Over the past two years, I have visited the Napa Valley three times. I kid thee not, it’s getting excessive. But I just love Napa! Every time I visit, I try to check out at least 2 new-to-me restaurants and 3 new-to-me wineries… but I definitely have favorites which I frequent time and time again! I hope y’all enjoy this guide to Napa Valley!
– How to get there –
My favorite way to get to Napa Valley is by route of San Francisco (by car). Go the “scenic route”: go over the Golden Gate Bridge, stop for coffee in Sausalito, pull over for a quick hike and some gorgeous site-seeing in Muir Woods – all on your drive out to wine country. Take US-101N to CA-37E, then to CA-121N – one leads into the other, and you magically wind up in the midst of the Napa Valley!
– Where to stay –
I’ve been to the Napa Valley three times: once, I stayed in Napa proper; the second time, I stayed at the Silverado Resort and Spa; the third time, I stayed at the Brannan Cottage Inn in Calistoga. Additionally, there are plenty of boutique hotels in Yountville, Saint Helena, and the valley overall. I’ve heard wonderful things about Hotel Yountville, Calistoga Ranch, and Auberge du Soleil. I would also recommend renting a home in Yountville or Saint Helena through Airbnb!
– Where to eat –
Oh my goodness. The food in the Napa Valley is out of this world. I die. Get ready to eat like royalty. My favorite – aka the one I must visit on every trip to Napa – is Bouchon Bistro. Check out my full foodie guide to Napa below for more ideas – I’ve divvied it up by town for ease of reading:
– What to do –
Okay, first, let’s cover the non-wine:
At the resorts, you can spa or golf. If spa is your thing, I recommend trying the mud baths in Calistoga (I’ve done Solage Calistoga‘s mud slide and it was awesome!) Elsewhere in the valley, you can hike (on hiking paths or to wineries), you can rent a bike (to ride on specific paths or to wineries)… you can even go on a hot air balloon ride (over wineries). As I’m terrified of heights, I likely wouldn’t go on that last one [without a heavy dose of liquid courage], but I hear the views are simply incredible.
Now for the wine. Because obviously no guide to Napa could possibly be complete without the wineries. I have two rules for visiting Napa: (1) hire a driver using a service like Luxury Electric Wine Tours / use Uber (be safe!) and (2) don’t be overzealous. On a good day, you can really only go to three wineries. Four if you truly rush it. You want to have at least 1 ½ – 2 hours at each winery – enough time to drink, relax, and explore. So, with those rules in mind, below are some of my favorite wineries to visit, divvied up by town for ease of reading / navigation: