Napa Valley is known for its vineyards, wineries, and romantic atmosphere. Many of the best things to do in Napa Valley include wine tastings and tours through the renowned countryside.
But, there are also so many other activities to do in Napa, California beyond drinking wine all day.
I highly suggest visiting the famous winery Castello di Amorosa, which is a replica of an authentic medieval Tuscan castle that has been built with no modern tools or equipment.
And if you are looking for something more outdoorsy, take a hike through Robert Louis Stevenson State Park to see the stone cabin where he wrote his novel Treasure Island.
For those who prefer nature activities over drinking wine all day long (or at least want some variety), here’s my complete list of fun things to do in Napa Valley:
1. Take a Trip to Castello di Amorosa Winery, the Most Authentic European Castle in North America
The castle is the most authentic European Castle in North America, which you can see in action during the annual Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament.
For those who don’t want to attend, there are several other things you can do at the winery such as wine tastings and tours of the castle.
Castello di Amorosa is also home to a great restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating areas perfect for enjoying your lunch or dinner while overlooking their vineyards.
Castello di Amorosa Winery is located about 20 minutes from downtown Napa Valley and offers plenty of free parking on site!
2. Stay At The Tudor-Style Auberge du Soleil
Stay in luxury: If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, consider the Auberge du Soleil. It’s a luxury resort that has all of the bells and whistles you might expect from such an establishment.
You get rooms, service, amenities (such as a spa and a wine cellar), dining options, and even a golf course to boot!
Enjoy fine dining at its best: But if it’s the food you want most of all—and who doesn’t?—then head to Auberge du Soleil’s Michelin-starred restaurant La Toque.
They serve up some seriously good dishes here; their foie gras is legendary because it’s so fresh that they make sure the ducks are still alive when preparing them for their patrons’ enjoyment!
3. Go For a Hike in Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is a beautiful place to get away from it all. There are plenty of hiking trails in the park, so bring your sneakers and hit the trail!
Location: Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is located at 2800 Washington Street in Calistoga, California 94152. It’s about an hour’s drive from San Francisco or Sacramento.
What to do there? Hike! There are tons of different hikes you can take here, ranging from easy strolls to more challenging climbs up mountainsides. If you’re not sure where to start with your journey into nature’s wonderland, try one of these suggested routes:
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park Map & Directions – A MapQuest map showing directions from your location; plus driving directions (street view may be available).
4. Be Inspired At the di Rosa Art Preserve
Take a break from wine tasting and enjoy the creativity at di Rosa Art Preserve, located on over 600 acres in Napa Valley. Set aside an afternoon and visit their galleries, gardens, sculpture trails, and art studios.
You can learn more about the artists who live there as well as enjoy some food and drink while you take it all in!
The museum is open Thursday through Monday from 10 am to 5 pm with extended hours during the summer months (June through September). Admission is $10 per person; children 12 & under are free.
5. Learn How Wine Is Made at the CIA at Copia
The Culinary Institute of America at Copia houses a museum and cooking school. It’s the only museum in the United States dedicated to the art and science of food and wine, which means it’s a perfect stop for anyone visiting Napa Valley who wants to learn more about both subjects.
The CIA at Copia offers various classes on wine-making, cheese-making, chocolate-making, and more! They even have a couple of classes specifically designed for families with young children.
Address and Google Map:
6. Discover The Culinary Institute of America in St Helena
The Culinary Institute of America, located in Napa Valley, is the world’s premier culinary college. The campus offers a variety of programs including a wine program, baking and pastry arts, and restaurant management.
Students who attend the CIA can study any or all of these areas for up to two years. Students will learn about food preparation, service management, and all other aspects that go into running a successful restaurant or hotel.
Since opening its doors in 1946, over 60% of graduates from this school have gone on to work as executive chefs or cooks at some of the best restaurants in New York City and San Francisco.
A visit to one of their campuses will give you an idea about how much goes into preparing food for guests at fine dining establishments around the world!
2555 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, United States
7. Go Wine Tasting at Domaine Carneros Winery
We’ve saved the best for last. The wineries in Napa Valley are some of the most renowned in all of California, so it would be a shame to miss out on tasting some excellent wines while you’re in town.
When choosing where to go wine tasting, there are many options and each one has something different to offer.
We recommend starting with Domaine Carneros Winery and working your way up from there based on your tastes! If you prefer white wines, then this is a great place for you as well as those who like reds too!
Other popular wineries include Amorosa Winery (which offers an amazing experience), Bouchon Bakery & Bistro (a must-visit spot before heading home), Chandon Winery (home base for sparkling wines), and Castello di Amorosa Winery which offers both reds & whites along with other delicious treats such as pizza or gelato ice cream cone sundae cones!
8. Visit Robert Louis Stevenson State Park to See the Ruins of His Cabin
One of the best things to do in Napa Valley is to visit Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, a popular destination with visitors.
