to grab some farm-fresh eggs or the ever-popular smoked duck sandwich. Their expansive back patio is full of water fountains and tons of spots to explore or sit for a bit.
421 First St. W
photo: Bam L. via yelp
Boon Fly Cafe
The world-famous Boon Fly Donuts are not to be missed on your next trip to Napa. A bucket of these babies for the kids and spicy bacon Bloody Marys for the grown-ups are the perfect way to start your day. Lunch and dinner offer options like flatbread pizza and fried chicken. If you are there on a Monday, you are in luck as they offer everyone’s favorite breakfast for dinner!
4048 Sonoma Hwy
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch
Dine in this old barn with plenty of seating, an open kitchen to entertain the littles and tasty farm-to-table cuisine that changes with the season. Big portions are perfect for sharing like the “brick cooked” chicken and the mac and cheese with Vella Daisy cheddar. Enjoy live music on the outdoor patio when the weather cooperates and make sure you save room for the Scharffenberger chocolate cream pie—you won’t regret it.
738 Main St.
St. Helena, CA
photo: Alex H. via yelp
Generations of parents have made a pit stop at TrainTown, located just a mile down the road from Sonoma’s main plaza. Take the 20-minute train ride around the park and then check out the other old-school rides—a carousel, Ferris wheel, dragon coaster and more. Visit the miniature town and petting zoo before you head out.
Epicenter Sports and Entertainment Complex
Just opened in Santa Rosa, this state-of-the-art fun and fitness center features a trampoline park, an arcade, bowling alley, an indoor soccer field, laser tag, dining and more. Put this on your list in case you encounter a rainy day on your wine country weekend.
3215 Coffey Lane
Santa Rosa, CA
Charles M. Schulz Museum and Snoopy’s Home Ice
Kids of all ages will enjoy learning about long-time Santa Rosa resident and Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz at this museum with interactive exhibits, animated Peanuts specials, original comic strips and more. Then head next door to the ice rink that Schulz had built in 1969 for some family skate time and snacks at the Warm Puppy Cafe.
photo: Safari West
For a real adventure, spend the day in the Sonoma Serengeti at Safari West. This accredited zoo offers guests who are four and older a tour of the 400-acre property in a safari Jeep. Younger guests will enjoy a walking tour where you can meet a flamboyance of flamingos and a tower of giraffes. Extend your stay in one of the property’s tent bungalows and wake to the sounds of wildlife.
3115 Porter Creek Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA
The Petrified Forest
Take a walk through this ancient forest where a volcano eruption turned trees into stone. You can explore on your own or take the docent-led 1.5 hour walk to learn about the area’s history.
4100 Petrified Forest Rd.
Old Faithful Geyser of California
Spend a few hours exploring the property and watching the geyser erupt. Grab a picnic table or enjoy a game of bocce ball. The kids will be amazed to see the property’s animals which include llamas, four-horned sheep and the famous fainting goats!
1299 Tubbs Lane
CIA at Copia
If you are looking for an epicurean experience to share with the whole family, book a Sunday family cooking class at the CIA at Copia in downtown Napa. Here you’ll get an interactive demonstration experience making dim sum, eclairs, mac and cheese and more. Each class has a different theme and you just might get to sample your creations at the end!
500 1st Street
photo: Carneros Resort and Spa
Carneros Resort and Spa
With 100 cottages, suites and residences, Carneros Resort and Spa is your go-to spot for a luxurious family getaway. During the summer months, parents can enjoy a night out while kids enjoy a delicious dinner, an array of fun and exciting games and a kid-friendly movie. Carneros Kids’ Night will also include a game room complete with ping pong, foosball, shuffleboard and an array of board games. Sounds like a win-win!
4048 Sonoma Hwy.
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
Camping in wine country! You can set up your tent, rent a cabin or reserve one of the yurts that sleep up to six people at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. The park has a spring-fed pool that’s great for cooling off when the days get hot. Explore the park’s pioneer cemetery, hike to the Bale Grist Mill to learn about the milling process and enjoy the trails and creeks. Old Faithful Geyser is just up the road.
3801 St. Helena Hwy.
photo: The Sandman Santa Rosa
The Sandman Santa Rosa
Right off of 101, The Sandman’s Santa Rosa location is super convenient for families visiting wine country. The welcoming staff and chill mid-century modern decor will make you feel relaxed the minute you arrive. Families will especially love the family suite—with a king bed and a twin-over-full bunk bed everyone is able to spread out. Spend your days lounging by the heated pool where you can purchase snacks, ice cream and their homemade Froze (for the parents) at the Pool House & Bar. Summers at The Sandman bring their food truck nights and live music by the pool.
The hotel’s newly-launched Charles Schultz Package offers families budget-friendly accommodations along with access to this family-favorite local museum. You’ll get two museum passes, a canvas gift bag, key chain and holiday ornament. It also includes late checkout at 2 p.m. so that you have more time to explore the museum.
3421 Cleveland Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA
Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa
Relax with the kids at this hotel that boasts two Olympic-sized pools and an on-site restaurant. Four of the guest suites include an attached kids room that has two twin beds. Parents can book some time at the resort’s spa while the small people head to the kids’ club.
2777 4th St.
Santa Rosa, CA
Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country
This hotel has lots of great options for families including rooms that sleep up to four, some with Nintendo consoles for when you really need some kid downtime. Splash in the large pool and enjoy the outdoor fire pits in the evening.
170 Railroad St.
Santa Rosa, CA
—Kate Loweth & Mae Respicio Koerner