We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Napa/Sonoma with two toddlers (Questions about Everything!)

Which Napa hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
31 posts
Save Topic
Napa/Sonoma with two toddlers (Questions about Everything!)

We are stopping by the Napa area in late July for two days before launching onto a 10 day camping trip and need some recommendations.

We would like to stop a winery if possible but internet searches do not turn up any kid friendly places that don't sound super crowded. We would really only like to have a couple tastes and then walk the garden/vineyard or have a picnic.

I'd also like to know if there are great tourist stops to visit. I've read that there is a jelly belly factory and a Schultz Museum but I wasn't sure if they were worth visiting.

Another thing is dining options. We will be eating a a 2 breakfasts, a lunch and 2 dinners. Our kids are 4 and 2 and not picky at all but we prefer nothing too fancy (I'd hate our kids to ruin someone else's special night!). We loved Fremont Diner when drove through a couple years ago.

I'm a big beer person and would like to either go to Russian River or Lagunitas if possible. I'd prefer Russian River but I've heard that Lagunitas is more fun for the kids. Any insight into this?

I'm also looking for a great farm or farmers market where we can stock up on some fruits/vegetables before hitting the camping trip.

The last thing is our hotel. We have a free Marriott night but it didn't qualify for the Sonoma Marriot. We are in the Napa Marriott but there were others available in the area like Santa Rosa. Is our hotel a nice stay or is it better to stay on the outskirts.

Thanks a lot

San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
13,285 posts
74 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Napa/Sonoma with two toddlers (Questions about Everything!)

>>We would like to stop a winery if possible but internet searches do not turn up any kid friendly places that don't sound super crowded. We would really only like to have a couple tastes and then walk the garden/vineyard or have a picnic.<<

Cline Cellars might work.... they have picnic grounds, a pond with ducks and models of all the California missions. It's in the Sonoma Valley. Across the road is Jacuzzi, where you can do olive oil tasting.

The Schulz Museum is interesting if you want to see his whole body of work, not just Peanuts (although there is lots of Peanuts stuff). It's also in the Sonoma Valley, which I like a little better than Napa -- lower-key, fewer crowds, fewer big names, more free/low-cost tastings.

There's a farm stand as you drive into the Sonoma Valley from SF, on the left (west) side of Hwy. 12. Sonoma also has a farmer's market on Tuesday evenings (I think... confirm locally).

Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
583 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Napa/Sonoma with two toddlers (Questions about Everything!)

It sounds like you really need to be in Sonoma county....with kids Santa Rosa would be a fine place to stay, as it has more lodging options at cheaper rates. There is a Marriott Courtyard right at the Railroad Square which has a very nice breakfast cafe.

All around Railroad Square are statues of the Peanuts characters so its a fun "seek and find" with little kids. Plenty of diniing options in that area as well, from chains to independent restaurants.

For tourist attractions in Sonoma County:

In the Sonoma Valley there is Safari West , and Train Town in downtown Sonoma is very kid oriented. For that matter, Sonoma Plaza is a great location for a picnic- I see folks there all the time. There are enough tasting rooms around the plaza now that it would be pretty easy to stop in one and then picnic in the plaza...stop in at the Cheese FActory for supplies.

Also there is a carnivorous plant nursery in Santa Rosa that sounds cool. I can never remember the name of it, but I think small children would be fascinated.

In the north county is the Coppola winery which was designed as a destination facility and it has a huge swimming pool open for day use as well as lots of memorabilia from his movies. There is also a restaurant called Rustic on site which is very child-friendly.

With children, you might also enjoy the farm to table program in Sonoma County which includes a farm tour. If I understand corrrectly, the participants change every year, but in the past I have seen mention of a dairy farm/cremery and a goat farm on the list.

Cline is a good idea , but they can get VERY crowded since its one of the first places you get to on the way to Sonoma..but the grounds do offer a good choice. I also thought of Sunce off of Olivet Road- an interesting facility that could keep kids engaged. Also, Kaz winery in Sonoma Valley is very kid friendly and I don't think that they get too crowded.

Another very interesting stop could be Preston, waaay up in Dry Creek. That is a working farm as well as winery and they sell produce and have animals on site. We haven't made it there yet, so I don't know how crowded it gets, but it would be something different. He could tell you about the Farmers' Markets - where they are and when they are open.

On the Napa side, your kids might enjoy going to the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga and the diRossi museum.

Last summer, winecountry.com had a featured segment on things to do in wine country with your children. It brokd down suggestions by age groups, so you might see if that was archived.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
31 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Napa/Sonoma with two toddlers (Questions about Everything!)

Thanks so much for all of the ideas now I have so more to work off of. Now get to research all the new places you've mentioned!

We actually wanted to stay in Sonoma because it sounded more mellow from my readings. Unfortunately the Marriott there won't accept free nights during the time we are there. We could always stay there or somewhere else and use our free hotel later.

Any other nice hotels in Sonoma if we do change?

Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
583 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Napa/Sonoma with two toddlers (Questions about Everything!)

Well, it may be a good idea to take this thread to the Sonoma forum if you are deciding that Sonoma will suit you better...lots of willing posters there.

We usually stay at the Best Western in Santa Rosa because its inexpensive and always clean and has 2 pools, but it 's location is right on a main drag in a commercial part of town, so that may not appeal to you...though its also close to the fairgrounds and if there is something cool happening there it could work.

We have enjoyed the Flamingo REsort before- its a nifty, fifties-vibe place that was recently remodeled and it has a gigantic pool and the Safeway is across the street. Its at the southeast corner of Santa Rosa, right where hwy 12 comes out of Sonoma Valley, so its the closest to some of the places I mentioned in Sonoma Valley.

You can actually stay at the Safari WEst campus, if that interests you. Kids would LOVE that, certainly!

If you can be happy in Santa Rosa ( cheap rates but zero for ambience) then any of the "usual chains" are there, and there are some nice independent lodging spots like Hotel LaRose and Vintner's Inn

I see I'm recommending all Santa Rosa lodging, but I am assuming you're using Sonoma in the general term ( county). If you want actual Sonoma town suggestions, I'm no help- all I know is Mission Inn.

Edited: 3:41 pm, June 16, 2012
5. Re: Napa/Sonoma with two toddlers (Questions about Everything!)

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:15 am, June 18, 2013