With its medley of dreamy landscapes, luxurious spas and scrumptious food – all accompanied by a fantastic climate – the renowned grape-growing region definitely has more to offer than a great glass of wine. So even if you’re not a wine enthusiast, you’ll still find many ways to be enchanted by Napa Valley.
Hike the Picturesque Trails
Napa Valley has the perfect topography for an unforgettable hike. From rolling hills to lush verdant grounds, the terrains of wine country will give you a taste of adventure. Established in 1976, The Land Trust of Napa County is a community-based non-profit dedicated to preserving the beauty of Napa by permanently protecting 65,000 acres of land. You can sign up for guided tours, ranging from a short 3-mile trip to a waterfall near Conn Creek or a longer 15-mile hike across the spectacular Dunn-Wildlake Ranch for stunning views of rocky outcrops, oak woodland, pine and Douglas fir forests. And whether solo or with a group, easily take a hike in the many accessible trails nearby, such as Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, Alston Park and Skyline Wilderness Park.
Fly in a Hot Air BallooN
Excite a few different senses by experiencing a change in altitude, courtesy of a magical hot air balloon ride. You not only get a bird’s eye view of wine country’s pastoral beauty, but also an amazing memory of one of the most charming destinations in the world. The best time to take a ride is at sunrise when you see Napa Valley waking up to a watercolor sky. Take your pick of reputable companies to get carried away with, including Balloons Above the Valley and Napa Valley Aloft based at the historical V-Marketplace.
Check out the Art Scene
If you have an appreciation for art, be sure to visit Napa’s art venues for some truly remarkable pieces. For art in a unique setting, head over to di Rosa, a charming retreat located on 217 breathtaking acres in the Carneros region. The sprawling property includes three separate galleries, a sculpture park, a 35-acre lake, and a wildlife preserve. The late founder Rene di Rosa’s art collection is considered the most significant holding of Bay Area art in the world. The outstanding collection includes impressive works by artists such as Viola Frey and Mark di Suvero. Other galleries worth visiting include Hess Collection and Napa Valley Museum.
Take a Mud Bath
Calistoga is blessed with an abundance of natural hot springs. The area’s high volcanic ash content combined with peat, water and other mineral-rich deposits result in detoxifying mud baths that have been used for centuries by the Native Wappo Indians for its therapeutic benefits. Many spas in Calistoga have adapted these mud practices into their menu of services, turning the age-old tradition into an ultra-luxurious experience. Spa Solage provides the ultimate retreat for experiencing refreshing twists on the renowned Calistoga mud and mineral water therapies. The Solage Signature Mudslide features mud application with your choice of essential oils, R&R in the mud lounge, followed by a soak in Solage’s healing geo-thermal mineral waters.
Play in the Water
At 55 miles long, the Napa River can be your very own water playground. Enjoy water sports such as kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and even fly fishing. There are many companies that offer equipment for rent and tours from downtown Napa. Sign up at Napa Valley Paddle and join one of their custom guided Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Tours, or take part in the Napa River History Tours to discover the rich history of the Napa Valley while exploring the beautiful eco-system and wildlife of the magnificent area. The tour includes kayak rentals as well.
Schedule a Cooking Class
Napa Valley isn’t just a pilgrimage destination for wine, but also for some of the finest food in the world. And new recipes and a set of fine-tuned cooking skills make for a great souvenir to take home. There are many opportunities to unleash your inner chef here. The Silverado Cooking School offers hands-on cooking classes in their state-of-the-art kitchen. You get to work with fresh, seasonal ingredients from their farm and learn how to prepare restaurant-worthy food. For other cooking demonstrations, single day classes or longer culinary programs, check out the Culinary Institute of America, Cooking with Julie, Cedar Gables Inn and CasaLana.