Famed 19th-century author Robert Louis Stevenson said of Calistoga: ‘the whole neighborhood of Mt St Helena is full of sulfur and boiling springs…Calistoga itself seems to repose on a mere film above a boiling, subterranean lake.’ And indeed, it does. Calistoga is synonymous with mineral water bearing its name, bottled here since 1924, and its springs and geysers have earned it an appropriate nickname: ‘Hot springs of the West.’
The least gentrified town in Napa Valley feels refreshingly simple, with an old-fashioned main street lined with quirky shops and diverse characters wandering the sidewalks. Bad hair? No problem. Fancy-pants St Helena couldn’t feel further away. Many don’t go this far north, but you should, if only for a spa visit to indulge in the local specialty: hot-mud baths, made with volcanic ash from nearby Mt St Helena.