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This Dreamy Road Trip Takes You To 9 Of California’s Most Magical Wineries & Waterfalls

Are you ready for an exciting road trip that combines the fun of visiting wineries with the beauty of seeing waterfalls? 

Welcome to our ‘Wineries & Waterfalls’ road trip across California!

From the sunny valleys of Napa and Sonoma to an impressive 110-ft waterfall, we’ll visit nine fantastic wineries and beautiful waterfalls along the way. 

There’s so much beauty to see here!

This road trip would be a perfect weekend getaway as it only features 5 hours of driving in total!

Therefore you can spend most of your time sipping on wine and enjoying the beauty of the falls.

Let’s get this adventure started!

1. Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa is a unique 14th-century-style castle and winery located in Napa Valley. 

This stunning structure was actually modeled after a medieval Tuscan castle and sits surrounded by rolling vineyards. 

The castle was even built using traditional methods and materials and it took 15 years to complete. 

You’ll be able to explore over 30 rooms within the castle including a grand hall, dungeons and a chapel. 

They even have peacocks on the grounds!

Jim G / Flickr

Castello di Amorosa offers guided tours that showcase both the winemaking process and the history of the castle. 

Of course, you’ll also be able to taste a variety of wines produced on-site from robust reds to crisp whites.

2. Linda Falls

Linda Falls is a hidden gem located in Angwin which is just a short 15-minute drive from Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley. 

This charming waterfall is part of the Linda Falls Preserve which offers a peaceful natural setting away from the more crowded tourist spots. 

The falls are accessible via a relatively short but steep hiking trail that takes you through lush woodland. 

The hike is around 1.6 miles round trip which takes most people about 40 minutes to complete.

As you walk, you can hear the sound of the cascading water getting louder as you approach the falls. 

The main attraction, of course, is the beautiful waterfall that tumbles down the rocks, creating a beautiful scene perfect for photos. 

The area around the waterfall is also great for picnicking so bring along some snacks to enjoy by the water.

3. Inglenook

Steven Damron / Flickr

Inglenook is a historic winery located in the heart of Napa Valley. It’s just a 20-minute drive from Linda Falls.

Founded in 1879, it is actually one of the oldest wineries in the area and is known for its high-quality wines and beautiful estate. 

The property features a grand chateau, lush gardens and expansive vineyards that spread across the landscape. 

Steven Damron / Flickr

At Inglenook, you can take guided tours to learn about its rich history and see how wine is made from vine to bottle. 

The estate also offers wine tastings which gives you the opportunity to sample a variety of their premium wines. 

4. Buena Vista Winery

Dirk DBQ / Flickr

Buena Vista Winery is the second oldest winery in California as it was established back in 1857 (making it 22 years older than Inglenook!).

It’s easy to drive here from Napa as it’s just 35 minutes from Inglenook. 

Located near the charming town of Sonoma, this historic winery is known for its rich heritage and classic Victorian architecture. 

Michelle Roach / Flickr

When you arrive, expect a warm welcome and get ready to step back in time as you explore the beautiful stone buildings and lush grounds. 

The winery also offers guided tours that provide a fascinating look into its history and the winemaking process. 

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

During the tour, of course, you’ll get to taste a variety of Buena Vista’s wines which include both reds and whites. 

The tasting room is actually set in an old barrel room which really adds to the authentic historical experience. 

5. Gundlach Bundschu Winery

Gundlach Bundschu Winery is a historic winery located in Sonoma Valley. 

It’s just a 10-minute drive from Buena Vista Winery. 

Known as “Gun Bun” to the locals, it’s the oldest continuously family-owned winery in California, founded in 1858. 

This winery sits on a picturesque piece of land near the base of the Mayacamas Mountains so it offers stunning views all around. 

When you visit Gundlach Bundschu you can expect a family-friendly atmosphere as you explore the beautiful vineyards and taste various wines. 

The winery is known for its quality reds and whites including Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. 

Both tours and tastings are available so you can learn about the winemaking process and the history of the winery. 

6. Alamere Falls

Alamere Falls is a stunning 40-ft waterfall located in Point Reyes National Seashore, just north of San Francisco.

It’s a 1 hour 20 minute drive from Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma Valley.

This unique waterfall is one of the few in the world that flows directly into the ocean so it’s a pretty spectacular sight. 

To reach Alamere Falls, you’ll need to hike about 6.8 miles each way so it’s a tough trek. 

You’ll wander through diverse landscapes including coastal scrub and shady woods. 

The trail can be challenging, with some rough patches and steep sections, so it’s important to wear good hiking shoes and bring plenty of water. 

Along the way, you might see wildlife like deer, birds and maybe even a fox. 

When you reach the falls, you’ll be rewarded with the breathtaking view of water cascading over a cliff onto the beach below. 

7. Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls is a stunning series of waterfalls located in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. 

It’s a 40-minute drive from Alamere Falls.

This natural attraction is part of the Mount Tamalpais State Park which is known for its breathtaking landscapes. 

Sathish J / Flickr

To see the falls, you’ll need to take the Cataract Trail which is a moderate hike that is about 2.8 miles round trip. This takes approximately 2 hours.

The trail winds through lush forests and offers views of multiple cascades along Cataract Creek. 

These are especially vibrant after rainfall!

Wayne Hsieh / Flickr

Expect to climb some stairs and navigate some rocky paths. It all just adds to the adventure.

The area around the falls is perfect for nature lovers who enjoy photography or just want to soak in the tranquility of the woods. 

8. Cascade Falls

John Kim / Flickr

Cascade Falls is a charming 20-ft waterfall located in Fairfax, a small town in Marin County.

It’s just a 30-minute drive from Cataract Falls.

This waterfall is part of Cascade Park and is famous for its scenic beauty and easy accessibility. 

To reach the falls, you’ll get to enjoy a short, pleasant hike that is about 1.5 miles round trip. 

It starts from the parking area on Cascade Drive. 

The trail is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a peaceful experience as it follows the creek leading to the falls. 

Upon arriving, you’ll be greeted by the sight of water cascading down a rocky face, surrounded by ferns and moss. 

The area around Cascade Falls is perfect for picnicking, photography or simply enjoying the sound of the water. 

9. Huntington Falls

Huntington Falls is an artificial waterfall located in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. 

It’s a 40-minute drive from Cascade Falls.

This 110-foot tall waterfall is one of the park’s highlights and can be found on the western side of Stow Lake, the largest body of water in the park. 

The falls were designed to add beauty and a sense of tranquility to the area.

You can watch them cascading down Strawberry Hill, the island at the center of the lake.

You can explore the falls for yourself by walking up a series of stone steps that run alongside the waterfall, leading to excellent viewing spots and a bridge that crosses over the water. 

Robin Zebrowski / Flickr

The climb provides not only a close-up view of the waterfall but also panoramic views of Stow Lake and the surrounding park.

The area is ideal for family outings as there are paddle boats for rent and plenty of spots for picnicking.

Sophie Davis

Born and raised in the Bay area of California, Sophie is a California native. She joined our team in 2023 to create travel guides on California.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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