What to Do in Napa When You’re Here for One Day

You are wondering what to do in Napa Valley in case you’re here only for a day as a part of your weekend getaway. It is still possible to enjoy the sights and tastes that the Napa Valley offers even in a day, although you may want to pick and choose the sights and tastes you enjoy.

You may want to start the day with a bang. How about sunrise hot air balloon flight? If you choose Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) to take care of that, you’ve made the right choice! We offer a variety of sunrise hot air balloon and wine tours, but since you’re spending a day in the Wine Country, we suggest you book our base package, the Sunrise Balloon Flight & Champagne Brunch.

For only $209 a person, package includes a pre-flight breakfast, a one-hour hot air balloon flight, and a post-flight brunch with champagne or sparkling wine.

Wake up to the delicious breakfast of freshly baked pastries and Starbucks coffee before being led to the launch site. At the launch site, you will get to witness the last steps of inflating the giant balloons before you settle into the spacious wicker baskets.

Once the balloon leaves the ground, you’ll be in for the ride of your life! You’ll rise above the trees and drift away in the crisp morning air. You’ll find yourself floating above the gently rolling hills, the neat rows of lush vineyards, the occasional morning fog — all this for your unobstructed viewing pleasure! Our experienced, licensed pilots will amiably chat about and point out other interesting sights as you gently float along.

After the hot air balloon lands, you and the other guests will be led to a champagne brunch. Raise a toast and celebrate the successful and wonderful flight over a hearty and delicious seasonal brunch. The experience will tantalize your eyes as well as your stomach!

No day is complete in Napa without visiting the wineries. You probably want to make the most of your self-initiated wine tours, so you might as well visit wineries that offer more than just wine.

Castello di Amorosa is one of the popular wineries in Napa. The 170-acre property is like no other because it is a real castle styled in 13th century Tuscan architecture (although it was built in the 20th century). It has a drawbridge, moat, defensive towers, a great hall, knight’s chamber, and even a torture chamber. Castello di Amorosa will truly help you step back into the medieval period.

You likely do not want to miss going to Beringer, one of the oldest existing wineries in the valley. Founded in 1875, it is located in the Napa city of St. Helena; not surprisingly, it is listed in the National Register of Historical Places, making it truly a California historical landmark.

If you love art and wine we have good news for you. There are several wineries that also double as an art haven. Check out Artesia, The Hess Collection, Mumm, Cliff Lede Vineyards, and Peju Province which are some of the wineries that are also geared for art lovers. Some of these wineries, like The Hess Collection, also function as a full art gallery, while the others are dotted with artworks spread throughout the premises.

It doesn’t mean that, with all the wineries mentioned, you will want to pack the rest of the day with visiting wineries. We are offering suggestions on which wineries you may want to visit for your day in the area. Speeding up the visits at too many wineries will make you lose your appreciation on what wine tours are really about, and the scenic drives between them. It’s recommended that you should pick one winery tour and one wine tasting session for a Napa day tour. You can have a picnic lunch or snack at one of the wineries that you plan to visit. The best place to find delicious lunches and other things you need for a picnic is the Oakville Grocery or the Sunshine Foods Market in St. Helena. They offer delicious artisanal treats, delis, salads, sandwiches, and boxed lunches.

So if you’re ever wondering what to do in Napa when you’re here for just a day, you’ll be surprised that there are lots of fun activities in store for you, from wine tours to hot air ballooning.

Napa Valley Tours to Take from Morning to Evening

When you are planning Napa Valley tours, you will want to make the most out of from morning to evening. With its abundance of scenic countryside, wines, food, shopping and other activities, you should put Napa on your list of places to visit when you plan to travel to the Bay Area.

Start the morning on a fine note. A hot air balloon adventure with Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) should jumpstart your day. Of course, you won’t leave for the adventure on an empty stomach. We serve you breakfast of freshly brewed coffee and freshly baked pastries before we take you to the launch site.

At the launch site, you will witness the balloons being inflated into air-filled giants! After you are comfortably in the wicker basket, and you are slowly lifting off the ground, the adventure officially starts! Float gently over the tidy, well-arranged rows of the lush vineyards, verdant rolling hills, deep valleys, and the occasional fog enveloping the fields. But as the sunrise greets the sleeping fields, the day becomes brighter and clearer… and cameras begin taking lots of pictures and videos of the scenic countryside. Whether you take pictures from a smartphone, a point-and-shoot camera, a DSLR, or a GoPro, Napa Valley is gorgeous from every angle.

