Things to Do in Napa Valley Besides Drinking Wine
If you’re planning a trip to the Napa Valley, you’re probably feeling almost “wined out” before you even hop on the plane. Every destination is a vineyard, and at each, you will have to taste the wine. Well, someone has to do it; may as well be you! It’s fun and exciting, yes, but you may also want a break from the heavenly nectar to do something (gasp) that has nothing to do with drinking wine! Here are some ideas for you and your family to fit into your busy wine-touring schedule.
Napa Valley is home to some great restaurants, including Michelin award winning restaurants The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood. Both are among the highest rated restaurants in the United States. There are also many great, affordable, under the radar restaurants such as Gott’s Roadside in St. Helena and The Oxbow Market in Napa.
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
The Napa Valley is known almost as much for its breathtaking views as it is for its wine. And what better way to take in those views than from floating above in a hot air balloon. What a romantic way to spend one of your Napa days. This is sure to be a trip of a lifetime.
When you’re tired from a day of outdoor adventuring or hungover from a day of too many tastings, it’s time to rest your weary bones at Napa Valley’s hot springs. A close acquaintance who owns massage therapy spas loves everything about Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, a popular resort that offers spa treatments and hot springs access. Relax and recharge in the warm mineral-rich spring water.
If you’d like to take a break from wine tastings, how about switching to a different type of beverage? Caneros Brewery is a great family owned microbrewery that is just a short drive from Napa. Take a tour and sample their different beers in The Taproom.
Culinary Institute of America Cooking Class
If you have a passion for food and wine and a craving to learn, taking a cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley is for you. It’s one of the top culinary schools in the United States, and you receive instruction and guidance from expert CIA chefs. You can expect a great time with people who share a love for food and cooking.
Walk Through Charming Yountville
Shop at V Marketplace, once a historical winery now converted into a shopping center. V Marketplace is listed in the National Registry of Historical Place with the U.S. Department of Interior. If you have a sweet tooth, stroll to Bouchon Bakery, then head down the street for a walking tour of The French Laundry’s culinary garden.
Gourmet Olive Oil Tastings
After all that wine tasting, you’re going to be hungry. Nothing quells that hunger quite like bread dipped in high-quality olive oil. If you know anything about horticulture, you already know that the perfect conditions for grapes are also the perfect conditions for olive trees. Round Pond Estate is a popular olive oil orchard. You can also taste some wine here if you start having withdrawals.
Get to Know Napa Valley’s Cultural Heritage
A visit to the Napa Valley Museum will give you a taste of the history and cultural heritage of the area. Even if you’ve been visiting Napa for years, you are sure to walk away with a better understanding of the Wine Country after a visit to the museum. And if you’re just looking for art, maybe set against a natural backdrop, consider visiting di Rosa’s landscaped grounds.
Napa is nothing if not stunning. Its green, hilly topography make it a haven for hikers, bikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy the trails at Skyline Wilderness Park, Westwood Hills or Bothe Napa Valley.
Take a Day Trip to the Petrified Forest
Have you ever wanted to hop into a time machine and fly back about 3 million years? Well, you don’t have to do that (not that you could anyway). The Petrified Forest is within driving distance of Napa. Here, you can walk amongst the oldest and largest Redwoods that were turned to stone 3.4 million years ago by volcanic activity. How cool is that?