Napa Valley is a world-renowned destination for wine, beloved for it’s picturesque rolling hills, bountiful vineyards, and epicurean delights. This Northern California region is not only known as a major producer of wines, but for it’s numerous touristic attractions, enjoyable activities, and photo-worthy spectacles. Featured in this Napa Valley Travel Guide is insider information about the most fabulous places to visit while touring the Napa Valley.
Napa Valley Travel Guide
Ranging from the quaint Northern California cities of Santa Rosa and Healdsburg down to the charming towns of St. Helena, Yountville, and Napa, and over to the history-rich rural setting of Sonoma, this sprawling wine country is filled with a number of top ranked restaurants, wineries, and destination spots. When planning a fabulous trip to wine country, the key is to choose the best destinations and experiences you can find.
How To Plan A Fabulous Trip To Wine Country
Wine Tasting in Napa Valley
If you’re seeking a wine tasting excursion complete with sweeping vistas, head up the windy hillside road to Pritchard Hill’s Chappellet Winery. This family-owned and operated winery not only produces its own wine, it bottles the wine (on-site) as well. Chappellet Winery offers visitors an enjoyable and educational group tour and tasting, walking guests through their wine production and bottling facilities, and down through the vineyards themselves. Make sure to bring your camera, as the spectacular view of Lake Berryesa serves as the backdrop for the robust vineyards and tree-covered hills.
If you love an intimate, relaxing setting, look no further than Crocker & Starr. This winery provides guests with an exclusive tasting experience, set in a picturesque canopy-covered patio overlooking acres of lush vineyards. The exquisite small lot wines produced by Crocker & Starr are highly coveted by wine aficionados from across the globe (and sell-out each year rather quickly).
If your perfect idea of a day of wine tasting in Napa Valley means visiting a charming, immaculate Chateau (reminiscent of old world France), then Chateau Boswell is the place for you. The Silverado Trail-based estate vineyard boasts incredible wines as well. The winery’s entertaining and informational tour guides (including winemaker Russell Bevan, a sommelier, and one of the winery owners, Josh Peeples) make guests feel right at home. And the dimly lit caves provide a romantic and magical setting for indulging in the flavorful Chateau Boswell wines.
Dining in Napa Valley
After a long day of wine tasting, you’ll definitely be hungry. The Napa Valley boasts numerous restaurants, ranging from casual cafes (at places like the Zagat-rated Model Bakery) to Michelin-rated fine dining establishments (like The French Laundry). If a view is what you seek, head over to downtown Napa where you can find a fresh fish house, called Fish Story, set along the Napa River. The restaurant offers everything from fresh fish and oysters, to brunch offerings.
If you love to ‘eat the view’, head up to the Barndiva in Healdsburg. This rustic chic restaurant offers a range of specialty dishes, from filet mignon with bone marrow tator tots, to vegetarian dishes including roasted vegetable platters (adorned with edible flowers).
Activities in Napa Valley
Aside from wine tasting and eating out, Napa Valley is also known for other fun activities.
In addition to shopping, golfing, spas, and horseback riding tours, visitors can also spend a day seeing giraffes, antelope, and rhinos (at the Safari West wildlife refuge), or visiting the famed Calistoga hot springs or Old Faithful Geyser.
If lounging by the pool on a warm sunny day sounds like heaven to you, head on over to the uber-exclusive Meadowood luxury resort and spa. This gorgeous Hamptons-style resort offers fine dining, exceptional accommodations, swimming, croquet, and golf. The resort is only open to hotel guests and members, making it’s exclusivity one of the biggest draws for top celebrities, executives, and socialites seeking peace and quiet.
Entertainment in Napa Valley
If you love entertainment, look no further than the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival. This 3-day event is held at the Napa Valley Expo, and provides all-day live music from top bands (including Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Train, and more). In addition, the BottleRock festival also offers wine tasting and food from top local restaurants.