5 Tips for A Family-Friendly Vacation to Anderson Valley.

Yes, it is possible to bring your kids to the wine country and still have a great time.

Before we had kids, travel was a joy and a breeze. We didn’t plan, we didn’t care where we stayed, we let the day take us where it did, and we slept in! Now, as sleep-deprived and overstimulated parents, we know that the key to a great family trip is being a little extra prepared about where to stay, what to do, and where to eat.

Here’s our guide to creating a family-friendly trip to Anderson Valley that’ll leave you with happy memories for years to come.

1. Choose the Right Place To Stay

When selecting a hotel, vacation rental, or inn, opt for family-friendly accommodations that offer space and amenities suitable for everyone. We’ve had more guests than we can count tell us that Stoney Bottom is the best place to stay in Anderson Valley when traveling with kids. The Little House offers a kitchen, laundry, TV, games, acres of gardens for exploring outdoors, a travel crib, white noise machines, a kiddie pool for hot days, and even the toilet has a built-in potty training seat. 

A family enjoys a quiet afternoon on a lawn.
A quiet spot on the lawn at Stoney Bottom in Boonville.

2. Be savvy about Highway 128

A trip to Anderson Valley is well worth the journey, so hopefully this tip doesn’t scare you off. Highway 128 is calming and scenic, but it has its fair share of hairpin turns. If you’re driving north to Boonville from the Bay Area, we suggest giving your kids Children’s Dramamine as you’re passing Healdsburg. Stow away screens and books when you turn onto 128. Drive slowly and pull over to let cars pass you. Turn on a podcast or music, play “I Spy”, or even better, encourage them to take a nap. Trust us on this one. You don’t want to start your vacation by hosing off your car seat. 

3. Choose family-friendly wine-tasting experiences

Unlike the hustle and formality of many other wine regions (cough – Napa – cough), most of Anderson Valley’s tasting rooms are dog and family-friendly. At Pennyroyal, you can book a tour of their farmstead creamery and vineyard which includes a visit to the barn to meet their animals and a cheese tasting. At Weatherborne, you’re welcome to bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy a tasting in their garden. On certain evenings, the Brashley tasting room serves wood-fired pizza.

4. Enjoy the outdoors

While Anderson Valley might be known for its wine, there are plenty fun and beautiful spots to immerse yourself in nature here. Our family’s favorites are: 

  • A trip to the Navarro River. We like the entrance off of Philo Greenwood Road. Stop at Lemons Philo Market for deli sandwiches and snacks. The water is usually calm and cool with great skipping rocks. Bring your water shoes and floaties. On your way out, stop at the Philo Apple Farm’s produce stand for cold apple juice for a little refreshment. 
  • Hendy Woods. Offering flat, short, and safe trails for families with little ones who love to run, this place is a fairytale in itself. Tell the park rangers you have kids and they’ll offer the challenge of finding the “unicorn” in the woods.
  • Navarro State Beach. A 30-minute drive north through a temperate redwood rainforest (called the “tunnel to the sea”) leads you to this beach where the river meets the ocean. We love it because there’s a calmer bay side where kids and dogs can play near the water without intense waves. You may even find driftwood tee-pees. The park is popular with anglers, canoeists, and kayakers in the late winter and spring. There’s plenty to explore here. 
Calm waters at Navarro Beach
Boy enjoying Hendy Woods State Park
Happy times at Hendy Woods

5. Hit the best places to eat.

We think our breakfast is the best in the valley, but if you’re out and about, the empanadas and pastries made in-house at Mosswood Market are delish. We also love their sandwiches and salads for lunch. For a casual dinner, Offspring is a high-end pizza restaurant with outdoor seating and takeout. They’re located right next to Paysanne, a picture-perfect homemade ice cream shop. It’s the little treat you’ve all earned. 


What parents are saying about their stay at Stoney Bottom:

“Stoney Bottom is a truly magical place to stay. The house was spacious and was perfect for a family of four with two small children. The garden was beautiful and fun to explore, and the breakfast each morning was delicious! They even brought me a Mother’s Day mimosa. We would return in a heartbeat!” – DIANA, MAY 2022

“What a beautiful little home and gardens. Perfect for our family. Felt right and home, great extra touches for kids like games. Felt quiet and safe. And the breakfast was delicious.” – COLLEEN, MAY 2023

“Our family of 4 (toddler & infant) stayed at Stoney Bottom in the Little House, had a phenomenal time, and already can’t wait to return. Cassandra & Kaitlin made us feel right at home from the very start at their splendid oasis. They went above and beyond to make our stay super special with amazing touches, like a wading pool for the kids to play in, a special breakfast for our toddler daughter, and some local treats upon arrival, along with incredible local recommendations. The farm-fresh breakfast every morning was so thoughtful and delicious. The property is such a magical place to explore and is centrally located in Anderson Valley close to incredible wineries, breweries, hikes, parks, and seafood. Stunning place with out-of-this-world hospitality.” – MAYA, JULY 2023

“It is a true experience to stay on the property, wander the botanical gardens, dip your feet in the creek, and enjoy meals taking in the scenery. It’s great for kids who can safely play and explore on acres of land. The house is very stylish, well-maintained, and has all of the essentials you could need. The hosts were so warm and friendly and were quick to help out with any needed information or supplies. You won’t ever want to leave with the treatment you’ll get at Stoney Bottom!” – SHELLY, FEBRUARY 2022

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