You can reach the Napa Valley by air, land or water, although almost all visitors come by auto or bus.
There is no scheduled air service to the Napa Valley but visitors with private planes can fly into Napa Valley Airport.
Napa Valley Airport
2030 Airport Road
Napa CA 94558
Located 6.5 miles south of the city of Napa, Napa Valley Airport is a general aviation airport operated by the County of Napa. It was originally established by the U.S. Army in 1942 as the Napa Auxiliary Air Defense Field. The Army turned it over to the county in 1945. It can accommodate aircraft up to a Gulfstream V. Its FAA-manned control tower is operated seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Pilot info: Napa Airport (KAPC), N38-12.8°-W122-16.8° VAR-16°E Elev. 33 ft. 18R-36L Length 5931' x 150', 6/24 Length 5007' x 150' Unicom 122.95 Oakland Center 127.8 Tower 118.7 Ground 121.7
4075 Solano Avenue
Napa CA 94558
707.255.1559 944.2025 (upvalley)
Evans has frequent, regularly scheduled trips to and from both San Francisco and Oakland Airports with a stop at Vallejo. Their local terminal is at the north end of Napa just off Highway 29. Evans is how those of us who live here usually get to the airport.
ABC Transport Express
Locals are starting to use Sacramento Airport as well. Transportation is provided between Napa and Sacramento by ABC Transport Express.
Wine Country Helicopters
2030 Airport Road
Napa CA 94558
Helicopter transportation to/from Bay Area airports, wineries, resorts. Also tours and various commercial services such as aerial photography.
Few visitors come to the Napa Valley by water, although if you have a small boat it's possible to motor up the Napa River as far as the city of Napa.
You can also stop south of the city of Napa and dock your boat in the Carneros region at the Napa Valley Marina.
Napa Valley Marina
1200 Milton Road (Off Cuttings Wharf Road)
Napa CA 94559
Greyhound no longer has bus service to Napa. We are now officially isolated.
2401 4th Avenue, Suite 700
Seattle, WA 98121
800.888.9378 Fax: 206.441.4757
The Spirit of Endeavour sails the wine country with 102 guests. (Graphic courtesy of Cruise West.)
A private cruise line with low-draft ships that sail up the lower Napa River to dock in the Carneros area. Ships hold about 100 passengers. Three and four-night cruises let passengers visit wineries in both Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
Since over 90% of our visitors come by car (or tour bus), we'll focus on driving to the Napa Valley.
Via Golden Gate Bridge
The famed Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco with Marin County and leads into the wine country. (Photo courtesy of Wine Institute.)
Drive north over the Golden Gate Bridge on Highway 101 and continue through Marin County almost to Novato. Take the Napa 37 East turnoff to the east and continue following the signs to Napa. The trip takes just under an hour in good traffic, considerably more at rush hour. But as a visitor you shouldn't be driving at rush hour anyhow. Enjoy the views, the cows, the vineyards, and the oak trees. It's by far the most scenic way to drive to the Napa Valley.
Shortly before you reach the Napa Valley, you'll pass (on the right side of Highway 12/121—the Carneros Highway) Domaine Carneros winery. Continuing east, you'll see a sign for "Napa River Resorts" on the south side of the road. The sign has been there a long time, and transportation officials have no idea why it's there, since there are no resorts and have been none in recent memory. (There are, however, a number of homes, vineyards and wineries as well as the Napa Valley Marina and Moore's Landing restaurant.)
A short time after passing the "resort" turnoff, you'll find yourself at Highway 29, the main highway running north-south in the valley. Turn left (north) toward Napa and Calistoga.
Via San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
Take the Bay Bridge east towards Oakland, then head north on Highway 80 (although it says "East") towards Sacramento. If you're staying in downtown San Francisco, driving to the Napa Valley is usually quicker over the Bay Bridge than going over the Golden Gate Bridge. Going up the East Bay isn't pretty, but it's fast.
Once through Vallejo, turn off Highway 80 at the exit marked "Napa" and head toward the Napa Valley. North of the town of American Canyon you'll pass the intersection of Highway 29 and Highway 12. At the southeast corner of this intersection, across from the Napa Valley Airport, is a large three-story stone building nestled among oak trees that looks like it just has to be winery. It isn't. It's a medical malpractice insurance company—The Doctors Company. Sorry; no wine, no visitors, and no picnicking.
On the other (west) side of Highway 29 is the Napa Valley Airport (www.napacountyairport.org). The largest facility there belongs to Japan Air Lines. JAL provides basic flight training for almost all its pilots at this airport. More than 150 student pilots are undergoing training at any given time.
Continuing north on Highway 29, you'll come to a fork. You can either go right onto Soscol Avenue (forking off to the right just before the traffic light) and on into the downtown area of Napa, or stay on Highway 29 and pass over the Southern Crossing (George F. Butler Bridge) and continue north on Highway 29 toward Calistoga. (Along Highway 29 there are a number of exits into the city of Napa.) If you follow the "Calistoga" sign and stay on 29, you'll cross over the bridge and be able to look down on the meandering Napa River.
You'll also see a group of large satellite dishes. This "dish farm" is the Napa Teleport belonging to Intelsat (www.intelsat.com), that provides global video and data broadcasting services via satellite. The network reaches 98 percent of the world's population, and distributes entertainment and information for cable television systems, TV broadcast affiliates, direct-to-home TV operators, Internet service providers, telecommunications companies and corporations.
Intelsat carries an average of 7,000 hours a month of news, sports and special events for such clients as A&E, CNN Discovery, Disney, Dow Jones, BBC, AOL Time-Warner, Fox, HBO, NPR, MTV, Reuters, Direct TV, Deutsche Welle, British Telecom, Hughes Network Systems, and Japan Telecom.
Continue on over the bridge and you're now in the Napa Valley.
Dutch "belted" cows greet visitors from the west side of Highway 29 just north of the Highway 12/121 turnoff.
There's a very enjoyable ferry that takes you from the San Francisco Ferry Building to Vallejo, which is about 20 miles south of Napa. It's about a one-hour trip with a great view of San Francisco, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Angel Island, and areas you'll never see when driving. From Vallejo, you can take the Napa Valley Transit bus to the valley, but this is not yet a highly traveled method. Someday, there will be train service between the Vallejo ferry terminal and Napa, but it's not here yet.
One of the fleet of ferries taking visitors and commuters between Vallejo and San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of BayLink Ferries.)
Amtrak buses to and from the Amtrak train station in Martinez stop at the downtown Napa transit center as well as at the Wine Train station.