The First-Timer’s Guide to Napa Valley


Not sure what to put on your first-time itinerary as you plan your trip to the Napa Valley? No one will blame you for having trouble choosing from the hundreds of wineries, cafes, entertainment venues, and stunning attractions available. It’s overwhelming even for those who have arrived and fallen in love countless times before. In this short guide, you’ll get a glimpse at the best ways to make your first vacation to the Valley incredible.

When to Visit the Napa Valley

The weather in the Napa Valley is generally mild throughout the entire year. The landscape is breathtaking and the local wineries are open year-round, too, so feel free to visit when it suits you best. True wine connoisseurs may want to lean towards the fall harvest months; grapes are at their best sugar levels and are picked during this time. Photographers tend to prefer the fall for the incredible landscape colors.

On a budget? January, February, and March are considered the down season and you’re more likely to find great deals at hotels, wineries, and other attractions.

The Stunning Napa Landscape

The Napa Valley spans approximately 30 miles with the town of Calistoga to the north and the town of Napa at the south. If you’re visiting for a weekend you may want to choose one town and explore the immediate vicinity while visitors with an extended stay may want to move around once or twice. As a first-timer, you’ll want to focus on areas like Downtown Napa, Calistoga, and St. Helena.

Things to Do in the Napa Valley

No trip to Napa is complete without at least one wine tasting. Choose a local winery, enjoy a tour, and spend some time in the tasting room. It’s pretty difficult to find a “bad” glass of wine in the valley, so you can’t go wrong choosing from the well-known vineyards in the area.  

Wine isn’t the only attraction, either. Those who can tolerate a 5 a.m. wake-up call will be floored by an early-morning hot air balloon ride over the valley and its vineyards. A food tour in Downtown Napa will give you the opportunity to tastes some of the valley’s popular olive oils. Those looking for a new experience will really enjoy slipping into a nice warm mud bath in Calistoga. Have you always dreamed of being part of the Napa experience? Head to Sterling and stomp a barrel of grapes with your friends.

Traveling with kids? There are plenty of kid-friendly attractions and wineries to visit. Be sure to check out the Old Faithful Geyser (Calistoga), Playground Fantastico (Napa), and the Scientopia Discovery Center (Napa).

It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting for a weekend or a week, Napa Valley has so much to offer. You’ll have no trouble filling a balanced itinerary with even just the smallest effort. Still not sure what to see or where to go? Book Napa Valley reservations today and ask your host to help you plan for fun.

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