Unlike flying in a glider, bi-plane, or helicopter, flying in a hot air balloon gives you uninterrupted, unobstructed views of the Napa Valley. You will be in awe of the landscape below you and the sheer beauty of it.

Afterwards, celebrate the successful airborne journey with a delicious buffet-style brunch with sparkling wine. You and the other guests will excitedly tell stories about the details as well as the exhilarating experience of flying a hot air balloon over the gorgeous Napa landscape.

As brunch winds down, you may want to check out some of the wineries. Of course, a visit to Napa will not be complete without it! Since you’re only in Napa for a day, it’s recommended that you should visit one or two wineries and one tasting room to deepen your appreciation toward wine and wine making (as well as enjoy the scenic rides in-between).

Don’t leave Napa without taking something home with you… what we mean is shopping! Napa Valley seems to have it all for the shoppers! Shop for wines, spirits, artisanal goodies, produce, artworks/art supplies/handcrafted artisanal items and souvenirs, clothing, jewelry and lots more! Even the Napa Valley Welcome Center in downtown Napa — the starting point for visitors who look for information about the Wine Country — has its own Mercantile Shop.

If you choose BATV’s “San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package,” you will have the option to do shopping and/or sightseeing. Following the champagne brunch, our chauffeur will drop you off at the Oxbow Public Market or Napa Premium Outlets to shop to your heart’s content.

As the dusk looms and you still have the energy, you may want to do some other fun things in the evening. Hitting the nightclubs and bars in Calistoga or watching plays in downtown Napa are enjoyable, but you may want to do something different. Perhaps you want a dinner with your special someone inside a train! Reserve a private table and enjoy a special dining journey in one of the vintage railcars of the Napa Valley Wine Train. Enjoy a haute cuisine dinner as the train runs through the beautiful Napa fields.

Or if you want to hit a couple more wineries, check out the ones that operate after the sun goes down. While most wineries and tasting rooms close at 5 PM, there are a handful of others that stay open until 7 PM to 10 PM. Among them include John Anthony Vineyards, St. Clair Brown Winery, Romeo Vineyards and Cellars, Girard Winery, Alpha Omega Winery, and Long Meadow Ranch Winery.

Whether you’re enjoying a sunrise hot air balloon flight or a special dinner inside a vintage train, you will never run out of fun and exciting things to do on your Napa Valley tours, from sunup to sundown.

Amazing Things to Do in Napa with Teens

Whenever you think about things to do in Napa Valley, the first thing that comes to mind is “adult” activities like drinking wine. California law states that a person under 21 years old is prohibited from drinking and possessing alcohol. There’s another challenge: many teens won’t be interested in visiting wineries.

But in case you have a teen with you on your family Napa vacation, you don’t have to worry because you can find a lot other fun things to do without involving wine. You won’t need to literally drag your kid to the vineyards or the wineries.

Fortunately, Napa’s Mediterranean-type climate, which is conducive to growing wine grapes, is also conducive for a lot of outdoor activities. This is especially good for the hyperactive teens because they love have fun outdoors. Lake Berryessa (the biggest lake in Napa County) and the Napa River are popular for many activities like whitewater kayaking, fishing, waterskiing, jet skiing, rafting, canoeing, and of course swimming.

Hiking is also a fun way to discover Napa’s beauty, especially for teens who love nature and adventure. There are a lot of hiking spots available that have multiple levels of difficulty. If teens want to hike just for leisure, take the Yountville Crossroads or Westwood Hills Park, with easy-to-climb-and-descend trails. For the more adventurous young hikers, Sugarloaf Mountain Trail, the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, and the Skyline Wilderness RV Park offer more challenging trails. All of these trails lead to exhilarating views of the fields and the valleys.

You may be able to get your teens interested in wines if you have them participate in the grape stomp festivals where the kids can get dirty… but in a good way! Most vineyards offer grape stomps during the fall season, where the ripened grapes are harvested and ready for wine making. Maybe, just maybe, they will get curious how these crushed grapes will be processed into wine.

