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Napa Valley Honeymoon Itinerary: The Ultimate Guide

by | Apr 15, 2024 | Featured, North America | 7 comments

Planning a honeymoon can be overwhelming, especially if you’re planning to go to wine country. As a professional honeymoon planner and a Napa Valley enthusiast, I have put together this guide to help you plan your perfect Napa Valley Honeymoon Itinerary.

The Best Napa Valley Honeymoon Itinerary

Napa Valley is one of the most romantic places in the US. From the world-class wineries and Michelin-starred restaurants to the natural hot springs and luxurious resorts it’s the perfect place for a honeymoon.

However, with more than 400 wineries and over 150 fabulous restaurants, it can be overwhelming to plan the perfect honeymoon. Never mind the fact that you’re in the middle of planning a wedding! Well, stop stressing.  As a travel professional who specializes in honeymoons and a frequent Napa Valley visitor, I got you! Keep reading for all the wine-country travel tips and tricks that will help you craft your perfect Napa Valley honeymoon itinerary.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and buy I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

How to Get to Napa Valley

The perfect Napa Honeymoon

Getting to Napa is fairly simple. There are 3 main airports that you can fly into, Sacramento, Oakland, and San Francisco. If you did fly to any of those airports, from there you can either rent a car and drive into Napa or have a car service pick you up at the airport.

Sacramento (SMF)

Sacramento’s airport is 75 miles from Napa Valley. The drive will take you 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the time of day. It is a big hub for Southwest, and with many flight options, it’s a great alternative if you want to avoid the hubbub of flying into San Francisco.

Oakland (OAK)

Oakland is a great airport for fliers using discount airlines, like Spirit, Frontier, JetBlue, etc. While it is a smaller airport, it’s still quite busy. Being 63 miles away from Napa, expect the drive to take around 90 minutes.

San Francisco (SFO)

Since SFO is a major airport, serving Europe and Asia, expect it to be busier than the other airports mentioned. You might incur longer wait times and more traffic, but there will also be more flight options available. San Francisco is 70 miles south of Napa. It could take anywhere between one to two hours to arrive in Napa, and the drive time will depend on the time and day of the week.

Being from Kansas City, the flight options aren’t great, so I have only ever flown into San Francisco. Knock on wood, but I have not had any problems with traffic and the drive goes by quickly.

Where to Stay for the Ultimate Honeymoon in Napa Valley

The Perfect boutique hotel in downtown Napa

One of the first tasks to cross off the honeymoon planning to-do list is to decide where you will stay and get it booked. With so many fabulous boutique hotels and luxury resorts, you will have plenty of options.

When deciding where you will be spending your honeymoon, there are a couple of things to consider. The first thing to consider is what type of experience you want to have. It is your honeymoon, so perhaps you would like to stay somewhere a bit secluded and intimate? Or, maybe as a couple, you like to be social and would prefer to be close to restaurants and bars. Keep reading to learn more about some of the best honeymoon hotels and resorts in Napa Valley.

Downtown Napa

Downtown Napa is a great place to stay for anyone, but especially for first time visitors and couples who like a little nightlife. To be honest, the nightlife in Napa is nothing close to Vegas, but there are some great cocktail bars to check out. One of my favorites is at the Archer Hotel, called Sky & Vine. It’s a rooftop bar with a laid-back vibe, The cocktails are fabulous and some nights they have live music.

With all of that in mind, the Archer Hotel would be a fabulous option for your honeymoon. It’s a boutique hotel that is equal parts rustic and elegant. In addition to having a great rooftop bar, they also have a beautiful spa, fitness center, and on-site steakhouse, Charlie Palmer’s. The guest rooms all come with luxe bedding, a Nespresso maker, and a fully stocked mini-bar. Some rooms even have private balconies, which would be worth the splurge for a honeymoon!

St. Helena

If your perfect Napa Valley honeymoon is centered around wine tastings, then you should consider staying in St. Helena. It is home to over 150 wineries and centrally located making it the perfect hub for your honeymoon in wine country.