The park is located in Calistoga, just north of Napa Valley, and is named after Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island.
The park includes several hiking trails and swimming areas as well as an interpretative center that has exhibits about the history of the area including its role in 19th-century mining.
Location: 4824 Lake County Hwy #4774, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States
9. Have a Posh Picnic at Bouchon Bakery and Bouchon Bistro
Bouchon Bakery and Bouchon Bistro are located in Yountville, California. The bakery is open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.
For your posh picnic day trip, you can plan to visit both Bouchon locations during your stay in Napa Valley!
The bakery offers baked goods such as croissants, cookies, and tarts while the bistro serves French-inspired food like Duck Confit Salad or Steak Frites with a glass of wine or Bloody Mary.
Address: 6534 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, United States
10. Ride the Napa Valley Wine Train
Take a ride through the Napa Valley on the Napa Valley Wine Train. This luxury train transports passengers from San Francisco to St. Helena and back again, allowing you to see all that this region has to offer.
The train consists of three different classes of service: Classic, Silverado, and Vintage. These different classes offer different amenities such as food service, wine tasting opportunities, and more!
The train is a great way to experience the beauty of this area while eating delicious food and drinking some amazing wine!
How to Make a booking:
You can book your seat in Napa Valley Wine Train by visiting their website: fareharbor.com
11. Enjoy a Meal at Mustard’s Grill
Mustard’s Grill is an institution in Napa Valley and a great place to enjoy a meal with friends or family. The restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Yountville, which also makes it a great place to get away from the busy traffic on Highway 29, whether you are traveling by car or by bike.
Mustard’s serves up some of the best burgers around and they have plenty of options for vegetarians as well. They even have gluten-free buns if you need them!
Mustard’s has an intimate atmosphere that makes it feel like your dining room at home but with better food and service!
You can enjoy dinner in their dining room where they have tables big enough for groups larger than four people or take advantage of their outdoor patio seating during warmer months when the weather lets up (or just because).
They also offer live music every Saturday night from 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm which adds even more charm to this already charming dining experience!
Address: 7399 St Helena Hwy, Napa, CA 94558, United States
Website: Home Page | Mustards Grill
12. Explore the Oakland Museum of California
The Oakland Museum of California is free, open daily, and features exhibits on art, history, science, and more.
There are also plenty of events at the museum to keep you entertained throughout the year. From gallery openings to concerts and dance performances to lectures with experts in their fields—there’s always something going on at OMCA.
If you love learning more about your surroundings (or someone else’s), check out some of these classes: “The Art of Storytelling: How Literature Reveals Our History & Culture”; or “Birds & Bees: Exploring Pollination Through Art & Science.”
13. Go to Domaine Chandon Winery for Free Tastings and Tours
Domaine Chandon is the most popular winery in Napa Valley, so it’s no surprise that they have a free tour of their facility. The tour starts at 10:30 am and goes until 5 pm every day (except Thanksgiving).
During this tour, you’ll learn all about how to make sparkling wine, including the laborious process of making bottles out of glass and corking them with wire cages.
You’ll also get to see how they age their wines in barrels before bottling them up for sale!
After the tour is over, you can taste some samples from different vintages of Domaine Chandon wines—including bubbly ones—and even take home some souvenirs like t-shirts or hats!
Address: 1 California Dr, Yountville, CA 94599, United States
14. Go Horseback Riding with Napa Valley Trail Rides
If you’re looking for an activity that will get your heart rate up, horseback riding is a great choice. The best place to start is near trail rides Near Calistoga Spa Hot Springs Resort, Calistoga Ranch, or Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa.
There are many options for horseback riding in Napa Valley, and it’s hard to find a better place for this activity than Calistoga Spa Hot Springs Resort.
You can even go on a guided tour of the vineyards and wineries with the Calistoga Trail Rides & Tours Company if you want more adventure than just plain old trail riding.
No matter what time of year it is or what kind of experience level you have with horses, there are plenty of places where they offer guided tours such as Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and Calistoga Ranch Resort & Spa.
It doesn’t hurt that these resorts also have spas!
15. Visit The Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company
The Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company is a great place to learn about olive oil production and the health benefits of this incredible ingredient. You can taste the oils, buy them, and learn about the process of making them.
The store also has a wide variety of other products that contain healthy fats such as nuts or seeds which are excellent sources of protein and good fats. They also sell fruit-infused vinegar, so you can make your salad dressings at home!
The store is located right off Highway 29 in St Helena so it’s a quick stop on your way out to Calistoga or down to San Francisco/Bay Area if you’re in town visiting wine country with family or friends.
We recommend stopping here first because then after tasting their delicious products, everyone will be satisfied with what they bought before moving on to another winery where there might not be enough time for tasting since there are so many amazing ones nearby (and if these aren’t enough).
We hope this list has helped you plan your perfect trip to Napa Valley. If you have any other suggestions or questions, please comment below! We’d love to hear from you.
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