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31 Best & Fun Things To Do In Napa Valley (California)

Napa Valley is renowned across the country for its acres upon acres of vineyards everywhere you look.

A huge producer of famed wine types like the Cabernet Sauvignon, the area is also an incredibly popular destination for tourists.

People from all across the planet come here just to sample some delicious wines!

But is that really all that the valley is about?

It’s true that Napa Valley is mostly synonymous with wine and luxury.

But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have more to offer!

Sandwiched between the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges, the location is also a stunning verdant land with the perfect Mediterranean climate.

Flora and fauna of all sorts create a rather diverse wildlife scene.

The area is also deeply steeped in history.

In other words, whatever it is that you enjoy, you’ll likely be able to find places to visit in the gorgeous valley!

Here are the 31 best and fun things to do in Napa Valley, California!

1. Hot Air Balloon Rides

Hot Air Balloon Rides

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Hot air balloon rides are a staple for anyone visiting Napa Valley.

The stunning expanse of the gorgeous landscapes and all of its vineyards appear majestic and breathtaking from above.

You’ll get to view gorgeous luxury homes, verdant mountains, lovely pine and scrub trees, and more.

Most rides take off early in the morning and can include pastries or drinks.

There are many hot air balloon ride providers in this part of California.

Balloons Above The Valley and Napa Valley Balloon Inc are among the top choices.

Be prepared for a little heat, as it can get warm in these balloons, though the tranquillity and views are worth it!

There are also lots of two-person rides for couples seeking romantic things to do, if you’ve got the budget for it.

There are also lots of other ways to see the panoramas of the region from high in the air.

Paragliding and helicopter rides are all fairly common options, so if you prefer those, you can definitely find lots of companies offering them!

Address: Napa, CA, United States

2. Napa Art Walk

Napa Art Walk

Napa Art Walk

The Napa Art Walk is a delightful exhibit that is spread far and wide across the expanse of downtown Napa.

It’s one of the key Napa Valley attractions for appreciators of modern art and is a great way to spot some other fun places to visit during your exploration.

Essentially, the Napa Art Walk is a collection of various sculptures made by a mix of artists from California and international creators.

The selection rotates every two years and is specially judged by a jury before being chosen for showcasing.

The Napa Art walk is also one of the valley’s free things to do.

There’s a special free app you can download on your smartphone called Otocast that guides you with an audio tour of each work.

You can see lots of other works of art that aren’t officially part of the walk all throughout the city of Napa, too!

Address: 1000 Main St, Napa, CA 94559, United States

3. Napa County Historical Society

Napa Valley and the larger county surrounding it are rich in history and heritage.

One of the best places to go to learn about that wealth of knowledge is the Napa County Historical Society.

Created in 1948, the Napa County Historical Society is packed to the brim with a wide variety of exhibits that rotate and change regularly.

There are books, photos, artifacts, scrapbooks, manuscripts, blueprints, maps, and all manner of other items.

Guided tours are led by historians with passion and a wealth of information, and there are plenty of events and lectures held annually.

Address: 1219 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, United States

4. Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train

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Those who want to tour this part of California will find that one of the most fun things to do in Napa Valley is to hop aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Leaving from downtown Napa, the trail runs across a 36-mile round-trip stretch of track to show you all the most delightful parts of the region.

The train used for these unique tours dates back to the early 1900s, restored beautifully for modern sensibilities.

It uses Pullman rail cars with gorgeous mahogany panels from Honduras and the inside is just as stunning, with plush armchairs, furniture of brash, and partitions of glass.

As you ride the train, you’ll be treated to lunch and dinner of American fare, served by friendly staff.

The entire experience feels very luxurious, and there are additional tour offerings to further spice up your journey!

Address: 1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA 94559, United States

5. Oxbow Public Market

Oxbow Public Market

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If you’re seeking more things to do in downtown Napa and fun places to go, the Oxbow Public Market should be on your list!

Situated in the titular Oxbow District in the city of Napa, this is a popular local hotspot with 40,000 square feet of space to its name.

It’s both one of the most loved community gathering locations and one of the most engaging tourist attractions here!

It’s open seven days a week, with most vendors operating daily.

The Oxbow Public Market’s primary goal is to showcase local crops that are sustainable or organic, with various other regional specialties from around California.

You’ll also find a mix of artisan cafes, local food vendors, handmade souvenirs, and furniture.

