Day Trips to Napa from San Francisco

A walk through the San Francisco wine region to enjoy the most intense flavors, sound good? Stay and read, I'll tell you more.

Andressa García

Andressa García

11 min read

Day Trips to Napa from San Francisco

Napa | ©Luca Sartoni

The Napa region is one of the most famous wine regions not only in the United States, but around the world. Visiting this area is an experience that I recommend you to live if you are a lover of wine, cheese and vineyard tours.

One of the most interesting things you will see on this type of trip is how wine is produced, how it is stored in the vineyards and how the best grapes are grown. Book your excursion to Napa and be sure to include it in your list of things to see and do in San Francisco.

1. Napa Valley Full Day Tour

Napa Valley| ©Roger W
Napa Valley| ©Roger W

On this full day tour to Napa Valley you will have the opportunity to board an air-conditioned bus that will take you to the Napa area and then around at least three major wineries and vineyards within that wine growing area.

You will be able to taste the wines produced in that area and also see the grape growing process.

On the other hand, this one-day activity gives you the opportunity to get to know in depth the town of Napa and all the nearby areas, such as Sonoma Valley. You will be able to learn about its history and hear from several of its neighbors the most popular stories of the place. It is a picturesque region that has a lot to tell visitors.

I recommend this experience because you can also taste typical food of this area and it is a place that is very close to San Francisco, which makes the ride short and pleasant.

If you go alone, as a couple or with friends, you will share the experience with other tourists, so you can make good friends during the tour.

Details of interest

  • Price: from about 120 euros.
  • Duration: about nine hours.
  • Means of transport: air-conditioned bus.
  • Advantages of this tour: it includes a professional guide who will clarify all your doubts on the tour, pick up from two points of your choice (usually Union Square or Fisherman's Wharf), the price of tasting of three wineries and can also include lunch if you specify at the time of booking.
  • Disadvantages of this tour: it does not include additional food and beverages, or gratuities. Pick up or transfer back to the hotel is also not included, it only takes place at the specified points. It is not a wheelchair accessible tour. In addition**, the tour may be cancelled if the weather is bad** or if the tour is not full.

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2. Private tour of Napa wineries and vineyards

Napa Wineries| ©Luiz Eduardo
Napa Wineries| ©Luiz Eduardo

Unlike other tours you can take to Napa from San Francisco (or even tours like the ones that take you to Sausalito from San Francisco), this one is special because it is a private tour, perfect if you are traveling with your family or several of your friends.

With this tour you will have the opportunity to get to know much more than three wineries. Depending on the case, you may have the opportunity to be picked up at your own hotel. Afterwards, the tour reaches the town of Napa where you will see a large number of vineyards, and of course you will have access to a wine tasting.

This tour also usually includes a visit to the Sonoma vineyards, making it a very complete option.

With this type of tour you can organize the itinerary of winery and vineyard visits on your own, of course with the advice of the expert guides. You have an extensive list of wineries from which you can choose to visit between 8 and 10 of them during the whole day.

If you complete the 8-hour tour and still want more, you can pay an additional fee and visit other wineries to continue enjoying the best wine tasting in San Francisco.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 654 euros per person.
  • Duration: approximately 8 hours
  • Means of transportation: luxury and off-road vehicles, depending on the terrain to be visited.
  • Advantages of this tour: water is included throughout the tour and photo service to be taken on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It can also include pick-up and drop-off at the hotel, provided you inform us in advance.
  • Disadvantages of this tour: You must pay an additional charge for gasoline, with an average cost of about 45 euros. Lunch is not included, nor is the presence of a guide, as each winery has a guided tour by its own staff. The wine tasting fee is not usually included either.

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3. Napa Valley Wine Train Tour on board the Napa Valley Wine Train

Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train| ©Jim G
Aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train| ©Jim G

This is one of my favorite tours because it's all about hopping aboard an authentic, upgraded train car from where you can tour the entire Napa Valley while sampling the flavors of the region's most exquisite wines, as well as eating lunch and savoring artisanal cheeses and other special Napa Valley foods.

