7 Things you can do in Napa Valley that don’t involve wine

Napa Valley is not all about wine. Well, there is lots of wine, of course. Some good, some not so good. Often pricey. But then there is a whole new world to explore and it’s hidden behind the vineyards. Literally. On a recent visit I discovered 7 things that don’t involve wine in Napa Valley.


#1 Coffee

I was surprised to see this many coffee roasters in Napa Valley. I tested a few and they were great!




#2 Bakeries

Bakeries are everywhere. I love baked goods and carbs and gluten, so this is my paradise. I am pretty sure I didn’t discover all of the bakeries in Napa Valley, but my two favorite during this trip were the Sweetie Pies for its name and its cute interior. You just want to hang out there with a friend. The other one was The Model Bakery in Napa and St Helena. It has the most amazing paninis.




#3 Geyser, The Old Faithful of California

Yes, you read correctly. No need to go all the way to Yellowstone Park to see the Old Faithful, because the Old Faithful of California is right here in Napa. The Old Faithful of California is one of only 3 “faithful” geysers in the world. The geyser is considered “faithful” as it has predictable eruptions. Now the good news is that – when I visited recently – the geyser erupted about every 5 minutes, which is pretty spectacular. It is expected that – if geyser eruptions are delayed or even stopped –  an earthquake is likely within the next few weeks. Given the Old Faithful’s frequent eruptions currently, I am less concerned about an imminent earthquake.

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#4 Extinct volcano, Mount St Helena

Mount St Helena is a now extinct volcano that erupted about 3.4 million years ago. A fun fact about Mount St Helena is that it is one of the few mountains in the San Francisco Bay Area that receives any snowfall during the winter. The now extinct volcano is 4,344 feet / 1,324 meters high.

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#5 Volcanic ash fall

Yes, with the old volcano comes volcanic ash fall. If you have seen other ash fall, maybe in Hawaii which is much more recent, you can see the difference in color. The ash fall buried a whole forest 3.4 million years ago.

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#6 Petrified Forest, Calistoga

When Mount St Helena erupted 3.4 million years ago, its ash covered a whole forest. You can visit the forest today and see the petrified trees. There are giant redwood trees that have been petrified. The forest was only discovered in 1870 and  Robert Louis Stevenson mentioned the forest in his book The Silverado Squatters

It’s not always easy to distinguish the petrified (turned to stone) trees from live trees. Here you can see the petrified trees lying at the bottom of live trees,.

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#7 Art

Last but not least, there is art everywhere in Napa Valley. You can visit one of the many galleries in any of the Napa Valley towns or just follow one of the town’s art walks. Some of the art you may have to just take in without any judgement or further thought and just enjoy the beauty of it!


Alright. That’s it!

I hope I was able to give you some ideas for your next trip and hope you stray just a little off the beaten wine trail and explore some of the other well hidden gems of Napa Valley. Enjoy your trip!