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 info@balloonrides.com.

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.

Wine Tours in California Begin in Napa Valley

Doing wine tours in California is what a majority of visitors do whenever they visit the state. And why shouldn’t they? California accounts for almost ninety percent of the domestic wine production.

In fact, if California were a country, it would have ranked fourth in the overall worldwide wine production. The West Coast state alone already has over 100 regions designated as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) or simply wine regions. Two of the most famous wine regions also happen to be the twin valleys Napa and Sonoma.

Enotourism — or simply wine tourism — has never been so vibrant at California AVA’s most especially in the Napa Valley. Napa’s local wines like Chardonnay and the Cabernet Sauvignon stunned the world at the prestigious wine event the Judgment of Paris during the 1970s. The “upset” by the Californian wines proved that they could finally give the French wines, which are generally regarded as superior in the world, a run of their money. Since that event, the people’s perception toward California wines has begun to change. The California wine industry surged upward from that moment on, and so did the tourism that went along with it.

Whether you’re a self-respecting sommelier or just another passionate wine lover, your calling will not be complete if you do not visit the California wine region, most especially the Napa Valley. Napa is the first stop and the door to the wonderful and diverse wine industry in California, if not the whole United States.

The Napa Valley has been insistent about the quality, and not quantity, of its wines (that explains the “only” 300-400 wineries compared to the other wine regions in the US). The wine region is about a 90-minute drive away from San Francisco. Planning there can take some work, though, so you should really learn beforehand about the different wineries and lodging options, as well as other attractions available in the area.

When going to Napa, wine tours should be one of the must-do activities. When you’re not sure which wineries to visit, then the most popular wineries like Robert Mondavi, V.Sattui, Beringer, and Sterling Wines are a good place to start. Then you can choose to visit some of the much smaller, off-the-beaten-path wineries which appeal most to you — they’re also worth investigating!

There are a lot lodging options in Napa Valley, from luxury hotels to smaller, charming inns (some of them have converted from private homes) with bed-and-breakfast options. Or if you’d like to “rough it” (since you may love the outdoors), the region also has many campgrounds and RV parks.

If you’re a first time visitor, the best you can do is to choose guided tours. Take the bus wine tours, for instance, with fixed itineraries. These bus tours will save you from second-guessing which wineries you’d like to tour, as keeping you from the effort of driving. If you’re a bit tipsy from all the wine tastings then you do not need to worry about drunk driving. There are 10-hour wine bus tours for vacationers staying in San Francisco — the Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) has the San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package which transports guests from the downtown San Francisco to the Wine Country. A picnic lunch at one of the wineries is usually served.

Or if you only have a couple of days left to discover Napa, you can take the Napa Valley Wine Train, a fantastically restored 19th-century line of railcars that runs through the top wine growing regions. Each of the coaches features beautiful interiors, and the train also functions as a moving restaurant which offers haute cuisine you can enjoy. The train’s route starts in downtown Napa and ends in St. Helena, with stops at several wine-growing areas in Napa like Rutherford and Yountville.

If you want to include a hot air balloon ride on your list in addition to the wine tours, BATV offers both wine tours and hot air balloons. The aforementioned “San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package” as well as the “Sunrise Balloon Flight — Champagne Brunch — Wine Tour” enable you to explore the wineries in Napa and Sonoma while enjoying the sunrise hot air balloon ride over the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape. Well-arranged rows of grapevines, rolling hills, cloud-kissed mountains and the gradual brightening of the skies will be viewable as far as your eyes can see. Following the flight, a champagne brunch awaits the guests.

The Napa Valley is indeed one of the famous wine-growing regions in the world. If you want to be educated about wines, it is better to start in Napa Valley when doing wine tours in California.

Napa Wine Tour Packages: Learn More about Them

Many companies offer Napa wine tour packages to tourists but they aren’t all equal. These packages are so convenient. With their fixed budget and itinerary, they will save tourists from the hassles of having to plan, and they will give them a clear idea on how much they really have to spend for a holiday. To start with, there are around 400 wineries in the region, and choosing which wineries to go to can be quite complicated.

