Weekend Getaway to Napa Valley

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Advisor - Noura Senno
Curated By

Noura Senno

  • Napa Valley

  • Couples Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Vineyard

  • Foodie

  • Outdoors

Vineyard with a welcome board on its side.
Curator’s statement

If you're looking to get away for a weekend, Napa Valley, California is an ideal destination. Known for its ideal weather, fantastic scenery, hundreds of vineyards as well as world-renowned restaurants, Napa Valley offers much to do for both food and wine lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. With luxury resorts as well as mid-range hotels, Napa can be done as a splurge or on a budget. The best time to visit Napa is from August through October when the fall harvest is in full swing, or from March through May. By planning your stay, you can enjoy much of what Napa has to offer during a short stay.

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Where to stay

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Day 1: Arrival

Resort in front of mountains.

Depending on when you arrive, you can spend your first day either exploring downtown Napa or relaxing at your resort. Most resorts are within 10-20 minutes of downtown, which is full of restaurants, tasting rooms, boutique shopping and art galleries. Many restaurants offer patio seating but bring a jacket no matter when you visit as it does get chilly at night!

If you're a foodie, you can venture up to Yountville, a few miles north of Napa and home to seven Michelin-starred or Michelin-recommended restaurants including Thomas Keller's The French Laundry. Just be sure to make reservations well in advance.

Day 2: Napa Valley Wine Train

Wine glasses on a table.

With over 500 vineyards in the Napa Valley area, its hard to choose which to visit, especially when you have a short amount of time. The best way to make the most of a full day in Napa is by booking the Legacy Experience aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. The Legacy experience is a seven-hour experience aboard a vintage 1920s Pullman rail car that takes you from downtown Napa up to Oakville then back, with a four-course meal, stops at two vineyards for tours and tastings, and an on-board tasting.

Your day starts by meeting at the train station in downtown Napa at 9:45 a.m., where you will get checked in and have a few minutes to shop for wine and gifts. By 10:15 a.m., the train is ready to depart and a glass of bubbly greets you at your table once you board. Shortly after, breakfast is served as you enjoy the scenery of vineyards from both sides of the train while your guide explains some history and points out some of the well-known vineyards you pass. After breakfast is a stop at the famous Welcome to Napa Valley sign, where you will have the opportunity to take pictures and taste three types of wine from the train's own open-air car. Then, a gourmet lunch is served while the train travels to the first vineyard, Charles Krug. This is the oldest continuously operating winery in California, and here you will debark the train for a tour and tasting while you learn about its history.

Back on board, enjoy a cheese course en route to the second winery, V. Sattui in St. Helena. Here you will have the opportunity for a tasting inside one of their cellars, and time for some shopping in their expansive Italian market. Enjoy a delicious dessert back on board the train as you head back to downtown Napa to end your journey.

Take some time to rest back at your hotel before enjoying dinner in one of downtown Napa's many acclaimed restaurants.

Day 3: Hot air balloon ride

Vineyard during daytime.

An early wake-up time is totally worth it when you're going on a hot air balloon ride! Most hot air balloon operators in Napa launch around 5:45 a.m., in order to catch the most ideal weather conditions. Enjoy the peaceful views from high above the valley, whether you're in a shared or private basket. Arrive back to your hotel to check out and head to the airport to catch your afternoon flight. Both San Francisco and Sacramento airports are located around an hour and 15 minutes away from Napa and service flights from all over the country.

Advisor - Noura Senno

Travel Advisor

Noura Senno

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Napa Valley. Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Exploring Bermuda: Beyond Beaches.