Where to Go this Weekend: Napa Day Trip

I love Napa for less popular reasons than the majority. I have an allergy to sulfates, so wine is something else I live without. Howe...

I love Napa for less popular reasons than the majority. I have an allergy to sulfates, so wine is something else I live without. However, this didn't prevent me from wanting the wine country experience. To celebrate my gorgeous friend's birthday the two of us took a day trip to Napa and toured several wineries, took a wine tasting class (she benefited from getting my portion of wine plus hers), and enjoyed what the countryside had to offer.  

If you're headed to Napa this autumn check out what mischief you can get up to during your short visit (with or without wine!). 

Autumn in Napa is full of gorgeous fall foliage and flowers, grape harvests, deep sunsets, and less crowds! That's right! Things slow down a bit in Napa Valley between Halloween and the first half of November. So plan your day trip or weekend away this fall when you can enjoy the wonderful colors and sweet scents of harvest without the it feeling like adult Disneyland.
Looking for ideas of things to do in a short amount of time or decided on an impromptu day trip and didn't plan ahead? Here are some things to do in Napa Valley that are either free, quick, or easy to pull off with little to no planning.

Day Trip Agenda

Wine Tasting Class:
Even though I couldn't drink the wine I learned so much from the class and smelling the wines. AND the education goes far beyond tasting. We learned about the history, agriculture, engineering, and distribution of the wine making business. Some places offer a free wine tasting class with the purchase of a bottle of wine. I bought one to give as a Christmas present and was all the richer from the experience.

Winery Tour:
Some wineries will take you behind the scenes and show you their manufacturing process and tanks. We got to take short, private tours with both a small, family operated winery as well as one of the largest sparkling wineries in the area. I recommend seeing both so you can appreciate the different kinds of scale and business practices-based on the size of the winery. You could call ahead to ask about seeing the "behind the scenes" tours or just smile really pretty when you get there and ask nicely...like we did. ;)

Play Tourist: 
Create the perfect playlist for your car and just drive around Napa's countryside. We did this for nearly half the day, stopping alongside the road whenever the mood struck or there was an amazing photo opportunity. We loved the views and wineries and couldn't get over how truly beautiful it was.

Pack a picnic for your lunch or afternoon snack. You can plan a picnic at one of the wineries below that allow you to bring your own food; or, if you just get hangry from driving around you then have the opportunity to find a field or park.
  • Hendry
    The small, family owned and operated winery let us stick around after our wine tasting class and take photos (it was the location for most of this post's pictures) and picnic. They had many charming spots to set down a blanket with a bottle of wine and cheese that would rival anything on Pinterest. There were also picnic tables but the family and staff were using it for their daily community lunch (AGAIN, so charming!).
  • Napa Cellars
    One of their numerous picnic tables may reserved with the purchase of a wine bottle. Lawn games such as bocce ball and corn hole are also a added perk! 
  • Andretti
    Shaded picnic tables under large trees that may be used if they are free at the time or you may reserve one ahead of time (There are five tables). $20/table or the fee is waived with the purchase of a wine bottle or wine tasting. 
  • Clos Du Val
    Tables are limited so reservation is required (Reserve up to 1hr and 6ppl). Picnic area is for Clos Du Val customers/Clos Du Val wines only, (no other alcohol is allowed). 
Ride a Bike or Take a Hike:
We didn't get to do either of these on this day trip-but I hope to get to check it off my bucket list after my next visit to Napa. I just know fall would be an especially scenic and cooler time of year to hike or cycle the valley.  

Grab a Friend and Take Photos!: 
Napa Photoshooooot! Whaaat? This may sound silly, but it was a blast and a great way to see Napa. We went around exploring and just taking everything in. However, whenever we'd see something we wanted to remember or thought made amazing scenery we stopped and took photos of each other. It was so silly and fun and now I can go back and look at all the videos and memories.

You Know You Want to Keep Reading...


  1. Both of y'all looked gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Cori! My friend really is a beautiful lady-inside and out. And I appreciate the compliment as well. :)

  2. Visiting Napa always calms me and make me happy. Love the long dress.

    1. Thanks! It's so comfy!
      Napa was even more beautiful than I remembered. And you are right-it does have a really calming atmosphere.

  3. We live fairly close and spend a lot time in the Sonoma wine country. Always a fun time.

    1. How lucky you are to live in Sonoma! I love driving through there and seeing the gorgeous mountains and countryside as I head up further north. That's on my list to stop and visit sometime soon. Any recommendations?

  4. I love what both of you chose to wear - casual but feminine. I'm guilty of just grabbing a pair of jeans. (I must get out of that habit). The scenery looks beautiful too. Did you plan your outfits to match the scenery? Your photos are lovely and really creative.

    1. Thanks so much for the sweet words!
      The dress is really comfortable plus I really like how much of a statement it creates. Jeans are great too! But I love wearing maxi dress because I only have to throw on one thing and the whole outfit is complete and looks like I really made an effort. Especially with a dress like this that didn't even need jewelry if I didn't want to fuss with that. With jeans you still have to figure out an outfit and what to wear with them. (BONUS: Like jeans, with a maxi dress you don't even have to shave your legs!) haha.
      We didn't plan the matching outfits with each other or with the scenery actually! It was all just a perfect cumulation of happy coincidences. :)