4 Hints for Making the Most Out of Your First Trip to Napa Valley
If your vision of Napa Valley is limited to sprawling vineyards and upscale tasting rooms, you have a whole new world to encounter during your visit! Of course, you won’t be disappointed. The vineyards seem endless across the northern California landscape, and most wineries do provide fabulous tasting rooms with knowledgeable, even entertaining, attendants. But you’ll also find a treasure trove of other sights, scenes, sounds, and sophisticated folks. Here are a few tips to make your first visit absolutely divine.
- Choose the Ideal Time of Year for Your Visit
While the dedicated oenologist likely insists on visiting during harvest, in September and October, Napa is extraordinarily beautiful any time of year. Temperatures don’t tend to get too hot in the summer (usually 70° F or below), or especially cold in the winter (generally above 40° F). Like most regions with “four seasons,” Napa’s foliage changes to vibrant shades of gold, orange, yellow, red, and brown in the late fall, turning the hillsides into kaleidoscopes of spectacular color. But January and February bring lower prices and fewer travelers. Spring brings refreshing colors, but still fewer crowds. Summertime in Napa isn’t brutally hot, it rarely rains, and other attractions, like the farmers’ markets and hot air balloon rides, are in full swing. There truly is no bad time to visit Napa Valley. Just be advised that rain is more likely in the wintertime, although there’s plenty to do indoors while nature waters her vineyards.
- Pick Your Napa Valley Lodging
Lodging in Napa Valley ranges from downtown hotels close to the budding nightlife scene to cozy cottages overlooking the pristine vineyards to hidden bed and breakfasts tucked away among the Redwoods. Can’t decide? Try a night or two in downtown Napa and another night or two in one of the more remote locations. Or, opt for one of the posh hotels that also offer fine dining and spa treatments. Napa Valley is even home to some prime camping spots, if your idea of roughing it isn’t limited to a hotel without HBO.
- Pack a Varied Bag of Clothing & Accessories
As we’ve mentioned, Napa Valley usually isn’t cold or hot by the standards of the rest of the country. Southerners and desert dwellers find the temps here rather chilly, while northerners and folks from the mountains tend to find it pleasant and mild. It’s best to bring along everything from breathable cottons to snug sweaters, so that you’re covered from morning through evening. Don’t forget to tuck in a nice outfit or two, because you won’t want to miss any of the incredible dining opportunities here. Napa is home to everything from 4+ Star restaurants to quaint bistros to popular East-West fusion fare popularized by the Food Network. Downtown Napa has sprouted a bit of a nightlife in recent years, and you’ll want to dress for that, too. But bring your comfy casual clothes, too, for vineyard tours, browsing the farmers’ markets, and sight-seeing on foot.
- It Ain’t All About the Wine, You Know
While your vineyard tours and wine tastings are likely the highlight of your stay in Napa Valley, don’t limit yourself only to all things grapes and wines. There are tons of amazing things to do here that have nary a thing to do with wine, or even alcohol. Consider one of these (mostly) non-alcoholic diversions:
- Take a side tour to one of the area’s incredible olive orchards or olive oil producers.
- Catch a ride in a hot air balloon. It’s a perspective on the landscape you can’t enjoy from a car or bus.
- Spend a day hiking, biking, kayaking, or picnicking.
- Take one of the cooking classes offered by top-notch chefs in the area.
- Pick up a yoga class so your fitness doesn’t suffer during your trip.
- Spend an afternoon shopping. The Napa area offers tons of fine chocolate shops, clothing boutiques, cosmetics and skin care stores, and is known for great pottery, too. There are also an amazing array of gift shops if you have a wedding, retirement, birth, or other notable event on the old calendar.
- See some of California’s most impressive art collections at one of Napa’s many art galleries.
- Visit one of Napa’s farmer’s markets, where you can find anything from high-end gifts and souvenirs to homemade soaps, jellies and jams, candles, and more.
- Catch a show at one of Napa’s music or drama exhibitions.
- Take a day trip to nearby Frisco or the Redwood Forest. Head south for big city fun or north for some of the earth’s most spectacular natural displays. Some of the redwood trees are over 2,500 years old!
- Consider a non-wine day, where you enjoy local craft beers instead.
Napa is only about 30 miles across, measured north-to-south, but is home to hundreds of wineries, vineyards, and (as you can see) a plethora of other worthwhile things to see and do. We can guarantee you one thing — if you plan your first trip right, it definitely won’t be your last.
For all of the wine tastings, restaurant reservations, and lodging accommodations you need for the perfect first trip to Napa, call Allure Limo Wine Tours to set up your Napa Valley Wine tour today! You can also check out these other helpful links below.
Best Reasons To Take a Napa Wine Tour This Fall
Wine Tasting Tips
Wine Tasting Etiquette
Napa vs Sonoma Wine Tours
Why use a Custom Napa Limo Tour
Napa Valley Winery Map
Best Wine Tours in Napa
Napa Valley Facts
Napa Travel Tips
Why Ship Home Wine Bought in Napa
Napa Valley Food Pairing Tips