Many people are enticed by the idea of a Napa Valley vacation, but sometimes they limit themselves, thinking that they can only go in summer. This is clearly a mistake, as there are many things to do in the Napa and San Francisco Bay area even in the fall and winter months.

In the winter, California’s weather is cooler, and while it does rain more, that does not make it an unpleasant place to visit. Like anywhere else, there will be drier times, though it is difficult to predict when those might be. Winter temperatures will usually be in the upper 50s (Fahrenheit) and down into the 40s, which is quite temperate.

Napa Valley can be great for a day trip, if you live in the area, or a vacation if you have farther to travel. The pace of the area is slower when the weather cools, and there are fewer tourists to work around, so more experiences will be available to enjoy without the large crowds.  In addition, lodging prices are lower during the fall and winter months, and many hotels offer special packages.

Some of the attractions in the Napa Valley that are perfect for a fall or winter vacation include thermal pools, mud baths, fine dining  and tours of the valley both from the ground and from the air.

The best way to tour the Napa Valley on vacation is to make a point of taking a hot air balloon ride. This will allow you to see the countryside from an excellent vantage point. You will be able to see vineyards and mountains, buildings and wildlife as you ride the breezes high above the earth. Even if you are normally bothered by heights, you may be quite comfortable in a hot air balloon, as it is such a smooth and peaceful ride. Many people who have experienced an aversion to heights have said that their hot air balloon ride was just as pleasant as riding on the ground.

You do need to be willing to start your day early, as the balloons usually only embark with the sunrise. The winds are calmer during that time, and they pick up later in the day. The only two things you absolutely must remember before stepping into the basket is to take a moment to use the bathroom, as it will be a couple hours before you will see one again, and to eat something or have something with you, to give your body the energy it needs to keep you warm. High altitudes are cooler than ground level but you will be comforted by the warmth of the burners once the balloon lifts off. Your pilot will point out the interesting things on the ground as you float above them.

The whole experience of hot air ballooning will be well worth it. This will be true whether you take your Napa Valley vacation in the summer or in the winter.