There are wine and beer tastings held regularly, as well as numerous events like live music and cooking demonstrations!

Address: 610 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, United States

6. O’Brien Estate Winery

O'Brien Estate Winery

O’Brien Estate Winery

It’s hard to talk about what to do in Napa Valley without mentioning the numerous vineyards and wineries that this part of California has to offer.

The O’Brien Estate Winery is one of the most renowned wineries in Napa Valley, and one of the best places to visit in California for wine lovers.

Surprisingly, its total land is relatively small compared to other vineyards, at just 40 acres of land.

The O’Brien Estate Winery greets you at the door with a scrumptious glass of perfectly made wine.

You can learn all about the methods and processes used to produce this delicious wine on tours and tastings at the estate.

The intimate experience provides a more personalized and fun way to learn about the winery.

Address: 1200 Orchard Ave, Napa, CA 94558, United States

7. di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art

di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art

di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art

Art aficionados will find the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art to be one of the best things to see in the lovely southern portion of Napa Valley, California.

A mix of beautiful, unusual, and inspiring, this 217-acre expanse contains the works of over 800 artists across over 2,000 creations.

There are historic artifacts on display and special areas just for local artists, too.

The di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art is situated in what was once a vineyard.

Its outdoor area is dedicated to a lovely 35-acre lake, an olive grove, and an interesting sculpture meadow park.

The inside has many galleries and rotating exhibits featuring different media and genres.

Docent-led tours are a great way to get a more in-depth look at the displayed works.

Address: 5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559, United States

8. Far Niente Winery

Far Niente Winery

Far Niente Winery

California will always be known for its wineries and vineyards, so choosing which one to peruse can be tough.

Far Niente Winery is a great option and may just be one of the top 10 in the valley, especially for those who are looking for places to see that are beautiful alongside their good drinks.

Those who wish to avoid the crowds that are typically drawn to wineries will enjoy what Far Niente Winery offers.

Tours are by appointment only, so they’re small and intimate and guides can share their wealth of knowledge impressively.

You’ll be taken on an extensive trip through the gorgeously kept grounds and will be able to view amazing wine caverns.

These 40,000-square-foot caves are each underground and house hundreds upon hundreds of wine barrels.

There are 13 acres of grounds at the winery, too.

These are filled with flowers, especially beautiful azaleas, and a carriage house is home to vintage motorcycles and automobiles to view.

And, of course, there’s Far Niente’s famous wine – Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay of the finest quality!

Address: 1350 Acacia Dr, Oakville, CA 94562, United States

9. Napa Valley Museum

Napa Valley Museum

Napa Valley Museum

The Napa Valley Museum is situated in Yountville.

Established in 1972, it offers exactly what it says on the tin – an in-depth look into the history of this part of California, preserving and celebrating its past and present.

There are three different galleries at the Napa Valley Museum.

The first is the Main Gallery, home to world premieres, West Coast premiers, and major traveling exhibitions.

The second is the History Gallery, which is home to over 15,000 different artifacts and items of the permanent collection, arranged to showcase a timeline of the region’s history in detail.

The third is the Spotlight Gallery, a display of regional and local artists, especially emerging voices, that feature noteworthy local cultural aspects.

The museum also hosts many programs and exhibitions throughout the year.

History buffs will consider this among the most interesting things to do in Napa Valley!

Address: 55 Presidents Cir, Yountville, CA 94599, United States

10. Napa Valley Opera House and Blue Note Napa

Napa Valley Opera House and Blue Note Napa

Napa Valley Opera House and Blue Note Napa

The Napa Valley Opera House is the best hotspot for performing arts and is known throughout the city of Napa as a premier regional venue in California.

It was built in 1879, back when the town had just 5,000 people, and in more modern times, it has undergone many refurbishments, restorations, and renovations to keep up with the times.

You can have lots of fun watching shows, concerts, dance performances, plays, and more throughout the year at Napa Valley Opera House.

But there’s more to it than that!

On the first floor of the establishment, you’ll find the intimate Blue Note Napa, a famed restaurant and bar that serves cocktails and gourmet food against a backdrop of jazz music.

Some of the biggest names in the jazz scene have featured at Blue Note Napa.

We’re talking about the likes of Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, and Chris Botti!

Meals are fairly diverse, featuring a mix of Thai, Korean, Mediterranean, and American fare.

Address: 1030 Main St, Napa, CA 94559, United States

11. Round Pond Estate

Round Pond Estate

Round Pond Estate

Once again, California’s wine scene can’t be beaten!