Many of the wineries in Napa offer more than just wines. They know how to combine wine with other pleasurable activities. The Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga offers a short cable car ride which leads to the hilltop distillery and villa overlooking the valley. If your teens are interested in art while you are more interested in wine, visit wineries like the Hess Collection and Artesa – both having vast art collections for the teen to enjoy. This will be a win-win situation for both of you!

Shopping also interests teens, most especially teen girls. Napa Valley has almost everything you want and need — food, clothing, art and art-themed products and supplies, and so much more! The Napa Premium Outlets lets you shop for the best-known brands like Adidas, Banana Republic, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, and others at incredible discounts!

For the more adventurous side of your teen folks, a hot air balloon ride will surely make their day! Once the balloon leaves the ground, teens will find the experience incredible, they’ll see the immaculately neat rows of grapevines, the rolling hills, and the deep valleys. The uninterrupted, unobstructed views, plus witnessing the morning sun, will exhilarate them. Teens will surely swear this is the best ride (and time) of their life! And of course, they won’t forget to bring their smartphones, cameras, and GoPro video cameras to take awesome photos and videos to share at home.

What could be a better partner for your hot air ballooning adventure than Balloons Above the Valley? Our wine tours and sunrise balloon rides packages include other perks like pre-flight breakfasts and post-flight brunches with champagne provide an unforgettable wine tour. Don’t worry about the champagne brunch, as teens will have a non-alcoholic drink to enjoy!

Trying to find amazing things to do in Napa with teens (who at times can be a bit fickle) can be a bit challenging. But Napa has plenty of fun things and adventure-filled activities for everyone, including teens!

Fun Things to Do in Napa without Having a Drink

You are not a wine lover (or are forbidden to drink wine), but would still love to visit a winery or two along with other fun things to do in Napa. If you’ve tagged along with your wine-drinking friends on a trip to Napa Valley, there is still plenty for you to enjoy on the trip.

While Napa is known as California’s wine country, you will be surprised to discover that it is so much more than the wines! Find out some of the many ways you will be able to enjoy your Napa holiday without involving wine, or any alcoholic drink for that matter:

1. Eat, eat, and eat some more!
From luxurious Michelin-starred restaurants to more affordable street side cafes to the gourmet markets and delis, Napa Valley is a foodie’s paradise! While everyone else is enjoying their wine, enjoy the food that is available to you. If you are serious about taking being a foodie to the next level, you might consider taking classes at the Culinary Institute of America or signing up for a Cooking with Julie class and eat whatever you’ve cooked and prepared.

2. Relax, refresh, and re-energize!
After all the activities you may want to lie down, relax, have a soothing massage, or look for something that detoxifies and cleanses your body. Or you want to have a moment of meditation. Spas and wellness centers are a perfect way to relax and unwind. The Spa at the Silverado Trail boasts a full service spa (from massages to mud treatments) inspired by the ancient Roman spa, and features beautiful gardens that will set the tone for tranquility. You can also sign up for yoga classes in the area — the best among them are Yoga Passion and Rev Yoga. Some facilities offer a combination of yoga, massage, and physical therapy like Ekam Yoga and Wellness.

3. Get cultured!
Napa Valley is not only rich in wines and lush vineyards, but it is also rich in arts and culture. Some wineries, like the Hess Collection and Cliff Lede Vineyards, do a fantastic job of doubling up as an art gallery. This means that even if your friends are off in the wine cellar or a tasting room, you’ll be okay with being left alone for a while so you can admire the amazing collection of art by local artists.

There are also other art galleries, exhibits, plays, and performance art in the wine region. You can even see street art displayed in downtown Napa by way of the Napa ARTwalk program.

5. Explore!
One practical but enjoyable way to explore Napa Valley is to take a train. Take one of the fabulously restored vintage rail cars of the Napa Valley Wine Train, and explore the beautiful sights of the fields through the window while the train is running on its tracks. There’s a “wine” word in the “wine train” but it’s only because it’s located in the Wine Country.

The train also serves as a fine-dining moving restaurant where you can enjoy gourmet meals prepared from scratch. And the good news is that it also serves non-alcoholic drinks along with wines.

You could also try a bike tour. You can bike on your own and explore off-the-beaten-path attractions, shaded trails, and vistas of the amazing fields of vineyards. Alternately, you can sign up for a guided bike tour in the area. Some hotels, inns, and other lodgings even offer bike rentals.