A lot of Napa travel guide publications and websites give their own recommendations on the best wineries that tourists should check out. As implied before, choosing wineries to visit tends to be complicated with the sheer number available, so these guides make great suggestions which will help you decide. A great tip is to check out wineries which you think offer excellent wine tours. They may offer visitors the best views of the valley, have unusual architecture, double as an art gallery, or provide the best wines and most intimate wine tour experience. Such wineries include Castelo di Amorosa, Sterling Vineyards (which carries tourists in its aerial tram), Hall St. Helena, Del Dotto Vineyards, Chateau Montelena, Clos Pegase, Quixote Winery, Opus One Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery and V. Sattui Winery, just to name a few. The previous list is an awesome assortment for the first-time wine-loving tourists!. You may want to check out if these wineries are included in wine tour packages.

A lot packages offer more than just regular wine tours. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is one of the companies in Napa that offers something more in addition to wine tours — an exhilarating sunrise hot air balloon rides over the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape.

Want to learn more about the BATV sunrise hot air balloon and wine tours? Two of our sought-after packages will bring you meaningful exploration of sights, sounds and tastes, as well as fun and even some peace of mind.

1. Balloon and Wine Tour Package
For those who want to have just a simple wine tour and a hot air balloon ride, this package is just the right one for you. Enjoy our pre-flight breakfast consisting of warm, freshly brewed coffee and freshly baked pastries to get you ready for what could be the experience of your life.

As the hot air balloon lifts from the ground and higher in the sky, you will be able to see the beauty of the valley, with well-arranged grapevines that seem to form pretty quilts or waves on the rolling hills. You will be able to catch the sunrise touching the fields, the hills, and the valleys. Your guide will point out other interesting places as your hot air balloon glides gently along with the wind.

After the ride, you and the other guests will be treated to a champagne brunch where you will excitedly recount how amazing the ride was.

A wine tour consisting of visits to 4-6 boutique wineries follows the brunch. This will either be right after the hot air balloon ride or on the next day depending on your choice. Discover the process of winemaking from grapes to glass and enjoy buffet-style picnic lunch at one of the wineries. You will tour in style aboard a fleet of limousine buses!

2. San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package

If you’re coming from or staying in downtown San Francisco you may consider this amazing two-day package! Our chauffeur will pick you up in the city and transport you to the Wine Country. Ride in style aboard a limousine, where an on-board breakfast with mimosa awaits you and the other guests! A stop at the Golden Gate Bridge allows you to snap some souvenir photos and selfies.

Visit diverse types of wineries as you travel around the Napa and Sonoma valleys. Enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the wineries, too, apart from wine and olive oil tasting.

The hot air balloon ride takes place on the second day, plus the pre-flight breakfast and post-flight champagne brunch, of course. After the brunch, you may want to shop and do some sightseeing at Oxbow Public Market or The Napa Valley Premium Outlets before being transported to Ferry Terminal in Vallejo, where you will take the ferry back to San Francisco. Or you have the option to be transported to the Ferry Terminal immediately following the brunch.

With several different Napa wine tour packages, they leave many tourists wanting to explore the Wine Country with more choices. Do not forget to consider Balloons Above the Valley in your next Napa holiday or vacation plans!

Finding Fun Things to Do in Napa Valley Just Got Easier

There are a lot of fun things to do in Napa Valley, not just serious wine tasting. Aside from that, the world-famous wine region in California is not just for adults, but also for the kids and the whole family!

Lovers of nature will particularly have plenty to choose from, things to see and experience in the Napa Valley. Rent a bike and cycle through the wine country or hike the rolling hills and see the spectacular vistas of the valley. You can also enjoy fishing, swimming, kayaking, horseback riding, and so much more.

Art lovers will find a great time here in Napa Valley. Visit numerous art galleries, as well as a few wineries that also serve as art galleries. Broaden your cultural knowledge by attending local art and movie festivals, signing up for art and acting workshops, immersing yourself in different cultures by attending several cultural events. There are events to look forward to throughout the year.

