If you’re dreaming of touring the California Wine Country, you’re probably imagining yourself loading up the car, grabbing some maps, and heading out for a road trip. But did you know that there are more ways to take in Napa Valley and Sonoma County than a plain old car? If you really want to turn your California wine tour into an experience to remember, here are 10 alternatives that will add more excitement or romance (or both) to your getaway… and in most cases, help you avoid the tourist traps and traffic, and create a more customized experience.
Rather let someone else do the driving? A bus or shuttle tour lets you sit back and relax, and focus on taking in the scenery (and tasting the wine) rather than planning and driving. Bus tours usually visit 3 or 4 wineries, and offer a picnic lunch.
Trains are a fun way to travel, and a train tour can offer more than just a scenic ride through wine country. Many tour companies offer a wide range of excursions, and even themed tours, to make your wine country experience as relaxed or as wild as you want. And you’ll be treated to gourmet meals, right on the train!
A jeep tour gives you a fun, off-road ride through the vineyard itself. You’ll go beyond the tasting room and learn more about the grapes and how they are grown, and get a grower’s eye view of the whole process.
If you want to explore featured wines in luxury, a limo tour could be just what you’re looking for. You’ll avoid tourist traps, and travel in style and privacy.
If you’re active, then pedal through the California wine country back roads and byways on a bike tour. You can choose to take a day trip, or make it a total cycling adventure with a vacation package.
Get your motor running, and get ready for adventure! Explore wine country on a motorcycle. There are several rental companies in the area, and they’re more than happy to help you explore the back roads and vineyards.
If you prefer a slower pace, check out a trail ride or horse and carriage tour. This is a perfect option for newlyweds, or couples who want to up the romance quotient.
For some serious romance and fun, a balloon tour gives you a sunrise, bird’s-eye view of Napa Valley or Sonoma County. Enjoy breakfast among the clouds as you float over dew-speckled vineyards at 2,000 feet.
If you love the outdoors, why not tour Sonoma County in a kayak? For even more adventure, look for a package that includes hiking and cycling as well.
If you want up close and personal California wine tours, try a hiking or walking adventure. You’ll get to meet the wine makers in person, and sample their wares… and the pace can be as relaxed or intense as you want it.