Calaveras Wine Country stretches between the Sierra Foothills and the High Sierras, just a 90 minute drive from the San Francisco Bay Area and only an hour from the Central Valley of California - making this a wonderful option for family adventures and reunions. Pack up the car with your favorite games and recreational gear to get the most out of your time in this mountain getaway. The Calaveras Winegrape Alliance is your information resource when visiting Calaveras County wineries and we hope that you enjoy the tips for planning a family vacation in our adventure wonderland!
Voted “Best Mountain Town 2019” by readers of 209 Magazine, the historical town of Murphys is located in the heart of Calaveras Wine Country with many family-friendly activities and spaces to enjoy. For 26 years, families have gathered in Murphys for the annual Calaveras Grape Stomp and Harvest Celebration that takes place the first Saturday in October. Families have been farming grapes in Calaveras County since the early 1900s and today, twenty tasting rooms run by several winemaking families are located within a one mile radius on Main Street in Murphys, with a total of 32 tasting rooms across Calaveras county. When visiting winery tasting rooms, it is good to remember that only adults 21 and over can stand at the tasting room bar. You can find a guide to the "family friendly" tasting rooms in our brochure here and to make the best of your family time in our tasting rooms, we have provided the following tips:
#1) Upon arrival, find a space away from the bar where little ones can enjoy their time and there may be room for strollers. In some cases, the staff will guide families to those areas.
#2) Be sure to stay with your children in a tasting room to ensure all guests have a great time and glasses aren’t accidentally broken when little ones go running.
#3) Bring something for the kids to do while you sip. Some tasting room teams offer crayons and coloring books but it is best to come prepared with your own supplies. If using smartphones or tablets to entertain, be sensitive to the volume so that all tasting room visitors enjoy their experience. Below are some examples of “Family-Friendly” tasting rooms and experiences you may wish to explore.
Where to play
Reserve a winery tour with the winemaker at Val du Vino and tour the lovely vineyard property. Ready to get out in the country? Contact Half-Ass Adventures to book a gold panning adventure, kayaking excursion, group grape stomp or hike with miniature donkeys (great with kids and easy to handle, they also carry all your picnic supplies and water bottle). Head up to Arnold and explore, Big Trees National Park where families can find giant sequoias and a museum where visitors can see wildlife in the park come to life. A theater plays two short videos on loop that are educational and enjoyable for all ages. Plan to stop in a the Red Apple for a refreshing apple cider popsicle in the summer or a warm cinnamon apple donut during the cooler months.
If you choose to adventure close to your hotel or cottage in downtown Murphys, plan a picnic lunch or dinner at Murphys Community Park where you can find playground equipment and a gazebo. Families can also wade in the creek to cool off in between visits to wineries and shops. Inviting picnic tables and a public restroom make this an excellent choice for family fun.
Where to stay
Both Murphys Suites and Murphys Inn Motel offer family friendly accommodations and each location has a pool for the kiddos to splash. Murphys Suites has larger rooms to accommodate families traveling together or celebrating family reunions. Tip: get a connecting room so that the kids can enjoy their time hanging out together. And get this…guests receive complimentary warm donuts and juice delivered to the room every morning!
Cottages at La Honda Park is a for a weekend getaway or your next family reunion. Guests enjoy six acres of lush lawns, ancient oaks and the sounds of refreshing Angels Creek winding through the park. Families can catchup while sunbathing by the pool, relaxing in a hammock under the shady trees, or making s’mores over the creekside fire pit.
Is your family looking for a camping space in Calaveras Wine Country? Checkout Angels Camp RV Park with 102 spaces including RV spaces, Cabins, “Glamping” spaces, Tent spaces, and Premium Tent Spaces with covered shade area and electrical outlets. Families enjoy time at the pool, playing horseshoes and grilling in the outdoor cooking pavilion. This is a great option for large groups and family reunions as the property offers a meeting room ideal for family reunions, rallies and get-togethers as well as laundry facilities.
Copper Valley Resort has kid golf programs and clinics on occasion along with family style bungalows that overlook the Saddle Creek’s golf course and lake. These cozy bungalows include access to exercise and swimming facilities, theater, dining, massage, wine tasting and of course the 4-1/2 star rated golf course. Families enjoy time by the pool and kiddie pool as well as bocce ball and tennis courts. Each bungalow includes a full kitchen, making it easy to stay in for meals or if you would rather eat out, the Copper Grille is located at the resort and an easy walk from the bungalows.
The staff at Hovey Winery provide families a large basket of toys as well as shaded picnics tables to enjoy lunch while sipping on their delicious wines. If your family wants to explore vineyard properties for hikes or tours, we have some great options within minutes of one another. Ironstone Vineyards offers open spaces in the amphitheater and at the lake that is great for a frisbee, ball, or general runaround. A lot of families enjoy the museum and the caves available at this winery property. Families and small groups can attend the complimentary public tour available at 1:30 on Wednesdays through Sundays. In addition, families and groups can can book a private tour that can be tailored to interests and time for $50 per group. Sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups, specials, munchies and an assortment of drinkables are available at the Gold Leaf Deli at Ironstone. There are picnic tables in the trees around the lake, decks outside of the tasting room, and a beautiful lawn space to throw down a blanket. Aloria Vineyards on Main Street is also a family-friendly space that accommodates dogs as well. The friendly team makes everyone feel welcomed in their spacious tasting room. Parents love the award-winning wines and the whole family can learn about sustainable practices in their 55-acre vineyard. The husband and wife team at Aloria Vineyards also offer Sip & Paint Nights, ideal for family reunions or families with older kids. The team at Locke Vineyards carries organic gummy bears and pre-packaged popcorn, which is popular with the kids (and adults).
At Locke Vineyards, families are always welcome to explore the beautiful vineyard property and farm that includes a garden, barn with dried lavender and outdoor tasting spaces. This is a great winery to explore Calaveras Wine Country and also shop in their fun gift shop where every member of the family is sure to find a favorite treat or souvenir. The lively team at Jazz Cellars offers live music in the courtyard on some Saturdays and is a great way for families to enjoy their downtime together. For a fun way to explore art and wine, be sure to visit Allegorie Tasting Room & Art Salon on Main Street in Murphys where on occasion a group might be found signing toons with a piano player. Beyond these six tasting rooms, you can find a full list of family-friendly wineries are our website here.
Where to eat
Start your morning in wine country with breakfast at Grounds Restaurant on Main Street where families can choose to sit on the patio if the weather is nice. Crayons and coloring pages are usually offered as well as a kid-friendly menu. Or for a historical experience with the family, visit Murphys Hotel for a hearty breakfast and a bit of education about the Gold Rush Era. If a leisurely brunch is more your style, head over to Alchemy Cafe Fridays through Sundays 10:00-2:00.
There are many options for a family themed lunch ranging from wood-fired pizzas, burgers and burritos at Firewood Eats in downtown Murphys to patio dining at The V Bistro on Main Street where little ones will find delicious options in a kids menu. Some parents prefer to grab a picnic lunch from Sierra Hills Market or the Natural Foods Market next door and head out to a lake or park for lunch.
For dinner, Murphys Grill offers a Kids Menu as well as a Doggies Menu for groups on the go. Families can relax in the outdoor patio with their four legged friends while visiting downtown Murphys.
Calaveras County is an ideal place for families to get out in the great outdoors and go river rafting, boating or mountain climbing. For a complete list of adventure resources, visit the Visit Calaveras website. #DrinkCalaveras