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.

Enjoy Fine Dining in Napa Valley, California

Not only is Napa Valley, California one of world’s premiere wine destinations, it is also one of the world’s sought-after foodie destinations. Quality and seasonal fresh ingredients always make Napa’s cuisine truly among the world’s best.

The region’s 100-plus restaurants have won more Michelin stars per capita than any other wine region not only in the US, but in the whole world.

While Napa is proud about its local cuisine, it also embraces international flavors as well. People who are all about good food won’t run out of options in this region. If you’re in downtown Napa, check out Napkins Bar and Grill, a modern bistro located in the heart of the city. Its upbeat ambiance and American and global fusion cuisine, as well as its extensive selection of wines, have won first-time patrons and loyal customers.

Also located in the heart of downtown Napa is another excellent restaurant called Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin BBQ. This casual establishment is not only a BBQ joint, but it’s also a wine store and wine bar. House favorites include beer-can chicken, pulled pork and brisket sandwiches with three types of BBQ sauces, and the BBQ ribs. Customers rave on about its delicious and reasonably-priced fare.

If you want more than just ordinary burgers, go to Gott’s Roadside in either Napa or in St. Helena. It has a charming combination of “roadside stand” and American diner. It serves burgers, fries, tacos, salads, and breakfast meals. Among its popular dishes are the Ahi burger and Ahi tacos (with Ahi tuna), the Western Bacon Blue Ring (burger with blue cheese), Wisconsin Sourdough, and milk shakes. Prices can change without prior notice and the lines can get really long, but don’t let these intimidate you! It just proves that the food is that good!

There are also meals taken after some activity such as a hot air balloon ride. Traditionally, a champagne toast follows to celebrate a successful flight. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers more than just a champagne toast! We make sure that our guests are satisfied all the way — before and after the flight.

Prior to the hot air balloon flight guests are treated to a continental breakfast consisting of freshly baked muffins, brewed coffee, and an assortment of teas and hot chocolate to get them ready for their big adventure, served buffet style. Then they will be off to what could be the greatest ride in their lives where they will get to see the idyllic Napa countryside from several thousand feet above the ground.

The post-flight champagne brunch is also served buffet style. Set at an idyllic wine country setting, the champagne brunch delights guests with a smorgasbord of culinary pleasures — pastries, seasonal fruits, scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, sausage, bacon, potatoes, ham, turkey, Starbucks coffee, orange juice, and of course sparkling wine! Guests do not only enjoy the food but also the conversation with new found friends, reminiscing how breathtaking the flight was.

Balloons Above the Valley makes sure that the guests are satisfied from beginning to end. Not only do they enjoy hot air balloon flights, but they also enjoy the finest of fine dining here in Napa Valley, California.

These Napa Wine Tour Packages Will Leave You Wanting More

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers Napa wine tour packages that are guaranteed to leave clients wanting more.

Like a fine wine, enjoying your time with BATV should not be rushed. Every moment must be savored minute by minute, whether you have a delicious picnic style lunch with the beautiful Napa scenery at the background, visiting boutique wineries, or having a sunrise hot air balloon ride.

With BATV, a sunrise hot air balloon flight is always the highlight of one’s trip. From the basic packages to two-day wine tours, we at BATV can offer them both to you!

For the first timers, the Sunrise Balloon Flight and Champagne Brunch is the perfect way for you to start. Meet your fellow guests at the hotel lobby to enjoy delicious continental breakfast with freshly brewed Starbucks coffee before arriving at the site to board the hot air balloon basket. As you lift off, the Napa Valley will gradually be in full light as the sun rises. You will now be able to see the well-manicured rows of lush, verdant vineyards as well as the rolling hills and valleys. Everything is so picture-perfect! No words can define how beautiful the Napa Valley is when viewing from the best vista in the world — thousands of feet above the ground!

It will be cool up in the balloon so remember to bring jacket and a hat to keep you warm. Beautiful layers of fog may be also present over the valley, as you peer over the vineyards from above.

You and the other guests will be treated to a champagne brunch to celebrate the successful and breathtaking flight, against serene and beautiful wine country scenery. Enjoy the delicious buffet-style celebration that consists of fresh pastries, seasonal fresh fruits, fresh fruit juice, sausage, bacon, turkey, ham, coffee, and of course the homegrown sparkling wine! Enjoy these goodies while you and the other guests reminisce how marvelous the flight was, and you cannot wait to do it all over again!

