One of the hottest tourist destinations in the United States is Napa Valley, California. Napa Valley is only about a 90 minutes drive from downtown San Francisco. However, once you transport from the urban jungle and the typical hustle and bustle to the rolling hills, the lush vineyards, and the laidback atmosphere it feels like you’re in a different world altogether.
The beautiful Napa Valley region produces about 90% of the nation’s wine. Since the mid-1970s when the local wines were introduced to the rest of the world, the Napa Valley has since been the destination for both wine lovers as well as lovers of its picturesque landscape. You can expect to find the region filled with like-minded wine connoisseurs in the summer and fall, but its agreeable mild climate makes it also a great place to have a holiday during any time of the year, even during Napa’s off-peak season.
Explore several of Napa’s 400 plus wineries if wine-tasting and visiting the wineries and vineyards are your top priority. However, don’t forget to leave an afternoon or two to explore some of Napa’s cultural and culinary offerings — from the artisanal goodies at the Oxbow Public Market, lively music festivals, art galleries and colorful markets.
There are several hiking trails, camping sites, water sports activities by Lake Berryessa for those who want a dash of adventure. Want to tour Napa Valley in style? Go biking at the vineyards, have a basic car-based wine tours (chauffeur may also be included), hop aboard a beautifully-restored vintage wine train where you can also dine, or plan your own hot air balloon adventure.
All of these activities are an exploration of the Napa Valley’s beauty and uniqueness. The hot air balloon is one of the most popular modes of exploring the beauty of Napa Valley, but from a more unique perspective. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) was the first to conceive of offering hot air balloon rides to tourists. After almost 40 years, it is still flying high above the competition!
BATV will make your dreams of admiring the famous landscape of the Napa Valley up from the sky come true. The neat rows of grapevines and the alluring rolling hills are lush and green in the summer. They will turn a more explosive combination of different shades of greens, reds, oranges, and yellows in the fall. The Napa Valley is not a white winter wonderland, but will instead regale you with a vivid combinations of bright yellows (from the wild mustard flowers that upstage the sleeping vineyards) and the emerald hills, which will last up to springtime!
Aside from the vineyards and the rolling hills, you will get to see other points of interest such as the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge where you can see the large expanse of marshland that varies in color from brown to green. See the migrating birds flying over the wetlands which they will make their home. See the beautiful bodies of water like the rivers and lakes, which include Napa’s biggest lake, the Lake Berryessa. This lake is also a reservoir formed by a dam, which provides hydroelectricity to the region. From the hot air balloon you may also see the lake’s open-mouth spillway, called the "Glory Hole." Balloons Above the Valley will take you to more beautiful and interesting places beside the already-majestic views of the Napa Valley.
San Francisco is the gateway of tourism in California, and opens a lot of opportunities for travel, food and all sorts of pleasures. San Francisco’s next-door neighbor, the Napa Valley, allows tourists to enjoy a more leisurely pace and the loveliness of Mother Nature. Napa Valley, California is a world-class tourist destination full of wonders — natural beauty, wines, food and activities — waiting to be explored any time of the year.