Planning for your vacations in Napa Valley can require travelers to do a bit of work. The famous wine region can be visited at any time of the year, and has a wide array of sightseeing, wine tours, dining options, and many other attractions. So it can be a bit confusing and you may ask yourself, “When is the best time to go to Napa Valley?”
The seasons will mostly dictate your vacation plans in Napa Valley. If you intend to go on a holiday to the Napa Valley during the summertime, plan several months prior to the season, for it is Napa’s peak season for tourism. You may not wish to arrive there without any planning and find yourself stunned by the vast volume of crowds — many wineries, restaurants and hotels tend to be full of people. Apart from the throngs of tourists, everything also tends to be quite expensive in Napa during the summertime from hotel to wine-tasting rates. If you have a considerable amount of disposable income and plenty of time ahead, book a room reservation at one of the hotels or other lodgings in Napa for your summer stay. A lot of bed-and-breakfasts dot the nooks and crannies of the region, and some of the private residences have converted into inns.
The region remains beautiful and picturesque no matter the season, but if you want to see the blooming fields, the spring season (February through May) is the best time to go.
If you otherwise wish to see the grapes being harvested, go to Napa in September through November. Participate in the grape-stomping events and festivals — they are guaranteed to be fun! Crushing the newly harvested grapes to get as much juice as you can is one of the many ways to celebrate the harvest. Fall may also be considered a strong season for tourism so it is advised to make hotel and wine-tasting reservations ahead of your visit.
Winter season in Napa is the off-peak season — the barren vineyards take their much-deserved rest after the harvesting season, and the full blooms of wild yellow mustard take their place. Everything is quiet and the temperature drops, although sunshine may be abundant but expect some rain showers, too. This could be the perfect time for you to visit Napa without the hassles of crowds, the heat, and the expensive rates — enjoy up to 40% discount that many hotels offer during winter season. Do not expect though, that all hotels and wineries are still open during winter, as a lot of them are closed especially during Christmas and New Year.
But if the primary objective you have is to visit wineries and to do some wine-tastings, almost all wineries in Napa are open the remainder of the year. Most wineries offer wine tastings by appointment only, which means that you are required to make an advanced reservation on the date and time you desire. But look out for a handful of wineries which may be open to wine tastings without appointment. Alpha Omega, Beaulieu Vineyard, Black Stallion Estate Winery, Bounty Hunter Rare Wine, Chateau Montelena and Castelo di Amorosa offer wine-tastings to walk-in visitors.
As you visit the wineries, along the way you can also find several festivals that include food and wine as well as arts, cinema, and concerts. Speaking of arts, the Napa Valley enjoys a thriving arts and cultural community; even some wineries function as art galleries, like the Hess Collection.
Save your time too for the other popular attractions such as the Napa Valley Wine Train and a hot air balloon ride.
If you want to schedule a hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley, it is best to arrange it through the actual operator instead of through a broker. The so-called “hot air balloon broker” is most likely only interested in your money and may not be found once he takes it. Another benefit of arranging your balloon flight with the operator is that you’ll know who is in charge and who you can talk to if you have questions before the flight.
The weather is going to be a big factor for your hot air balloon plans. Many first-time passengers are able to fly at the time of their booking but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate and a flight has to be rescheduled. The weather changes and often does so without warning. It really boils down to luck, and you may need patience before you’ll be able to have your ride. Light, cool winds, clear visibility, and no rain make for a perfect day for a hot air balloon flight.
The best tip when scheduling a hot air balloon flight is to book your flight as early as possible during your visit to Napa Valley. That way, you will be able to have your flight sooner and quicker, finally getting to admire the lush beauty of the Napa Valley landscape above the ground. Meet the sunrise as it greets the vast expanse of the valley, and enjoy the great level of peace that you cannot experience on the ground.
Contact Balloons Above the Valley and they will help you in every way they can while booking a hot air balloon flight. Their customer service will assist you with every aspect of your trip, from the sunrise hot air balloon rides and wine tour packages to scheduling.
Planning your next trip to Napa Valley, as implied before, can take a lot of work as well as research. Setting a budget for a trip is also a big concern. But once everything falls into place, you will be able to enjoy the vacations in Napa that you deserve.