Napa Valley Vacation for Young Couples
Not all vacations are created equal when you are a young couple looking to enjoy a get away from your crazy schedule. Some destinations are too “family-friendly” aka hundreds of kids running around and ruining your romantic moments, while other “adult-friendly” trips might cater to the needs of couples, yet they are just too out of the budget range for young folks living on a early professional or just-graduated incomes.
Napa Valley has been a trip that was on the top of my must-see list for years, but I always assumed it was a vacation that was way out of my budget and not quite exciting enough to keep my attention. Well, this month, I set out to prove that a young couple can enjoy the Napa Valley area just as much as anyone! While I did get to “cheat” a bit and enjoyed a media rate on several of these excursions, I purposefully chose options that wouldn’t break the bank and made sure to spend money on the moments that would be most memorable.
Flying in to San Francisco was the best flight option from Miami and booking about 3 month in advance gave us the lowest rate. I highly recommend setting a price alert on Kayak.com so that you spot the ideal week to visit. In general, rates are lower during the week (versus during the weekend) in Napa, so keep that in mind when booking!
The Napa Valley is about 1-2 hours from the San Francisco airport (depending on traffic and where in Napa you are staying), so you should definitely pass on the larger vehicle options when picking out a rental. The Mitsubishi Mirage helped us save a pretty penny on the gas and also helped us navigate the windy roads of the California hillside. The bright blue color sparkled against the green landscapes of the valley and we found that while the Mirage was on the smaller side, it provided ample space for the two of us! The engine also had sufficient “get-up-and-go” to maneuver us up and down the mountainsides – while also keeping our gas consumption to a minimum. Within the Napa Valley, there are endless hotels and inns – each with their own nuances and specialties. Most people think they have to stay right in the city of Napa to enjoy the area and that is just not true. Up the valley, there are several small towns that have just as much to offer as the larger city of Napa. If you are looking to watch your budget, consider a hotel in one of the smaller towns, which tend to offer better rates (especially during off-season) to tempt you away from the city. We stayed in the Mount View Hotel & Spa in Calistoga, which is at the top of the valley. This quaint little town was the perfect get-away we were looking for during our romantic getaway. Main street looks like it comes out of a storybook and the locals are very welcoming to tourists. Definitely check out the town website to check to see if they are hosting a special event like the Harvest Table or Hoe Down.
We never wanted to leave our #winecountry oasis in #Calistoga! @mountviewhotel was a perfect getaway! A photo posted by Las Travel Blogueras (@travelblogueras) on
Depending on the type of vacation you are hoping to have, these smaller towns might be the perfect fit or leave you wanting more. Think about it this way, the farther north you go and the farther you get from the city of Napa, the earlier the restaurants close and the fewer bars you will find. If you are looking for late night bar hopping, then downtown Napa or closer to Yountville might be the better fit. However, after a long day of wine tasting, I was perfectly happy to have an early dinner and call it a night!
Obviously, the answer here is wine tasting and tours. However, how you schedule your trip and plan your days can really make or break your experience. Let’s get real here: You are coming to Napa to taste wine! Unfortunately, the best vineyards aren’t all lined up next to each other so you can hop from one to another like you do a bar. So, the smartest and safest option is to join one of the tours or get a driver for the day. Obviously you can save some money if you go with the group tours, but you do have a sacrifice a bit on the personalization – opting for letting your tour guide pick out their favorites or best options for the day.
We saw SO MUCH during our afternoon with @platypuswinetours, I especially appreciated the “bonus stops” so we could jump out and take photos!! A photo posted by Las Travel Blogueras (@travelblogueras) on
The group tours were a GREAT option for us since this was our first trip to Napa Valley, so we got to sit back and let someone else do all the scheduling and planning for us. In these group tours, it was also great that they can usually pick you up directly from your hotel and then drop you off there at the end of the day, meaning you can drink to your hearts content and not have to worry about driving yourself! We tried both the Beau Wine Tours and Playtpus Wine Tours based on their amazing views on Trip Advisor/Yelp. You definitely can’t go wrong with either of these tours!
Loving our guided tour with @beauwinetours! Our ride is sweet and the tour guide is awesome! #beauwinetours A photo posted by Las Travel Blogueras (@travelblogueras) on
Both of these companies also offer private/charter tour, which I definitely think I will splurge for on our next trip. After taking these two group tours, I feel like I have a better understanding of the area and type of vineyard/winery that is a good fit for me. So keep that in mind, also! If you want to read more specific details about these tour companies, check out our reviews here: Beau Review & Platypus Review.
Napa Valley definitely oozes with romance, especially in the evenings when things cool down a bit and can snuggle up to a fire with a glass of wine. While we were there, we tried to pick a few excursions that would be especially romantic, since its pretty easy to caught up in the “vineyard” hopping that you need to make sure you take a few minutes at the end of the day to enjoy your significant other. We did this by booking the dinner at the Napa Valley Wine Train and also hand-picked a few vineyard that have an extra-special romantic feel.
Our first night in the valley, we joined the dinner trip of the Napa Wine Train! Your journey begins in downtown Napa and the train takes you north through the valley and then back down on the same tracks- in total, it was about a 2-3 hour trip. The dinner trip is very romantic, as the 2nd part of the journey after sunset. While this doesn’t make for the best site-seeing experience, the overall vibe of the train is very classic romance.
If you are looking for a unique way to observe the wine country, go for the lunch tour – if you want to enjoy more of the train and your partner’s company and conversation…then go for the dinner train! Apart from the Wine Train, we found that some of the tastings/tours could also be romantic! We ventured to Del Dotto Vineyard in St. Helena to explore their caves as an interesting alternative to the typical outdoor vineyard tour. The cool and dark caves can definitely make for a romantic environment…as you wander and enjoy their exquisite wines.
Had an amazing experience at the @deldottowine vineyard this morning. The cave tour is a must see!! ?️? A photo posted by Las Travel Blogueras (@travelblogueras) on
We were even lucky enough to try some of their 10 point wine! Following the tasting, they fed us some tasty cheese and prosciutto…which topped off the experience perfectly. Would highly recommend this tour to take a break from the outdoor vineyard experience to cool off in the cave with your special someone!
Do you have anything you would recommend for young couples during their Napa vacation? Please let us know in the comment section below!