How about going up in the sky by riding a hot air balloon? Others who have tried it swear that there is no better way to see the region than from the sky. If you want to do it, pick the hot air ballooning company that will make your whole experience safe as well as enjoyable.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) will literally take your Napa Valley experience to a higher level! Be amazed by the incredible, 360-degree views of breathtaking, perfectly neat vineyards, the deep valleys, the angular roofs of the estates in the midst of the fields, and the rolling hills while you’re flying thousands of feet over the ground. Our highly experienced and seasoned flight crew knows that your life is literally in their hands, so you don’t have to worry. They’ll keep you safe. All you have to do is just to enjoy the incredible views of the fields and the valley.

Before the early morning flight, wake up to the smell of our hot and freshly made breakfast meal of baked goodies and brewed coffee.

After a successful hour long flight, you’ll be treated to a champagne brunch celebration. Champagne? Don’t worry! There are non-alcoholic beverages available at the buffet-style brunch and you’ll still be able to raise a toast along with your wine-drinking buddies!

If you’re not a wine drinker it doesn’t mean you’ll only be able to sulk inside your suite all day while your friends are having a wine-tasting party at the wineries in Napa. You will still be able to have fun things to do in Napa without having to drink wine. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the wide range of fun activities that the region offers.

Planning a Bachelorette Party before the Honeymoon in Napa Valley

A honeymoon in Napa Valley is the dream of many marrying couples, especially for the bride. Napa Valley is the ultimate destination for who are going to get hitched or as the place to have their honeymoon. Many people also choose Napa to be the venue for other events before the big day, like the bachelorette party.

A bachelorette party is basically a “ladies’ night out” (or a “day out” depending on the preference) put together mostly by the bridesmaids and the maids-of-honor. When planning to have a bachelorette party in Napa, make sure to book early especially if you plan to do it in the summer. Booking early is smart because summer is the peak season in the Wine Country with so many events and goings-on, there will be a lot of people visiting Napa.

There are so many fun things to do when planning a bachelorette party in Napa. If the bride-to-be is a foodie, then a food tour is the perfect idea. Napa is the home of many Michelin-starred restaurants but there are also other more affordable street side cafes and “hole in the wall” restaurants. Of course, there is also Napa’s world-famous wine to go along with the excellent dinners prepared by world-class chefs. You can schedule your own food tour, or let someone else like Gourmet Walks arrange it.

Having a “spa day” can be another great idea when hosting a bachelorette event. In fact, spa bachelorette parties are an “in” thing these days! Napa Valley, of course, isn’t short of luxurious spas, and the bride and her girlfriends will choose a variety of spas and massages, facials, full-body scrubs, saunas, mud baths, and so much more.

Since you’re in the wine country, a wine tour should not be forgotten! The best plan is to have a guided private wine tour and have a wine expert pick the best wineries for your visit. And who wants to sit behind the wheel when you and your girlfriends are thinking of nothing but having a good time? Have a chauffeured wine tour and stop at some of the wineries, visit their tasting rooms, and maybe have a good picnic at the patio which offers a splendid view of the vineyards. You may even choose to take a bottle home!

Why don’t you take the bachelorette party and wine tours up… up and away? Make it extra memorable and special by taking the party to a hot air balloon and have the party ride of your life! As the balloon takes flight, you and your girl friends will enjoy uninterrupted views of the Napa Valley during sunrise — neat rows of lush vineyards set against the rolling hills and deep valleys, seeing the sun rising fully in the sky, and a moment of tranquility. Of course, you will not forget to take souvenir pictures and selfies!

If you want to book a hot air balloon flight for your bachelorette party, you can count on Balloons Above the Valley (BATV). From scheduling it down to the flight itself, we guarantee you the best service and the pleasure that you deserve! We offer packages that have a combination of the conventional wine tours in Napa and Sonoma, in addition to the sunrise hot air balloon ride. Pre-flight breakfasts, post-flight champagne brunch celebrations, and optional sightseeing and shopping are included in some of our packages. If your scheduled flight is cancelled due to bad weather — hot air balloons rely on a good weather for a successful airborne journey — we will reschedule the flight for you!

If you want your hot air balloon bachelorette party to be more like a private get-together (and it should be!) BATV also offers the Exclusive Flights packages which also include a private table at the champagne brunch celebration after the flight.

