Napa Tours – Finding Wine Tours for a Napa Visit

Needless to say, many people view wine tours as a must when going on Napa tours. Napa Valley is a viticultural region in California that’s deemed one of the best in the world. And knowing that fact, wine lovers from all over the United States and the world visit the area to get the best of the world-class Californian wines.

There are a lot of things to do and to find while going on wine tours in Napa Valley as the region is focused on small and boutique wineries. There many wineries that could fit your moods and your preferences.

Want to feel like a royalty? Visit the Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, a massive winery founded by Dario Sattui (of the famous Sattui winemaking family) in 2007 but built in an authentically 13th-century Tuscan architectural style. It is complete with a drawbridge, a moat, defensive towers, courtyard, a chapel, even a torture chamber! Even those who aren’t fans of wines will be nevertheless impressed by the castle/winery and young kids will feel adventurous exploring the place (and receive a grape juice drink instead of wine).

Another winery that will give you the air of European royalty is Domaine Carneros, which has an impressive and opulent chateau modeled after an 18th-century French mansion. Have a sip of wine and bite of cheese while sitting on the terrace that overlooks the vineyards.

Speaking of views, Sterling Vineyards will let you take in even more magnificent views of the valley. It is the only winery with a cable car service. Guests pay for a ticket for a short but fun cable car ride which offers magnificent views of the valley — lush pine trees and picturesque vineyards.

Want to get around the valley? Go for a historic train ride with the Napa Valley Wine Train, a classic tour with the Napa Valley Wine Trolley, or a more luxurious limo bus ride. All of these will take you to the exquisite sceneries of the valley, allow you to savor the sights, smells, and tastes that the vineyards and the wineries have to offer from a one-of-a-kind and fun perspective.

For a more adventurous wine tour, why not take a hot air balloon ride? It will definitely bring Napa tours to a whole new, fresh, and exciting level! Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) has been providing hot air balloon rides to satisfied guests for over 40 years with its safe and thrilling balloon rides as well as hospitable service on the ground. The company allows you to take in unparalleled scenery of the Napa Valley that’s just waking up from its sleep — see the neat rows of vineyards, the lush hills and the valleys, and the occasional fog that envelops the scenery. Witness the light and feel the warmth of the sun that’s slowly rising from the horizon while enjoying the cool breeze at the same time!

Don’t let your moments in the sky go by without taking pictures of the gorgeous Napa scenery with your camera or smartphone. Taking selfies while flying up high in the hot air balloon basket is absolutely safe! Our pilots are extensively trained and will inform and even entertain you with their knowledge about the more interesting spots of the Valley.

After the flight, celebrate it with a fresh, seasonal buffet-style brunch with a glass of sparkling wine! You and the other guests will excitedly recount how amazing and breathtaking the flight has been, and wish that you could do it again in the future.

Balloons Above the Valley offers hot air balloon rides and winery tour package that will satisfy every traveler, whether they love wine or not.

Every first timer will most likely choose our basic Sunrise Balloon Flight and Brunch ($209 per person, with pre-flight breakfast included). For those who also want to take advantage of their holidays in Napa with a wine tour and a glorious hot air balloon ride, they may choose the Sunrise Balloon Flight – Champagne Brunch – Wine Tour ($608 for two guests).

Staying in San Francisco and wanting to explore the city outskirts with a taste of wine and a hot air balloon ride? Then the San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package ($836 for two) will be the perfect package for you! For two days, you will be transported from the city to the other world — that is, a world where the best wines are made, the best views of the vineyards and the valleys are seen, and the best smells and tastes are savored.

Are you interested? Contact Balloons Above the Valley through our details: 707-253-2222 (direct line), 800-464-6824 (toll-free) or e-mail at Book now with Balloons Above the Valley to have the best experience of your Napa tour!