You don’t have to worry if your kids go with you to the Napa Valley. They will find lots of things to enjoy. Look out for kid-friendly places and activities which will keep your young ones busy while you’re sipping wine. You can even take them to wineries which also welcome children and families. Examples of these are Castelo di Amorosa, V. Sattui Winery, Sterling Vineyards, and Frog’s Leap. Kids will have a fun time feeding the chickens at the barn, exploring the beautiful interiors, and eating kid-friendly meals and fresh grape juice.

Riding a hot air balloon sounds intimidating at first, but once you’re up there in the sky, you can’t help but to get overwhelmed… in a good way. You’ll have an exceptional bird’s-eye view of the neat, undulating rows of vineyards, the rolling hills, and the valleys being greeted by the warm rays of the sunrise. Pretend that you’re some ancient explorer as you “survey” the beautiful Napa landscape. This experience of riding the hot air balloon is an experience like no other. You cannot see the vast expanse of the Napa Valley in any other way — not even from standing at the hilltop winery!

Even just once, if you’re adventurous enough, experience this unique tourist activity when you’re in Napa Valley. And while you’re at it, choose Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) to take you on this wonderful adventure. Apart from hot air balloon rides, you can also enjoy chauffeured wine tours, pre-flight breakfasts, and post-flight champagne brunches. You can meet other enthusiastic guests along the way, eat delicious picnic-style lunches, and, of course, enjoy wine-tasting. BATV has been taking visitors to the Napa area on hot air balloon flights for over 30 years and can ensure your safety.

Thanks to more activity and dining choices, as well as a broadening range of fun options for the kids and adults alike, finding fun things to do in Napa Valley has definitely gotten easier!

Special Honeymoon in Napa Valley Activities

Honeymooners will definitely find lots of honeymoon in Napa Valley activities to do to keep them busy and make their stay special. Let’s face it — the picturesque countryside views alone make Napa Valley the perfect destination for the newlyweds.

Apart from the romantic setting, honeymooners will find plenty of things to see, eat, and do in the Napa Valley. Lodgings in Napa Valley tend to be pricey, so do your best to look out for hotels and resorts that offer great deals — some of them offer special discounts or set packages designed strictly for honeymooning couples alone. Such is in the case of Auberge de Soleil which offers a four-course romantic dinner, breakfast at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and use of spas or pools during the couple’s stay. Or if you’d like to really save whilst enjoying a comfy luxury suite, go to Napa Valley during the off-peak season (mostly winter season) where hotels slash their rates by 40%. Apart from enjoying the huge discount, you won’t find lots of crowds during the off-peak season so it may seem that you own the romantic Napa Valley practically to yourself.

Wine-tasting is often a must-do activity when in Napa Valley. Like everything else in the region wine-tasting can also be expensive. Seek out for two-for-the-price-of-one wine-tasting (and wine and cheese pairing) deals and also coupons which will enable you to enjoy wine tours and tastings without sacrificing your budget.

Some couples, especially the active ones, would like to integrate outdoor activities into their honeymoon. Napa Valley offers plenty of outdoor activities such as biking around the vineyards (and visiting wineries along the way, too), hiking and catching breathtaking vistas of the valley, and doing water sports on the Lake Berryessa or the Napa River. These activities are quite special because they bring the newlyweds closer together.

Speaking of special, honeymooners may also like a special dinner to celebrate their first moments of being an officially wedded couple. Not without, of course, a bottle of Chardonnay, sparkling wine or Cabernet Sauvignon. Be sure to pick a restaurant which offers stunning views along with great food and service — Auberge du Soleil, Bistro Don Giovanni, Meadowood Napa Valley, The Lakehouse, and Solbar, among many others.

Why not make your honeymoon extra, extra-special with a hot air balloon ride? It will enable you to see the neat rows of grapevines, rolling hills, and the valleys from the gradual blue skies as the sun rises above the horizon. Of course, don’t forget to snap plenty of photos and selfies (be careful though!), with the romantic Napa Valley scenery in the background.