Round Pond Estate is one of the Napa Valley attractions that cater to this interest.

Surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and gardens, the estate’s buildings and tours offer plenty of opportunities to sample local wines and taste various other delights made at the estate.

Many of Round Pond Estate’s wines are famous and award-winning.

There’s the Left Bank Blend, Kith and Kin, Rutherford Cabernet, and many more seasonal offerings that all add to the gourmet experience.

This includes artisan syrup, olive oil, Cabernet Sauvignon wine, and red wine vinegar.

There are also many different experiences to choose from so you can explore the estate.

Some of them are the Taste of the Estate experience, the Artisan Tasting Experience, the Il Pranzo experience, the Portfolio Tasting Experience, and The Ultimate: Gravel Series Tasting.

Address: 875 Rutherford Rd, Rutherford, CA 94573, United States

12. Skyline Wilderness Park

Skyline Wilderness Park

Skyline Wilderness Park

If it’s relaxation and verdancy that you seek, you can’t go wrong with Skyline Wilderness Park.

With 850 acres of land to its name and a rather impressive 25 miles of trails to hike, this is an idyllic recreational spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature-lovers alike.

It’s one of the best ways to escape the cities of the valley and view native wildlife and gorgeous scenic spots.

The trails of Skyline Park are suitable for many levels of hiker, and their variety means there’s never a dull moment.

From grasslands to oak trees and from steep elevations to lakeside forests, the trails wind around numerous aesthetics.

The River to Ridge Trail, spanning 3.4 miles, is the most ideal for such preferences.

There are many things you can enjoy here.

You can go horseback riding or biking, watch for turkeys and deer, play disc golf, try archery, or camp out this weekend.

You can also visit the Martha Walker Native Plants Garden, a 2.5-acre expanse teeming with flora.

Address: 2201 Imola Ave, Napa, CA 94559, United States

13. Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

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Castello di Amorosa is a stunning Tuscan-style castle designed to mimic 13th-century buildings of the like.

The colossal structure contains 107 rooms, four above-ground stories and four below-ground levels, 121,000 square feet, and a fully functional drawbridge and moat.

It is also the location of 170 acres of currently used vineyards, including a barrel room spanning two acres underground.

Created by Dario Sattui, an Italophile whose grandfather owned a winery that fell to bankruptcy during the Prohibition.

Sattui developed an interest in wine upon his return to California after a stint spent traveling the world and created Sattui winery, named after his grandfather.

But Sattui’s endeavors would not end there.

He was deeply fascinated by the architecture of Old World Italy and, in the 1990s, began planning a medieval-style building in that style.

It took twelve years and a few million dollars to complete his ambitious vision.

The result is Castello di Amorosa, forged with exhaustive authenticity.

It is built with over a million genuine antique bricks from Hapsburg palaces and metal fastenings forged by an Italian family over an open forge.

It also has, oddly, a replica of a torture chamber that boasts a genuine iron maiden dating back 300 years.

Castello di Amorosa is in Calistoga, relatively near the city of Napa.

Those craving something more unusual shouldn’t leave this out of their list of where to go!

It’s a fun and exciting way to be transported to what feels like a different world.

You’ll get to see a stream that goes through some hills on the land and a grand main hall of the castle, which boasts a Tuscan fireplace.

And, of course, the wine is spectacular!

Address: 4045 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States

14. Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

The Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park is one of the top most fascinating and interesting things to do in Napa Valley.

History buffs will particularly appreciate its centerpiece: a grist mill from 1846, spanning 36 feet in height.

The mill in question was used until the early days of the 20th century and was a social activity hub in this part of California, where grain was brought to be turned into flour.

The gristmill and its accompanying granary were made entirely from local resources.

Coast redwoods and Douglas firs, some with timber cut with the bark remaining, were used for its structure.

The foundation is built from native-found stone.

When it was in operation, the mill used a water wheel powered by Mill Creek to run.

Today, it’s partially restored for viewing.

You can also walk around the park through its 2.4-mile nature trail, which brings you through thick greenery, a swimming spot, some good picnic places, a cemetery, and even the valley’s first church.

It’s a whole adventure!

Address: 3369 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574, United States

15. Napa Valley Bike Tours

Napa Valley Bike Tours

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If you’re looking for fun stuff to do that will really let you explore this portion of California, try Napa Valley Bike Tours!