Experience So Much More This Napa Valley Vacation

Your Napa Valley vacation will not be just another vacation at a wine region. You will get to experience a lot more in your Napa holiday than just the wines, the vineyards, and the wineries. Of course, these are the things that brought the region to people’s attention in the first place, but here is so much more to the area than you may expect.

Like many other areas known for wine in the world, the Californian Wine Country has unique things to offer to tourists, especially those who both love wines and adventure. You may choose to go and explore the region on your own terms, or have a personally-guided tour. You may also decide to have a small intimate experience or go along with a large group of other tourists. Either way, you will get to see the best of what Napa Valley has to offer!

Wine tours are an adventure on their own. For instance, try going to Castello di Amorosa and step back in time. Although the winery was built pretty recently, it evokes the feel of a medieval castle, sans of course the costumes. The massive castle is faithfully constructed in the 13th-century Tuscan architecture, and everything you see is authentic — defensive towers, moats, even a torture chamber!

Want to have a luxurious, exclusive feel during your wine tours? In Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook Winery experience the “Salon Tasting” where you and your friends enjoy a lush and private dining and wining experience without the stiffness of a seated tasting. It will be an experience you won’t soon forget.

Besides drinking wine and dining in the finest restaurants, celebrate life by also celebrating nature in Napa Valley. The most recommended spot for nature tripping is the Land Trust of Napa, a 55,000-acre protected area perfect for hiking, biking, and kayaking. It also offers magnificent views of the Calistoga and St. Helena areas.

Immerse yourself in Napa Valley art! The region is not only known for wines and vineyards, but it is also home to art, film, music, and architecture. You can find astounding galleries that feature equally astounding pieces of art. Some of the wineries, like the Hess Collection, also serve as an art gallery. Visit special annual art exhibitions, local arts attractions, film festivals, and cultural festivals in and around Napa.

For a more interesting experience in Napa, visit during the autumn and the winter, particularly if you’re somewhat allergic to the crowds and overbooked hotels during the summer. Fall exposes Napa Valley in its most striking colors everywhere you look; plus, you may be able to participate in the grape-stomping festival which brings loads of fun. These things alone make it worth a visit especially in November. Winter is another season that brings Napa into its most quiet, most serene, and why not — most beautiful. While the vineyards are barren, they are being upstaged by the sea of brilliant yellow wild mustard blooms and the emerald green hills. Enjoy hassle-free traveling and even discounted hotel rates, an opportunity to snuggle up with your loved one near the fireplace with a warm glass of Cabernet.

Autumn and spring in particular are also perfect for hot air ballooning, although it can be done in any other season. Hot air balloons favor cool and stable winds, that’s why hot air ballooning is usually done during sunrise or sunset.

Riding a hot air balloon will take you to views of Napa Valley that you won’t be able to see even when you’re sitting on top of a hilltop winery. Vineyards make for neat and lovely natural patches (the colors depend on the season), lush rolling hills and valleys. You may encounter an occasional fog but you will see the sun rise as you glide along in the hot air balloon.

The experience is exhilarating already! What’s more, you will be feted with a traditional after-flight sparkling wine to celebrate a successful airborne journey. Here in Napa Valley though, a sparkling wine is not enough — often, a fresh and delicious seasonal buffet lunch is also served to you and the other guests who deserve nothing but the best as they enjoy their holiday.

There’s something more than just wines, vineyards, and wineries in your Napa Valley vacation, for the Wine Country is also a place for exploration as well as new and unforgettable experience.

What Are Some Fun Things to Do in Napa?

There are a lot of fun things to do in Napa for people of all ages, whether it involves or doesn’t involve wine. Keep reading to learn more.

If you love wine, needless to say Napa Valley will definitely be your own heaven! Sure, it’s impossible to visit over 400 wineries in the region during a short stay, but if you plan to visit regularly you may be able to visit many of them. You have the choice as much as your preference, time and budget allow. Visit what the experts think are the best and most popular wineries: Alpha Omega, Beringer, Chateau Montelena, Robert Mondavi Winery and Castello di Amorosa. Or if you want a more intimate and personal wine tour, visit these more off-the-beaten track counterparts: Artesa Vineyards and Winery, Burgess Cellars, Cliff Lede Vineyards, The Hess Collection, Honig Vineyard and Winery, and many other family-owned boutique wineries.

