How to Get the Most Out of Your Napa Valley Trip

How to Get the Most Out of Your Napa Valley Trip

5 Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Visit to Wine Country

For decades – maybe even centuries – Americans have romanticized Napa Valley. But it’s for good reason! Stunning views, delicious wine, and Michelin-star restaurants await guests in a mild climate seemingly made for hospitality.

But with all the options for literally everything in Napa Valley, it can be hard to know what to do when planning your trip – and once you arrive. Consider these five handy tips to help you make the most of your visit to California’s picturesque wine country.

Tip 1: Choose Your Hotel With Care

Where you stay in Napa Valley can make or break your trip. If you’re disappointed in subpar accommodations, your hotel could tarnish your entire experience.

The best Napa hotels are those that provide a comfortable place to sleep, but also plenty of activities and amenities to enjoy between winery tastings and shopping sprees – like spas, restaurants (with room service!), cocktail bars, swimming pools, media rooms, and more.

Keep in mind that Napa Valley is actually made up of a series of towns, so the location of your hotel is an important consideration, too. And with more than 120 overnight accommodation options, your decision can be a tough one.

Tip 2: Flying In? Your Airport Matters

Located just north of San Francisco Bay, Napa is replete with airport options, including five commercial ones and two private ones.

Sonoma County Airport is the closest commercial airport, but you may have better luck finding flights landing at San Francisco International, just 70 miles away from all the Napa action.

If you’re flying privately, Napa County Airport is only 10 miles away, shortening the distance you’ll need to travel by car.

For a more scenic route – and particularly if you don’t need a vehicle for the duration of your trip – we recommend flying into San Francisco and taking the San Francisco Bay Ferry to Vallejo. Then, use the VINE Transit bus into Napa Valley. Plenty of ride shares and private transportation services also are available – but it’s equally easy to visit car-free!

Tip 3: Pack for the Weather

Napa Valley enjoys mild weather throughout the year, so visitors can enjoy the jaw-dropping landscapes and delicious wine any time.

The area experiences a cold season lasting from the end of November to mid-February, with the average daily high temperature just below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. January is by far the coldest month, averaging a high of just 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

Conversely, the warm season occurs between early June and mid-October, when the average daily high temperature soars above 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest month is July, with an average high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperatures drop overnight, so packing a variety of clothing options and jackets and dressing in layers is a smart move when visiting the Napa Valley region.

Tip 4: Prepare to Visit Wineries

No trip to Napa Valley is complete without wine tasting at some of the area’s signature 400 wineries. Make sure you’re prepared by practicing your wine-tasting technique and packing clothing appropriate for winery visits.

In Napa Valley, jeans are acceptable for everyone, especially when paired with stylish shoes or sandals. Women often wear sundresses and wedge heels (pumps or stilettos don’t fare well outdoors), while men tend to sport golf shirts and khakis, although they can also wear dressier shorts. At an upscale winery, swap out anything stone-washed for darker denim and pack a sweater; wine cellars get chilly.

As you participate in wine tasting, you can, of course, sip the kind of wine you enjoy. But to taste like a pro, you should look at the color and clarity of the wine and swirl it in your glass to release aromas. Take a sniff of the wine – a step that prepares your palate for the complex flavors. Then, take a sip from your glass. Some people spit into a dump bucket – but others choose to swallow their wine. Either is perfectly acceptable. (Just be careful to not become too inebriated.)

Tip 5: Plan Non-Wine Activities, Too

If wine isn’t your favorite, or if you’re planning a more well-rounded visit to Napa Valley, consider other activities to schedule and book.

Napa Valley offers some of the best dining, shopping, arts and culture, and outdoor experiences, including breweries, museums, walking tours, live music, and a variety of annual festivals.

Ask for More Tips and Help at the Napa Valley Welcome Center

The Valley’s tourism board set up shop in the heart of downtown Napa to help guide visitors as they put the finishing touches on their vacations. Not only can you get expert advice on activities, restaurants, and wineries, but you also can charge your electronic devices, learn about hidden gems in the Valley, freshen up, and pick up gifts for family and friends. The Welcome Center is pet-friendly, too!

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