Napa Valley Travel Guide - Tips for Visitors

Napa Valley is a lush, 35-miles-long and 4 miles wide valley in California with vineyards, rural scenery and charming towns. This is everyone's favorite wine tasting vacation getaway, but did you know that the valley is also home to unique attractions such as the Petrified Forest, the Old Faithful Geyser of California and Safari West wildlife preserve?

Located about one hour from San Francisco, this is an ideal weekend vacation destination, whether you are looking for a romantic spa vacation or a family trip idea.

Wine Train

Tour the local wineries, have a picnic in the summer, attend wine tastings and see the area from the comfort of the Napa Valley Wine Train. Combine a ride through the scenic valley with a gourmet meal aboard the Wine Train. The train departs from the town of Napa, travels to St. Helena and returns back to Napa on the 3-hour trip.

Before you board the train, there is a pre-boarding wine tasting. The Wine Train operates daily. For a detailed schedule, call 707-253-2111 or 800-427-4124. Rates aboard the train range from $77.50 to $150, depending on the type of a meal and train car choice. For more information, visit www.winetrain.com.

Napa with Kids

Take the kids to on an African safari tour at Safari West, visit the Petrified Forest and watch geyser eruptions at the Old Faithful of California. Other vacation activities include hot air ballooning, golf, horseback riding, biking, tennis and boating.

Watch an eruption of the Old Faithful Geyser of California. This geyser in Calistoga erupts regularly, shooting hot water 60 to 100 feet into the air. There is a gift shop, an exhibit hall, a snack bar and a picnic area. The geyser can be seen daily from 9am to 6pm. Admission is $8 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for kids under 6 years of age. www.oldfaithfulgeyser.com.

The Spas

Whether you want to visit a day spa, or stay at a full-service spa resort, there are a number of options. The region is home to famous vineyards, eco-friendly hotels and luxurious spas. Solage Calistoga offers upscale studios and an outdoor pool with cabanas, perfect for relaxing in the sun.

In Calistoga, Indian Springs specializes in therapeutic mud bath treatments as well as massages and facials.

Calistoga Ranch features spring-fed mineral pools, wet/dry treatments, and programs for well-being. Guests can take a tour of the vineyard and get treatments at the spa. Each guest room has a private hot tub on the outdoor deck, great for a honeymoon vacation.

The luxury Spa at the Carneros Inn offers therapeutic massage, aromatherapy massage, pre-natal massage, the Carneros Healing Gem and Stone Massage. Read about California spas.

Napa Wineries

The valley is home to 250 wineries that stretch from the town of Napa on the southern end to Calistoga at the north end. Tasting and tour rates typically range from $5 to $20. Plan a relaxing weekend trip from San Francisco and other cities in California.

Near The Town of Napa

Andretti Winery (707-261-1717 www.andrettiwinery.com) has a tasting room open daily and offers tours by appointment.

Domaine Carneros (707-257-0101, www.domainecarneros.com) features a grand chateau complete with a Louis XV style salon and a scenic terrace. Guided tours are offered daily.

Calistoga

In Calistoga, visit Schramsberg Cellars (800-877-3623, www.schramsberg.com) and tour its 19th century historic Champagne caves. Take a ride on the aerial tram to the mountaintop winery of Sterling Vineyards (800-726-6136, www.sterlingvineyards.com).

St. Helena

The charming town of St. Helena is home to the Beringer Vineyards (707-963-7115, www.beringer.com), the oldest continuously operating winery. Beringer Vineyards was the first to begin offering ours in 1934.

Merryvale (707-963-7777, www.merryvale.com) is a family-owned property which offers weekend seminars and barrel tastings.

During the warmer season, stop for a picnic at the V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena (707-963-7774, www.vsattui.com). It has a gourmet Cheese Shop and Deli surrounded by two and a half acres of tree-shaded picnic grounds.

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Deals & Packages

Escape for a weekend of spa pampering, wine tasting and great food in Napa with some of the best spa packages the area has to offer.

Hotel Yountville

Plan a romantic break at Hotel Yountville with one of these packages great packages. The hotel offers spacious guest rooms measuring at least 475 square feet in size. Romantic features include a fireplace, vaulted ceilings, garden patios and a large spa tub in the bathroom. The Spa offer is great for couples looking to relax by the pool and get massages on their vacation. The package includes: Your choice of accommodations for one night only, A $200 Credit in Spa AcQua to be utilized for any service you desire and a Complimentary bottle of Napa Valley wine. The hotel offers different specials throughout the year based on local events. The Napa Valley Film Festival Package, for example, includes: wine, free internet, breakfast, OJ, and coffee.

Practical Travel Tips for the Trip

Bardessono in Napa where a personal Spa Butler prepares your pre-treatment ritual. The package includes: suite, and a $200 spa credit. Rates start from $499 per couple.

Another great offer at Bardessono is the "Kiss the Day Away" package which starts at $809 per couple and includes: suite, wine & chocolates and Couple's massage.

Wine and Spa Trip

The "Relaxation & Rejuvenation" offer at Auberge du Soleil includes: wine, breakfast and massage. The hotel also offers a luxurious honeymoon package which includes: 2 nights, dinner with champagne, 90-Minute Couples Massage, spa gift, Wine & Fruit on arrival, and breakfast. Rates from $2,500.

Romantic

Ask for the "Just The Two Of Us" package at the Solage Calistoga which includes: a Two night stay, 50-Minute Couple's Mudslide, 50-Minute Couple's Massage, Dinner for Two at Solbar, Breakfast for two each morning, Complimentary access to the geothermal mineral pools at the bath house throughout your stay and a Complimentary sparkling wine welcome amenity. Click here for more great spa vacation ideas.

Honeymoon

A great option for honeymooners looking to vacation in Napa, Milliken Creek Inn & Spa is offering a 2-night romance uncorked package from $800 which includes a 75-minutes Couples Massage, Romance turndown, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, Breakfast, wine and cheese reception, Concierge, Guest passes to to a spa and free late-night bar.

Pet-friendly

Pet owners who don't want to separate from their pooch when going on a weekend getaway can take advantage of the "Love me, love my dog" vacation package at Harvest Inn in St. Helena. The package includes a doggie bed, food and water bowls, tasty treats, a list of pet-friendly wineries and restaurants, and a 10% off coupon at Fideaux, a boutique pet store with locations in St. Helena and Healdsburg. Starting at $399/night.

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