The Sunrise Balloon Flight and Hot air and Brunch package is the foundation of all other packages at BATV. If you want something more than just a hot air balloon flight and brunch, you may consider other options from BATV:

The Sunrise Balloon Flight – Champagne Brunch – Wine Tour package will not only give you the thrilling experience of a hot air balloon flight, but also wine tours. You and the other guests have the opportunity to visit 4-6 premium wineries, which allows you to witness the process of winemaking, and do some tastings. Not only you will also do some wine tours, but you can also do them in style as you get aboard a fleet of limousines and limo buses to take you to the Wine Country! Now that’s a taste of luxury!

A picnic-style lunch at one of the wineries against a picturesque vineyard setting will cap off your wine tours. You and the other guests will enjoy a plethora of fun conversations while feasting on the buffet-style picnic lunch with a sample menu consisting of pasta, turkey roll, lasagna, hummus, and chocolate coated strawberries. This is the life! And you know you want to come back for more!

You may also choose the San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package if you are staying in the San Francisco downtown and wish to explore the outskirts of the city. This two-day adventure starts with a limo bus tour from San Francisco to the Wine Country. Not only that, as you travel around the country you will also get to enjoy an onboard continental breakfast with mimosa.

Explore the wineries in Napa as well as in Sonoma and discover the diversity of their wines’ tastes and appearance. To further please the senses, an olive oil tasting is also in order. The wine tours will be concluded with a delicious buffet-style picnic lunch at one of the wineries.

The exciting and exhilarating sunrise hot air balloon flight and the delicious champagne brunch take place on the second day.

From the educational and entertaining wine tours to the delicious Napa cuisine and, of course, the thrilling sunrise hot air balloon flights over the gorgeous Napa landscape, Balloons Above the Valley’s Napa wine tour packages will definitely leave tourists wanting more!

Plan Some Fun Things to Do in Napa Valley

You will never run out of fun things to do in Napa Valley. The region offers everything from the usual wine tours to doing several types of sports to sunrise hot air balloon flights over the gorgeous vineyards and valleys.

Visiting a premiere enotourism region in the United States, of course one of the must-do things there is to visit the wineries and do some wine-tasting. Although there are “only” 400 wineries in the Napa area, they otherwise put quality over quantity in their wines. So you can be sure you will enjoy only the top-notch quality of their wines!

If you are also interested in the beautiful wineries that offer unique architecture and splendid vistas of the vineyards, you’re in luck! The Castelo di Amorosa is a modern-day winery but faithfully constructed in an authentic 13th-century Tuscan architecture. It is complete with moats, towers, a chapel, a courtyard, and an extensive wine cellar. You will have serious fun while exploring this castle-like winery as well as its wines.

The Sterling Vineyards will take wine tours into a higher level, literally. It is the only winery with an aerial tram which will take you to breathtaking views of the fields and valleys as go on your way to the winery.

Domaine Carneros is another winery to check out. Its sprawling and stunning gardens will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Europe, specifically in a grand French villa.

Calistoga, one of Napa County’s cities, also has some points of interests to offer by way of natural parks. The Old Faithful Geyser or the “Old Faithful of California” was created through a man-made mistake — well, it turns out to be a beautiful mistake indeed! This artificial geothermal geyser attracts a lot of tourists each year, and it is fun and fascinating to watch the hot water spewing out from the ground.

The Petrified Forest, also located in Calistoga, is the three-million-year-old forest called the Petrified Forest. It boasts the world’s biggest petrified tree aptly named “The Giant.” This ancient forest was caused by a volcanic eruption in Mount St. Helena and is now considered as one of California’s natural treasures. Have fun trekking and exploring the forest and be amazed by what you will find there!

Planning for a more adventurous exploration of the vineyards? Try the Napa Valley Wine Train for some kind of a historic ride! These magnificently-restored 19th-century railcars also serve as a moving restaurant featuring haute cuisine, which you can enjoy while the train passes among the vineyards from Napa to St. Helena. The fabulously-decorated interiors, including the dining area, are all Instagram-worthy!

A hot air balloon ride is also one of the fun things to do in Napa Valley. Soaring gently thousands of feet above the ground, you will be able to see the gorgeous expanse of the Napa Valley from a bird’s-eye view. You will be greeted by neat rows of grapevines, rolling hills and valleys, and an occasional fog as you greet the sun rising from the horizon. To complete the fun, take pictures of the gorgeous Napa landscape, do some souvenir selfies, or just have your breath taken away by the immense natural beauty of the scenery and savor the serenity that comes along with the ride.

