A Napa Valley honeymoon is synonymous with wines and luxury travel, but like a fine vintage, this golden corner of the Golden State is made up of a rich bouquet of flavors. Honeymooners will enjoy visiting some of the finest wineries in the US, as well as the gourmet dining and luxury resorts and spas. And then there are the rustic and boho sides of Napa, with farmers markets, small, quirky towns full of character and the beautiful Pacific coastline.
The unique combination of soil and climate produce the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and other grapes from which the region’s famous wines are made. Wine tours are central to your Napa honeymoon, and you’ll find the wineries themselves as fascinating as the vintages they produce. The scenic beauty provides the backdrop to their intriguing architecture, including a medieval castle and Spanish mission style buildings with adobe walls and tiled roofs.
Many hotels and inns offer bus tours of the vineyards, and you can get limos as well. While you may prefer to explore on your own, keep in mind that you should follow safe driving practices like having a designated driver or hiring a chauffeur when heading out for a wine tasting.
Napa is also known for its gourmet dining, including gastropubs, Michelin-starred restaurants, and organic, farm to table offerings. Spas are an essential part of a relaxed, luxurious holiday and you’ll find plenty in the area to add to your experience.
When you want to explore beyond the vineyards, a scenic drive along the iconic Route 1 will take you along the beautiful Pacific coastline. A hot air balloon is one of the most romantic and fun ways to see the vineyards and the surrounding natural beauty, with glimpses in the distance of San Francisco and the Bay Area.
The small towns of Napa have their own unique character, with luxury hotels, urban tasting rooms, museums, art galleries, spas and shopping. Like most of California, Napa is a year-round destination with each season having its own particular attractions.
At a Glance
- Napa is best known for its vineyards and there are over four hundred of them located within a small area.
- The best way to tour the vineyards is to take a tour. There are bus tours or you can hire a limo or your own private chauffeur to take you around in style.
- The small towns of Calistoga, Carneros, Rutherford, and St. Helena are the perfect places to experience the mixture of laid-back and quirky that defines California living. You’ll find wineries, world class accommodations and spa facilities, gourmet dining, art galleries, boutique stores and more.
- Spend a few hours at Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa. Begin with a cup of divine coffee, sniff your way around the small, gourmet food stores, and finish with a unique meal chosen from among the many world cuisines on offer.
- For a unique experience, stop by at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, at the St. Helena Public Library. You’ll find a lovingly-curated account of his life, work and association with the area.
- When you want to get outdoors to work off some of that gourmet food and drink, head for the golf courses, which are among the finest and most picturesque in the world.
- For accommodations, you’ll find everything from luxury resorts to cozy B and Bs to hipster chic boutique hotels.
- Visit the spa at Calistoga Springs and soak in the hot springs, or take a full mud bath in volcanic mud.
- Soar above it all in a hot air balloon for unforgettable views of Napa Valley and beyond. Even if you’re not actually scared of heights you can make that your excuse to hold tight to each other.
- Take cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America, attend a boot camp, or enjoy a meal at their gourmet restaurant.
- Take a romantic train ride through wine country on the Napa Valley Wine Train, where you’ll be served boutique wines and gourmet food perfectly paired.
- Fall is a busy season but this is also when you can see the wine-making process and join in the harvest festivals.
- GETTING THERE: San Francisco International Airport (SFO and Oakland International Airport (OAK) are about an hour’s drive away.
- GETTING AROUND: The best way to see all that Napa has to offer is by car, but for wine tastings, wine tours or a limo are the best choices.
- WEATHER: The weather is pleasant year-round, with even temperatures. You may encounter some rain in the winter months but not enough to prevent you from enjoying your trip.
- WHEN TO GO: There’s no bad time to visit Napa. Spring and summer are the peak season with numerous events and festivals that draw crowds. In the fall you can see the winemaking and the colors in the gentle rolling hills and valleys. Winter is pleasant and quieter, without the crowds.