Even with the charming downtown area, St Helena offers a different vibe than downtown Napa. It seems to have a slower pace and offers a bit more of a local experience vs. a tourist experience. And most importantly, St. Helena offers some of the best views!

One of the best places for honeymooners to stay in St. Helena is Alila Napa Valley. It is truly luxurious and an adult-only property- perfect for honeymooners. The hotel is located just a short distance from the downtown area. Bikes are even provided by the hotel, for guests who want to explore the St. Helena area. All rooms have a private balcony or terrace, some even have private outdoor soaking tubs.

Another great option in St. Helena is Meadowood Napa Valley. The resort has 36 private cottages featuring beamed ceilings and terraces and some have fireplaces. Several pools are located on the property, even an adults-only pool. For active honeymooners, Meadowood is a great choice- as the resort features an expansive fitness center, tennis courts, and hiking trails.

Calistoga

For honeymooners who are looking for an experience that is centered around relaxation and offers a luxurious, yet understated atmosphere, Calistoga is where you want to stay. It is a charming and quaint town that will transport you back in time, and perfect if you’re looking to avoid the “hustle and bustle” of downtown Napa.

One of the best resorts in Calistoga is the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley. It’s actually fairly new, as it opened in 2021. The resort is located just a mile from downtown Calistoga but feels secluded and private. Each room or suite has its own private terrace or patio and deep free-standing tub. While you can get out and explore Napa Valley, if you choose the Four Seasons, you don’t necessarily have to. On the property, guests will find pools, a luxury spa, different dining options, and a winery.

Rutherford

Rutherford is known for producing some of the best wines found in Napa Valley. For couples who are looking to taste as much world-class wine as possible on their honeymoon, Rutherford is the place to stay. It’s also a great place to stay if either (or both) of you are interested in doing some outdoor activities, like hiking or biking.  

One of the most iconic luxury resorts in Napa is Auberge du Soleil. It is another adult-only option, making it great for honeymooners. The resort is nestled in Rutherford Hill and offers some of the most incredible views of Napa Valley. It also has a few fabulous restaurants on-site, including The Restaurant which is a 16-time recipient of a Michelin Star. There is also an outdoor sculpture garden for guests to walk through. It features over 100 pieces from 60 artists.

Best Places to Taste Wine in Napa Valley

Sparkling wine tasting at Domaine Carneros is the perfect way to start you Napa Valley Honeymoon

Now that you have determined where you are staying for your honeymoon, it’s time to decide where you will be tasting wine! For me, choosing which wineries and tasting rooms I’ll visit, is my favorite part of planning a trip to Napa. It is important to know that most wineries do not allow walk-in tastings and require reservations. Make sure to book your tasting reservations well in advance.

Napa Valley is known for producing world-class wine, and truly you can’t go wrong no matter where you taste, but when narrowing down your choices there are a few things to keep in mind. The first thing to think about is the types of wine you and your fiancé enjoy. Even if you both are lovers of Cabernet Sauvignon, filling an entire itinerary with only Cab Sauv, could get a bit tiresome for your palate. Think about finding a few wineries that focus on Cabernet and then mixing in a few that are known for other varietals.

The second thing to keep in mind is where the wineries are located. Try to group your tastings to a certain area each day. Napa Valley is pretty large, and you will need to account for potential traffic. Also, the roads are mountain roads, not 4-lane highways, so it takes longer to get around.

Domaine Carneros

I always like to start my trips to Napa with a sparkling wine tasting. There is something special about kicking off the trip with a little bubbly, especially if you’re celebrating your honeymoon. One of my favorite wineries for sparkling wines is Domaine Carneros. They have many different tasting options available. Many of the tastings are focused on their sparkling wines. However, they do have a few options that include their Pinot Noir. My favorite is the Art of Sabrage experience where you get to taste 4 different sparkling wines and learn the technique of sabrage (where a sword is used to open the champagne bottle). Talk about a way to kick off your honeymoon!

Castello di Amaorosa

Another fun winery is Castello di Amorosa. It is an authentic Tuscan castle right in the heart of Napa Valley. Some of the tastings include a guided tour of the castle. The guided tours allow you to see parts of the castle that are closed off to other guests. For couples who are interested in seeing the castle, make sure to book a guided tour. Castello di Amorosa produces many different varietals. From Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot and Chardonnay to Vermentino, they even have sweet and Rosé wines available. If I am being honest, the wine is not my favorite, but the experience of touring an authentic castle is worth the cost in my opinion.

AXR

One of my favorite wine-tasting experiences was at AXR. It is a beautiful property, and they have some of the best wines I’ve tasted. The tours include a bit of education on the property, the winemaker, and of course the wines. One aspect that I loved was being able to taste wine in a fairy ring (a group of redwood trees that had grown in a perfect circle). The tour guides even know that it’s the perfect backdrop for really special photos and will take several for you. As I mentioned the wines are outstanding. If you and your sweetie are Cab lovers, you will want to make sure to include a visit to AXR in your itinerary.

Additional Wineries

Here is a list of some wineries that would be perfect for a honeymoon:

  • Round Pond– If you can, reserve their Il Pranzo lunch. It’s beyond fabulous!
  • Far Niente– It feels like you’re in a storybook or a Disney movie. Picturesque and romantic.
  • Cliff Lede– Music-loving wine-os will appreciate this winery, the vineyard blocks are all named after famous rock songs.
  • Jarvis– The wines are incredible, and you’ll get to tour a wine cave that has a waterfall running through it.
  • Opus One– There is no better reason to splurge than on your honeymoon, and Opus One is a splurge that is worth every penny.

Where to Eat in Napa Valley

The perfect Napa Valley honeymoon itinerary includes dinner at the French Laundry

As mentioned, Napa Valley is known for its delicious wine. Another thing that Napa is known for is having some of the best restaurants in the country. There is no shortage of fabulous dining options to choose from. Everything from fancy Michelin-star restaurants to roadside cafes, and the food is fantastic no matter which end of the spectrum you choose. With that being said, there are some restaurants that I recommend for special occasions, like a honeymoon.

French Laundry

Perhaps one of the most iconic and well-known restaurants in Napa is Chef Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. It is a three-time Michelin-starred restaurant that focuses on French and Californian cuisine. The chef’s nine-course tasting menu highlights French technique while using the highest quality ingredients available. Many of the ingredients come from the French Laundry garden across the street from the restaurant.

Dining at the French Laundry is truly a bucket list experience for any foodie, which makes it the perfect place to celebrate your honeymoon. Reservations are released at the beginning of the month for the following month and are extremely hard to get. If you do get an opportunity to dine here, it is worth it to add the wine pairing to accompany the meal. The sommelier knows what he is doing.

Bouchon Bakery

Another famous restaurant in Yountville is Bouchon Bakery. I recommend making a stop here for coffee and a pastry to enjoy while walking around downtown Yountville. Bouchon was originally created to provide bread to Keller’s restaurants but has become an important restaurant on its own. It draws quite a crowd, so make sure to get there early! The pastry cases are stacked with the most incredible items. Everything from butter croissants to artisanal breads and cookies. The chocolate almond croissant is heavenly.

The Restaurant at RH Yountville

One of the most stunning restaurants in Yountville is the Restaurant at Restoration Hardware. The design is impeccable. You will feel as if you are dining in a Parisian Garden as you are surrounded by olive trees and chandeliers dripping with thousands of crystals all under a soaring glass roof. It is so romantic and the perfect place for honeymooners.

I really enjoyed the food too, even though I had been told it wasn’t very impressive. I was very impressed and enjoyed the lobster roll I had. The lobster roll was buttery and decadent while also being fresh and light at the same time- I’m not sure how that was accomplished, but WOW! The French Dip was arguably the best I have ever had. And the truffle fries were cooked to perfection- crisp and pillowy with the perfect amount of truffle.

Next door to the restaurant is the RH Wine Vault. The RH Wine Vault offers a curated collection of the finest wine. You can choose a wine flight, a glass of wine, or a bottle to enjoy.