It’s a great way to get some exercise and physical activity through a simple tour using a simple vehicle.

Self-guided raiders are welcome to use a route map to travel at their own pace.

If you’d prefer to have an expert guide, no worries!

There are plenty of expert-led tours available.

Regardless of which way you choose to explore, you’ll pass through over 30 wineries across all the available trails.

Looking for more thrill? Why not check out Anaheim, Berkeley, and California? If you do plan the trip, here’s what to do in Anaheim, some of the best things to do in Berkeley, and a cool list of what to do in California!

16. TORC



TORC is the epitome of high-end dining in Napa Valley, California.

Opened in 2014, the stylish location specializes in providing more affordable fine dining farm-to-table gourmet fare.

It’s a family-owned establishment.

If you’re wondering what to do for a good meal, this is one of the best joints for that experience.

There are so many delicious food options on the menu at TORC.

There is pork belly, duck wing, diver scallop, Iberico, wild Atlantic cod, and pappardelle all on the menu.

Dry-aged meat, gourmet appetizers, delicious sauces, and a fine wine pairing menu add to the luxury of it all!

TORC’s atmosphere is especially welcoming, with an open-plan kitchen, stone-wall dining room, and rustic-chic ambiance with lovely music.

Tables are handcrafted from pinewood and ceilings are open-truss, really making the whole fine dining experience much more friendly and approachable without removing its elegance!

Address: 1140 Main St, Napa, CA 94559, United States

17. HALL Wines

HALL Wines

HALL Wines

If you’re looking for more things to see in California and have a hankering for more wine, head to HALL Wines.

The vineyards are absolutely stunning, situated on the Mayacama Mountain slopes.

The family-owned establishment is famous for its scrumptious Cabernet Sauvignon.

Expert tours through Hall tell you all about the company’s history, tales, and vision for its future.

You’ll get to view a genuine historic Bargeld structure, completely restored to perfection, and can even view an art collection in the estate’s main building.

When all is said and done, you’ll be able to sit down and taste four mouth-watering artisan wines – all award-winning!

Address: 401 St Helena Hwy South, St Helena, CA 94574, United States

18. Hess Persson Estates

Hess Persson Estates

Hess Persson Estates

Hess Persson Estates, founded by Donald Hess, is a great option for what to see in California for more food and drinks!

Hess became interested in wine when he took a business trip to Napa Valley, and years later, this family-owned winery in Mount Veeder is nothing short of impressive!

Tours at Hess Persson Estates are not “traditional, with lots of fun ways to explore Hess Persson Estates.

You can, for example, book the ATV Vineyard and Tasting experience, where you’ll use an all-terrain vehicle to travel the vineyard thoroughly, stopping for wine now and then.

All tours have the option of ending with a food pairing or a cheese pairing.

Basically, the goal is to create an experience, not a conventional tour!

Hess Persson Estates is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon blends, its chocolate pairing experiences where you can custom-make a bar of chocolate, and a winemaker experience to make your own wine bottle.

In addition to all of that, the estates also host a wine gallery built on Hess’ own collection, dating back to 1966.

You’ll find contemporary artists of all levels of fame.

Reserve in advance to enter the art museum for free!

Address: 4411 Redwood Rd, Napa, CA 94558, United States

19. Boat Down The Napa River

Boat Down The Napa River

Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock

One of the most interesting things to do in Napa Valley besides wine is to take in the Napa River!

Spanning 55 miles with gorgeous waters leading from San Pablo Bay to Mt. St. Helena, this diverse river features narrow portions, wide-open waters, and dogwood forests along its stretch.

Among the popular activities in the area are a variety of water sports, especially paddleboarding.

Napa Valley Paddle is one of the most popular providers of this service.

Regardless of who you choose to purchase your experience from, you’ll enjoy the calm, safe waters of the river that are suitable for people of all experience levels.

Go on your own or follow a guided tour to learn more about local history and wildlife!

Along the way, you’ll see lovely views, pass underneath four different bridges, and spot fauna like beavers, birds, otters, and turtles among the algae.

If you’re not much for water sports, you can just take a walk by the riverfront or follow a hiking trail.

The Wetlands Edge Trail is especially popular among birdwatchers, who stand to spot swans, egrets, herons, and more.

Address: Napa, CA, United States

Need more thrill? You’re going to love Catalina Islands, Temecula, and Santa Monica! If you plan the trip, here are some top things to do on Catalina Island, some fun things to do in Temecula, and some cool Santa Monica attractions you can’t miss! 