Most of these tours offer a complete experience from San Francisco to the Napa vineyards. They are conducted aboard a train that has been remodeled but without losing its vintage essence, so you will have a unique experience among the vineyards.

During the tour you will have all the curtains open so you can enjoy the scenery that you will see as you go through the Napa Valley. This makes it an ideal activity to include among the things to see and do in San Francisco in summer. This is an experience you can do alone, as a couple or in a group but sharing the train with other visitors, or hire the train for private excursions.

Details of interest

  • Price: From 350 euros per person.
  • Duration: the tour lasts 9 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Means of transportation: ferry or bus from San Francisco to Napa and vice versa. Train throughout the Napa Valley area.
  • Advantages of this option: Wine tasting on board the train is included, as well as a three-course lunch. Winery tour included, as well as beverages such as tea and water. This tour is not cancelled due to weather conditions, so I recommend you take your precautions in this regard. Assistance pets are allowed.
  • Disadvantages of this option: Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and juices are not included, although you can purchase them on board the train at an additional cost. It is not accessible for wheelchair users. You cannot wear just any clothes, you must wear casual but elegant attire.

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4. Napa Valley Wine Trolley tour on board the Napa Valley Wine Trolley

Napa Valley Wine Train Tour| ©dewet
Napa Valley Wine Train Tour| ©dewet

If there's one tour you're going to love, it's the Napa Valley Wine Trolley.

You may have used the trolley in San Francisco, as they are included in the San Francisco City Pass. Well, this same means of transportation runs through all the streets of Napa and takes you to the vineyards and wineries to learn about the wine processes and of course taste each one of them.

During the tastings you can also try other snacks, such as cheese, chocolate and other similar products.

Generally, the experience is full day and begins in San Francisco, from where you will depart with your group to the Napa wine country to board a streetcar that will take you to tour vineyards throughout the community.

The streetcar is a vehicle that has been restored to take passengers in the best vintage style to visit all the interesting places in Napa.

In order to participate in this experience and enjoy the wine tasting, participants must be over 21 years old and you have to take into account that the liquor you will consume will be only in the vineyards and wineries, since on board the streetcar is prohibited the ingestion of alcohol.

I do not recommend you to include this activity in your list of things to do in San Francisco with kids.

Interesting details

  • Price: from 227 euros per person.
  • Duration: from 6 to 8 hours.
  • Means of transportation: some options offer pick up in San Francisco at an additional cost. After you arrive at the meeting place, the excursion is by streetcar.
  • Advantages of this option: The tour takes place in any type of weather, but if it is very rainy, windy and conditions are not optimal, the team can make the decision to change the trolley for a minibus. It is possible to carry assistance pets. In addition, most people can participate in the tour without inconvenience. You can request guides who speak Spanish or other languages in advance. Lunch is included.
  • Disadvantages of this option: Not suitable for wheelchair users. Wine tasting fees are not included in any of the wineries, which usually range between 30 and 40 euros.

Book a tour to Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley

5. San Francisco to Napa Valley Limousine Tour

Napa Valley by limousine| ©Kandukuru Nagarjun
Napa Valley by limousine| ©Kandukuru Nagarjun

On this select tour you will have the opportunity to travel through the different wineries of Napa Valley in a modern and luxurious limousine. You can take the tour with a small group of your family and friends. When you book this experience you can rest assured that the limousine will only be for your group and will not be shared with anyone else.

Included in the service is the transfer to and from the hotel where you are staying in San Francisco. Right at the beginning of the tour you will have a complimentary bottle of wine so you can enjoy the trip from the beginning to the end.

The guide who will accompany you on the excursion will be in charge of sharing all his knowledge about wine production and grape growing to achieve the highest quality of the final product.

It is a participatory experience where you and your group will be able to ask all the questions you want about wine production and the Napa region in general.