Riding the hot air balloon one to three thousand feet from the ground may have a symbolic meaning to your marriage — that your love will reach a higher level.

If you’re seriously thinking of including a hot air balloon ride to your honeymoon apart from the other activities, be sure to turn to no one else but Balloons Above the Valley (BATV). You will find to your delight that our affordable packages offer the luxury you have dreamed of at a price you can afford. Spectacular sunrise hot air balloon rides? Breakfasts and brunches? Wine tours in Napa and Sonoma? Limousine rides with on-board breakfast? Wine and olive oil tasting? Picnic lunches? You’ll be surprised to find them all here at Balloons Above the Valley. It’s not surprising though, that BATV still towers above all competition — longevity in the business, exceptional sunrise and wine tour packages, competent flight crew, and excellent customer service staff have earned BATV plaudits from clients as well as numerous awards.

Whether you do wine-tasting, dining, or riding a hot air balloon ride, your honeymoon in Napa Valley activities are guaranteed to make your honeymoon extra memorable and special.

Choose BATV for Wine Tours in San Francisco

Wine tours in San Francisco can make for either a quite fun side trip or a main vacation foray while you’re staying in the city. What could be a better way to spend a day of your holiday than at the outskirts of the city visiting to the beautiful Wine Country?

The twin valleys near San Francisco — Napa and Sonoma — are also both world-renowned wine regions in the United States. Needless to say, both are also popular tourist spots so if you’re staying in San Francisco you’ll want to make visits to the Wine Country one of the highlights of your trip. See the beautiful vineyards, visit wineries, enjoy wine-tasting, dine at some amazing restaurants, immerse yourself in the region’s local arts and culture, relax and get pampered at world-class spas, and do fun outdoor activities that range from biking to hiking to sunrise hot air balloon rides. There’s so much to do in the Wine Country than you can ever imagine.

If you choose hot air balloon rides, Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) should be your first choice. The pioneer company in providing hot air balloon rides, BATV is not just about hot air ballooning. It also offers wine tours in Napa and Sonoma and other perks that go along with them. Our tour packages are diverse and come in different itineraries and budget, which will leave you with more options!

Let’s explore three of BATV’s hot air balloon and wine tour packages:

1. Sunrise Balloon Flight and Champagne Brunch
This is the foundation upon which all other packages are created. Enjoy a pre-flight breakfast with freshly made Starbucks coffee and pastries to get you up and ready for what could be the ride of your life. Upon arriving at the hot air balloon site, hop into the basket and let the adventure unravel in front of your eyes!

Sure, you’ve seen spectacular views of the valleys when you’re on a hilltop at a winery, but seeing the vast expanse of the Napa Valley from up in the sky is truly incomparable. You will get to see the neat rows of grapevines that seem to form quilts or waves, the rolling hills and valleys, and majestic-looking mountains which may still be shrouded by clouds and fog. Hot air balloon flights are usually done in the early morning because the winds are more stable and gentle, and the air is cool which is suitable for this type of transportation.

Upon landing from the one-hour flight, you and the other guests will get to celebrate with a post-flight brunch consisting of delicious food and sparkling wine. You will be able to talk with the other guests about how amazing your flight was, to which they will definitely agree! It was such an awesome experience that you may want to do it again!

And best of all, enjoy the luxury at a price you can afford — only $209 per head — which will save you from spending on other attractions especially if you’re traveling to Napa on a budget.

2. Balloon and Wine Tour Package
This is like the Sunrise Balloon and Champagne Brunch, but wine tours are thrown in.

After the sunrise hot air balloon flight and the following brunch, you and the other guests will be transported to a wine tour. There, you will visit premium wineries and have the opportunity to taste their proprietary wines, and discover the process of winemaking from grapes to glass. Enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the wineries as well.

You have the option to either go on a wine tour immediately after the post-flight brunch, or do the wine tour the following day. The rate is only $608 per two guests.