The bride-to-be and her friends always look for something special to celebrate her “last hoorah” of singlehood before she ties the knot. Having a wine tour, a food tour, a relaxing day at the spa, and a thrilling hot air balloon ride over the picturesque Napa Valley will perfectly start and end any bachelorette party, just before the wedding and honeymoon in Napa Valley.

Napa Wine Tour Packages – Without Breaking the Bank

Napa Valley is known to be expensive. However, you’ll be surprised to find several Napa wine tour packages that are budget-friendly.

Napa can get quite overwhelming especially if it’s your first visit. To avoid getting staggered and confused, download the Napa Valley Winery Map (napavalley.com/maps/) to help you decide which wineries you want to visit while you’re in Napa. The map will help you plan your wine visits and tastings as well as limit your commuting/driving time and distance.

Visit the Napa Valley Welcome Center (or Napa Valley Visitor Center), located in downtown Napa. Get the latest updates about the best deals in the region, such as free wine tasting coupons and unbelievable discounts for wineries and tasting rooms. You can also purchase a $30 wine tasting card from the center (or the Napa Tourist Information Center) and enjoy tastings at up to twelve tasting rooms.

Some wineries that offer free tastings tend to be small and family-run, so keep an eye out for them and if you find any, schedule an appointment.

Hiking is another way to experience the beauty of the Napa Valley for free. There are a lot of hiking trails in the area. Many hiking spots like Skyline Wilderness Park are free, while some of them like Sugarloaf Mountain have a donation box at the entrance (you may or may not be obliged to drop some money). But most of the hiking trails offer free parking spaces.

You’d be hard-pressed to find budget-friendly eating spots in Napa as it is known for its world-class, Michelin-starred restaurants. However, you will still get the best value for your money without your belly feeling empty. Scour street side cafes and do a little bit of research — you’ll be surprised that even the most well-known restaurants offer cheaper meals. For instance, the Ad Hoc (in Yountville) of Chef Thomas Keller, serves delicious meals at a fraction of the bill that his other restaurant, The French Laundry, charges. Go to Oxbow Public Market and enjoy gourmet food at any of its restaurants while you’re having a stop from your shopping, without the gourmet-level price. If you’re really into scrimping and saving, pack some munchies with you and go for a picnic at any of the wineries. Most wineries feature lovely decks, terraces, and other places that offer scenic views of Napa’s beautiful, natural scenery.

Traveling in Napa on a budget doesn’t mean you will be denied of a unique adventure! Save your money on other things so you can go on a hot air balloon ride as the sun rises over the beautiful Napa Valley. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers affordable hot air balloon and wine tour packages that won’t leave a dent to your budget!

If you just want to include a hot air balloon ride to your budgeted Napa Valley escapade, choose the basic package, the Sunrise Balloon Flight & Brunch. See the magic unfold as the balloon lifts off the ground, and you see the uninterrupted views of the vineyards in neat, immaculate rows and the rolling hills which are yours for the moment!

Not just that, you’ll be able to wake up to delicious pre-flight breakfast, and a brunch with sparkling wine in celebration of the successful and wonderful flight with the other guests. All this for only $209!

Napa is known for its world-class wines, wineries, and restaurants. Fortunately though, there are ways to save some dollars if you plan for “poor man’s” Napa trip. One of the ways is to score excellent Napa wine tour packages and other unbeatable deals that you can find along the way. Plus, with a bit of a strategy and creativity, you will be able to enjoy your Napa trip without getting broke.

Wine Tour San Francisco – The Best Way to Sample Wine

Sampling wines, of course, is one of the essential activities of a wine tour in San Francisco. You may have seen TV or movie scenes where actors taste wines by swirling the wine, taking an intent look at it, and sniffing it with eyes closed before finally having a sip.

You don’t need years of experience, formal training, or to be a sommelier to enable you to taste wine correctly. But when you have enough informal experience with wine, you will be able to tell the difference between high-quality wines and cheaper ones.

First things first though: you have to take note of the circumstances and the environment around you in order to have a proper wine tasting. The location should be quiet and not crowded — otherwise, it will make concentration difficult. It should be free of other odors such as the smell of a perfume, cooking odors, and even pet odors which could distract your ability to clearly sense the wine’s taste and aroma.

Even the condition of the glass should also be taken into account. If the glass has the wrong shape or size, or has dust or residue of detergent, they can affect the taste of the wine. The temperature of the wine can also affect the taste. If the wine is too cold, just swirl it around inside the glass to warm it up.