20. Calistoga Pioneer Cemetery

If you’re an enjoyer of more unusual and somber locations, you should add Calistoga Pioneer Cemetery to your list of where to go.

The historic cemetery is the final resting place of many notable individuals, including many from the Donner Party and the Civil War.

You’ll find it on a verdant hillside.

The Calistoga Pioneer Cemetery supposedly was created in 1877, set up as a private cemetery by Civil War veteran Samuel W. Collins.

Reinterments mean that some gravestones feature dates prior to its official establishment in 1885.

Two of the Donner Party’s survivors and many war veterans have been laid to rest here.

In 1936, the cemetery was deeded to the city by Collins’ daughter.

Sadly, many records of the cemetery and its inhabitants have been lost to time.

There are also very strict requirements for being buried here.

You have to be related by marriage or blood to those resting here and only inurnments are permitted.

This makes the cemetery all the more interesting to – respectfully! – explore.

Address: 1912-1998 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States

21. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

The Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is the only state park that is among Napa Valley attractions.

It’s situated 4 miles to the south of Calistoga and 5 miles to the north of St. Helena, spanning a total of 1,900 acres across this portion of California.

It boasts 10 miles of trails and numerous potential activities, with free pedestrian access for most of the park.

The stunning verdancy of the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park makes it a great getaway this weekend.

You’ll find many mature, majestic trees, including aged redwoods in awe-inspiring groves through trails along creeks and forests.

There are madrones, tanoak, and Douglas firs, too, with plenty of ferns carpeting the ground.

The most popular of Bothe-Napa Valley State Park’s trails is Coyote Peak Trail.

The trail leads you all the way up to a peak of 1,170 feet in height.

The hike is about 1.5 miles and is well worth the effort for the delightful, beautiful panoramic views you’ll see!

Bothe-Napa Valley State Park also has its own lifeguard-staffed swimming pool, a shuttle service, and options to stay at the park.

Birders will love trying to spot the six woodpecker varieties that live in the park, alongside species like great horned owls, thrushes, wild turkeys, chickadees, and nuthatches.

Address: 3801 St Helena Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States

22. California’s Old Faithful

California's Old Faithful

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Very few people think of Napa Valley when you mention Old Faithful.

Most people would immediately think of Wyoming, where the geyser sits in Yellowstone National Park.

But, as it turns out, Napa Valley does have its own answer to the wonder: California’s Old Faithful.

One of the most unique things to do in the valley’s town of Calistoga, this Old Faithful bursts every ten to 45 minutes depending on the rainfall amount and the season.

Its origins are deceptively simple.

A long time ago, this region was simply a volcano, and 4.3 million years ago, a huge eruption flattened an entire redwood grove and then simmered under the surface.

Today, the volcano’s legacy is seen in the many hot springs and geothermal attractions of the valley.

The valley’s Old Faithful was created when a 19th-century settler attempted to drill for a well.

He hit a pocket of natural steam that caused a fatal eruption, thereby accidentally opening the geyser.

The land changed hands a couple of times before a pair of geyser enthusiasts bought over it and started developing the location into a tourist hotspot.

They opened picnic grounds, a visitor center, a small llama, goat, and sheep-filled zoo, a museum of geology, and a pair of courts for bocce ball.

These places to visit remain till now and the site is relatively important for geology studies, too.

The geyser is also a fairly accurate – or “faithful”, if you will – predictor of earthquakes, with its cycles slowing down before one hits.

If you have more time during your vacation, why not check out Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara? If you do plan the trip, here are some fun things to do in Santa Cruz, and some of the best things to do in Santa Barbara!

23. Gott’s Roadside

Gott’s Roadside

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If you’re looking for a bite to eat, one of the places to go that won’t break the bank in Napa Valley is Gott’s Roadside.

The fun location has expanded beyond this one establishment, but this Saint Helena branch continues to serve delicious food with locally sourced, fresh ingredients.

There’s a healthy mix of classic American fare and interesting fusion-like twists.

The most popular items at Gott’s Roadside are the burgers, with offerings like the California Burger, Kimchi Burger, Western Bacon Blue Ring, Green Chile Cheeseburger, and classic Double Cheeseburger.

There are also great tacos, like the Hawaiian-style Ahi Poke Crispy Tacos, the Avocado Tacos, and the delightfully fresh Mahi Mahi Tacos.

Salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, and all manner of sides add even more variety – and the wine list is great, too!

Address: 933 Main St, CA-29, St Helena, CA 94574, United States

24. Napa Valley Fly Guides

Napa Valley Fly Guides

Napa Valley Fly Guides

Looking for more things to do in Napa Valley besides wine?

Check out Napa Valley Fly Guides!

Avid anglers can enjoy a lovely excursion this weekend with the touring company, giving you the chance to get involved with local nature while making some great catches.

The local guides are led by an avid longtime fisherman named Richard, who has a lot of fishing experience and will bring you through Stanislaus River, Yuba River, or Putah Creek for catch-and-release fly-fishing.

Putah Creek comes to most recommended, as a tailwater south of Lake Berryessa with just 4.5 miles to its name and lovely freshwater for rainbow trout.

Address: Napa, CA, United States

25. Calistoga Petrified Forest

Calistoga Petrified Forest

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The Calistoga Petrified Forest is one of the most unique, one-of-a-kind tourist attractions in Napa Valley.

Situated near the entrance to the valley, this is the site of the world’s largest petrified redwood trees, fossils of flora that once was.

The same volcano eruption that created the conditions possible to make Old Faithful is responsible for this petrification.

When the eruption occurred 3.5 million years ago, the entire redwood grove was completely buried.

In 1857, some of these trees, now fossils, were uncovered, and excavations began to reveal them over time.

It’s not unusual for petrified trees to exist wherever volcanoes erupt.

Being buried in the ash from these eruptions causes oxygen deprivation and organic materials slowly transform into silica.

These stone-like fossils will amazingly appear to have all the similar marks of trees, like rings, bark, knots, and more, and will bear the same appearance they had when they fell – just in stone form!

So why, then, is the Calistoga Petrified Forest so notable?

Well, it’s home to some of the world’s largest petrified trees, with preservation estimates suggesting that the redwoods were already 2,000 years old by the time they were caught in a volcano’s wrath.

You can explore the Calistoga Petrified Forest via its simple half-mile trail, marked well with markers and signs.

You’ll see specific trees and learn their significance.

Keep an eye out for the tree named after Robert Louis Stevenson!

If you’re here at the right time, you should also attend the location’s Petrified Forest National Fossils Day event.

You’ll learn all about fossils and the fossilization process in detail.

Address: 4100 Petrified Forest Rd, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States

26. Robert Louis Stevenson Museum

Robert Louis Stevenson Museum

Robert Louis Stevenson Museum

The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum is home to the world’s biggest collection of publicly accessible items related to Robert Louis Stevenson.

The museum for the famed author of classics like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Treasure Island can be found in Napa Valley’s St. Helena.

Bibliophiles wondering what to do here should add this museum to their list!

The Robert Louis Stevenson Museum was established in 1969 by Norman and Charlotte Strouse.

Normal Strouse had developed a collection of his own 800 items related to the author before deciding to open the museum.

You’ll see many editions of his books, articles, poems, travel writings, and more from his original collection.

Additional items gained over the years are also exhibited, such as photos and paintings.

Stevenson’s connection to California lies in his marriage to Fanny Osbourne, a state local.

The pair had their honeymoon in the valley, which ultimately inspired the setting of the Silverado Squatters.

The museum does an amazing job telling the life and times of the iconic creator and is also one of the free things to do in the region!

Address: 1490 Library Ln, St Helena, CA 94574, United States

27. Sharpsteen Museum

Sharpsteen Museum

Sharpsteen Museum

Sharpsteen Museum, situated in Napa Valley’s Calistoga, was created by the titular Ben and Bernice Sharpsteen.

Ben Sharpsteen was a veteran animator with Disney and one of its biggest names back in the day, and his legacy of storytelling and art lives on today.

The museum primarily focuses on Calistoga’s history.

Sharpsteen’s family had long forged a connection with the city, with his own first visit to the town being when he was just seven years old.

He also spent many summers here.

After spending 30 years with a hand in over 50 Disney films and winning 11 Oscars, he retired to Calistoga with his wife Bernice in 1959.

With a big passion for history and education and a deep love of Calistoga, Sharpsteen decided to build this museum to express it.

He used his years of experience as a producer, storyteller, and animation artist to develop a truly engaging and interesting location.

The museum is filled with all manner of dioramas, displays, and artifacts related to Calistoga and its history.

