Napa Things to Do
Napa Valley is world famous for its wineries, and rightly so. However, wine-related activities are by no means the only things to do in Napa Valley. Whether you are interested in wine, food, outdoor adventures, spas, golfing, or scenic tours, there are numerous Napa activities that will fit perfectly into your vacation itinerary. And don't limit your activities in Napa Valley purely to the city of Napa—Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga are all attractive destinations.
Unsurprisingly, wine-related activities are some of the best things to do in Napa. You can visit hundreds of individual wineries for tastings or wine tours of vineyards and cellars. Some of the many noteworthy wineries include Domaine Chandon, Frogs Leap, Peju, Quintessa, Rubicon, and Robert Mondavi. Some tasting rooms are by appointment only, but plenty are open on a drop-in basis, in case you're taking a leisurely drive around the valley and stopping as you please.
Another of the popular wine-related activities in Napa is a tour on the wine train, which is a good alternative to driving through the valley. The nine-car train ferries visitors from Napa to the town of St Helena, and visitors can book either a lunch or a dinner ride on the historic railroad. Enjoy excellent food and local wines as you see the lovely Napa scenery from the train windows; this is easily one of the most popular activities in Napa.
When lunchtime rolls around, there are numerous possibilities: try one of the restaurants downtown in Napa, Calistoga, or Yountville; buy food at wineries, or pack a lunch to enjoy at those that allow picnicking. Napa restaurant options are fairly varied, from French cuisine to steakhouse fare and even a sprinkling of sushi restaurants. Many spots are upscale, but you won't necessarily break the bank. However, enjoying fine restaurants is one of the popular things to do in Napa Valley, so it may be worthwhile to save up and splurge. Dinner may be another matter depending on your choice; for example, those lucky enough to secure reservations (often months in advance) at the world-renowned and highly acclaimed French Laundry restaurant in Yountville will pay astronomical prices for the meal of a lifetime.
The natural scenery in Napa is beautiful, so be to schedule some outdoor Napa activities into your visit. There are many ways to enjoy outdoors, and tours are among the most popular. Oenophiles can take advantage of the frequent warm weather and spend a few hours on a patio or porch swing of a charming winery, or those who want to soak up the whole valley rather than a whole bottle can take a scenic tour along the Silverado Trail or Highway 1. Alternative ways to see the landscape are via a bike or shuttle tour around the valley.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
The adventurous can even get a birds-eye-view via a hot air balloon ride, offered by several companies in Napa Valley. The hot-air balloon gives you a chance to see unbeatable views of Napa and the rolling hills of the vineyards. Rides are often narrated by knowledgeable local guides, and some companies even offer extra treats, such as a champagne brunch, as part of the experience.
Popular Napa activities also include visits to luxurious spas, which offer a varied menu of pampering treatments, from massages and mud baths to facials and unique treatments, all of which help visitors rejuvenate mind, body, and spirit. Some spas are part of hotels and resorts, several with pools that are a wonderful treat on those hot days in spring, summer, and fall.
Spas aren't the only activities in Napa Valley geared towards relaxing—golf courses provide another kind of leisurely escape. Local accommodations such as the Silverado Resort sometimes have their own courses, or you can combine a day of golf with the unique Napa scenery and play a few rounds at a course that incorporates the local vineyards, such as Eagle Vines.
Just a quick drive from San Francisco, the Napa Valley offers visitors a wealth of activities for all kinds of travelers. Whether you want to wine and dine, camp and explore the valley on day hikes or balloon rides, or pamper your cares away at luxury resorts and spas, Napa Valley offers something for everyone.