Fill about a quarter of the glass with the wine. Remember to hold it by the stem, not by bottom of the glass itself, as the warmth of your hand may alter the flavor.

Color is one way to tell how the wine was processed or aged. Swirl the glass of wine in front of a white background. Then hold the glass up and look at the wine’s color and clarity. A good quality wine should not be cloudy, hazy, or murky, but otherwise bright, clear, and crisp. White wines naturally turn darker as they age, but not brown. Red wines, on the other hand, may lose some color with age and have some amount of sediment in them, which are natural and harmless.

To smell the wine, gently swirl the glass before inhaling the wine. This allows the alcohol to evaporate and carry the aromatic elements toward your nose. There is a natural and biological link between smell and taste. If the wine doesn’t smell good, then it most likely won’t taste good, either.

Take a sip of the wine and then roll it around inside your mouth, involving all areas of your tongue. It is important that all taste buds should experience all elements of the wine’s flavor. If you are in a tasting room and expected to taste a lot of wines, spit the wine into a spittoon. Otherwise, you risk getting drunk, which will affect your senses which are needed to taste more complex-tasting wines later on.

Try to measure the wine’s overall quality based on its color, appearance, aroma, and flavor. You can put your thoughts about a certain wine in writing. A lot of wineries provide pens and booklets so that you can take notes.

Look for the balance in flavors. One flavor shouldn’t overpower the other flavors. Good quality wines should be balanced, with enough combination of sweet, sour, a bit of bitter, fruity, and earthy. But that depends on the wine. Dessert wines, for example, tend to be sweet. If a wine has an aftertaste that lasts for about a minute, then it is good sign that it is a quality wine. You may detect other flavors in the aftertaste that you didn’t notice after your first sip.

A wine tour will be most meaningful to you if you are armed with these tips in tasting wine. Add that with a wonderful sunrise hot air balloon flight with Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) over the lovely Napa Valley landscape, and your wine tour in San Francisco will be the most memorable ever.

Time to Start Planning Summer Vacations in Napa Valley

Summer vacations in Napa Valley are still months away but it’s never too early to start planning! Whether you’re going there solo to explore the region, as a romantic holiday or honeymoon, or a family-friendly vacation, Napa has something for everyone.

Here are some of the many fun things you will want to plan for your summer vacation in Napa Valley.

Go on a wine tour

It won’t be a complete Napa Valley tour without going to the wineries. From the more established wineries to the smaller, family-run boutique counterparts, the region will satisfy every wine lover. For the families, they won’t have to worry about taking their kids to the wineries. Many wineries offer non-wine activities. Take a tour around Castello di Amorosa’s massive 13th-century-style Italian castle. See amazing art pieces at wineries like Hess Collection, Clos Pegasse, Artesa, and Ma(i)sonry. Take a cable car at the Sterling Vineyards, or have a shaded outdoor picnic at many of the area’s wineries.

Go on a food tour

From the Michelin-starred fine dining heavyweights to the casual street side cafes, Napa Valley is not just a wine paradise, but a foodie paradise! Just walk in, or reserve a table (which is recommended considering summertime is also a peak season for Napa restaurants). Have your meals prepared by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, or if you’re scrimping and saving, pack a lunch and have a picnic at one of the wineries. Many wineries provide a lovely deck or patio that offers a splendid view of the vineyards. Many national parks and hiking spots also provide picnic amenities.

Explore

Napa Valley is too beautiful not to be explored and discovered.

One of the ways to explore the Wine Country is to ride the Napa Valley Wine Train. Its fabulously restored 19th-century vintage railcars feature lovely interiors and comfortable seating. Plus, it is also a moving fine-dining restaurant where you can enjoy comfort haute cuisine meals while the train runs from downtown Napa to St. Helena.

Do you want to get closer to the vineyards? Enjoy a bike tour! A lot of operators offer (mostly one-day) guided bike tours. Or you can rent a bike and take a self-guided tour, provided with maps, and hit the trails by your own.

Hiking is also another way to appreciate the natural beauty of Napa, which is home to rolling hills and scenic views. The region has several hiking spots that offer different levels of difficulty for every hiker, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. Many hiking spots offer either free entrance or free RV parking.

