The Napa & Sonoma "Crush" Checklist

The Crush is on in Napa and Sonoma and even though it is the busiest time of the year; it's a great time to visit. As the grapes are being harvested, various wineries are hosting their own versions of The Blessing of the Grapes. Between now and October is an exciting time of the year to visit and I have discovered some really fun ideas for the whole family.



Napa has so many great wineries but one hidden gem is at Grgch Hills where you can Stomp Grapes daily between 10am-4pm - just like the famous I Love Lucy episode. Walk-in's welcome but groups with over eight people need to RSVP by calling (707) 963-2784. Huge smiles guaranteed.

The Coppola Winery has a huge pool open 7 days a week during the month of September, and Friday-Sunday in October. They also have bocce courts and a teepee filled with books. 

Castello di Amorosa, it's a castle with a very cool tour. The Castllo events are always fun to show off. Pricey, but fun. 

Benziger Family Winery has a fun tram ride around their vineyard and farm animals kids will love.

Sterling Vineyards has a an aerial tram up the mountain with great views! 

Cornerstone Gardens has places for wine tasting, delicious eateries and the property is an amazing place for kids and adults to explore! You just have to go and experience it.

Larson Family Winery is a fun place to bring the family, enjoy a picnic, play some bocce, visit their goats, and of course, try some wines! 

Cline Winery is a sweet winery with lovely outdoor picnicking, a California Missions Museum and you can meet some of their resident animals!

Napa Wine Train is super fun and kid friendly, but, if you have a rowdy group other passengers on the ride may not be so thrilled. 

And there's tons more family fun:

Beyond wineries, another one of my personal favorite things to do is take a self guided farm tour and take the cheese trail.

Old Faithful Geyser, If you swing by the Calistoga Welcome Center, there are $1.00 off cards. A good location for a picnic lunch. Out door eating areas and they have tables, plates, glasses etc. Maybe bring in a lunch from elsewhere - It will cost less then buying up there.

Safari West, one of my personal favorite places in California! Stay overnight or take a take a day tour and have lunch there. It's a very special experience.

Bothe State Park is great for camping, horseback riding and more!

Petrified Forest is open again. Interesting self guided tour too!

Skyline Wildnerness Park is perfect for hikes, rollerblade along river, ride bikes, etc.

Stroll through the amazing gardens of the famous French Laundry in Yountville. While you are there, plan to eat at one of my favorite places, Addendum (open only Thursday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) It's outdoors in a park like setting with veggie gardens, picnic tables and is perfect for kids! Best fried chicken and pulled pork I've ever had. Also make sure to go to Bouchon Bakery up the block... there's always a line, and yes, it's worth the wait!

Children’s Museum of Sonoma County provides hands-on, interactive exhibits and activities in a safe environment that are custom designed for families with children aged ten years old and younger.

The Sonoma TrainTown Railroad is a tourist railroad and 10 acre amusement park in Sonoma

Harvest Festivals

Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, September 27 – 29, Join us for the 122nd annual Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival – a weekend of food, wine, art and a celebration of harvest!

Sonoma County Harvest Fair, October 4-5, In 2019, the Harvest Fair will mark its 45th year of showcasing our county’s grand harvest which continues to result in world-class wines, award-winning beer and a plethora of culinary wealth. In 2015, with over 26,000 votes, the Harvest Fair was voted the Best Annual Festival of Sonoma County bestowed by The Press Democrat readers. Each October, thirsty travelers from across the entire US, are beckoned to Santa Rosa to participate in a complete farm to table experience, inspired by the county’s hard-working farmers, ranchers, vintners and producers.

Crush time is work time, a chance to see trucks loaded with the bounty of the land, watch people picking the grapes, smell the fermentation of the grapes and getting them into vats. It's a chance to observe the vineyards in action during this intense, busy and wonderful time.

What are your favorite family friendly places to visit?