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Family Fun in Calaveras Wine Country

Updated: Jul 26, 2019

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!

Tanner Family pictured here

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