Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Travel

Best Tri Race-cations: Wine Country, California

Go high-end or rent a camper; make it all about nature or all about Michelin stars—Northern California offers a race-cation for everyone.

For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.

There’s no vacation like a race-cation. That trip nominally planned around your favorite triathlon—but really about so much more. For your dream itinerary, we’ve put together ratings and tips on where to bring your friends, family, and training buddies; how to organize your trip; and which races to schedule around. View our race-cation guide to start making plans for your best tri trip yet.

Planning your Wine Country, California race-cation

Family Fun: ★★

Vacation Vibe: ★★★★

Travel Ease: ★★★★★

Race Quality: ★★★★

Races

How to Get There

Less than two hours from the San Francisco airport, wine country is easy to access from the greater Bay Area. Or, fly into the smaller Sacramento airport for Ironman California, and it’s a short hour to the larger wine region from there.

Things for Friends & Family to Do

There’s a reason Napa Valley is a destination for girls’ weekends and vacation getaways. Rent a house, enjoy a wine tasting (or two), and be sure to explore the hilly bike routes that head up from Dry Creek Road on one side of the valley or from the popular Silverado Trail on the other. Depending on how you plan your trip, you can add days in San Francisco and the Bay Area. While wine country is all about relaxing with a glass in one hand and a local cheese plate in the other, pry yourself away from your lounging to also check out the many historic state parks, swim in Lake Berryessa, and admire the redwoods of the petrified forest.

Athlete running through wine country in California
(Photo: Ezra Shaw)

Pro Tip

“It is all about the food and the coffee. There is nothing like hitting a swim at Aquatic Park in February, then going across the street to Ghirardelli Chocolate for hot chocolate. We also love riding over the bridge and doing Hawk Hill repeats and then hitting Arsicault Bakery for a chocolate croissant.” —Gina Kehr, coach of the UCSF NCAA women’s college tri team

Why It’s a Great Race-cation

A Northern California trip is stress-free and offers endless options for you to craft exactly the type of vacation you want. Go high-end or rent a camper; make it all about nature or all about Michelin stars. The region also provides countless small and large (and even non-tri) race options from the iconic Escape from Alcatraz to the inaugural Ironman California (after last year’s event was canceled) to local favorites like Alpha Win’s race weekend. There’s something for everyone.


Check out other race-cation destinations: