Napa Valley itinerary: Top things to do and see in 3 days

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Jun 8, 2024

15 min read

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    Napa Valley is one of the most stunning regions in California and a hotspot for wine lovers, foodies, and romantics alike. With more than 35 miles of uninterrupted vineyard wonderland to explore, there is a lot to fit into a Napa Valley itinerary.

    To make the most of your trip to California’s wine country, you’ll need a plan to squeeze in all the farm-to-table feasts, never-ending wine tastings, and hot air ballooning. Below, we have curated the perfect Napa Valley itinerary for three days. It may just be the ultimate food and wine-infused private charter trip away from the big city.

    The Napa Valley Highlight Reel

    • 400 Wineries
    • 90 Tasting Rooms
    • 16 Unique American Viticultural Areas
    • 150 Restaurants
    • 16 Michelin-Starred or Recommended Restaurants
    • 120 Accommodation Options
    • 2 Nearby Private & Charter Airports
    Napa valley wine region statistics

    Where Is Napa Valley?

    Napa Valley is one of the most celebrated destinations in California. Located just 60 miles outside San Francisco in Northern California, you will find this enchanting enclave nestled between the Vaca Mountain Range and the Mayacamas Mountains.

    The Napa region is a 35-mile-long and 5-mile-wide valley, reached primarily by picturesque Highway 29. The Silverado Trail is another stunning route that weaves through the Valley, connected to Highway 29 on its northern and southern ends.

    How To Get to Napa Valley

    By Private Charter

    The only way to arrive in style and on time for your packed Napa Valley weekend itinerary is via private jet.

    In fact, the only way to fly into Napa Valley proper is with a private charter, as the only local airport (Napa County Airport) exclusively services private and charter flights. The nearest airport is also private: Buchanan Field Airport (CCR) is 32 miles away.

    Located ten minutes outside the Valley, a private jet charter with Volato into Napa County ensures that once you have landed, you are mere moments away from taking in the epic valley landscape and your first tasting.

    Flights from LA to Napa are just over an hour, so with a private charter, you will not waste any time languishing in a traffic snarl on the Grapevine.

    By Commercial Airline

    Decided to dash to Napa, but it’s too late to book a private charter? The region has two commercial airports: San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Oakland International Airport (OAK). Both are over an hour away by car, so be sure to make plans for a private car or rental on arrival.

    By Car

    Finally, if you decide to make a longer trip out of your weekend by driving, lucky for you, it’s just a two-hour trip from San Francisco. But you’ll need to account for a seven-hour drive from Los Angeles. Just don’t forget to consider timing and traffic conditions. Getting out of either city on a Friday will add considerable time (not to mention a headache) to your travel plans.

    A Napa Valley Itinerary in 3 Days

    Napa Valley is so close to San Francisco (and even LA if you charter a private jet) that it’s possible to take it all in within a single day. But to truly get a taste of everything that California’s quintessential wine country has to offer, you need at least a weekend — and, according to most recommendations, a full three days.

    Day 1: Napa Valley’s Vineyards and Tastings

    Morning: Guided tour and wine tasting

    Get an introduction to winemaking in Napa Valley with a guided tour and tasting at one of more than 400 wineries established in the area. Head out on your own to explore, perhaps starting at Raymond Vineyards with one of the largest educational displays of biodynamic and organic farming in Northern California.

    For anyone who prefers a private and expertly guided experience, Volato’s Experience Concierge team would be happy to tailor a tour, hitting all the wine-infused highlights. With an expert guiding you from one vineyard to the next, you’ll build the foundations for the rest of the Napa Valley weekend itinerary.

    napa valley itinerary 1 day

    Afternoon: Lunch with wine pairing

    Spend your first afternoon in Napa sipping on local wines over a farm-to-table lunch at one of the many vineyards along the valley base. As just one option among many, why not try St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery, which creates a seasonal, rotating menu of small bites focused on a zero-kilometer food pairing with their wines?

    napa valley weekend itinerary

    Evening: Sunset wine tasting sprinkled with Michelin Stars

    In the early evening, lock down the final wine tasting of the day with one that offers sweeping views of the Valley. Tamber Bey Vineyards in Calistoga is one of the most memorable. Part vineyard, part ranch, this family-owned location near the Napa River offers a garden courtyard with sweeping views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Add a fiery sunset, and it couldn’t get any more romantic.

    Then, dinner. A trip to Napa wouldn’t be complete without a reservation at one of the Valley’s Michelin-starred restaurants, including The Restaurant at Auberge du Soleil, Auro, and let’s not forget the French Laundry. Remember, you’ll have to plan well in advance to secure a reservation, as these destinations are often booked several months out.

    And, if you can’t get into the French Laundry, try one of the more than ten Michelin Recommended restaurants in the Valley instead.

    Cozy vineyard restaurant interior

    Day 2: Delving Deeper into Napa Valley

    Morning: Hot air balloon at sunrise

    Seeing the valley floor fall away below you as the peachy-pink skies open above the mountains is a bucket list experience. On your second day in Napa Valley, be sure to book a sunrise hot air balloon experience to immerse yourself in this moment. (If this is part of your Napa Valley honeymoon itinerary, even better!)

