WRITTEN BY Rachael Medina
Rachael Medina is the staff writer and content manager for California.com. She was born and raised just outside the Mojave Desert in Southern California and moved to the redwood forests of Humboldt C…See full bio
Thirty miles of highway connect the six quaint towns responsible for the prestige of Napa County. With plenty of natural wonders, distinctive climates, culinary expertise, and luxurious lodgings, there is no question of why Napa County draws several million visitors every year. Located just an hour north of the San Francisco Bay Area, the county draws visitors from faraway places as well as those from nearby towns itching for a staycation. The warmest time of the year coincides with the annual harvest and grape-stomping spectacles of September and October, leading to the busiest time of year in the Napa Valley.
Take advantage of the slower months and soar high above the vines in a hot-air balloon to watch the sun rise over the 500-plus wineries of Napa County. The county’s esteemed status in the wine industry is owed in part to the various soils and climates present throughout the region. Though only 30 miles long and 5 miles wide, the Napa Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is subcategorized into 16 distinct AVAs, each with its own elevation, soil composition, temporal regions, and ultimately, its own terroir.
While the wine produced in this area is the reason for the county’s claim to fame, this distinction has allowed several other industries to flourish in their own right. Between Napa’s high-end hotels redefining luxury by offering every amenity imaginable, Yountville’s fine-dining establishments drawing acclaimed chefs and food critics alike, and Calistoga’s spas featuring healing mineral waters from surrounding hot springs, the region prospers by highlighting its abundance of natural resources.
And any trip to Napa County is not complete without a visit to Oxbow Public Market. With artisanal products—including an array of locally made olive oils, fragrant soaps, fresh oysters, and craft coffee—the essence of the bountiful region can be discovered in just a few steps.
But no matter where you go, the markets and eateries of the delightful towns offer a much-needed retreat from the crowds of visitors at tasting rooms and offer insight into the colorful lifestyle of the county.
Whether you prefer beachside brunches or forested feasts, there are endless picnic places for your next California excursion....Read more