Following the hot air balloon ride is the traditional champagne brunch. You and the other guests can toast each other for the successful and wonderful flight. Enjoy the buffet-style brunch consisting of fresh, yummy culinary creations, and fresh fruits. Of course, not to be forgotten is the champagne or more correctly, sparkling wine.

The flight has been exciting, the views have been breathtaking and enchanting, and the delicious brunch shared with new-found friends has been unforgettable! Everything has been perfect and fun that you may want to do it again!

Whether you do wine tours, visit fun and educational natural parks, ride an antique train, or have a blast during a sunrise hot air balloon flight, you will find plenty of fun things to do in Napa Valley.

Honeymoon in Napa Valley and the Wine Country

Having a honeymoon in Napa Valley is certainly a perfect and lovely idea! First, it’s beautiful and breathtaking landscape with neat rows of vineyards dotting the region makes for an ideal romantic scene. Imagine you’re dining al fresco at the patio that overlooks the stunning scenery of the vineyards and hills, and making one of your first matrimonial toasts — it can’t be more perfect!

Choosing Napa Valley as the site of your planned getaway or extended holiday can make your honeymoon all the more special.

Honeymooning couples certainly want a quiet and, if possible, romantic-looking lodging which also offers breathtaking views of the vineyards. Hotels and resorts in Napa tend to be expensive, so you will want to look out for the best deals — strictly for couples — that will be worth the money you’ll spend. For instance, consider Auberge du Soleil, a beautiful resort in the heart of Napa. It offers a four-course romantic dinner and also has a Michelin-starred restaurant with a superb breakfast selection.

Like the lodging and resorts, most wine-tasting activities in Napa can also be costly. Do your best to score a good deal while experiencing this luxury, look out for two-for-the-price-of-one wine tastings as well as wine and cheese pairing deals. You may also be able to score wine tasting coupons which can help you save a bit of money.

Choose wineries that look quite romantic. The best examples are the Castelo di Amorosa (a winery and castle built in a 13th century Tuscan style) and Domaine Carneros (famous for its French villa-inspired gardens and stunning Mediterranean landscape). Or choose more low-key, off-the-beaten-track wineries such as the Hess Collection (which also serves as an art gallery).

Napa’s stunning natural beauty combined with serenity is a perfect way to spend time after the flurry of activities during the wedding preparations and the wedding day itself. You deserve some relaxation! Napa has several spa resorts and wellness centers where you can have afacial and or body massage, as well as the opportunity for meditation and yoga together.

Of course, a honeymoon in Napa would not be complete without dinner. They don’t have to be always super-fancy, but sharing dinner with your new spouse by your side is special enough. Shop and dine at the Oxbow Public Market for premium-quality artisanal goods, eat at Thomas Keller’s famous Ad Hoc restaurant and his signature other joint The French Laundry. Or go aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, the fabulously-restored 19th century railcars which feature stunningly decorated interiors. The train also has a lovely dining room where you and your spouse can enjoy haute cuisine while viewing the stunning vineyard scenery as the train runs along the tracks.

If you want to take your romance to new heights, the best thing to do is the most bold yet most exciting and most romantic — riding a hot air balloon!

The hot air balloon will take you thousands of feet above the ground to its greatest vista point to view the breathtaking Napa landscape. View the neat rows of vineyards, the rolling hills, and deep valleys, and the occasional fog as you meet the sun rising from the horizon. Take your first “married couple selfie” against the stunning landscape while riding the hot air balloon. A hot air balloon ride could be symbolic for both of you as a married couple — a gesture that your love has taken to a higher level. This could be the ultimate romantic activity you’ll ever have!

Having a honeymoon in Napa Valley and the Wine Country is something that is best planned in advance before your wedding day. Beautiful landscape, serene atmosphere, delicious cuisine, and a flurry of activities that include wine tours and a hot air balloon ride are only some of the exciting things Napa has to offer that are too irresistible not to include on your honeymoon must-do list.

What Not to Forget When Planning a Wine Tour San Francisco

What activities should you include when planning a wine tour in San Francisco? There are many activities you can choose from, so here are some suggestions. A wine tour will make for a great side trip when you’re staying in the San Francisco, or maybe even more than that!

