Wine country vacation WITH the kids? Yes, it can be done! Here are UrbanSitter’s top 10 travel tips for visiting California’s beautiful Sonoma Valley with the family.
1. On the way into town, visit Traintown with the kids. Located one mile south of the Plaza in Sonoma, Traintown features a quarter-scale railroad. Each train ride lasts 20 minutes and makes a stop in Lakeview, a miniature town with petting zoo.
2. Check into The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, a luxurious yet kid-friendly hotel with large rooms and mini suites, kid menus, and an outdoor swimming pool. Or, try the moderately priced Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn, which also has a pool and cribs by request.
4. Then, indulge in an early dinner at The Girl and the Fig near the Sonoma Square. Taste from an award-winning wine list, seasonal local menu, and relax outdoors on the patio.
5. Pack lots of snacks and equally fun beverages for the kids to enjoy (juice boxes). If you run out, the historic Dry Creek General Store is a fun place to stock up.
6. If bringing the kids along to a winery, choose a kid-friendly location with lots of activities. At Francis Ford Coppola Winery, kids can check out the movie memorabilia, play bocce ball, or even swim at the pool.
7. Sneak in a little education. That’s right, wine country is a wonderful place for kids to learn about farming. Just take them for a ride on the Benziger Family Winery’s vineyard tractor-powered tram to learn about what it means to be green.
8. Grab a set of shatterproof recyclable wine glasses to ward off potential accidents and spills at your picnic.
9. Go on a safari! Believe it or not, wine country is also home to an African safari park called Safari West with roaming cheetahs, zebras, giraffes and more! You and the kids can observe safely from your open-hatch 4×4.
10. Head outdoors for a hike at Shiloh Ranch Park just off of 101. The easy, 3.7-mile loop trail is flat and not very crowded, plus there are picnic areas, restrooms and parking.