How to Enjoy a Day in Napa Valley with Kids!

Napa Valley with Kids

Napa Valley with Kids!

Napa is just for adults.

Or so you thought.

Don’t get me wrong. Napa Valley is certainly on top of my “I’d like to go back without my kids” list. Because, well…wine. But, it is possible to have a ton of fun in Napa Valley with kids.

I promise.

Our day in Napa was jam packed to the brim full of fun activities for both the kids and adults to enjoy. Napa was on the tail end of our epic California road trip and I honestly thought when I was planning our day in Napa that the kids would be miserable. I actually scheduled the following day at Six Flags amusement park because I was trying to make up for dragging them through wine country.

But, boy was I wrong!

The Jelly Belly Factory Tour

We started our day at the Jelly Belly Factory. They offer FREE self guided tours starting every ten minutes. We arrived early, but still had to wait about fifteen minutes. We weren’t the only ones excited about jelly beans! In the meantime, we admired all the Jelly Belly art and got our trusty (required) hats ready for action.

Did you know it takes 7-14 days to make a Jelly Belly bean? We all thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Jelly Belly bean life cycle but maybe enjoyed the free samples a bit more! Yum!

(Side note for any allergy-friends out there: Jelly Belly are gluten free, dairy free, peanut free, and vegetarian friendly.  Certified kosher. Yay!)

Napa Valley with Kids Jelly Belly Bean Factory

The Napa Riverfront

Next up on the agenda was the Napa Riverfront. We strolled through the super cute little shopping area and stopped at Lucero for an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. Not all tastings in Napa have to be wine tastings!! And believe it or not, the kids really enjoyed sampling all the different flavors. We even purchased a few and had them shipped home.

Since fine dining wasn’t an option with kids, we just walked past the acclaimed French Laundry restaurant before grabbing a quick sandwich and some sweet treats from Bouchon Bakery. We ate alfresco in the attached courtyard which was a perfect compromise with the kids.

Sadly we didn’t have time to explore the Oxbow Public Market which I’ve heard is fantastic! It’s definitely on my must-do list for the next visit!

How you can enjoy a day in Napa Valley with kids.

Kid- Friendly Wineries

Wineries in Napa Valley with kids??

Yep! No problem! We had two wineries in mind that during my research appeared to be kid-friendly. Our decision was made for us since Sterling Vineyards’ aerial tram was closed for maintenance the day we were in town.

Castello di Amorosa was the destination!

Y’all…it’s a castle…a full fledged Tuscan style castle smack dab in the middle of Napa Valley. And it’s beautiful. You can roam the grounds for free but to go inside you have to pay…there are several different options depending on which type of wine tasting or tour you prefer, but we just did the basic general admission ticket. We had access to two floors, sampled five wines, and the grounds.

You do also have to buy a minor ticket for children, but it includes a grape juice tasting which my daughter thought was the coolest thing ever!! (Side note: they do not allow strollers inside the castle.) We weren’t the only ones with kids there either, so we didn’t feel out of place or anything.

The castle was very busy. This isn’t the place to go for an intimate romantic date. This particular day, they were setting up for a private event later that evening so there was a full orchestra practicing…it was pretty cool! But that was even more entertaining for the kids, well…actually us too.

Oh and the wines were quite lovely. We are far from wine experts. It was more about the experience for us. We did order a bottle or two (or a case) to be shipped home!

So see…Napa Valley with kids is possible!

How you can enjoy a day in Napa Valley with kids- Castello di Amorosa Winery

Worth Mentioning

We also stopped by Stags’ Leap Vineyard. We had wanted to purchase a special gift for my father in law and knew he was a fan of their wine. This is definitely a more upscale winery and not so much for the kids. BUT, they were so kind and patient with our children as we talked, sampled, and made our purchase. They even brought the kids water in wine glasses while they were waiting. Kindness goes a long way people!

How to enjoy a day in Napa Valley with kids!

Old Faithful Geyser

There’s an Old Faithful in California? Say what?

Yep. Apparently there are three geysers in the world with the Old Faithful designation. Who knew, right?

We rolled up to Old Faithful in Calistoga, California in the early evening catching the tail end of her eruption. She goes off about every 30-40 minutes for around two-six minutes. And she’s incredible. You most likely have heard so much more about Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, but in my opinion…this one is better.

Why?

There was one other couple there. That’s it. And we actually hung around after the first eruption and watched again…

ALL BY OURSELVES!!

It was very cool. We hung around the 40 minutes or so and played bocce ball, read about the geyser, meandered the gift shop, and hung out with the goats and llamas. Yep! It was the most peaceful evening. If only I had packed us a picnic dinner too.

Yes, Yellowstone does shoot higher and may seem mightier, but there are huge crowds. HUGE! There are so many people there and you have to stand back really far from the geyser and may have people standing directly in front of you. In Calistoga, you were right up close and personal with Old Faithful. It was just a different experience all together. One that I will remember for a very long time and would highly recommend.

Napa Valley with Kids- Calistoga California Old Faithful Geyser

I most definitely think an adult trip to Napa would be epic. But, when you’re in the area, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t do Napa Valley with kids…and ENJOY it! I didn’t even need that silly day at Six Flags after all.

