March 22, 2021
A Trip to Napa, CA with Kids!
Have you ever wondered if a trip to Napa with kids is a good idea, or even possible? My family’s traveling these days is still of the road trip variety, so in thinking about options from the Seattle area, Napa came to mind. My husband and I are both wine-lovers and neither of us had ever visited California wine country. But could we put together a trip that would be fun for both us and our five-year-old daughter? And does Napa even allow kids?! And what about COVID restrictions? I set out to find answers and was pleasantly surprised at what I found!
Do Napa wineries allow kids?
Yes! But not all of them. And certainly less in COVID times. BUT I found some great options that are self-described as kid-friendly. And one is even a castle…so there you go! Here are a few options on our list. Oh, and yes, they all require reservations so book in advance!
Honig Farm, Rutherford:
Kid friendly, outdoor tasting at a farm with a focus on sustainable wine-making. Win!
This winery is open for wine tasting on their outdoor terrace and they make a point to say they are a family friendly winery that welcomes children of all ages as well as dogs. I really appreciate that they take the guesswork out of whether kids are welcome and put that information front and center!
Castello de Amorosa, Calistoga:
It’s a castle! That serves wine! This is a parent and kid win/win. Unfortunately, tours of the inside of the castle are on pause due to COVID, but there is still plenty to see from the outside and in the tasting room! Kids are welcome but must be at least 5 years of age.
What kind of limits are there on wine tasting due to COVID?
In setting up our tastings I noticed that most wineries have some form of modified operations right now. Sometimes this means they don’t have food pairings with tastings, sometimes it means there are less options for tasting/tours, and sometimes it means they only accept guests that are 21+. However, I did not find ANY wineries that were completely closed for tastings, though I’m sure there are some out there.
What else is there to do around Napa with kids?
A lot, as it would seem! It is a very outdoor friendly region, with tons of biking, hiking and hot air ballooning!! Here are some places we are planning to visit:
Petrified Forest, Calistoga:
As the website says “step back in time, over 3 million years, and walk among majestic petrified redwood giants.” Sounds good to me! I’m game for most outdoor activities in nature, but if you add a little history and science in it just makes it all the more fun.
Old Faithful Geyser of California, Calistoga:
Apparently, this is one of the most photographed sites in California! Watch the geyser erupt every 15 to 30 minutes. You can also enjoy lunch in the picnic grounds and there is a petting zoo too! You can see llamas, horned sheep, and mountain goats.
Napa has multiple hot air balloon operators that will take you over the beautiful wine country valley! I have had a riding in a hot air balloon on my bucket list for quite some time. Alas, most companies have a 48 inches height requirement and my daughter is just shy of that. Shoot! But for anyone with kids ages in the 6-7+ range you are golden!
Any other tips?
Yes! Location, location, location! Our plan is to spend time tasting wine and exploring…but we are also planning on a fair amount of downtime. And for us, that means pool time! This is one area where parents and kids tend to align…so finding a hotel, resort or rental with a pool is key! And if you are visiting Napa outside of their hotter months (i.e. late fall, winter, spring) you should consider staying in Calistoga. Calistoga has numerous hot springs and many resorts have hot spring fed pools…which means they are warm year round!
We are planning on staying at Indian Springs Resort. Why we chose it: two hot spring fed pools that will allow us pool time when we visit in mid-April, regardless of weather; on-site restaurant with great reviews; lots of lodging options including bungalows and cottages separate from the main resort building; and a great location close to downtown Calistoga!
Cheers to getting on the road with kids!
February 23, 2021
If you’re anything like me, you probably spent a fair amount of time in 2020 scrolling through photos on your phone of past vacations and fantasizing about when you might be able to visit a favorite vacation destination again or explore a new one. While most of us can’t hop on a plane to Europe just yet, there is a little slice of Bavaria in the North Cascade mountains of Washington State that will get you pretty close!
Leavenworth, Washington is a Bavarian-themed town and while it may sound a tad bit kitschy, once you make it over the mountain pass and pull into town surrounded by jagged alpine mountains that just keep climbing, you may just find yourself forgetting you’re not actually in a village in the Alps. One of the things I love about Leavenworth is how it has something for everyone: fantastic shopping, wine tasting from local Washington state wineries, and delicious Bavarian cuisine and German beer of course! This mountain town is also a mecca for outdoor activity, both summer and winter. And, somehow it manages to both be a fantastic place for families as well as singles and couples. Here is my family travel plan for Leavenworth!
Feel free to adjust this schedule to fit your needs and interests! Would you like help creating a custom travel itinerary for a future trip? I own a company called Tailored Travels by Lea and every custom trip I plan has details just like this so you can enjoy your travel experience to the maximum.