If you have kids or teens around or someone else who doesn’t drink, they can still tag along with you to a number of wineries that offer something more fun and interesting apart from wine: Castello di Amorosa with its authentic medieval castle/fortress, the Sterling Vineyards where guests enjoy panoramic views inside a cable car, and other wineries such as the Hess Collection, Artesa, and Mumm Napa Valley for art lovers. Some wineries like Castello di Amorosa offer grape juice for the kids or anyone who does not want to drink wine.

Other family friendly or wine-free things to do in Napa include visiting fun and educational venues and events such as the nonprofit Scientopia Discovery Center where it offers a hands-on science and technology exhibits for kids and teens. The Connolly Ranch is also a nonprofit entity where children learn things about the environment and organic farming.

It’s no question that the Napa Valley is a premiere foodie destination — in fact, the region has earned more Michelin stars than any other place in the world. Even if there are other restaurants that have yet to earn a Michelin, you will still manage to find high-quality seasonal cuisine at popular prices. For the budget-conscious but still wanting to have a taste of Napa, head on to the popular Oxbow Public Market for artisanal products and good eats, or prepare yourself for a picnic at one of the public parks. But if you’re the type who wants to eat in style, hop in to one of Napa Valley Wine Train’s magnificently restored vintage cars. Enjoy haute cuisine inside the train while it takes you to the most scenic views of the vineyards.

And speaking of scenic views, one of the best things to do in the Napa Valley is to take a hot air balloon ride! This is the most fascinating and unforgettable way to enjoy magnificent and dramatic views of the Napa Valley from up in the sky. The neat rows of vineyards, the lush rolling hills and valleys, and the sun slowly rising to greet the natural beauty of Napa makes for a perfect opportunity for photography, or just savoring the beauty of the region.

You can experience this beauty with Balloons Above the Valley (BATV). Aside from hot air balloon rides, BATV also offers chauffeured wine tours, on-board breakfasts, pre-flight breakfasts, and after-flight brunches with sparkling wine. Aside from making long-lasting memories during the hot air balloon flight, you will also be able to enjoy wine and olive oil tastings, enjoy shaded picnic-style lunches, and meet and make new friends along the way!

Balloons Above the Valley will make sure that you are satisfied while making sure of your safety. Check out our hot air balloon and wine tour packages and choose the one that will fit your plan and budget. Include Balloons Above the Valley in your fun things to do in Napa and you will have an unforgettable Napa visit!

Is Casual Dress Allowed during Napa Wine Tour Package?

Especially if it’s your first time to go on a Napa Wine tour package, you may wonder or be unsure if there’s a dress code when visiting wineries. The following article provides the answers you seek.

Since Napa Valley is an agricultural area, comfort is a top consideration even when visiting the vineyards and wineries. Although there is no specific dress code when visiting Napa, dressing there is generally “casual” and “business casual.”

Locals tend to dress casually, but visitors may want to dress up a bit more. For those who worry that they may be dressed to kill or under-dressed, it is best to strike a balance between casual and formal. For instance — a pretty laced blouse for the top, jeans for the bottom and a pair of wedges or flats for shoes. This style will not only look effortlessly good on you, but at the same time it will also go great whether you’re walking around the vineyard or dining at a restaurant (Michelin-starred or not).

Or try to find your own style. If you’re really feeling the country vibe in Napa but at the same feeling fashionably flirtatious, you can go for a nice dress, a denim jacket and cowboy boots. This style could look great from the vineyards to tasting rooms with only stand-up counters.

