There’s a lot to explore in Napa Valley, and it certainly helps to know your way around the winding country roads and steep mountain drives. So for an extra-relaxing experience (including a designated driver), why not venture out with a savvy local guide? You can book any number of private chauffeurs, or hop aboard a bus tour as part of a group. Either way, your driver can offer insights about wineries and other points of interest—like, how you can be in Carneros, but also in both Napa and Sonoma, at the very same time.
Still, there are other fascinating ways to explore the Napa Valley—by bike, train, watercraft, or hot air balloon—where the journey becomes as joyful as the destination. Some of the region’s numerous bike guides add a bit of variety to their tours. The California Wine Country Combo Tours, for instance, by Getaway Adventures, puts you on a specialized hybrid-style bike for the first part of the journey, and then after lunch, in a kayak; Napa Valley Bike Tours invites warriors for off-road spins on sturdy mountain bikes, as well as paved cruises. If those sound like a great time except for the exertion part, there’s another, less physically taxing option: the 100 percent electric, no-pedaling-required Glide bike tours offered by Glidesdale Adventures. Cruise the roughly 15-mile route that follows the Napa Vine Trail without breaking a sweat, stopping at three wineries along the way for tastings and a deli-served lunch at the second stop.
The Napa Valley Wine Train is a classic, multi-hour excursion in vintage Pullman cars (dress up in period costume for extra flair). Among the wine train’s cool experiences, you can feast on a multiple-course gourmet meal—cooked onboard—as you gaze at wineries and vineyards through velvet-curtained windows. Take one of the four Dining Journeys, each consisting of a two- or three-hour train ride and a, on-board multiple-course gourmet meal. Or, try the Napa Valley Wine Trolley, a converted, turn-of-the-20th-century, San Francisco–style cable car. Guided tours take you to four wineries and include a gourmet lunch.
Or, get a view from overhead: Colorful hot air balloon voyages feel even loftier when capped off with the post-flight breakfast and mimosas at Domaine Chandon Winery in Yountville, courtesy of Napa Valley Balloons, or the touchdown sparkling wine breakfast from Napa Valley Aloft.