Let’s explore our beautiful bay area and Calistoga is a wise choice for a nice getaway! At 1h30 north of San Francisco, Calistoga is a charming little town in the Napa Valley.
Its location at the foot of Mount St. Helena gives it an atmosphere that is a little different from other towns in Napa Valley. The Napa River, runs through it and one likes to stroll in the main street lined with restaurants and tasting rooms of the various surrounding vineyards. We would like to draw your attention to the tasting room Picayune Cellars co-founded by the French Claire Ducroq-Weinkauf.
From hot Springs to the geyser, to hiking, safari, bike tours, spa: there are activities for the whole family (in addition to wine tasting of course). It’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway
– Activities –
Geyser, “Old Faithful” of California
Every 30 minutes in a grassy stretch of Calistoga, an underground river grows restless. The water, heated by magma far below the earth’s surface, boils and rises through fissures in the ground.
When it reaches the open air, it shoots upward in a towering spigot—up to 100 feet high. This display is known as the Old Faithful Geyser of California, a natural wonder that shares the title of “old faithful” with only two other geysers in the world due to their dependable schedule.
Enjoy the picnic ground at the geyser site and eat lunch admiring panoramic views of the Pacific Palisades and Mount Saint Helena. While waiting for the next eruption, visitors can greet the on-site petting zoo’s animals—guard lamas, Jacob’s four-horned sheep, and Tennessee Fainting Goats, named for their tendency to fall over and fan themselves when startled.
Address: 1299 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga, CA 94515 – Open every day, check the timetables according to the seasons on their website – Entrance fee, ticket purchase online on their site.
⇒ Note: there is currently a Groupon with attractive discounts. Plan to bring a picnic, no catering on site.
Robert Louis Stevenson State Park & Mount Saint Helena
7 miles north of Calistoga, the road that leads to Robert Louis Stevenson Park is worthy of the roads of Corsica. Robert Louis Stevenson Park is where the famous author of Treasure Island spent his honeymoon in 1880.
Although nothing remains of Stevenson‘s cabin, you will find the site – identified by a memorial- on the trail leading to the top of Mount Saint Helena. The five-mile hike to the top offers views of the San Francisco Bay. On good days, the summit of Mount Shasta is visible 192 miles away. It is not necessary to climb to the top to enjoy the view (if the children are tired, for example).
– The eastern part of the park is currently closed for restoration following the infamous “Tubbs” fire
– To protect the wildlife and other natural resources of the park, dogs are not allowed. No water point, no toilet
More information on the State Park website https://LouisRobertStevenson Park and on https://napaoutdoors.org/parks/robert-louis-stevenson-state-park/
Discover wild Africa in the heart of Napa Valley. Herds of gnus, rhinos and giraffes, ring-tailed lemurs, and dazzling zebra, nearly 900 animals of more than 90 unique species roam the 400-acre reserve. You can spend the day (or night) there. It is best to buy tickets in advance
All the information on their website
On the way back to the bay, end your weekend with a stop at the Petrified Forest. A pleasant and educational visit of about 35 minutes will explain the history of this site and how the “petrified” trees remained buried for 3.4 million years until 1870 when they were discovered, arousing the interest of paleontologists from Yale, Berkeley… Louis Stevenson also mentions this forest in his book “Silverado Squatters”.
Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance fee, information on their website https://www.petrifiedforest.org
– Lodging –
There are many accommodation options in Calistoga which is based on natural hot springs. Thus, some hotels have geothermal pools and spa which provide the famous mud baths, mud made up of volcanic ash with healing properties according to the Wappos.
- Indian Springs is an institution in Calistoga and in California. Large estate with several accommodation options (rooms, family rooms, cottages, etc.) and a huge geothermal swimming pool
- Calistoga Motor Lodge: brand new but vintage look with rooms for 2 or 4 persons. Spa and thermal pools
- Solage: the most luxurious with individual cottages and impeccable service. It has a huge heated swimming pool accessible to all customers. The geothermal pools are reserved for adult hotel or spa guests. You can also simply come and spend the day at the spa by booking a treatment. Bicycles are available free of charge with the cottages.
– Dining –
Numerous possibilities for breakfast lunch and dinner. We just list 3 outdoor options for lunch or dinner.
- Sol Bar: experience the restaurant of the Solage hotel without being a guest at the hotel. Elegant terrace facing the pool, sophisticated menu. Make a reservation to secure a table.
- Sam’s Social Club is the restaurant of Indian Springs hotel
- Calistoga Inn Restaurant and Brewery: a popular and pleasant patio on the Main Street
For an exhaustive and updated list of eateries, visit Calistoga’s website, click here