The central draw of the Sharpsteen Museum is an impressive 30-foot diorama that showcases the Calistoga Hot Springs resort of Sam Brannan.

The resort, which opened in 1862, is largely responsible for the town’s growth, opening a railroad line that attracted tourists from various cities.

Another one of the things to see at Sharpsteen Museum is the original surviving cottage beside the main building.

This cottage was once a part of the aforementioned resort and contains a range of period furniture and clothing.

There is also a genuine stagecoach that was used prior to the railroad line’s creation.

Finally, don’t forget to check out the founders’ room, where you can learn about the Sharpsteens, get info on Ben Sharpsteen’s animation career, and view a real Oscar that he won!

Address: 1311 Washington St, Calistoga, CA 94515, United States

28. Playground Fantastico

Playground Fantastico

Playground Fantastico

There are few locations as enriching, fun, and exciting for kids in Napa as Playground Fantastico.

This is one of the top spots for families to bring their kids, with tons of activities and attractions to enjoy.

Playground Fantastico has many branches across the state, and the one in the valley is as good as any other.

It features a custom playground tower complete with tower look-outs, sliding, and climbing opportunities.

There is also a playground for kids below the ages of five who might be too young for the rowdier structures.

Address: Old Sonoma Rd, Napa, CA 94558, United States

29. Connolly Ranch

Connolly Ranch

Connolly Ranch

If you’re looking for some exciting things to do in Napa Valley, California that are great for the whole family, check out Connolly Ranch.

Situated in Napa, this is where you can go to learn all about how a farm works, what animals live within, what farming practices are most sustainable, and how to grow healthy produce.

You can even meet the animals at Connolly Ranch by visiting during the weekly Farm Open Houses!

You can get up close and personal with them and visit a cool edible garden.

You’re allowed to bring a picnic along, too!

There are also special, fun “Wild Spaces” within the ranch where you can connect with nature.

These include a meditative Grandmother Oak, a Duck Pond for migratory waterfowl, numerous diverse micro-ecosystems, and more!

Finally, don’t forget to visit the Village to learn about handicrafts, including wood crafting.

Address: 3141 Browns Valley Rd, Napa, CA 94558, United States

Planning a road trip around California? Why not check out San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles? If you do plan the trip, here are some of the best things to do in San Francisco, some best things to do in San Diego, and some top Los Angeles attractions you can’t miss! 

30. Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway

Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway

Chris LaBasco / Shutterstock

The Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway is the world’s biggest drain hole, the spillway of Lake Berryessa.

It is a part of Napa County and is near enough to Napa Valley, making it an unusual but fun spot to travel to just for the sight of it alone.

Its outer diameter is 72 feet and, if you’re lucky enough to see it empty, you’ll be shocked by the spectacle.

The best time to see the spillway is during the rainy season.

With the rather risque nickname of “The Glory Hole”, the Monticello Dam Morning Glory Spillway was completed in 1957.

Its completion officially cut off Putah Creek’s flow and completely submerged what was left of the settlement of Monticello.

You can actually see the town’s foundations when the water levels of the spillway are low.

It’s easy to see the spillway through the larger Lake Berryessa, but the hole itself is carefully blocked off for safety.

Address: Lake Berryessa, Napa, CA 94558, United States

31. Gordon Huether Studio and Gallery

Gordon Huether Studio and Gallery

Gordon Huether Studio and Gallery

The Gordon Huether Studio and Gallery is named after Gordon Huether, an artist with many fascinating and playful works to his name.

He’s likely most known for his giant fork piece, which is made up of a whopping 8,000 forks, but there’s also a lot more that he has on his resume, mostly site-specific installations that play with landscape and architecture.

At Huether’s gallery and studio in Napa Valley, many colorful sculptures of large scale are proudly featured.

He makes many of these from recycled items.

There are 15,000 square feet of space to peruse, and this is also where the artist’s fabrication facility is, and his hired craftsmen.

If you love modern art, the Gordon Huether Studio and Gallery is one of the coolest Napa Valley attractions.

It also charges no fee, making it among the most worthwhile free things to do in Napa.

Address: 1821 Monticello Rd, Napa, CA 94558, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Napa Valley

Napa Valley, California, offers many exciting places to visit and many fun activities to enjoy, whether it’s wine, art, history, or nature that you’re after.

This list of the best that the valley has to offer ensures that you’ll enjoy your time spent in the stunning beauty of the area.

Happy travels.