Another way to explore the beauty of Napa Valley is to ride a hot air balloon during sunrise. Elevate your Napa summer vacation by riding a hot air balloon. Float over the neat rows of lush vineyards and the rolling hills, which may be occasionally blanketed by the familiar California fog.

Of course, when looking for a hot air balloon operator you’ll want to choose one that has years of experience as well as excellence in reputation, safety, and customer service. Choose an experienced hot air balloon operator with FAA-certified pilots whose passion for flying and meeting people will make an excellent guide and companion throughout your flying journey.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is one such operator which provides you the best of experience, safety, and enjoyment that goes beyond the hot air balloons rides. We also offer a fresh and hot breakfast for our guests before they go to the hot air balloon launch site, and help you celebrate the successful flight with a champagne brunch brimming with seasonal buffet-style delights.

BATV is open to every individual, couple, friends and even families who want to take part in our hot air ballooning adventure! It is important to note, however, that we do have age and height requirements: children must be at least 6 years old and 48 inches tall. If you have children who do not meet this requirement you can ask about the Chase and Brunch option when you call to learn more.

We offer several hot air balloon and conventional wine tours packages, with different rates which will help you choose according to your preferences and budget. Call us at 800-464-6824 if you would like to discuss our packages.

Now is the perfect time to begin planning your vacation. Take the opportunity to book your lodging, reserve a table at a restaurant you want to try, or a hot air balloon flight with Balloons Above the Valley. It’s the right time to start planning your summer vacations in Napa Valley while it’s still early!

What to Expect from a First Wine Tour Near San Francisco?

If you haven’t been to Napa Valley or are a budding wine lover then you cannot pass up the chance to have your first wine tour near San Francisco. The “City by the Bay” is a good starting point for visiting neighboring areas such as the Napa Valley.

As a first-timer you most likely will want guided tours, especially if you do not have a fixed or planned itinerary of your own. If you also want some adventure on your first Napa wine tour, a sunrise hot air balloon ride would be a fantastic idea. Once you choose to include a hot air balloon adventure to your list, choose a hot air balloon operator with a wealth of experience, quality service, amazing wine tour packages, and great reputation with clients. These are some of the reasons why Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) has been chosen as the top hot air balloon operator for a lot of first-time visitors to Napa Valley who wish to include a hot air balloon ride with wine tours.

If you’re staying in San Francisco but would also like to visit the Wine Country, BATV has the San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package. For only $836 per two passengers, experience the best wines and the best hot air balloon experience for two days!

Day one of this package consists of visits to two wineries in Napa and two in Sonoma. In the morning, a limo bus service courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Country Tours will arrive in San Francisco’s downtown to pick you and the other guests up. Then they’ll take you on your Wine Country journey! As you leave the city, enjoy on board-breakfast with a mimosa, as well as a stop-over at a vista point of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Discover the delectable differences between the Napa and Sonoma wines. Enjoy the chance for an olive oil tasting. Please yourself with a picnic-style lunch set against an idyllic country setting.

Day two will be the hot air balloon ride adventure! Before you actually take the flight, a wonderful breakfast consists of freshly baked pastries and Starbucks coffee awaits you and the other guests, at the lobby of the Napa Valley Marriott. A brief orientation from the hospitality staff follows, and after that you’ll be driven to the launch site!

As you arrive at the hot air balloon launch site, you might still be able to watch as the balloons are inflated. Once the preparations are done and you are comfortably settled in the spacious wicker basket, you are now ready to have the ride of your life!

Once the balloon leaves the ground you will gradually get to see the Napa Valley from a bird’s eye view. Be amazed by the immaculately-planted rows of the lush vineyards. Hills that look majestic from the ground now seem like little green mounds when viewed from the sky. Observe the angular roofs of the houses, hotels, and estates among the endless rows of vineyards. Don’t forget to bring your DSLR camera or your smartphone to snap up amazing pictures of the beautiful country surrounding Napa Valley.

After the one-hour balloon flight, you and your guests will celebrate the successful journey with a champagne brunch.

And that’s not the end! If you wish to do some shopping or sightseeing after the champagne brunch, our chauffeur will drop you off at either the Oxbow Public Market or The Napa Valley Premium Outlets, before being driven to the Ferry Terminal in Vallejo to take you back to San Francisco. You may also want to be transported directly to the ferry terminal after the brunch.

