Seeing California Wine Country with Kids

California’s wine country has plenty to offer adults, but you don’t have to leave the kids behind to enjoy Sonoma and Napa Valley. The Napa Valley Wine Train combines a 25-mile jaunt on a historic train with kid-friendly lunch fare and local wines for mom and dad.

We opted for the casual Silverado car, where the atmosphere is relaxed, and cowboy-themed decorations abound.  My husband and I loved sampling local wines while getting a look at the wineries we’d heard of – we even spotted the vineyard that produced the wine served at our wedding. Food-wise, we’re a tough crowd: A vegetarian who doesn’t eat fish, one who does, and an omnivore who’s allergic to dairy. We had no trouble ordering off the menu and enjoyed our meals tremendously. The kitchen can accommodate special requests, however, with advance notice.

After lunch, we explored the train, peering through the windows into the three kitchen cars. At one point, we even walked straight through the middle of one on our way to see the train’s engine. “Are you sure this is OK?” I squeaked. The workers smiled and waved us through as they went about preparing dessert.

We peeked into the Vista Dome, an elevated car crowned with domed windows, then made it to the end of the train in time to see the engineers disconnect the engine and turn it around in order to re-attach it on the other end of the train for our return trip. Train buffs small and large will love rolling along on this historic train.

Thanks to the Napa Valley Wine Train for hosting us.


Alisson Clark is a freelance writer and mother of a tween son. She lives with her husband (and one gigantic dog) in Florida, where she writes for magazines, newspapers and covering theme parks, off-the-beaten-bath destinations and more.


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