20 Things To Do In Napa, California| Luxury Retreats

Napa Valley is a small area in the north of California, famed for its vineyards and wine production.  If you’re a fan of a Cabernet Sauvignon you’ll no doubt have tasted the produce from the land.

And while Napa is famed for its wine production there’s a whole lot more to Napa Valley.  So here I’ve listed a good mix of activities if you’re heading to Napa in collaboration with Napa Vacation Rentals.

1. Experience Napa Valley in the Autumn

When Autumn comes around, the grape vines turn a beautiful rust colour which sprawl out in the valleys.  The different vine varieties turn a slightly different shade of rust making the scene a worthy sight.  November is the best time to visit to witness this autumnal change.

2. Visit a winery

Picking a winery to visit in this region is hard.  But it comes down to what kind of service you’d prefer.  The boutique wineries for example tend to offer a more personalised service.  Crocker & Starr is a winery that offers a more boutique experience. For a larger scale winery, Beringer has a fun and informative approach to their wine tours, and their beautiful grounds are worth the visit.

3. Visit a winery without drinking wine

Some of the winery’s are by appointment only, but many of them you can wander around without having to participate on a tour.  It’s certainly worth visiting a couple of the architecturally stunning ones to soak up the ambience and enjoy their gardens.  Darioush for example has the most spectacular grounds.

4. Visit Oxbow Market

This is the place to go for some delicious food, wine and ice-cream! Located next to the Napa river, you’ll be able to take in the Napa scenery while enjoying some of the best offerings from Napa suppliers.  The produce sold is organic and/or sustainable.

5. Enjoy the Napa Art Walk

Every 18 months the outdoor art on display found in downtown Napa is changed.  Enjoy taking a look at the different projects from a variety of artists.

6. Ride the Napa wine train

Take a leisurely ride on a restored luxury train through Napa’s fertile vineyards.  With a variety of lunch or dinner packages it’s a great way to enjoy a more sedate look at Napa while of course indulging in a wine flight too.

7. Visit Calistoga 

Calistoga is a small city in the Napa region that’s been built around the natural geothermal spas that exist there.  It has a rustic 19th century rustic feel supposedly.  While the thermal spas are famous, you shouldn’t visit Calistoga without also indulging in one of their mud baths!

8. Buy a wine tasting card

For $25 you can buy a wine tasting card in downtown Napa.  With 12 tasting rooms you can wander (or stumble) from place to place trying out the variety of wine Napa grows.  A great and inexpensive way to enjoy the Napa wine.

9. Eat at The French Laundry

You’ll need to make reservations to eat at this establishment, but it’s worth it.  Thomas Keller is the only American chef to hold two three star Michelin awards.

10. Go to the Truffle Festival 

If you’re a fan of Truffles, make sure to visit Napa in January when their truffle festival is in full swing.

11. Go to the wine crush

The wine crush happens when the grapes are ready.  So it can be any time really between September and October. In 2015 the grapes were ready in July, so really it is quite difficult to pin point an exact time.

To physically stomp on the grapes yourself (like we did when we went to Provence) you should contact the Grgich Wine Estate.

12. Build your own blend

Judd’s Hill Winery offers the chance to blend your own wine.  It can then be bottled into your own custom designed labelled bottle.

13. Visit Safari West

Go on safari and come face to face with some of Africa’s wildest animals. Climb aboard a canvas covered truck and go in search of giraffes and rhinoceros’.

14. Enjoy a hot air balloon flight

Soar above the Napa valley and see the beautiful vineyards from above.

15. Grab a seat at the Calistoga harvest table

Every year downtown Napa hosts the Calistoga harvest table which celebrates the plentiful harvest.  A great way to get amongst the community spirit, enjoy the wonderful wine and eat a fabulous meal.

16. Enjoy Napa on horseback

Get in the stirrups whatever your horse riding ability and enjoy a trail through Napa on horseback.

17. Go fly fishing

Fly fishing is available all year in Napa.  If you want to snag one of the largest rainbow trouts in the state, you’ll want to head to Off The Hook Fly Fishing.