Additional Restaurants

  • Press- a trendy upscale restaurant for chic Californian-inspired cuisine.
  • Boon Fly Café- one of the best places for brunch in Napa. Get the donuts to start, thank me later!
  • Rutherford Grille- another iconic Napa restaurant. Come here for high-end comfort food and a great patio.
  • Model Bakery- get the English Muffin breakfast sandwich, there are several options, but you must try the original.

Unique Experiences in Napa Valley

The perfect Napa Valley Honeymoon includes a hot air balloon ride on the itinerary

There is much more to do in Napa than taste wine. The weather is beautiful nearly all year round, making it a great place for outdoor activities. Of course, you can relax post-wedding by the pool at your resort but check out the list below of some other fun ideas you can add to your Napa Valley honeymoon itinerary.

Horseback Riding

Experience Napa Valley from the perspective of a rancher as you horseback ride through the vineyards.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

This is a super romantic experience where you and your sweetie can watch the sunrise over the rolling hills of Napa from a hot air balloon. After you land, you will be treated to a champagne brunch.

Hiking

There are so many fabulous hiking trails in Napa. It would be fun to take an afternoon hike and bring a picnic along to enjoy together.

Oxbow Public Market

Take a couple of hours and explore Oxbow Public Market together. There are so many great vendors and it’s the perfect place to pick up some goodies to take home. Make sure to stop by The Olive Press and pick up some olive oils to take home. Another must-visit vendor is the Fatted Claf, the best place to get items for building a charcuterie board.

Napa Valley Honeymoon Itinerary

Napa Valley is the perfect place for a romantic honeymoon

Ok, now let’s put it all together in a sample itinerary.

Arrival- Day One

  • Arrive at SFO
  • Stop for brunch at Boon Fly Café
  • Sparkling Wine Tasting at Domaine Carneros
  • Check in to the hotel
  • Dinner at Bouchon

Wine Tasting- Day Two

  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Wine Tasting at Castello di Amorosa
  • Wine Tasting at AXR
  • Lunch at Oakville Grocery
  • Wine Tasting at Round Pond
  • Dinner at Press

Explore Napa- Day Three

  • Breakfast at Bouchon Bakery
  • Morning Hike
  • Walk around the Napa Valley Riverfront
  • Explore Oxbow Public Market
  • Lunch at Gotts Roadside
  • Wine Tasting at Compline in Downtown Napa
  • Dinner at Rutherford Grill

Spa and Pool- Day Four

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Enjoy a couple’s massage and other treatments.
  • Lunch at the hotel
  • Spend the rest of the day at the pool
  • Dinner at RH Yountville

I hope you found this post helpful as you plan your Napa Valley Honeymoon itinerary. If you need more help, I’d be happy to assist!

The Ultimate Napa Valley Honeymoon Itinerary

Additional Posts

7 responses to “Napa Valley Honeymoon Itinerary: The Ultimate Guide”

  1. Tyler Wilson Avatar

    Great post! Thanks for all the recommendations! I’ll be sure to remember these for my honeymoon (or just a regular vacation, no reason I can’t enjoy Napa Valley single)!

  2. Michelle Avatar
    Michelle

    I have been to Napa Valley several times over the years and there is never enough time to explore the area. There is so much to see, do, and taste. Next time I visit I might try the hot-air balloon ride, it sounds like fun!

  3. Sharyn Avatar

    A ride in a hot air balloon sounds like a great thing to do, particularly if you aren’t a big wine drinker and want something else to do while on your honeymoon.

  4. Meghan Avatar

    Okay, Napa Valley is so beautiful, and I love that there are so many unique experiences here beyond visiting wineries. Definitely could be a romantic and fun honeymoon destination!

  5. Jaqueline Avatar

    Napa Valley seems like a truly serene and wonderful place! Beautifully written guide

  6. Janet Avatar
    Janet

    Great post even if you are not on a honeymoon. My son got the opportunity to eat at The French Laundry and said it was truly a unique experience (and very expensive!).

  7. Martha - Joyful State of Mind Avatar

    I would love to visit Napa Valley! Thanks for putting together such a great post with these recommendations!

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