3. San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package
This package is especially tailored for visitors who spend their holidays in the San Francisco Bay Area. While staying in the city, they may want to explore the outskirts such as the wine regions in Napa and Sonoma. This is the perfect trip for honeymooning couples or a pair of friends who want to go on a getaway trip to the Wine Country.

This two-day package is priced at only $836 per two people — and with that rate you will get more than just exhilarating hot air balloon flights over the Napa Valley!

On the first day, you and the other guests will be transported to Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley for the wine tours. A limo bus which will take you to the Wine Country which offers luxury and comfort — not to mention an on-board breakfast with mimosa! Before leaving the country, the limo bus will first make a stop at the vista point of the Golden Gate Bridge where you will do some sightseeing and have a chance to take photos. Then the journey to and through the Napa and Sonoma valleys continue. Visit wineries, do wine-tastings and olive oil tastings, and enjoy a picnic-style lunch.

The hot air balloon flight takes place on the second day, along with the pre-flight breakfast and post-flight brunch. After the hot air balloon flight and the champagne brunch, you are given the option to do some last-minute shopping at the Oxbow Public Market or Napa Premium Outlets before being transported back to San Francisco via a ferry. Or you may prefer to be sent back to San Francisco by ferry immediately after the post-flight brunch.

No matter which of these three packages you choose, Balloons Above the Valley ensures that your wine tours in San Francisco will be extra fun and memorable.

Scheduling Your Vacations in Napa Valley

Planning for your vacations in Napa Valley can require travelers to do a bit of work. The famous wine region can be visited at any time of the year, and has a wide array of sightseeing, wine tours, dining options, and many other attractions. So it can be a bit confusing and you may ask yourself, “When is the best time to go to Napa Valley?”

The seasons will mostly dictate your vacation plans in Napa Valley. If you intend to go on a holiday to the Napa Valley during the summertime, plan several months prior to the season, for it is Napa’s peak season for tourism. You may not wish to arrive there without any planning and find yourself stunned by the vast volume of crowds — many wineries, restaurants and hotels tend to be full of people. Apart from the throngs of tourists, everything also tends to be quite expensive in Napa during the summertime from hotel to wine-tasting rates. If you have a considerable amount of disposable income and plenty of time ahead, book a room reservation at one of the hotels or other lodgings in Napa for your summer stay. A lot of bed-and-breakfasts dot the nooks and crannies of the region, and some of the private residences have converted into inns.

The region remains beautiful and picturesque no matter the season, but if you want to see the blooming fields, the spring season (February through May) is the best time to go.

If you otherwise wish to see the grapes being harvested, go to Napa in September through November. Participate in the grape-stomping events and festivals — they are guaranteed to be fun! Crushing the newly harvested grapes to get as much juice as you can is one of the many ways to celebrate the harvest. Fall may also be considered a strong season for tourism so it is advised to make hotel and wine-tasting reservations ahead of your visit.

Winter season in Napa is the off-peak season — the barren vineyards take their much-deserved rest after the harvesting season, and the full blooms of wild yellow mustard take their place. Everything is quiet and the temperature drops, although sunshine may be abundant but expect some rain showers, too. This could be the perfect time for you to visit Napa without the hassles of crowds, the heat, and the expensive rates — enjoy up to 40% discount that many hotels offer during winter season. Do not expect though, that all hotels and wineries are still open during winter, as a lot of them are closed especially during Christmas and New Year.

But if the primary objective you have is to visit wineries and to do some wine-tastings, almost all wineries in Napa are open the remainder of the year. Most wineries offer wine tastings by appointment only, which means that you are required to make an advanced reservation on the date and time you desire. But look out for a handful of wineries which may be open to wine tastings without appointment. Alpha Omega, Beaulieu Vineyard, Black Stallion Estate Winery, Bounty Hunter Rare Wine, Chateau Montelena and Castelo di Amorosa offer wine-tastings to walk-in visitors.

As you visit the wineries, along the way you can also find several festivals that include food and wine as well as arts, cinema, and concerts. Speaking of arts, the Napa Valley enjoys a thriving arts and cultural community; even some wineries function as art galleries, like the Hess Collection.

