Hotel Blog

posted by: Shady Oaks Country Inn on: September 05, 2019

The Ultimate Guide When Visiting Napa Valley

Whether you’re planning one day or one month in Napa Valley, you’re going to want to see and do it all. And to start, you probably have a bit of a one-track mind. For most people, visiting Napa starts out being all about the wine. But as the trip progresses, it’s easy to fall in love with all this great region has to offer. And it’s more than just good vino. There are many things to see and do in Napa Valley, and one of them is to taste world-class wines. But since you’re here, why not explore all the wine country has to offer?

Best things to do in Napa Valley

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a food snob or an outdoor adventurer, you’ll find plenty to see do and experience in Napa Valley. But for the sake of planning the most epic vacation, let’s review the top restaurants, wineries and outdoor adventures this area has to offer.

Napa Valley wineries

Let’s start out this list with the most anticipated activity: wine tasting. There are so many world-class wineries in this region that it would be easy to spend an entire trip doing nothing but wine tasting. But even that would get old after a while. The best trips to Napa include a combination of tasting, fine cuisine, and fun activities to break up the incredible tastings. So we’ve covered that you have many choices. And if you want to see some of the best and most famous wineries the area has to offer, you’ll want to add the following three to your itinerary:

  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars - 5766 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558 
  • Opus One - 7900 St Helena Hwy, Oakville, CA 94562
  • Domaine Carneros - 1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA 94559 

Napa Valley restaurants

Napa Valley has no shortage of Michelin-star rated restaurant, and some have received multiple stars. So you’ll find it easy to experience a top-rated dining experience at every meal.And that's one of the best things about vacationing in this area. It's as much about the food as it is about the wine. And wine is also part of most dining experiences. The two kinds of go hand-in-hand. You’ll find that there are high-rated restaurants for every budget in the Napa region. And there are too many to list, but you can’t go wrong with any of these three. 

  • Ciccio - 6770 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599, (707) 945-1000
  • Boon Fly Café - 4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559, (707) 299-4870 
  • Goose and Gander - 1245 Spring Street, St. Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-8779

Napa Valley outdoor activities

As soon as you enter Napa Valley, you'll notice breathtaking views of rolling hills lined with vineyards all around. And, if only for a moment, you want to forget about the wine and dive straight into the plush greenery. That moment will pass as soon as you set your sights on the first tasting room, but you can always go back for some outdoor adventuring. There are so many activities you can do in-between wine tastings to get your heart racing and connect with nature. You can hike the hills on any number of trails or rent mountain bikes for a more exhilarating experience. And if you’re in Napa for a couples retreat, you may want to book a romantic hot air balloon ride. These are memories you’ll never forget!

When to visit Napa Valley

If you want the ultimate wine-lover’s experience, the absolute best time to visit this region is during harvest. The actual dates will vary from year-to-year, but you can expect harvest to fall at the end of the summer. So, it’ll begin in August and span through October. Just keep in mind that harvest in Napa is like ski season in Aspen. You’re going to pay a premium for travel and accommodations during this time. It’s all about supply and demand, and at this time, Napa is in high demand. But if you plan your trip for the tail end of harvest season, you can usually get some of the harvest experience without paying premium prices. At the very least, you should be able to find some better deals during this time. 

Napa Valley Festivals

If harvest season isn’t for you or is out of your budget, consider planning your Napa trip around one of the many festivals. These are fun events that make the area feel more like one big celebration – and that’s always a good time. 

If you’re a foodie, you’ll want to visit in January for Restaurant Week. If music is your thing, check out Yountville Live in March. Cinema Napa Valley is a film festival that takes place in November. And Festival Napa Valley is an all-around good time in July.

Where to stay 

As you plan your wine country trip, you’ll want to choose accommodations that are convenient to your activities of choice. So, start by planning out a rough itinerary to get a feel for which neighborhood would be most convenient. And remember that you can bounce around from one to another – as long as you have the time in your schedule. 

Shady Oaks Country Inn is conveniently located in St. Helena with access to all the area wineries, including Rutherford Ranch, MUMM Napa, Rutherford Hill, and Beringer.

There’ so much more to do in Napa Valley than taste wine, but the wine tasting is also to-die-for, so it’s nice to experience a mix. Visit during harvest, during a festival, or anytime to experience your ideal Napa getaway. 

Rachel O'Conner

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Shady Oaks Country Inn

399 Zinfandel Lane
St. Helena, California  94574
United States

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