The 10 Best Things to Do in Napa Valley that Aren’t Wine Tasting

The 10 Best Things to Do in Napa Valley that Aren’t Wine Tasting ByChristina Vidal Here are some of the best things to do in Napa Valley and Sonoma County besides wine tasting  1. Bike around wine country! Highly recommend grabbing a bike from Napa Valley Bike Tours, and strolling around wine country. It’s a great way to see the beautiful region and enjoy a perfect sunny day! 2. Go on a hot air balloon ride  Is there anything more magical than flying above wine country in a hot air balloon?! Napa is famous for its beautiful  3. Cheese Tasting You can actually watch the cheese get made at WM Cofield cheese shop in Sebastopol’s The Barlow. (Spoiler alert: Good cheese comes from happy cows and super-clean, organic milk, which is the only thing they use here!) The cows they use at this cheese shop come from 120 years of family owned business in Petaluma, and if you stop by on a Wednesday, you can see the team making the cheese. If you miss that, they’re open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for cheese tasting and the cheese shop (where you can chat with the master cheesemaker himself!)  4. Drive to the Sonoma coast and explore Bodega Bay, California Only 45 minutes from Sonoma is a beautiful area called Bodega Bay, a west coast town that feels like it could easily be in Maine or on the upper northeast. With fresh seafood, local restaurants, and a gorgeous stretch of the Pacific Coastline.  In Bodega Bay, you can spot whales off the coast all year long, (more October through February, when gray whales are southbound from Alaska to Mexico, and February through April, when they reverse course). Be sure to stop at Spud Point Crab Co. for lunch in Bodega Bay, too – it is a super casual crab stand in the harbor with the best crab sandwiches, clam chowder, and crab salad I’ve ever had in my life! The line for Spud Point is always out the door. It’s so good.  5. Brewery hop in The Barlow district of Sebastopol If you’re in the Sonoma area and are tired of wineries and in need a change of scenery (and drink)? Head to Sebastopol to stroll The Barlow district. The Barlow is a downtown development full of great food (check out Fern Bar!!!), and some great wine tasting rooms and breweries. I loved Crooked Goat and Woodfour Brewing Company – famous for their sour beers!  6. Have a spa day Napa is home to some of the best resorts in the world – and therefore some of the best spas in the world. Some of my favorites are Kenwood Inn & Spa, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and the newly opened Montage Healdsburg. A safari… in California!? Yep! Safari West is an awesome thing to do in wine country if you’re tired of wine tasting. Opened in 1993 by animal care experts and conservationists Peter and Nancy Lang, this 400-acre African game animal preserve offers one of the best venues on the planet for getting up close and personal with some animals from all over Africa, from rhinos to giraffes to zebras, monkeys, cheetahs, antelopes and wildebeests. Safari West even offers overnight lodging, customized guided tours, and one-of-a-kind animal experiences. The high-end dining and tenting offers something for couples and families willing to spend a few extra dollars to truly feel like they’re sleeping among the wild in Africa. But Safari West also caters to guests interested in just the daytime experience of a jeep safari (or a winos and rhinos safari, if you want to keep your wine tasting buzz going!!). Not only that, the impeccably trained staff offers private and intimate behind-the-scenes tours of animal enclosures and holding areas. We had the opportunity to feed the giraffes with our tour guide Terry, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. The focus on conservation, and love for the animals is evident in every part of the Safari West experience. The ongoing mission of Safari West is wildlife preservation through breeding, education, research and public interaction. This is no zoo, this wildlife preserve is Peter and Nancy’s home. They have made this beautiful natural habitat for the animals and experiencing it with your family is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 8. Golf! Pack your golf clubs and golf a round at one of Napa Valley’s beautiful five public courses! 9. Do some Yoga in the Vineyards Check out Calmére Estate Winery, which is known for out-of-the-box experiences such as “Brunch & Yoga.”  10. Soak in Natural Hot Springs The wine country town of Calistoga was established because of its natural, mineral hot springs. Calistoga’s hot springs are said to have “magical” powers, from increasing blood flow and metabolism, to supposed advantages of treating diabetes and liver ailments. They’re basically like a fountain of youth for anyone who goes swimming into them – and the ritual of bathing in the hot springs is a tradition steeped long into Calistoga’s history. My favorites are the Baths at Roman Spa, Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, and Golden Hav

The 10 Best Things to Do in Napa Valley that Aren’t Wine Tasting

The 10 Best Things to Do in Napa Valley that Aren’t Wine Tasting

Here are some of the best things to do in Napa Valley and Sonoma County besides wine tasting 

1. Bike around wine country!

Highly recommend grabbing a bike from Napa Valley Bike Tours, and strolling around wine country. It’s a great way to see the beautiful region and enjoy a perfect sunny day!