Save your time too for the other popular attractions such as the Napa Valley Wine Train and a hot air balloon ride.

If you want to schedule a hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley, it is best to arrange it through the actual operator instead of through a broker. The so-called “hot air balloon broker” is most likely only interested in your money and may not be found once he takes it. Another benefit of arranging your balloon flight with the operator is that you’ll know who is in charge and who you can talk to if you have questions before the flight.

The weather is going to be a big factor for your hot air balloon plans. Many first-time passengers are able to fly at the time of their booking but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate and a flight has to be rescheduled. The weather changes and often does so without warning. It really boils down to luck, and you may need patience before you’ll be able to have your ride. Light, cool winds, clear visibility, and no rain make for a perfect day for a hot air balloon flight.

The best tip when scheduling a hot air balloon flight is to book your flight as early as possible during your visit to Napa Valley. That way, you will be able to have your flight sooner and quicker, finally getting to admire the lush beauty of the Napa Valley landscape above the ground. Meet the sunrise as it greets the vast expanse of the valley, and enjoy the great level of peace that you cannot experience on the ground.

Contact Balloons Above the Valley and they will help you in every way they can while booking a hot air balloon flight. Their customer service will assist you with every aspect of your trip, from the sunrise hot air balloon rides and wine tour packages to scheduling.

Planning your next trip to Napa Valley, as implied before, can take a lot of work as well as research. Setting a budget for a trip is also a big concern. But once everything falls into place, you will be able to enjoy the vacations in Napa that you deserve.

Napa Valley Tours – Different Ways to Tour the Area

Going on Napa Valley tours is always an adventure indeed, whether you are just walking or biking, riding a train or a hot air balloon. There are several tour operators whose business is providing fun and adventurous Napa Valley journeys to tourists.

One of the most common ways of getting around Napa Valley is by car. Be sure to research several of the car rental businesses in the wine region and compare their prices before renting a vehicle. Depending on your preference, you may grab a few brochures or travel guide books, or hit the roads by yourself.

Many tourists prefer to take a train ride to discover the beauty of the Napa Valley as well as discover several wineries. If you really want a fabulous, unique, and memorable train ride, take the Napa Valley Wine Tour, which takes you from Napa to St. Helena in about three hours. This magnificently-restored 19th century train also serves a diner area where you will enjoy exquisite cuisine. Tourists may have the option to pick their specific winery tours.

Shuttle buses are perfect especially for first-time tourists or people who are traveling in large groups. There are several shuttle bus operators (such as Wine Country Shuttle Tours) which offer a fixed itinerary and designated drivers. These shuttle buses stop at several wineries in the region. Their tour packages may also include picnic lunches and a stop at the ferry, which will take visitors back to San Francisco.

If you want to tour in style, limo buses offer you luxury and comfort. Several operators offer several tour options and have a fleet of different types of limos. They may set up with their own itinerary for you, or you can customize your own to adapt to your preference.

Biking is also a fun way to discover the beauty of the valley, as well as discover wineries. Several biking tour operators offer packages, from one-day tours to more comprehensive vacation packages that can go on for many days.

Love horseback riding? You can also do that in Napa Valley! Several travel operators also offer awesome itineraries arranged for the California Wine Country Ride. But if you’re inclined to go on a less extensive travel, you might look at horse-drawn carriage rides around the wine country, which comes complete with a gourmet picnic.

Many tourists dream of riding a hot air balloon ride over the gorgeous Napa Valley during sunrise. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) can take you on an exhilarating and awe-inspiring ride several miles above the ground. You will get to see the neat rows of grapevines, the rolling hills, and the valleys as you float above ground. Do you want to ride the hot air balloon and see the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape one summer morning? Or do you want to do it in the fall where nature boasts a variety of green and warmer colors in the fields? Or would the winter or spring be more your choice where the dormant vineyards are upstaged by bright yellow wild mustard blooms and bright green hills? Whichever season you choose, BATV will surely handle your request with expertise!