Also consider the time, weather, and area as a basis for dressing up in Napa. For example, if the forecast says it’s going to be sunny all day and you’re going to tour around the vineyards or spend a great deal of time on the patio (most wineries have patios which offer dramatic views of the valley), do not forget to wear a hat and a pair of sunglasses. Sunscreen is also important. If the weather will be breezy and cool, have layers for your outfit or bring a jacket with you in case you get chilly.

As said before, comfort is a top consideration. Since you’re going to move a lot in Napa, especially going to the vineyards, wear what’s appropriate and comfortable. Women will want to have their hair tied up so that it won’t need any maintenance, choose a small, hands-free bag, and wear flats.

But if you’re going to restaurants and wineries that have parking lots, paved walkways and seated tasting rooms, it’s ok to go a bit more formal and classy as well as wear high heels. If you ride on the wine train, you may also need to be a bit dressier.

Are you the type of person who can’t normally leave the house or hotel without wearing makeup or perfume? You may want to forego them for a while when you’re touring wineries. When visiting Napa, it’s not only the sights that matter but also smell and taste — these three senses factor into a well-balanced wine experience. Cosmetics and perfume will mask the subtle aromas and flavors of the wine. If you feel your lips are always dry, wear Chapstick or a light lip balm instead of lipstick.

The change of temperature will also be a factor if you choose to take a hot air balloon ride. At first, it can be quite too hot because you’re standing under the flames, but the moment you ascend things will be cool, and even cooler as you start to descend. What you will need to wear depends on the time of the day or season. Since hot air balloon flights in Napa mostly take place during sunrise, the temperature could be different during or towards the end of your flight than before the flight. Knowing how the temperatures could fluctuate at this time of the day, it is best to wear layers. You may remove them if you get too hot.

It’s not just the temperature that will factor in your hot air balloon attire. Safety and comfort are also a consideration. You don’t want to wear a long dress, a skirt, or dress with ruffles of flowing lace. These dresses not only make getting in and out of the basket awkward, they can be also hazardous. Instead wear casual and comfortable clothing such as your usual shirts. Wear stretch pants or something sporty to make getting in and out of the basket easy to do.

At Balloons Above the Valley, we do everything we can to make your moments enjoyable and as memorable as possible, as well as safe. But unless you wear the right clothing, you won’t be able to enjoy your hot air balloon ride with us as much as you want and should. That’s why you should dress appropriately for the occasion so that you will be able to enjoy the hot air balloon flights as well as the champagne brunch after the flight during your Napa wine tour package.

A Wine Tour near San Francisco You’ll Remember

While you may have gaped at the greatness of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, taken a ride on one of its famous cable cars, or visited the grand Palace of Fine Arts, a wine tour near San Francisco will be as fun and memorable, too.

The California Wine Country, particularly Napa and Sonoma valleys, has been there around for a long time. However, it was pretty recent that the quality of their wines was elevated to world-class standards. Tourists come to San Francisco not only to see the city itself but also to explore its outskirts, most especially the Wine Country.

If you include wine tours as part of your San Francisco trip, you may want to include a bit of adventure like a hot air balloon ride. But if you’re having problems with setting your budget, it’s a good thing there’s Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) which fuses the best of both adventures — a hot air balloon ride and wine tours all the way from the city.

BATV has the San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package, one of its most sought-after packages. For $836, two guests will have the chance to take a breathtaking flight over the picturesque Napa Valley landscape, plus visit several wineries. This two-day package features:

First day:

  • Transportation from the San Francisco to the Wine Country aboard a limo bus. Guests will enjoy an on-board continental breakfast with mimosa
  • Stop to view the Golden Gate Bridge — this is an opportunity to take lots of photos and selfies!
  • Visits to two wineries in Napa and two in Sonoma
  • Picnic-style buffet at one of the wineries
  • Olive oil tasting

Second day:

  • Pre-flight breakfast with fresh coffee, hot chocolate, and pastries.
  • The BIG adventure — the sunrise hot air balloon flight! You will get to see the subtly breathtaking views of the Wine Country. Neat rows of grapevines, lush rolling hills, deep valleys, and the beautiful sunrise that greets the natural beauty of the Wine Country.
  • A fresh and delicious post-flight brunch with a sparkling wine where you and the other guests will celebrate a just-concluded successful airborne journey.
  • After the post-flight brunch, guests will have the option to be sent back to San Francisco right away via a ferry, or to be driven first to either Oxbow Public Market or Napa Premium Outlets before the ferry ride back to the city.

