The Ultimate Guide to Calistoga Wine Country : What to do and where to stay in Calistoga
If you’re planning a trip to California wine country, chances are you’ve zoned in on Napa Valley as your destination of choice. But, tucked away about 30 miles North of the first “Welcome to Napa Valley” sign, is the quiet, charming town of Calistoga, that should be top of your list. This is the part of Napa where the wineries spread out, and the world moves a little slower.
Calistoga isn’t anything like the town of Napa, where you’ll find tons of restaurants, in-town tasting rooms, and hustle-and-bustle, and it isn’t uber-upscale Yountville, where almost every restaurant is Michelin-starred and every hotel is a luxe haven. Calistoga is quiet, cozy, understated, and in a league of its own. It’s about as far North as you can go, and boasts an adorable town that has the uncanny ability to transport you back in time.
Calistoga is all about relaxed, yet active, luxury. It’s understated, yet sophisticated, and is anything but stuffy. It’s a haven for solo travelers, active couples, friends and families looking for a weekend getaway from San Francisco. You can spend your days biking among the vines, tasting wines, or soaking in natural mineral hot springs, and spend your nights cozying up to a fireplace with a glass of (delicious) red wine in hand. Can you say I-D-EAL.
Cottage Grove Inn is my top pick for incredible, relaxed luxury in the heart of Calistoga. With delicious complimentary wine and cheese every evening, complimentary bicycles you can take at your leisure around town, the coziest, most spacious rooms, and the sweetest staff, this boutique hotel has it all. While it makes for an ideal romantic getaway, it’s also perfect for the active solo traveler looking for a vacation in wine country, too! We loved making this our home for the weekend in Napa Valley, and cannot wait to be back!
What to do in Calistoga
The town of Calistoga was established because of its natural, mineral hot springs. These hot springs are said to have “magical” powers, from increasing blood flow and metabolism, to supposed advantages of treating diabetes and liver ailments. They’re basically like a fountain of youth for anyone who goes swimming into them – and the ritual of bathing in the hot springs is a tradition steeped long into Calistoga’s history. It’s a must-do while you’re in town!
There is no better place to go for a casual bike ride than Calistoga. Some hotels (like Cottage Grove Inn, where I stayed!) even offer complimentary bikes to get you around town. I loved going for a ride among the vineyards, and stopping at a couple tasting rooms along the way!
Stroll down Lincoln Avenue
Take a leisurely stroll down Calistoga’s main road and you’ll find all kinds of art galleries, winery shops, bookstores, and other fun boutiques.
Book a spa treatment
Calistoga calls itself the “Spa Capital of Northern California,” and it’s no wonder why! Just one day in this relaxed town and you’ll already feel like you’ve had 5 treatments at the spa. But my favorites are the Spa at the Solage, and the one at Indian Springs.
The pool at Indian Springs
Indian Springs is a hotel but also features a natural geyser-fed mineral water pool that has a temperature range of 92 – 102 degrees open to resort guests and those who use the spa. Pool passes are $25 Monday – Friday for spa guests, and $50 on weekends (Saturday – Sunday) & Holidays.
Wine taste, of course!
You’re in wine country!! You’re definitely going to want to enjoy the amazing wineries Calistoga has to offer, here are my top picks:
Where to Wine Taste in Calistoga
Twomey – For a laid back tasting, with a beautiful outdoor patio and garden, Twomey is always my pick. It’s also an easy bike ride from town if you’re biking around Calistoga! I love their Pinots, but their Sauv Blanc has also won me over! (which is shocking, because you all KNOW I’m a chard girl)
Chateau Montelena– This gorgeous ivy-covered chateau was made famous for beating out the French in the Paris Tasting (which you can read more about in my Ultimate Guide to Napa Valley). Their wine is delicious, and the estate is gorgeous. Tastings starting at $25. Vineyard tours are $40 and require reservations. You can stop in the tasting room without a reservation, or make a more intimate limited release tasting reservation in their library for $50.
Schramsberg – There are few winery tastings that rival Schramsberg in Napa Valley. It is hands down one of the best, and their champagne is incredible! Reservations only.
Check out my other blog posts on Napa Valley!