French-inspired chateaus, turreted castles, meticulously groomed vineyards, and wild Redwoods—California Wine Country is home to countless sites that will take your breath away. Here are a few ideas to enjoy the area through a completely novel lens. Whether you want to channel your inner equestrian, thrillseeker, or Phileas Fogg, there’s something to suit your particular taste. You will create long-lasting memories with these eight unique experiences curated for those who prefer the path less traveled.
 

Courtesy of Napa Valley Balloons

1. Float Through the Sky on a Hot Air Balloon
There is no form of transport more delightfully whimsical than riding in a woven basket hitched to a colorfully patterend balloon. Get a bird’s eye view of the rolling vineyards with Napa Valley Aloft or Napa Valley Balloons. Both companies offer group trips or exclusive flights (two people) followed by breakfast and champagne.
 

2. Travel to Wineries in a Vintage Cable Car
Both the Napa Valley Wine Trolley and Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley whisk guests all around the region in an authentic replica of a turn-of-the-century California streetcar. The all-day tours stop at a few premier wineries and serve a gourmet picnic lunch. For more historical elegance in the evening, book a dinner reservation on the Napa Valley Wine Train.
 

Courtesy of LTF Adventures

3. Whip Through the Valley in the Most Expensive Cars in the World
Forget the standard limo tours, at LTF Adventures, you’re the one behind the wheel. Meet at Napa’s Oxbow Public Market for a brief overview of the exotic vehicles before embarking on a one-of-a-kind journey toward Calistoga. Take your favorite passenger along as you drive for 30 minutes each in a Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Porsche 911 Turbo.
 

4. Freefall at 120 Miles Per Hour Over the Russian River
Watch the Alexander Valley come into quick focus during a tandem skydive. NorCal Skydiving in Cloverdale offers drops anywhere from 8,000 to 15,000 feet. Choose your own adrenaline dose with the more mellow parachuting option or the accelerated freefall program which allows you to build up to a solo jump.
 

5. Horseback Ride Through Acres of Vineyards
See the Valley of the Moon through Jack London’s eyes—atop a beautiful steed. The Triple Creek Horse Outfit provides guided rides through the state park that once served as the author’s home. You’ll trot by grapevines and through Redwood groves before dismounting for a tasting at the nearby Benziger Family Winery. If you’re staying on the other side of the Mayacamas, try Napa Valley Trail Rides.
 

6. Take a Trippy Tour in a VW Bus
Experience Sonoma 70’s style with a wine-tasting adventure in a vintage Volkswagen van. Vantigo’s eight-hour tour takes its crew to four different wineries throughout the day. A fully flexible itinerary allows passengers to requests stops in Napa and Dry Creek Valley too.
 

7. Ride a Gondola to a Hilltop Tasting Room
Come for the aerial tram; stay for the wine. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga offers premium vintages paired with exceptional views. The five-minute gondola ride transports guests to the hilltop winery where they can enjoy a tasting 300 feet above the valley floor.
 

Courtesy of Napa Valley Vine Trail

8. Cycle Through Napa on Protected Path
Sip, roll, and repeat on the Napa Valley Vine Trail. The first phase of this lovely path opened in summer of 2016 with 12.5 continous car-free miles stretching from Yountville to South Napa. Borrow a set of wheels from Napa Valley Bike Tours or BYOB and visit wineries along the route, including Silenus, Laird Family Estate, and Domaine Chandon.