BATV also includes a pre-flight breakfast and a post-flight brunch with sparkling wine. However, unlike other hot air balloon tour operators, BATV offers amazing packages that allow people to visit wineries and have tastings, to shop, to do some sightseeing, and to enjoy picnic-style lunches! BATV also offers packages for weddings/marriage proposals or prenuptial tours, as well as group and corporate tours.

Whether you choose biking, train, horseback riding, limousines or hot air balloon rides, Napa Valley tours offer something different, enjoyable, and adventurous for every discerning tourist.

Places to Go and Things to Do in Napa

You will never run out of places you’d like to visit and things to do in Napa Valley. The California wine region is unquestionably one of the must-visit tourist destinations of the world, especially if you love wine, food, and beautiful sights. Napa Valley offers other excitement for every discerning traveler.

Of course, visiting the wineries and tasting wines are a must-do experience in the world-famous wine region. Whether you want to visit the big names or smaller, boutique wineries, or wineries that boast stunning architecture and offer gorgeous views, the Napa Valley offers diverse wineries particularly for wine lovers. Taste Napa’s blended wines, including the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Malbec to complete your wine-tasting experience.

But your visit to Napa doesn’t have to end with wine-tasting. If you are an art lover, you will be glad to know that the region is also the home of several museums and art galleries. Among the most well-known is the Napa Valley Museum. There is also a winery which serves as an art gallery, as The Hess Collection. You may check out the upcoming events of any of the area’s museums and galleries, too.

If you are about to go shopping, Napa Valley boasts a number of specialty shops, markets, boutiques, wine stores, gourmet shops, outlet stores, and more. Many Napa Valley establishments emphasize excellence in their merchandise and products, and you cannot go wrong when you buy something in Napa! The Oxbow Public Market is known for its high-quality artisanal products and excellent eats.

And speaking of excellent, this adjective also applies to the Napa Valley cuisine — fresh, new, and diverse but also consistent in quality. This region boasts over a hundred restaurants that will make choosing where to eat difficult. Do you want some good ol’ burger but with an exotic twist? How about dining on Boeuf Bourguignon at a charming French bistro? Want to try that paper-thin wagyu beef at a Japanese restaurant in downtown Napa? Or do you want to taste some Northern Italian fare? It seems all the flavors are here in Napa!

Napa Valley may be a wine destination, but the place also sizzles with entertainment. Attend open-air summer rock concerts, attend jazz clubs, or hit the dance floor in downtown Napa. More often than not, you probably won’t leave any of those events without having some wine! After the rigorous activity, relax at any of the world-class resorts and spas such as the Napa Valley Massage & Wellness Spa and The Preserve Spa at the Napa Valley Marriott.

One of the best things about Napa Valley is the hot air balloon rides during sunrise. As the hot air balloon gently glides at an altitude of about 2,000 feet, you will get to see the beauty of the Napa Valley like you have never seen it before. Well-arranged rows of grapevines are set among the rolling hills and valleys. Float in the air in complete peace and relaxation and at the same time feel the adventure of being up in the sky. Greet the sunrise that touches the peerless Napa Valley landscape.

After your wonderful hot air balloon flight, a delicious brunch with champagne (or more correctly, sparkling wine) awaits you and your friends. A champagne toast upon landing is a centuries-long tradition which originated in France (where else?), and this practice has also been carried out by commercial hot air balloon flights for tourists.

But here at Balloons Above the Valley (BATV), we’re more than just balloon rides and post-flight champagne brunches. We also offer breakfast before you arrive at the hot air balloon launch site, and wine tours in Napa and Sonoma. We also give you the option to go shopping or sightseeing, as well as picnic style lunches, and even a photo-op by the famous Golden Gate Bridge! You would like to consider our hot air balloon and wine tours packages — you may want to go just for the morning ride, or choose the all-inclusive package which also consists of a limo bus tour from downtown San Francisco to the wine country (plus on board breakfast with mimosa! How cool can that be?)

Choose from any of these places to go and things to do in Napa, from wine tours to hot air balloon flights. Every bit of Napa is guaranteed to give you a magical, fun, and unforgettable experience.