Of course, wine-tasting and romance go hand-in-hand—but a growing number of California vineyards (and breweries too) are making the experience a fun-filled family affair. Visit wine regions across the state and you’ll discover a number of vineyards trading elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that happen to also pour delicious wine for the grownups.
California’s craft breweries make for relaxed family hangout spots as well, with inviting outdoor spaces, family tours, and restaurants offering special kids’ menus. Some places even have tail-wagging dogs that welcome a good scratch behind the ears. Try some of California’s most delectable potables—all with the family in tow—at these nine spots listed north to south.
1. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico
Head to Chico for a taste of history at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, America's first modern microbrewery. Visitors over 21 can sample draft beers like the Barrel-Aged Torpedo or the classic Pale Ale; kids ages 12 and up can sign up for a brewery tour; and guests of every age can enjoy the outdoor play space, farm-to-table menu, and 350-seat live music venue. (More: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company)
2. Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville
Famed director Francis Ford Coppola adds his larger-than-life style to his Sonoma County compound, Francis Ford Coppola Winery. On warm afternoons, relax by the pool while your little ones splash in special shallow zones and fountains at this Geyserville oasis. Take turns watching the kids so you can slip away for tasting or an interesting tour. (More: Francis Ford Coppola Winery)
3. Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves, Healdsburg
Book a one-of-a-kind, kid-friendly tour at Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves, a picturesque Sonoma County vineyard. Climb aboard a Swiss military-style vehicle to bump and jostle across the hills before enjoying a picnic lunch with a stunning view of Dry Creek Valley. Linger for a bit—maybe with another glass or two—while the kids romp on the lawn, toss bean bags, or give hula-hoops a whirl.
4. Hopmonk Tavern, Sebastopol
House-made beer, local drafts, elevated pub food, and more than 100 different bottles are the main draws at this temple to beer in the unfussy and laid-back Sonoma County town of Sebastopol. A beer garden out back, with tables with umbrellas by day and a fire pit by night, makes an inviting retreat for families. The tavern regularly books live music so the little ones can show off their dance moves.
5. The Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant, San Francisco
On the search for great beer in the City by the Bay? Head to a handsomely restored 1930s-era building overlooking San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Opt for a table in the Beach Chalet’s inviting garden, which seems to meld into the forests of Golden Gate Park. Children love to dash around the open space while you order a house brew. Can’t decide which beer to try? The sampler set has your number.
6. Longshadow Ranch, Temecula
Tucked away in the southwest corner of Riverside County in the heart of Temecula Valley Wine Country, Longshadow has a traditional California ranch feel that’s fun for the whole family. Don’t miss the summertime Saturday night bonfires complete with food trucks, carriage rides, a petting zoo, and a mechanical bull. Live music sometimes adds a nice touch (check the winery website for details).
7. Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens, Escondido
One of the first craft breweries to make it big in San Diego County, Stone Brewing has amassed a loyal following all over the world. Head to the World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido and escape from reality on the outdoor patio surrounded by lush gardens and waterfalls. The kids can run their fingers through fountains, sip on craft soda, and join you for a game of cornhole. (More: Stone Brewing)
8. Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles
Hoist a pint at Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, where European craft meets California innovation with an array of creative, boundary-pushing beers. Go behind the scenes with a brewery tour (kids as young as 12 are welcome), or relax with the whole family on the airy, dog-friendly patio while you dig into artisan fare. The brewery has two other locations in Venice and Buellton as well. (More: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.)
9. Zaca Mesa Winery, Los Olivos
Wind into wine country north of Santa Barbara at this elegant estate. At Zaca Mesa in Los Olivos, you will love the Syrah (hints of blackberry and mocha), while kids will flock to the giant chessboard with life-size pieces. Plan ahead and pack a picnic—onsite grills and tables are open to all. Or, on most summer and holiday weekends, enjoy creative fare from local food trucks while local singers and musicians perform on the lawn.