Details of interest

  • Price: From 1,000 euros per group of up to 8 people.
  • Duration: Approximately 8 hours.
  • Transportation: Limousine from San Francisco to Napa Valley.
  • Advantages of this tour: you will receive a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine. The driver, in addition to being careful and cautious, has extensive knowledge about the wines and their production. Gratuity is included, as well as fuel surcharges. You can bring assistance animals. It is accessible for baby strollers. Overtime tour is available, but not included in the initial price.
  • Disadvantages of this tour: Not suitable for wheelchair users. The tour is not recommended for pregnant women. The minimum age to enjoy the tour is 21 years old. It does not include the wine tasting fee at the wineries, nor does it include lunch expenses. Bridge and toll fees are not included.

Tips for a tour to Napa

Napa Valley| ©Naotake Murayama
Napa Valley| ©Naotake Murayama
  • Bring enough extra money so that you can get into all the wine tastings and, most importantly, buy souvenir wines to take with you.
  • Dress in layers because the weather in San Francisco is considerably changeable, so it is preferable to be prepared at all times.
  • I do not recommend that you drink alcoholic beverages during the trip, but rather just enjoy the tasting, so you can stay sober and enjoy the tour.
  • This type of tour requires a minimum age of 21 years old to participate in the wine tasting. Young people under this age need to be accompanied by an adult of legal age to attend the tour.
  • Tips are never or almost never included in the price of the service, so I recommend that you calculate the tip according to the quality of the tour guide. In the United States it is very important to comply with the tipping rule.

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What are the must-see places in Napa Valley?

Calistoga Depot| ©Sarah Stierch
Calistoga Depot| ©Sarah Stierch

Napa is a really big and popular region, where you will be able to tour different places of interest. On a trip to Napa Valley you will not only have the opportunity to taste wine, but also to appreciate beautiful scenery and get to know a beautiful city.

Napa Valley

In this place you will find the largest number of vineyards in Napa, so obviously it is a place you cannot miss if you want to make a good wine tour of the region.


In this town you can see everything related to vineyards and wineries. Calistoga is home to the most important vineyards and wineries in the entire wine region, as well as being the cradle of some of the best export-quality wines.

City of Napa

This is a city with great attractions. For being so far away from the hustle and bustle of the city of San Francisco, it is honestly a more than picturesque place where you can visit the Oxbow Market, one of the most iconic places in this city.

Book a tour to Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley

Why take a trip to Napa Valley?

Napa Road| ©Luca Sartoni
Napa Road| ©Luca Sartoni

I highly recommend a trip to Napa Valley because in addition to being a wine region by nature, it is a place that gives you the chance to taste the best artisan cheeses, as well as different varieties of chocolate and exquisite honey.

In fact, I would include this tour among the best gastronomic tours in San Francisco for its culinary variety, and it is also an area worth visiting on the outskirts of the city for its rich cultural heritage. It is a place I wouldn't miss for the world.

The guided tour also gives you the opportunity to get to know what you did not know and rediscover aspects that were pending if you had already visited Napa Valley before.

This type of excursions are ideal to share with your family or friends if you are a lover of culinary pleasures. I would definitely include it among the best tours and excursions from San Francisco.

Advantages of taking a guided tour to Napa vs. taking one on my own

Napa Valley| ©James Faulkner
Napa Valley| ©James Faulkner

The main difference between a guided tour to Napa and one on your own is that on the guided tour you will be paying for information and sightseeing that you will not get on a self-guided tour.

On the other hand, you should consider the advantage of traveling to a place without having to drive yourself. Another advantage is the entrance to the vineyards and wineries. Under normal conditions, if you go on a tour to Napa on your own, you will probably find it a bit difficult to get into more than one vineyard to see the inside and participate in the tasting.

If you go on a guided tour, you will only have to hire a single service and forget about making a different reservation for each winery. The tour leader will make sure you visit your three, five or eight vineyards during your day trip and you will only have to worry about enjoying and listening to the anecdotes and stories they have to tell you.

Book a Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley Tour