2. Go on a hot air balloon ride 

Is there anything more magical than flying above wine country in a hot air balloon?! Napa is famous for its beautiful 

3. Cheese Tasting

You can actually watch the cheese get made at WM Cofield cheese shop in Sebastopol’s The Barlow. (Spoiler alert: Good cheese comes from happy cows and super-clean, organic milk, which is the only thing they use here!) The cows they use at this cheese shop come from 120 years of family owned business in Petaluma, and if you stop by on a Wednesday, you can see the team making the cheese. If you miss that, they’re open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for cheese tasting and the cheese shop (where you can chat with the master cheesemaker himself!) 

4. Drive to the Sonoma coast and explore Bodega Bay, California

Only 45 minutes from Sonoma is a beautiful area called Bodega Bay, a west coast town that feels like it could easily be in Maine or on the upper northeast. With fresh seafood, local restaurants, and a gorgeous stretch of the Pacific Coastline. 

In Bodega Bay, you can spot whales off the coast all year long, (more October through February, when gray whales are southbound from Alaska to Mexico, and February through April, when they reverse course).

Be sure to stop at Spud Point Crab Co. for lunch in Bodega Bay, too – it is a super casual crab stand in the harbor with the best crab sandwiches, clam chowder, and crab salad I’ve ever had in my life! The line for Spud Point is always out the door. It’s so good. 

5. Brewery hop in The Barlow district of Sebastopol

If you’re in the Sonoma area and are tired of wineries and in need a change of scenery (and drink)? Head to Sebastopol to stroll The Barlow district. The Barlow is a downtown development full of great food (check out Fern Bar!!!), and some great wine tasting rooms and breweries. I loved Crooked Goat and Woodfour Brewing Company – famous for their sour beers! 

6. Have a spa day

Napa is home to some of the best resorts in the world – and therefore some of the best spas in the world. Some of my favorites are Kenwood Inn & Spa, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and the newly opened Montage Healdsburg.

Visiting The Spa | Healdsburg Spa Resort | Montage Healdsburg

A safari… in California!? Yep!

Safari West is an awesome thing to do in wine country if you’re tired of wine tasting. Opened in 1993 by animal care experts and conservationists Peter and Nancy Lang, this 400-acre African game animal preserve offers one of the best venues on the planet for getting up close and personal with some animals from all over Africa, from rhinos to giraffes to zebras, monkeys, cheetahs, antelopes and wildebeests.

Safari West even offers overnight lodging, customized guided tours, and one-of-a-kind animal experiences. The high-end dining and tenting offers something for couples and families willing to spend a few extra dollars to truly feel like they’re sleeping among the wild in Africa. But Safari West also caters to guests interested in just the daytime experience of a jeep safari (or a winos and rhinos safari, if you want to keep your wine tasting buzz going!!). Not only that, the impeccably trained staff offers private and intimate behind-the-scenes tours of animal enclosures and holding areas. We had the opportunity to feed the giraffes with our tour guide Terry, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.

The focus on conservation, and love for the animals is evident in every part of the Safari West experience. The ongoing mission of Safari West is wildlife preservation through breeding, education, research and public interaction. This is no zoo, this wildlife preserve is Peter and Nancy’s home. They have made this beautiful natural habitat for the animals and experiencing it with your family is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

8. Golf!

Pack your golf clubs and golf a round at one of Napa Valley’s beautiful five public courses!

9. Do some Yoga in the Vineyards

Check out Calmére Estate Winery, which is known for out-of-the-box experiences such as “Brunch & Yoga.” 

10. Soak in Natural Hot Springs

The wine country town of Calistoga was established because of its natural, mineral hot springs. Calistoga’s hot springs are said to have “magical” powers, from increasing blood flow and metabolism, to supposed advantages of treating diabetes and liver ailments. They’re basically like a fountain of youth for anyone who goes swimming into them – and the ritual of bathing in the hot springs is a tradition steeped long into Calistoga’s history. My favorites are the Baths at Roman Spa, Calistoga Spa Hot Springs, and Golden Haven Hot Springs.