When planning a wine tour near San Francisco, you are faced with a variety of options. You may pick the activities that you wish, but there are other things that you should not miss when visiting the Wine Country such as the Napa Valley.

Naturally, since Napa Valley is part of the wine region, going to the vineyards and wineries should always be the top consideration. You cannot truly call it a visit to the Napa Valley if you haven’t been to at least one or a couple of wineries. Which wineries should you visit? This may put you at a conundrum. Although Napa Valley’s number of wineries pales in comparison to those of the other US wine regions – at only around 400 — they are still a lot to choose from, especially to the first-time visitor.

First-time visitors may want to visit the established and iconic wineries such as the Domaine Chandon, Robert Mondavi Winery, Louis Martini Winery, Castelo di Amorosa, and Charles Krug Winery. Or if you’re too overwhelmed by their names, you may want to try the off-the-beaten-path wineries. Artesa Vineyards and Winery, The Hess Collection, Burgess Cellars, and other smaller family-owned wineries will give you an extraordinary wine touring experience.

Napa Valley’s 100 or so restaurants have won more Michelin stars per capita than any other wine region, not only in the US, but in the whole world. So it’s not a surprise to see that tourists flock to Napa Valley for its diverse and high-quality cuisine apart from its world-famous wines. And a lot of these restaurants are owned by some of the world-famous chefs.

Napa boasts its local cuisine and at the same time it also embraces international flavors, so dining there will be an unforgettable experience. American comfort food, French, Italian, Japanese, you name it! Among the recommended ones being Ad Hoc and The French Laundry (both owned by  chef Thomas Keller), Morimoto (owned by chef Masaharu Morimoto), Gott’s Roadside, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Bistro Jeanty, Redd, Goose and Gander, La Toque, Solbar, and Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch are among the essential Napa restaurants to check out.

You cannot leave Napa Valley without viewing and capturing photos of its picturesque wine country scenery, whether you’re standing from the hilltop winery or taking close-up pictures of those beautiful velvety-looking Pinot Noir grapes.

But the most spectacular views that you will ever see will come from thousands of feet above the ground — we’re talking about riding a hot air balloon!

Whether it will be your first time or your tenth time, hot air balloon rides will always be a fun and exciting experience. You will get to see the vineyards with their many rows of grapevines, the rolling hills along with some deep valleys. You may also see some fog as you greet the rising sun. Everything is so majestic and picturesque!

When you add a hot air balloon flight to your list, do not forget to look for the best hot air balloon operator: Balloons Above the Valley (BATV).

Operating for over 40 years, Balloons Above the Valley is still soaring high above the competition. Not only we do only provide sunrise hot air balloon flights but also other amenities such as pre-flight breakfast and coffee but also post-flight champagne brunch. Plus we offer packages with wine tours, some sightseeing, picnic style lunches, limo bus transportation (with onboard breakfast), and so much more. Of course, our hot air balloon rides will always be the highlight of your moments with us!

Do not forget the hot air balloon ride when you plan to do a wine tour in San Francisco! And when you do, don’t forget to include Balloons Above the Valley for the most awesome hot air balloon rides over Napa Valley.

Vacations in Napa Valley Can Be Relaxing and Fun

Vacations in Napa Valley can be fun, but some of the activities might stress you out. Shopping, sightseeing, dining out, doing high-intensity sports, attending a flurry of concerts and other events, as well as experiencing a handful of wine tours can really drain your energy.

After that flurry of activity, it’s no wonder you need rest and relaxation to get your batteries recharged. Fortunately, Napa Valley has plenty of places to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate.

Having uninterrupted views of the vast fields of the Napa Valley from your hotel terrace while sipping a glass of wine is relaxing already. But are there other things you can do, as well?

You may want to visit the vineyards and the wineries but at the same time you don’t want to get stressed. The best idea to do this is through biking. Rent a bike and pedal your way among the vineyards — you will feel the thrill of “gliding” and at the same time you also feel relaxed, since cycling is a low-intensity sport. You will also get to breathe fresh air, too!

Napa Valley features the best resorts for relaxation. Almost all hotels in Napa offer spa services as well as relaxation services. Take a dip in the healing waters with rose petals floating around you. Or take a dip in the heated pool or hot tub; you can also lounge at the poolside cabanas.

Have a relaxing retreat at one of the many massage/therapy and spa centers and try out several popular types of massages. The most common is the Swedish massage, which is recommended for those who haven’t been to a massage before. Or you may try others like the aromatherapy massage, the hot stone massage, shiatsu or Thai massage. Probably the most popular and enduring spa is the multi-awarded Mount View Hotel and Spa, but you can check out any of the other great spas out there in Napa.