    Napa boasts not one but three local hot air balloon options. Many offer special packages, including balloon brunch, marriage proposals, and more.

    Afternoon: Picnic in a Vineyard before an afternoon of art

    Many of Napa’s more than 400 wineries are perfectly arranged for a picnic lunch. Call in advance to confirm the vineyard’s picnic rules, then bring your own provisions to set up in a shady, cool corner of the vineyard. The cost? Usually, just a bottle or two of the vineyard’s wine for tasting throughout.

    Many wineries provide all the goods for anyone seeking a more catered picnic experience. Grgich Estate Wines, just one example, offers a two-hour vineyard and tasting tour, then packs a basket with all the accompaniments for a picnic reserved at the best table at their Club Lounge.

    Once you’ve wrapped up, head to the downtown area to gallery hop. Napa has more than 20 gallery spaces to explore, from the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art to the color-infused art of Simon Bull artwork at MEUSE Gallery.

    Evening: Wine, Cheese, and a Sunset Stroll

    If you start the morning at sunrise, it only makes sense to end the evening with an equally spectacular moment over sunset. So, spend the evening soaking in the last warm moments of the day with a wine and cheese pairing with all local offerings.

    The exclusive VGS et Fromage Wine and Cheese Tasting Experience or Handwritten Wines unique tasting experience (like their wine, bread, and butter tasting) are two of the highest rated in the area.

    Hot air balloon over napa valley vineyard

    Day 3: Indulging in Napa Valley’s Charm

    Morning: A relaxing morning focused on rejuvenation

    After two days of luxurious excess, it’s time to spend a morning recovering. Thankfully, Napa Valley is just as renowned for its luxury resorts and spas as its wines. A few of the spas that stand out include the mud and mineral baths at The Spa at Indian Springs Calistoga and the spa created inside a cool 22,000-square-foot estate cave at Spa Terra at Meritage Resort.

    Afternoon: Lunch onboard Napa Valley’s Famous Wine Train

    No trip to Napa Valley would be complete without a ride on one of its most defining experiences: the Napa Valley Wine Train.

    Daytime Wine Train experiences include plush dining cars, a sommelier-supported tasting flight of local wines, and unlimited photo ops. Throughout the afternoon, as the train slowly winds along the valley floor, you and your companions will enjoy a leisurely gourmet lunch prepared right on board. There’s never been a better way to end your trip to wine country than on the Wine Train.

    Evening: A farewell toast to a weekend in Napa

    After three glorious days spent wining and dining across Napa Valley, it’s time to say goodbye. You’ll be spoiled for dining options here, with dozens of top-tier restaurants open for dinner service.

    If you are overwhelmed with choices, may we recommend one of the many special chef’s tasting experiences? There is the Brian Arden Winery Chef Experience and the coveted by-request-only Culture of Wine Experience at Darioush.

    Options for a Napa Valley Day Trip Itinerary

    If you only have one day to explore Napa Valley, why not make the most of it? First, skip the hours-long traffic jams leaving the city for a much more relaxed landing in Napa on one of our modern HondaJets.

    With an early morning arrival, you’ll have more than enough time to capture Napa Valley’s highlight reel. Here are a few suggestions for the ideal Napa Valley itinerary in one day.

    Morning

    As soon as you land at Napa County Airport, have a private tour whisk you off to a morning filled with wine tastings — and even a brunch wine pairing at the Clif Family Winery.

    Afternoon

    You’ll also want to sneak in one of the legendary Napa Valley experiences, so hop on board the Wine Train. Spend the afternoon sipping thoughtful wine flights and nibbling gourmet dishes, all with a sommelier at your service and the unforgettable valley landscape slowly passing you by.

    Evening

    It’s not time to dash quite yet. Before sunset, you’ll have time for a bite to eat, that will be one of the best of your life. Try La Calenda or La Taberna or any of the more than 150 restaurants that dot the Napa landscape.

    By the time you end up back onboard your Volato private jet, you’ll have experienced the essence of Napa—just enough of a taste for you to start planning your next trip.

    Napa Valley Day Trip Itinerary

    First Time to Napa Valley: The Perfect Itinerary

    If you’ve never been to California’s Northern wine paradise, this three-day experience is the consummate first-time itinerary.

    It hits the bucket-list moments, like a sunrise by hot air balloon and an afternoon on this Valley’s one-of-a-kind Wine Train. This itinerary ensures plenty of time for Michelin Star reservations and farm-to-table feasts. It also never skimps on the core of what Napa Valley is all about — the wine.

    But whether you are heading to Napa for the first time or your 100th, we’d love to be the ones to get you there. Fly with Volato to and from Napa Valley to arrive ready for all this landscape has to offer.

    Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. Volato is not responsible for omissions or inaccuracies in such information, or for data that is no longer accurate due to delay, change in law, rules, or regulations.

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