You can read more about our time in the San Francisco area HERE.

Have you been to Napa? Let me know what y’all think!

Save & Pin for Later!

How you can enjoy a day in Napa Valley with kids.

Linking up this week with #TheWeeklyPostcard and Two Traveling Texans…be sure to check them out too!

Two Traveling Texans

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51 Comments

  1. I am so glad to hear everyone had a great time in Napa. I didn’t realize the Jelly Belly factory was there. I am going to have to check that out on my next trip. It sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    1. It was a really full day but a great day…we really thought it wouldn’t be very much fun for the kids but turned out to be one of our favorite days!

  2. We used to live in the BayArea, and brought our kids with us to Napa all the time. I won’t say they jumped for joy when the idea came up, but there truly is quite a bit of fun there for all ages! #theweeklypostcard

    1. When I was originally planning the itinerary I thought we’d need to skip it…but the more research I did, the more I realized we could do it! And we had a blast 😊

    1. I’ve heard about Gotts Roadside…it was on my list but unfortunately didn’t have time for it this trip…definitely will check it out for next time!

  3. Aww so many of my own childhood memories coming up in this post! I often visited Napa Valley with family and my dad took me to the Jelly Belly Factory as a kid too! I really want to go to Castello di Amorosa! Castello di Amorosa

  4. My family are old enough to enjoy the wine tasting with me now! But I did go on a rugby/wine tasting tour to South Africa with my daughter under 1 and I toured the immaculate UNESCO world heritage vineyards of Vaud with both girls when slightly older. Hope you do get to go back on your own for some serious tasting though!

  5. The jelly belly tour seems like something I would enjoy too (just a big kid) I don’ have kids so I can only imagine how hard it can be to fill days with things to keep them entertained and interested.

    1. It can definitely be tricky in some cities finding activities that the whole family will enjoy- which is why I think I was so pleasantly surprised by Napa!

  6. I honestly knew nothing about Napa Valley beyond visiting wineries. So I had no idea there was a Jelly Belly factory or any awareness of the riverfront. It definitely still sounds worth an adult trip later on.

  7. My stepfather lives in Napa! I’ve only been there once but we did that Jelly Belly Factory tour (and bought a shed load of misshapen bean rejects, as you do!). We did a lot of trekking while we were there too. Lovely place!

    1. I probably would never have stopped with kids except we needed a stop on our road trip and it just fit perfectly. But we were so pleasantly surprised by Napa!

  8. I admit, I only ever associated the Napa Valley with wine. So good to know that there’s so much other stuff going on there (like a geyser?! mind BLOWN.) I don’t really like jellybeans (is that weird?) so I would give that factory a miss, but everything else you listed is right up my alley! Thanks for sharing!

  9. How nice that children can enjoy a wine farm and can have their own grape juice tasting. I would have loved that as a child. And also the jelly bean tour, nice for kids but also nice for the sweet tooth adult.

  10. Great to see that their are options for children. Like many, I always believed these places weren’t meant for children at all. I personally don’t drink alcohol, so it’s also a great guide for someone like myself 🙂 Those jelly beans are calling my name.

  11. Visited Napa a few years ago but, never realized that there was a Jelly Belly factory. I would have loved to go! I did visit Stags Leap – they were really impressive.

  12. How fun! I told my husband he has to take me to the Jelly Belly factory (and we are empty nesters). LOL! We have looked at going to the castle winery also, maybe we can make it to both! Thanks for sharing your experience!

  13. As a wine-fan without kids, I cannot deny that the wine in Napa would be the main pull for me. But Oh Em Gee, I never knew there was a Jelly Belly factory there too! Napa just leapt up my list of must-visit wine countries for that reason alone. But the geyser also looks so co0l, and great that you can visit something like this without having to fight the crowds for a look! Great tips here for things to do in Napa that are not just wine-centric, thanks for sharing!

    1. The jelly belly factory is awesome for all ages!! But Old Faithful was definitely a highlight for me. (But I plan to go back to enjoy a little more wine centered vacay😉)

  14. With so many kid-friendly breweries in our home area, I’m not surprised there are plenty of kid-friendly wineries, too! This looks like you guys had an amazing trip, and even I’m kind of jazzed about the Jelly Belly factory now!

  15. I visited Castello di Amorosa with my friend and her kid, and I can attest that it was a big hit for all ages. Somehow, I didn’t know that the Jelly Belly factory and the Calistoga Old Faithful were nearby. Now, I really want to go back to see these places and bring my own kids along.

  16. Sounds like a wonderful trip! I love seeing other people take their kids to places that people tend to consider “for adults” (we recently took ours to Oktoberfest in Munich hand got some side eye from a few people) because a) most often there is plenty to do for kids too! and b) having kids so doesn’t mean you need to stick to Disney for the next 18 years, haha.

    Anyway, glad to have found your blog! Happy travels!

    1. Oh wow!! I bet Oktoberfest was amazing! But I totally agree…no reason to stay home or skip certain destinations with kids! 😊😊

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