18. Visit Old Faithful Geyser

A visit to see the old faithful geyser is a must if you’re in the area.  This geyser has been declared one of three geysers in the world to be ‘faithful’ because of its regular eruptions.  Make sure to enjoy the rainbows cast off from the spray.

19. Go for a hike

If you love beautiful views, head to the Robert Louis Stevenson state park and take a two mile hike (each way) to Table Rock.  The views are beautiful and worth the moderately difficult terrain to get there.

20. Bike through the vineyards

Sometimes it’s better to leave the car at home and enjoy the freedom of getting on a bike.  You can either join a tour or do a self guided tour yourself.  The bike ride is on entirely flat ground with no traffic along the Napa Valley Vine Trail.



  1. I read so much about hikes in the US and I feel like we are missing out here in the UK! Nobody really goes for a hike, mainly because the weather is so poor!

    • I know what you mean.. I’m not sure I’ve ever really done a hike.. mainly because I just don’t think it would offer the same results!

  2. You might want to do a LOT of research before planning a trip as Napa was hit very hard by the record setting fires of last year. There was a lot of damage to be had.

    • Yes, one of the big vineyards was completely destroyed. It’s so sad to know so many livelihoods were affected.

  3. I like the fact you can visit some of the wineries without drinking. I’ve always thought the process may be interesting, but as I don’t drink have been put off a tour. Getting to wander around sound like a nice idea to me.

    • I know so many people that don’t drink so I think it’s important that there is something on offer for people that don’t drink too

  4. Woah I love the idea of making my own blend of wine and that sounds like the perfect way to spend my time if I went to Napa Valley. They should rename it as Wine Valley instead!

  5. So many lovely things to do in Napa. I would love to take part in the grape crushing and also wine tasting! California sounds wonderful!

    • Same, it’s somewhere that I think would be really interesting to go and visit.

  6. I’ve always wanted to go to Napa after seeing it in a movie I loved when I was younger. These seem like some really great things to do, now I’m older I would just love to visit a beautiful Vineyard x

  7. The air alone is 20% proof in Napa..lol I had a wonderful time when I was there too! I wasn’t about to put my feet in a barrel of grapes however, I can’t have anything touch my feet. But I happily watched others stomp grapes and it was pretty funny..lol

  8. These all sound wonderful, but I’d be particularly interested in the hot air balloon ride! The view over the sprawling vineyards must be divine.

  9. Going fishing is not something I was expecting to be on the list but love that Napa has variety of other things to do not just tasting wine

  10. This is a great post, we have always wanted to go visit Napa Valley and I will bookmark this for when we do.

  11. Napa Valley sounds like an amazing place to visit. Making my own wine would be amazing and the stomping of the grapes so much fun 🙂 It always great to explore new areas and cultures and i for one love doing this

  12. The Napa wine train sounds fun! We have a similar near us called the R.A.T – Real Ale Train, it’s quite popular with my other half and his friends. The art walk sounds really interesting and fun too.

  13. I would definitely love to try an art walk! That definitely sounds right up my street. Just thinking about attending the truffle festival makes me hungry.

  14. Another brilliantly eloquent post from the quill of the ‘Bard-ess(??)’ of The LondonMums ‘Prince & Princess power’ world. Following this excellent recommendation, I should think fellow intrepid explorers who’ve been dreaming / planning on jetting off to tread the Californian grape, artistic sight-see, hit the hot air balloon heights, push the pedals, hike the trail & make an Old Faithful’s acquaintance … have all just stampeded to book their tickets … great promo job done LondonMum – job’s yours (ATOL & ABTA protected!!) I wonder where’s possibly just been added to your ‘must visit’ family holiday destinations list – if not already ticked-off haha??
    An “O” awaits with a little ‘something’ for a little ‘somebody’ (from Lucy & me & B&WC) – as if the title needs any explanation whatsoever haha – & also a little ‘something’ for her Mum (from Salisbury Cathedral last month – for which you’ll need ear defenders ha.) Hope all’s well. Onwards LondonMum.

    • The list is never ending and always growing!! For goodness sake I need therapy! lol

    • I’ve never tried it myself! But I bet it would make an enjoyable day!

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