A Closer Look at Napa’s State Parks

Napa Valley extends itself beyond wine tastings and romantic dinners. It’s also home to three state parks where volunteers and park rangers work diligently to keep them clean, beautiful and open to visitors. If you’re looking for affordable family fun, take a peek at these three parks. There’s enough at each one to keep you busy all day, and if you’re not one to pitch a tent and sleep outside with the bugs, then rent a cozy room with Napa Valley Hotel and Suites for the evening.

Bothe-Napa State Park

To use the park for the entire day is only $8.00 per car. Set up a picnic lunch under the oak trees. Most sites have a barbecue grill, table and benches – come early to reserve your spot! A large pavilion is also available for groups of 60 or more, which is perfect if you plan on hosting a family reunion or birthday party. Of course, grilling, eating and hanging out under the oak trees is only a fraction of the fun.

Bothe-Napa State Park is home to many wonderful walking and hiking trails: Ritchey Canyon Trail, History Trail, Coyote Peak Trail and Redwood  Trail. Each trail is a different length so you can choose a path that is short and leisurely or get a full-on workout. Also to enjoy is the Native American Plant Garden, Wappo People, which is an easy trail and explores the many plants that are still used today for medicine, food and technology.

Additional fun at Bothe-Napa State Park includes:

  • Swimming pool

  • Horseback riding

  • White Church Cemetery

  • Flora and fauna

  • Tours and milling demonstrations

  • Camping

Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park

This state park is the place to be when you want to learn more about California’s rural heritage. Come and watch the original set of French Buhr millstones in action! You may also purchase a Bale Grist Mill product such as polenta, cornmeal, rye, buckwheat or whole wheat flour. Picnic areas are also available for before or after you visit the mills.

Adults pay $5.00, children 6-17 pay $2.00 and children under 6 are free.

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park

Hiking is the main attraction at this park, with west trails leading to the summit of Mount St. Helena and east trails leading to below the volcanic cliffs of the Palisades. The scenery is exquisite, and on clear days, Shasta and the Sierra Nevada can be seen. With the length of the trails and their steepness, be prepared to hike. The full trip is 10 miles. Hikers agree that it’s worth the effort thanks to the elaborate views and top-of-the-world experience.

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