There’s a reason I always say Napa Valley is one of my favorite places in California. Okay, there are several reasons. Just like other parts of California, Napa Valley has beautiful weather, with mild temperatures all year long and plenty of sunshine to soak up.
But what sets Napa Valley apart is the wine scene. Napa Valley is a wine lover’s dream, with wineries all throughout the area where you can visit for a tasting, enjoy the breathtaking scenery, and even take a bottle home with you. In fact, it’s considered by many to be the premier wine region in the entire world!
One fun piece of Napa trivia to know before we dive right in: Napa Valley is often confused with (or used interchangeably to refer to) Napa County. Although Napa Valley is located within Napa County, it is also an AVA, or an American Viticultural Area, so it’s considered its own distinct community.
Let’s start by taking a specific look at where Napa Valley is located…
Napa Valley is located in the northern part of California. Napa County sits adjacent to such other prominent counties as Lake County, Yolo County, Solano County, and Sonoma County.
On either side of Napa are mountains—you’ll find the Mayacamas Mountains to the west and the Vaca Mountains to the east. These mountain ranges explain why Napa often enjoys such mild weather even though temps are not as favorable outside of the valley. Central Valley’s heat is blocked by the Vaca Mountains, and the cooler weather you’ll find in Sonoma County is blocked by the Mayacamas.
To the south of Napa Valley is the San Pablo Bay, which forms the northern part of the San Francisco Bay.
So if Napa Valley is on your list of places to visit (and I highly recommend it should be), here’s what you should know about getting there:
If you’re coming in from out of state and traveling by plane, there are two airports you can come through—the San Francisco International Airport or the Oakland International Airport. Both are great options. It’s important to note that there aren’t any commercial airline services going into the Napa County Airport, so that’s unfortunately not an option.
A commute straight to Napa Valley from San Francisco by car will take you about an hour and a half. Unfortunately, although both Napa and San Fran are popular destinations, there’s no convenient train or public transit route connecting them.
Ah, the weather in Napa Valley! The beautiful weather in Napa Valley is the stuff of legends. And you know what? It lives up to its reputation! That’s even why Napa Valley is such a popular place for making wine—the Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing grapes.As I said earlier, Napa is protected by mountain ranges from the heat of Central Valley and the coolness of Sonoma County, so you’ll usually find the weather is temperate all year long. Napa Valley weather tends to be slightly rainy and cloudy throughout the winter, but you can expect warm, dry, sunny summers.
The closest thing to a typical winter that you’ll see in Napa Valley is temps in the low to mid 60s during the day and the 30s at night. Not bad, right? (Unless you’re someone who is looking for snowy ski slopes, in which case, my home base of Telluride, CO might be more your speed!)
Spring in Napa Valley is a little warmer. Most days are sunny with temperatures in the 70s to 80s.. Bring a jacket for the nighttime, however. Temps tend to drop pretty low, sometimes as much as 30 or 40 degrees.
Summer can be warm in Napa Valley, but it doesn’t often become as hot as places in the Midwest or on the East Coast. An average high temperature in Napa in July is somewhere in the 80s. Although it will be sunny, humidity will be low. At night, you can expect the temps to drop into the 50s.
Those summer temperatures tend to hold up in Napa Valley as you head into the fall, though it won’t be quite as warm as it was in July. You’ll see some 80-degree days early in the month, but it will be mostly in the 70s as you head into the latter half of the month.
There are two things you want to bring when you come to Napa Valley—your tastebuds (not that you would leave them at home anyway, but you know what I mean) and a great pair of hiking shoes. When you’re not drinking or eating your way around town, you’ll want to escape for a hike on one of the area’s trails with breathtaking views.
Check out my of Napa Valley Wineries List. The list includes a mix of locations and atmospheres, so there’s something that will appeal to everyone.
There’s so much good food in Napa Valley! If you look through your restaurant options in Napa Valley, you’ll see there’s a mix of ethnic cuisine alongside typical American fare. Plus there are lots of farm-to-table restaurants, and brunch is always a popular meal to enjoy out with friends.Want even more recommendations? I like to point people to Eater’s list of 25 destination restaurants.
Get ready to have your breath taken away! The scenes of nature you’ll see in Napa Valley are incredible, and there’s no better way to see them than by exploring via trail on foot or bicycle. No matter what your experience level or comfort level is when it comes to the outdoors, there’s a trail for you—check out All Trails to get the details on all your options.
It’s hard not to find yourself falling in love with Napa Valley, so is it any surprise that Napa Valley is where so many couples want to commit their love to one another? Napa Valley has everything you need for the dream wedding—great food and wine, beautiful scenery, and reliably good weather! Plus, there are plenty of beautiful wedding venues in the area.
And if you need a wedding photographer for your Napa Valley wedding…well, I know someone who can take care of you (wink, wink).
Now that you’ve found the perfect Napa Valley wedding venue, it’s time to find the perfect Napa Valley wedding photographer!
As a luxury wedding photographer with 15+ years of experience, I adore working with couples getting married in northern California and beyond. Yes, I live in Telluride, Colorado, but I love traveling to wedding destinations — especially in gorgeous Napa Valley.
Contact me today to see if my signature light, airy, and timeless style would be a good fit for your wedding (and to see if I have your date available)!