If you want to relax and detoxify your body at the same time, have a mud bath or take a dip into the hot pool. The Napa city of Calistoga, for instance, is famous for its natural hot springs, so it is not surprising that it boasts many mineral pools and mud baths. These mud baths and geothermal pools are purported to have therapeutic and rejuvenating properties. Relax (perhaps even fall asleep!) while you’re slathered with the minerals-rich mud bath or soak in one of the mineral pools.

Having a hot air balloon flight can also be relaxing. This will help you get away from much of the crowd, the noise, and the madness that you’ve encountered while you’re on the ground. As you go higher up in the sky, serenity will be easily achieved — just relaxing yourself and enjoying endless views of the gorgeous Napa Valley scenery. Grapevines laden with grapes, the deep valleys and the rolling hills — all of these look even more beautiful from a bird’s eye view!

Even though hot air balloons won’t make you scream like a ride at a theme park would, nevertheless you will still feel the thrill of being actually up in the sky! It is the only activity where you can feel tranquility, relaxation as well as thrill and excitement all at the same time. And the beautiful scenery will never, ever fail to take your breath away.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) guarantees you will have the most relaxing hot air balloon flight ever! Our experienced flight crew will put you at ease and at the same time entertain you with stories and information about the more interesting spots in Napa as you fly along.

BATV’s freshly prepared breakfast will get you ready for the flight and a post-flight champagne brunch in an idyllic wine country setting celebrates your successful flight.

Hot air balloons have a unique combination of serenity, thrill, excitement and fun. Do not forget to include hot air balloon flights if you plan to have relaxing but fun vacations in Napa Valley.

Hot Air Balloon Rides near San Francisco Start with BATV

Hot air balloon rides near San Francisco and the Bay Area are guaranteed to be a pleasurable side trip while staying in the city. Be sure to experience riding the hot air balloon in the Wine Country, particularly the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

The once-unknown Napa Valley became internationally famous after winning the Judgment of Paris in the 1970s. This win put the Napa wines at the same level as the European wines (especially French wines). Since then enotourism has flourished in the Californian Wine Country. With that progress, more wineries, inns, hotels, and restaurants began to dot the region. Several different attractions are also available now in the area.

Napa Valley is now a popular tourist attraction, and many vacationers who stay in San Francisco also go to the wine region near the city, usually to visit the wineries, do wine-tasting and dine at exceptional restaurants in the region. But many other tourists add other activities like going to the art museums and galleries, festivals, concerts, workshops, and other attractions like riding the Napa Valley Train and hot air balloon rides.

While staying in San Francisco for a week or two (or just planning to visit it), why not take a side trip to the outskirts? It will bring new and refreshing discoveries and experiences, as well as to make the most of your holiday. When you’re feeling frisky in particular, you are ready to take the hot air balloon ride, and at the same you won’t have to miss going to the wineries.

If you’re in a dilemma, choose Balloons Above the valley (BATV) to enjoy both the experience of riding a hot air balloon as well as go on wine tours in Napa and Sonoma. BATV is one of the pioneers of the hot air balloon tourism in the Napa Valley, and after four decades they’re still flying high above the competition.

BATV’s “San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package” is one of the most recommended packages. For only $836 per two guests, you will be able to take your wondrous sunrise flight over the Napa Valley as well as have the opportunity to visit wineries, where you will learn how wine is made and also do some wine-tasting. This package covers two days.

On the first day, you will be transported from San Francisco to the Wine Country aboard a limo bus. Once you’re in the limo, you and the other guests will enjoy a delicious onboard breakfast with mimosa. Your chauffeur will make a stop at the vista point of the Golden Gate Bridge; the stunning views of the bridge over the San Francisco Bay will undoubtedly make you snap a lot of photos and maybe one or two selfies!

You and the other guests will visit two wineries in Napa and two in Sonoma. A delicious picnic-style buffet lunch at one of the wineries awaits you and the other guests after a round of wine tours, wine tasting and olive oil tasting.

The second day will be filled with more adventure — the sunrise hot air balloon flight over the Napa Valley! Enjoy a pre-flight breakfast with fresh coffee and pastries before you’ll be transported to the hot air balloon site.