If you’re going to have a first wine tour near San Francisco, you might as well make it more special! Choose Balloons Above the Valley for your eventful and memorable first Napa Valley experience.

Experience a Napa Tour Like Never Before

Planning a Napa tour is never that easy, because you will be faced with so many things to do! There’s so much to do in Napa Valley. Start by visiting the vineyards and the wineries. Then be sure to dine on your favorites – first-rate cuisine to roadside burgers. Take time to shop for souvenirs or artisanal food products and organic produce. You can also enjoy visiting museums or live performances, relax at a spa, take in some general sightseeing, and so much more.

But the question is how would you get to and around Napa Valley? Usually, one is quick to assume that going to and around the valley would mean using a car. After all, Napa Valley boasts 45,000 acres of vineyards spread out across 30 miles of mostly rural land. So even tourists who don’t have cars assume that getting to and around Napa by car is the most practical choice, that’s why they think of renting a car or hire guided car tours.

However, you can explore Napa Valley even without the conventional car. Some of the alternatives are even surprisingly affordable, and provide loads of fun as well. Try a different way to travel to Napa — for instance, how about by boat? There are ferries that operate from the San Francisco to Vallejo, which is a city a short distance from Napa. There are one-way tickets, but if you plan to go back to the city via the same route, you may save more by buying a “day pass” which covers the round-trip. The ride will also be scenic. You will definitely do some sightseeing and taking photos of the Bay Area’s famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the San Francisco skyline.

The ride from San Francisco to Vallejo terminal takes about an hour, but you’re not quite to Napa yet. You have to take public transport to actually get there. Fortunately, there is good public transportation in the area. Take one of Napa’s VINE Transit buses and take the Route 10, which will bring you from the Vallejo ferry terminal to downtown Napa in about 40 to 50 minutes for a little over two dollars (rates may be subject to change without prior notice).

When you’re amongst the vineyards, why not go biking instead of just traveling by foot? Pedal your way among the lush vineyards while catching the fresh, cool breeze. There are a lot of bike rentals in Napa, and even some of the lodgings offer them, too. It’s up to you whether you want a guided bike tour or to bike on your own (and discover a hidden gem in “off-the-beaten-path” small wineries!).

If you’d like a faster way to get around Napa, take a motorcycle tour. A lot of operators also offer motorcycle tours through the wine country. Some of these tours are guided and have a fixed itinerary which offers a trip to the less-traveled destinations in and around the Bay Area and the Wine Country.

Experience another different way of traveling around Napa Valley by horseback riding! If you especially love horses and horseback riding, then you might not want to pass up this chance — imagine riding on a horse among vineyards that overlook the idyllic Napa countryside. There are several operators that offer wine tours which also include a horseback riding through the vineyards (often guided by experienced and professional wranglers) and riding lessons.

Riding a train is a good idea, too. But riding a train and having dinner inside these railroad cars is a fantastic idea! You can do that with Napa Valley Wine Train, where its fabulously restored vintage rail cars are also moving restaurants. Enjoy the grand rail cars’ interior architecture, plush furniture, multiple-course gourmet meals, fine dining service, and fantastic view of the vineyards and the hills while inside the rail car.

A hot air balloon is another fantastic way of exploring Napa Valley. Why is it so fantastic? It’s because it allows you to view the Napa Valley from an entirely different. Get to see immaculately planted rows of lush vineyards, rolling hills, deep valleys as you gently float in the sky. Be prepared to see the sun rise to wake the sleeping fields and valleys. Don’t forget to bring your camera along!

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) should be your first choice when you decide to include hot air balloon rides with your Napa Valley wine tours. For over four decades, we have provided the best hot air balloon experience ever in Napa. We offer amazing packages that not only consist of the hot air balloon rides, but also wine tours in Napa and Sonoma, pre-flight breakfasts and post-flight brunches, and other exciting perks!

As for safety, you do not have to worry because our FAA certified hot air balloon pilots are among the most professional and experienced. They also love the outdoors, meeting people and adventure. You and the other guests will be also entertained by our pilots as they point to other sites of interests as they maneuver the vessel.

We welcome you to have a look around our website for information on hot air balloons, our sunrise hot air balloon and wine tour packages, reservations, and other things that you may want to know about BATV. We also welcome any questions you may have; you may call us at 1-800-464-6824.

If you crave a Napa tour that is like no other, choose Balloons Above the Valley for a whole new adventure!