napa valley
Napa

The town of Napa is a good home base for exploring the Napa Valley with kids. There's plenty of restaurants, cafes, bakeries, delis (our favorite the Oxbow Public Market), farmers market year round, family friendly hotels and house rentals, public parks for picnic suppers and hiking in the hills close by.

Napa River Promenade - Take a walk along the Napa River, on the big wide promenade that goes along the river front from the Napa River Inn (historic Hatt Building), north to the Veterans Memorial Park (Third and Main St). Lots of ducks in the water (but don't feed them). At the park, bring your picnic lunch and sit out on the grassy seating area.
Fuller Park - Right in the historic part of town, Fuller Park is a big old shady park, with plenty of picnic tables, a large playground with climbing structures and swings, and a great place for kids and parents alike to relax.
Napa Valley Wine Train - Take a three hour train ride from Napa to St. Helena and back. In the Silverado Car, May through October, food can be ordered from the a la carte menu (which includes hamburgers, chicken and ribs etc.). This is definitely a splurge experience, but this old-fashioned train has a great ambiance and it's a luxurious feeling "drifting" through the Napa Valley. There are special holiday trains, such as Mother's Day, Easter, Santa and Christmas trains. Call 800.427.4124 for more information, children's rates, and reservations.
Connolly Ranch (Browns Valley Rd.) - Little ones will be charmed with a visit to the Connolly Ranch, a little farm with a barn and pond. The chickens, sheep, goats, ducks, geese, miniature horse and donkeys, are lots of fun. Currently, Connolly Ranch is open May to October on Saturdays, but you can always stop by any time to take a look at the farm animals.
Westwood Hills Park and Carolyn Parr Nature Center (Browns Valley Rd.) - Next to the Connolly Ranch, Westwood Hills Park has picnic tables (this is a great place for picnic dinner in summer) and easy trails for a hike through the oak trees.
At the Nature Center, open on Saturdays and Sundays 1:00pm - 4:00pm, are dioramas of plants and animals of the Napa Valley, and exhibits of rocks and minerals, an insect display, plus a touch corner of skins and skulls.
Alston Park (Dry Creek Road) – Looking for a lovely picnic spot? Alston Park, a favorite with local families, is a lovely open space, bordered with vineyards. The park has easy trails, and is a good location for toddlers to run around.
Just a short walk from the parking lot is a hilltop with large picnic table, additional picnic benches close by, and more picnic benches along the trail.
For a fun hike in the park, read our blog post: Napa: On a clear day in autumn.
Skyline Wilderness Park (Imola Ave.) - Get out and hike in the rolling hills east of Napa.
Skyline Wilderness Park is the perfect place to bring a picnic, there are plenty of tables in the shade, right next to the parking lot.
One of our favorite trails is the Lake Marie Road Trail, which follows a bubbling creek lined with leafy ferns, under the shade of the oak and laurel trees. With little kids, just go up this trail as far as you like; with older kids, take the Mazanita Trail for a longer loop hike.
Fun food
Oxbow Public Market (First St.) - The Oxbow Public Market is our favorite place to eat with kids in Napa - locally made ice cream, cupcakes, bakery goodies, sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, tacos, coffee and wine. Family friendly, there are even kids' size tables.
Enjoy the bounty of Napa Valley, Napa Farmers Market, with local fruits vegetables, pastured raised eggs, fruits, baked goods, takeaway food, open Tuesday and Saturday, 8am - 12pm, 1100 West St. in downtown Napa.

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