Once you’re at the site, and the balloons are inflated, you are ready to take what could be the flight of your life! The world around you will appear smaller, and smaller and smaller… as you go higher up in the sky.

Now you will be able to see the vast expanse of the Napa Valley and admire the sights around you. Neat rows of grapevines form quilt-like images on the rolling hills as well as the valleys and the mountains which are covered with clouds and fog. See the darkened sky change into lighter shades of blue, and the sun rise over the horizon. This is another chance for you to take lots of photos, videos, and selfies for posterity.

After the one-hour flight, you and the other guests will be treated to a delicious and seasonal champagne brunch, to celebrate the successful airborne journey.

Do you want to go back to San Francisco right away just after the brunch? If you aren’t interested in sticking around after brunch, the chauffeur will drive you to the Vallejo Ferry where a ferry will sail you back to San Francisco. You will be provided with free ferry tickets.

However, if you want to do some shopping and sight-seeing after that delicious brunch, you will be dropped off at the Oxbow Public Market or Napa Valley Premium Outlets before being transported to the ferry back to head back to San Francisco.

Wine tours and hot air balloon rides near San Francisco will definitely add more excitement to your stay in the city. For more information about Balloons Above the Valley’s sunrise hot air balloon rides and wine tour packages, contact BATV at 800-464-6824 (toll-free) or send an email to

If You’re Looking for Napa Valley Things to Do, Try These!

You will never run out of Napa Valley things to do, see, and enjoy. If you’re a first-time tourist in the Wine Country in particular, you will likely find yourself at loss for a while when trying to decide which of these things you should do and see.

If you’re in this kind of situation and happen to land on this page, you’ll be glad you did! We’ll provide some great suggestions for you to try, to see, and do when you’re in the Napa Valley.

Most visitors to Napa Valley visit wineries and do some wine-tastings while they’re in the area. Do you believe that the world-famous Napa Valley is not even the most prolific wine region in the United States? There are “only” over 400 wineries in Napa, but the wineries there otherwise put emphasis on quality over quantity. Most wineries in Napa offer wine tastings only by appointment, but there are few wineries that also welcome walk-in visitors to their tasting rooms.

If you want to experience the ultimate wine tour experience, visit wineries with the most stunning architecture, loveliest views, and unbeatable touring and tasting experience.

Find something unique about the wineries to make your wine tours extra memorable and special. For example, Castelo di Amorosa is a modern-day winery built like an authentic 13th-century Tuscan-style fortress — complete with defense towers, moats, and courtyards. Sterling Vineyards offers tourists an aerial tram ride, giving them spectacular views of the fields and valleys. The Hess Collection will delight art lovers as it also functions as an art gallery. While Domaine Carneros’ stunning gardens, view and architecture will make you feel as if you own a grand French villa.

If you’re a certified foodie, one of the most recommended places to get your grub fix is to visit the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa. It is an excellent place for food and wine. See, smell, and taste the locally-sourced organic produce and artisanal products from meats to fish, cheese, freshly baked breads, chocolates, coffee, spices, seafood, and a lot more. This is the place where the best Napa restaurants buy their ingredients, so you can be sure of the merchandise’s top quality! You can dine right at the market’s several restaurants after shopping. Enjoy everything from the tastiest tacos to the best gourmet burgers, and artisanal ice creams while sitting on the picturesque outdoor deck which looks over the Napa River.

You want to explore more of the wine country? You can rent a car or a bike and drive through the vineyards. But why do these things when you can arrive in the wine country with style! The Napa Valley Wine Train, a line of restored antique railcars, will take you from Napa to St. Helena. There’s also a fabulously-decorated dining area where you can eat delicious gourmet meals as you enjoy scenic views through the train’s window.

A hot air balloon ride is one of the things you should do when you’re making a side trip to Napa Valley. From one to three thousand feet from the ground you will be able to see the beautiful Napa Valley landscape greeted by the rays of the morning sun. Neat of grows of grapevines, rolling hills and valleys, and lush vegetation makes a picture-perfect view while you’re riding the hot air balloon. And following the successful flight, the riders and the crew celebrate with a champagne brunch as it’s traditional.

When you decide to go for the hot air balloon ride, make sure that you go to a reputable hot air balloon operator with many years of experience and good quality service. Balloons Above the Valley, which also offers on-ground wine tours in Napa and Sonoma, would be the perfect choice.

These are some recommended activities when you’re looking for Napa Valley things to do. They are sure to make your vacation or day trip to the Napa area more fun and memorable.