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Napa Valley, California Vacation Travel

More About Napa Valley - Editor's Tips - Weather Maps & Dining

When to go?
Weather-wise, April through December is a fabulous time to visit the Napa Valley Wine Country. Warm days are tempered by cool evenings, so be sure to pack a light sweater or jacket. January through March tends to be rainy, but that does not interfere with the romance of winery caves and cellars. With only two roads running the length of the Valley, traffic can be a drag on summer weekends, so schedule mid-week visits whenever possible (hint: the Silverado Trail roadway on the East side of the valley is generally more laid back than Hwy 29 on the West side).

Where to stay?
The middle and upper (Northern) sections of Napa Valley offer the best visitor experiences, so most visitors simply bypass the gateway town of Napa and head North to one of the small towns strung along Hwy 29. One strategy is to position yourself at the upper most end of the Valley, St. Helena or Calistoga, so you can tour in the opposite direction of the prevailing traffic that backs up around winery entrances and railway crossings. Calistoga features the most unique environment, with western store fronts, mud bath resorts, and gliders overhead.

What to do?
Beyond the standard winery tours and tasting, there is a lot to do in Napa. Food lovers will want to check-out the programs and attractions at the Culinary Institute of America. For a freshing look at California art, try the di Rosa Preserve (reservations required). If you would rather just sit back and take it all in, reserve a seat for lunch on the Napa Valley Wine train. Or take a long soak in the mineral hot springs at a spa in Calistoga. Above all else, find ways to be outside - walk, picnic, and just soak it all in.


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