I am super excited to share with you about the Wine Train in Napa. Go ahead, Take A Ride On The Napa Wine Train with Your Family! Honestly, I didn’t know it existed. Much less that it was family friendly! We had an amaizing three hour round trip ride and made incredible memories aboard number 70!
We were hosted by Napa Valley Trains. All opinions shared are 100% my own.
Take A Ride On The Napa Wine Train with Your Family
To me, travel equals education. It is such a great way to open the world to our children. Definitively, you will have plenty of learning experiences when you book the Napa Valley Wine Train. The first thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to be a train or wine enthusiast to enjoy the Wine Train. While the train ride itself is romantic and nostalgic, kids are welcomed to join. From San Francisco, a bit over an hour later, we were in Napa ready for a new experience. We were ready to Take A Ride On The Napa Wine Train! woot!
Cool mom tip: It was recommended to pick the lunch train to be able to enjoy more of the landscape. Nevertheless, we saw plenty on our night train and enjoyed a spectacular sunset.
What You Need to Know About the Wine Train
So, we booked our tickets over the phone on our way to Napa. It was a last-minute thing and we were lucky to find spots. The train fills up quickly, so plan in advance. The wine train depot is in downtown Napa. Get ready, the moment you walk into the station you will feel like you have gone back in time. The waiting room is almost museum-like! There were a few good spots for the kids to discover gadgets and train history paraphernalia. Also, it is the place where you will check-in for your train ride, get some snacks, drinks or souvenirs at the store. Of course, you can also buy wine at the station. Once you board the train, it is time for a vintage railroad travel experience. Because you will be on a restored 10 car train. Not to worry, it has been in operation and maintenance since 1989. The train ride takes you through historic Napa, wine valleys and the last sight is St. Helena village. Then it is back to the town of Napa. The ride includes a superb menu and hard-to-find local wines.
Cool mom saving tip: one kid, is free per paid adult ticket. A family of four will only pay for 2 adult tickets. Unheard savings for luxury travel!
What to Expect When You Do the Napa Wine Train with Family
If someone in your tribe loves trains, this is a must-do. This unique travel experience is rich with teachable moments for the entire family. It is also full of fun features to enjoy:
Sealing love with a lock: the lock bridge
On your way to board the train, you walk across a lock bridge. This was the perfect moment to explain to our little ones why people leave locks on bridges. It makes for a great treasure hunt game of sorts to find the most unusual, oldest or craziest lock as you wait your turn for the professional photographer to snap pictures of your party. Then, depending on your ticket, you will settle in for dinner, or just a drink if you are going to dine at one of the wineries that the Wine Train visits.
Learning what transportation was like in the past
The nostalgia is everywhere. This is a cool journey back in time that gives a glimpse of what travel was like in the train days. The restored cars are beautiful and do vividly bring back the golden days of trains. Large windows will keep the kids looking out to beautiful landscapes. Our munchkin was all over how small the lavatories onboard are! Perfect to his size 🙂
The train’s cars
The cars of the train come from different places. There is a Pullman and a Silverado, to name a couple. All the cars have been refurbished to their original glam and train employees are happy to point out the differences and details of each car.
Fun fact, the Wine Train does not turn around. Instead, the locomotive is disconnected from what used to be the front of the train and then connected to the opposite end for the return journey.
Cool mom tip: If you step out to the caboose, you can see how this happens first hand. In watching this operation, curiosity sparked and new questions popped up. In our case, the biggest question was: does the locomotive have rearview cameras? The answer to that is yes according to our experienced conductor.
An absolutely delicious dining experience
You are in for a delicious education because both history and culture are experienced via food! Hands down, the Wine Train is a gourmet restaurant on wheels that will offer delicious meals made from fresh and sustainable ingredients from the area. Even my son, a picky eater, enjoyed the food! He did not want to even consider the kid choices available. Once onboard, he was quickly enveloped in the whole experience and did not want to derail one bit. That said, the kitchen is able to accommodate; like for example, eliminating fancy sauces, to make sure your little one eats her meal. To toast along with us, our little man was offered a bubbly apple cider. He is now a huge fan, thanks to the Wine Train. Shirley Temples are also an option for the kids.
A special treat: the Vista Dome Car
If you reserve your tickets ahead of time you might have a better chance of dinning in this car. It books quickly and way in advance. The reason it fills quickly is that the views are practically endless in every direction thanks to the clear dome. Also, this car sits higher on the train than any other car, so you can have more of a panoramic view. Your dinner in this car costs a bit more. If you don’t reserve dinner here, your maitre D can accommodate for you to visit and enjoy for a few minutes the Vista Dome Car.
Cool mom tip: Have questions about anything? Ask away. Every person we encountered on the train was knowledgeable and available to answer our questions on the train. They were very accommodating. In particular, Miguel the maitre d of the train was gracious and patient with our little train enthusiast as he threw out facts and details that helped (interrupted) Miguel as he shared the details of the train.
Ride the Wine Train!
Totally, let the Wine Train take you in a unique and unforgettable ride around the beautiful Napa Valley. It will be amazing for the entire family, and parents will not have to forgo romance at all. Fantastic food, amazing wines, superb service, and breathtaking views await you. Since the Wine Train operates year-round, you can easily include it in your West coast travel plans. Keep in mind that the wine train sets aside a special car for the kids during summertime Sundays. This is where babysitting services are offered along with a special kid menu. It is perfect for parents looking to indulge in the romance of this nostalgic train. Cool California is ours to discover!
Would you ride the Wine Train? What do you think you will enjoy most?