You want to visit one of the best places in the world to sip on some wine and admire the beauty around you. Napa Valley is a great choice! Now how do you go about getting there? If you are traveling to Napa, you will not be flying into Napa. Unless of
For “us” normal people, we have 4 other airports to choose from, depending on what you have planned for your journey. Each option takes about an hour, possibly two hours to get you to the beginning of the Napa Valley, near downtown (the southernmost region of the area). Here are some options below.
Napa By Plane
The airport I fly into most often is 34 miles south of South Napa in Oakland. Oakland airport is a smaller airport and much easier to navigate as opposed to SFO (San Francisco International). Oakland airport is the closest, mile-wise, to downtown Napa. I rarely check San Francisco International airport prices when I fly from Southern California. Oakland is usually around the same price and its easier.
However, it’s good to check your different options, considering both airports are not that far away from each other. When you fly from other U.S. cities, flights could be significantly cheaper flying into San Francisco.
When I flew into Oakland last week (February 2019), it took me an hour to fly from Long Beach, California. I spent one more hour driving to downtown Napa from the airport. On the drive back from Napa to Oakland airport, with some pretty heavy traffic in Berkley, it was an hour and 30 minute drive.
San Francisco International Airport or SFO is about 12 miles further from Napa than Oakland, about 46 miles total distance. Truthfully though, depending on the time of day and the price of your ticket. San Francisco airport only takes slightly longer to get to. Flying into SFO means you are going to get more airline and flight time choices, which is nice.
Sacramento. I love this airport. It’s nice, small, clean and almost always more expensive to book. I do like the drive to the airport better. Unless you hit traffic, and then it just almost doesn’t move at all. Although the traffic getting in and out of Oakland or San Francisco is no cake walk either. I usually try to book around traffic times to any of the above airports, if possible. Traffic times are the worst Friday afternoons, and weekdays 7-9 am and 2pm-7pm.
Santa Rosa airport in Sonoma County is the only airport I have not flown into. It’s about an hour to an hour and 15 minute drive from the Sant Rosa airport to downtown Napa. Flights are extremely limited, but if you are visiting both Sonoma and Napa on your trip it would make the most sense to fly into.
Shuttles, Ubers, and Rentals…oh my
Evans shuttle picks you up at Oakland or San Francisco airport for $40 per person and drops you off near downtown Napa. This was always my choice when I would fly in solo because I did not need a car while I was visiting. If you are going to Napa to only really drink wine and you are staying downtown Napa, Yountville, downtown Calistoga, or downtown St. Helena, you do not really need a car either.
However, if you are interested in more than just tasting Napa’s varietals, I would highly recommend renting a car. To uber from Oakland airport is going to cost you around $80 one way, and if you rent a car for 3 days at $50 a day, you are actually saving money and you have a car the whole time.
Or if you are a California resident, drive there in your own car. The different regions of Napa are spread out. From the southernmost part of Napa to the North in Calistoga, it can take almost an hour to get through the valley.
If you are wine tasting in more than one region, you will be driving not walking. Assign a designated driver in your group, rent a limo/car/shuttle with a driver, or use your uber/
Visiting Napa last week, I forgot how dark it gets at night there. It’s a little more country than city, so you don’t have the big city bright lights shining on the highways.
Be safe and have fun!
***I know a good amount about the area because I lived there and I am back in Napa so frequently. Go ahead and DM me on Instagram @hersaltykisses with any questions about your trip and I would be happy to help.