BATV’s “San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour” package is deemed to be a complete package! It provides you and your friends with an adventurous sunrise hot air balloon flight which will make your wine tour in San Francisco utterly unforgettable.

Amazing and Fun Things to Do in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is a place of beauty, wonder, adventure, exploration, and fun! There are countless amazing and fun things to do in Napa Valley. Although it’s impossible to do all of them during your weekend getaway, whatever activity you choose, it’s guaranteed to bring you lots of fun and happy memories along the way.

Napa Valley is famous for wine, of course, so visiting vineyards and wineries as well as wine-tastings are expected activities. But Napa is more than those things! You will be surprised that you can find new things and adventures along the way which make your visit in Napa Valley more worthwhile and memorable.

While Napa is famous for its wines, other beverages often take a backseat. This brings up the interest factor in your visit — to try other home-grown drinks, other than wines, in the region. You want hand-crafted beers? Head on to Napa Smith, the only beer maker in Napa where you can sample their interesting lineup of brews — Organic IPA, Golden Gate, Hop Java, Hopageddon and Pilsner. Afterwards, you may consider going to Domaine Charbay Distillery which creates artisanal spirits and cocktails like clear and flavored vodkas, brandy, rum, and their own Black Walnut Liqueur.

Napa Valley offers lots of shopping opportunities for locals and visitors alike. Go shopping for artisanal goodies at the Oxbow Public Market. Score great deals at the Napa Premium Outlets. Or you can shop more at several places from large-scale malls to small, interesting boutiques.

Napa Valley is not just an “adult” destination, but it’s also great for kids and for the whole family! To keep the kids entertained, as well as the kid-at-heart, bring them to the most fun but educational places. Kid- and family-friendly places in the Napa area include the Jelly Belly Candy Company (in Fairfield, just minutes away from Napa), Scientopia Discovery Center, and the Connolly Ranch. These places will keep the kids occupied and entertained as well as educated about the ways of science and the environment.

Hop aboard the Napa Wine Train for lovely scenery of the valleys and haute cuisine inside the railroad cars. Rent a bike and go on your way or choose guided bike tours amongst the vineyards. Take a hike at one of several hiking destinations like the Skyline Park and have your breath taken away by the majestic views of the valley. Or why not take a hot air balloon ride during sunrise?

You will feel enthralled by the idea of going up higher into the sky and enjoying the subtly dramatic views of the valley. Pretend that you are an explorer of the enchanting, unspoiled beauty of the Napa — the neat rows of grapevines, the lush rolling hills and valleys, and the occasional fog that partly engulfs the utterly beautiful landscape, while witnessing the sun for the first time of the day. The breathtaking scenery gives you a perfect opportunity to show off your photography skills, too!

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) has been satisfying guests for nearly four decades with hot air balloon fun and glorious after-flight champagne brunches. They will help you achieve what could be the flight of your lifetime, and continue to celebrate life and love in the Napa with a glorious after-flight champagne brunch with fresh and delicious buffet-style goodies.

Napa Valley is not just a destination of wines, vineyards, and wineries. It offers something for everyone… so get ready for a lot of fun things to do in Napa Valley and have the best vacation of your life.

Family Vacations in Napa Valley – Planning for Everyone

Family vacations in Napa Valley may sound improbable, since the region automatically brings adult activities to mind such as wine tasting, wine and food pairing, and fine dining. There are ways to enjoy a family vacation in Napa and the surrounding area if you know what activities to plan.

However, don’t cross Napa Valley off your vacation destination list just because you’re taking the kids along. The wine region also offers activities that are fun for kids and the whole family. You’ll be even surprised how many there are, but we’ll just mention some of them here.

Napa Valley is a natural wonder, which means it offers many great reasons for you and your family to go outdoors! Biking is one option for exploring the beauty of the valley. Rent a bike and pedal your way on the quiet country roads or in the middle of the vineyards, whether in the morning or in the late afternoon before the sun goes down. Hiking and camping out are also two of the best family activities in Napa. Most hiking spots in Napa have trails so the family won’t get lost on their way back. Places such as the Skyline Park offer fantastic views of Napa Valley, which are well worth the exhausting hike. For more nature-gazing, go to Calistoga to see the Old Faithful in California, a geyser borne from a drilling mistake that occurred several years ago.

Napa is a place where you can also learn something worthwhile apart from being entertained. Kids and kids at heart will have good ol’ fun when they visit the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, not too far away from Napa. Visitors will enjoy a free tour around the factory, plus chocolate confection and wine tasting.

If you can’t resist visiting the wineries but at the same time you just can’t leave the kids alone in the hotel room, don’t worry. While a lot of us see little connection between wineries and kids, there are a handful of wineries that are kid-friendly, such as the Castello di Amorosa with its faithfully designed medieval castle (it also offers grape juice), Robert Sinskey Winery where kids can feed the fish, and an aerial tram ride to the hilltop at the Sterling Vineyards.

Hot air balloon rides over the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape will definitely bring a dash of fun and adventure! If you want to take your kids on a hot air balloon ride but are still concerned for your kids’ safety, don’t have to worry! Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) will definitely take care of that. The operator’s 40 years in the business alone will make you sigh in relief, which means safety of the guests has been the company’s top priority for long. Be sure to ask about the height and age requirements before making your reservations to ensure your children can go.

Your kids will be excited by the idea of flying over the Napa Valley landscape. Several hundreds of feet from the ground, they will look with awe at the wondrous, picturesque views the neat rows of grapevines, deep valleys, green rolling hills and watch the sun rise. Although BATV strives to make your flights as safe as possible, nevertheless keep a watch over your kids because sometimes they may get too curious, excited or frisky as to invite possible danger especially when you’re in mid-air — and that is not fun!

Children are also welcome to hop in to one of BATV’s hot air balloon baskets. They must be at least 40 inches tall so that they will be able to look over the basket. While adults enjoy the sparkling wine at the post-flight brunch, kids and non-drinkers will also enjoy fresh, healthful and delicious goodies, too.

Include a hot air balloon ride and Balloons Above the Valley during your trip! The hot air balloon rides and other activities that you plan for your family vacations in Napa Valley will make your moments with your family truly special and unforgettable.

Wine Tours Plans during Honeymoon in Napa Valley

Napa Valley is the perfect place for honeymooners — the beautiful and dreamy landscape alone makes for an ideal romantic setting. And like many other romantic couples vacationing in the region, they won’t let their stay in the Napa go by without giving a toast to their love with a Cabernet or Chardonnay. Consider these wineries during your honeymoon in Napa Valley.

Many Napa (as well as Sonoma) hotels offer honeymoon packages; you only have to be on a smart lookout to score these great deals! Hotels such as the Westin Napa offer a five-night honeymoon package that attend to your every need to make sure you and your new spouse enjoy each other and relax. Upon arrival, you will be greeted with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, enjoy a day at the spa, and have dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as a wine tour.

However, if pretty and romantic panoramic views of the rolling mounds of neat and lovely vineyards matters more to you, then you should check out some hotels that offer gorgeous views as well as feature beautiful architecture. The Auberge Du Soleil, Milliken Creek Inn and Spa, The Meritage Resort and Spa, Harvest Inn, North Block Hotel are mostly nestled in the heart of the country which offer impressive views of the valley.

When you’re going to visit wineries, again the beautiful views and impressive architecture will also be much of a consideration. Actually, most of the Napa wineries offer spectacular views of the landscape, so you have to choose wineries that have something extra special for your honeymoon. Step into the medieval royalty at the Castelo di Amorosa, feel like the lord of your own chateau at Domaine Carneors, or go up on an aerial tramway at Sterling Vineyards.

Dinners for the honeymooners should be best left in an intimate setting — the kind of places that will not only fill your senses but also tug at your emotions. The Auberge du Soleil is famed for its views of the beautiful sunset, The Lakehouse in Calistoga, and the Restaurant at Meadowood offer the loveliest sights for couples who are out on a date.

Consider a hot air balloon ride for the ultimate romantic moment. If you choose this as part of your activity, choose Balloons Above the Valley (BATV), the pioneer of hot air balloon rides in Napa.

BATV provides honeymooning couples the chance to see the beauty of the Napa Valley from a dramatically different perspective. You will be in awe of the neatly arranged rows of grapevines, green rolling hills and deep valleys, and the occasional fog that envelops the hills. The sunrise that gradually greets the natural wonders in Napa will also be an amazing sight.

Although we offer sunrise hot air balloon and wine tours packages for certain numbers of guests, you can also opt for our Exclusive Flights package. In this package you can have the hot air balloon virtually to yourself, as well as a private table at the champagne brunch celebration after the flight.

A perfect honeymoon in Napa Valley should consist of a beautiful hotel with spectacular views, intimate dinner date, and a hot air balloon flight. These are the elements in your Napa Valley honeymoon getaway that will bring you and your new spouse closer than ever.

Summer Time Napa Activities Your Whole Family Can Enjoy

Summer is the peak season for Napa Valley tourism, so it’s not surprising to see a plethora of summer time Napa activities during this time of the year.

Unfortunately, during the summertime hotels are nearly always full, and the tasting rooms are mostly packed. Unless you enjoy jostling in the long lines, the number of people may make you want to avoid summer vacations in Napa. The better option is to make a hotel and tasting room reservations ahead so that you will experience as little inconvenience as possible.

Expect the crowds and the traffic to build up during this season. But other than the inconvenience, you will be able to enjoy a great line up of summer activities in Napa.

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Napa Valley. Day hikes in the Napa Valley make for an adventurous and fun way to discover nature, and some of these hiking spots offer scenic vistas of the valley. The region offers numerous different trails for hikers of varying skill levels. One of these hiking places is the popular Bothe-Napa Valley State Park in Calistoga. It features campgrounds, tents or yurts, a picnic area, as well as a seasonal pool. Hiking buddies and adventurous families will surely enjoy their time there.

When summer temperatures make people sticky and hot, where else do people go? Anywhere with water, of course! The Lake Berryessa reservoir is usually the go-to place for water fun activities. Situated in the northeastern corner of the Napa Valley, this man-made lake and reservoir provides water as well as power to the region. Choose from activities in or by the lake which includes swimming, boating, fishing, and a variety of water sports. Or you can enjoy picnics by the lakeside and just relax.

Summer also means you may want to bike off in the country and savor the peaceful and uncomplicated country life. Napa Valley is also a “country” region, specifically a “wine country,” where you can see and feel the unbeatable beauty of nature and experience the serenity.

Farming, obviously, is almost everywhere in the region. But if you want to learn about the honest-to-goodness farm life, check out Connolly Ranch. This educational ranch and farm is perfect for the whole family, and it is also for kids’ summer camps! Romp, play, feed and tend the farm animals, and get some farm-based education as well as learn about sustainability and heightened appreciation for Mother Nature while you’re here.

One of the most exhilarating things to do in Napa is take a hot air balloon ride high above the valley below. It is rather a rare opportunity for anyone to take part in a hot air balloon flight, but it will be totally rewarding!

Flying thousands of feet above the ground, you’ll be able to look out at the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape. You can see the grapevines neatly organized in rows with clumps of trees in between, rolling hills and deep valleys, you may also see some fog enveloping the fields, and light slowly appearing as the sun rises from the horizon. Don’t forget to bring your jacket, sweater and hat because it’s going to be chilly up there! And of course you won’t end your airborne journey before taking pictures of the beautiful scenery and family selfies (just don’t forget bringing your selfie stick!)

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) provides safe, exciting, and fun hot air balloon flights for you and your whole family. Please be aware, we do have a 48 inch height or at least 6 years of age requirement.

On the day of the hot air balloon ride, it starts with a pre-flight continental breakfast with coffee and pastries. This will be followed by the one-hour hot air balloon flight. Families won’t have to be worried because our experienced pilots will navigate the journey safely. After the hot air balloon flight, a delicious champagne brunch follows. Guests may even receive hot air balloon pins as souvenirs!

Hot air balloon flights will clearly be a highlight of your summer time Napa activities for you and your family. If you are interested in flying with Balloons Above the Valley, you can contact us at 707-253-2222 or send an e-mail to

Explore and Learn with These Things to Do in the Bay Area

There are fun things to do in Bay Area. Besides being fun, many of the activities can also be quite an enriching experience.

If you plan to spend a week or two (or more) vacation in the Bay Area, you might as well take in some side trips to the California wine country. You may also want to take advantage of the fun and educational activities during your stay there.

If you’re passionate about wines and want to know more than you can learn with mere visiting wineries and wine-tasting, you might want to take a class or two at the Napa Valley Wine Academy. This institution was built by wine experts who wanted to share their knowledge as well as their passion for wines and winemaking. It doesn’t only include the process of winemaking but also making other spirits, even sake. There are also online courses for distance learning, which you may also want to have done before signing up for an actual live course.

Other classes at the Napa Valley Wine Academy include tasting and service classes, wine studies, and days-long intensive courses to become a certified wine specialist.

Culinary classes have never been more popular in Napa Valley. Among the sought-after cooking classes include “Cooking with Julie” where you can learn hands-on cooking and preparing food. And of course, the recipes featured there are a reflection of the Napa’s profound appreciation of nature by using only the freshest and seasonal ingredients. Apart from the cooking classes, there are also culinary tours in one of the food capitals of the world.

Love photography and want to boost your skills on this department? You may want to sign up for one (or more) of the classes such as the Art & Clarity Adventure which holds photography workshops. In no time at all you’ll be shooting your camera like a pro!

Have you thought about impressing your friends by taking pictures from an entirely different perspective — in this case, from a hot air balloon flight? You can take pictures of the neat rows of grapevines at the vineyards, rolling hills, deep valleys, and occasional fog that hover over the fields. The lush scenery is what makes Napa Valley an impossibly picture-perfect place. Napa Valley is so beautiful, that’s why no matter where you look it is worth every snap from your DSLR.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) will make photographing the vast Napa Valley landscape a reality. It offers safe and exhilarating sunrise balloon flights. The hour-long ride will allow you to take beautiful pictures of the scenic Napa Valley and further practice your photography skills. Our pilots may even point you to the more outstanding areas of the region so that you can take gorgeous shots!

Not only will you get to enjoy the hot air balloon flight, you will also enjoy our pre-flight breakfast and post-flight champagne brunch. If you’re also intent on visiting wineries, you can also choose our packages such as the Sunrise Balloon Flight/Champagne Brunch/Wine Tour (for two passengers) and the San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package (also for two passengers). BATV is open all-year round and ready to accommodate your questions or interest in flying with us.

Explore and learn with these things to do in Bay Area and at the same time have fun in doing them, whether your interest is in wine, food and cooking, or art and photography.