Expert Travel And Tour Tips For The Napa Valley

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Traveling to the Napa Valley? Here are some important travel tips to keep in mind as you prepare your trip.
The Napa Valley is Northeast of San Francisco and about the same distance from SFO airport, Oakland airport and Sacramento airport.

Speaking of distances, here are some travel times to other Northern California destinations:
• Napa to San Francisco about an hour and a half to two hours.
• Napa to Carmel/Monterey about three and a half hours.
• Napa to Yosemite Valley about 4 hours.
• Napa to Mendocino about 3 hours or so.
• Napa to Reno about 4 hours but more in the Winter.
• Napa to Los Angeles about 6 and a half hours.

Sacramento Airport – This is definitely your airport of choice if you are flying in AND your local airport has flights that go there. It is so much easier to exit the terminal, get a rental car, be on your way and drive to Napa (about one hour door to door).

If you arrive early on a weekday, you will encounter some commute traffic as you head toward Napa – so, your drive will take more than an hour.
If you are leaving Napa mid-afternoon on a weekday, ADD extra time to your travel plans to make sure you are able to get to the airport on time.
Can’t avoid San Francisco or Oakland airports?
Here are some travel tips.
These airports are on major commute corridors.
SFO – Unless you are arriving around noon or leaving about 3:00 PM or traveling after about 6:00 PM you will be DEEP in the middle of commute traffic. On a good day the trip will be about an hour and 15 minutes. On a bad day it can be over 3 hours of travel time. Plan according to your arrival time.
Oakland Airport – Unless you are arriving around noon or leaving about 3:00 PM or traveling after about 6:00 PM you will be DEEP in the middle of commute traffic. On a good day the trip will be about an hour and 15 minutes. On a bad day it can be over 3 hours of travel time.

No, that’s not a typo, both airports are about the same distance from the Napa Valley and use the same freeways. So, plan according to your arrival time. Or, better yet, use the Sacramento Airport.
Other considerations include whether a major sports game is being played on the day you are arriving or leaving or whether there is major earthquake retrofit work going on one of the bridges you are crossing.
Speaking of bridges, tolls are $5 on the Golden Gate, $3 on the Bay Bridge and the Carquinez Bridge. Both the Bay and Carquinez toll rates are currently under review and will likely go up.

Some freeways allow you to use a commute lane if you have two or more and sometimes three or more people in your vehicle. Watch for the sign to tell you if you have to have two or three total occupants in your vehicle. The ticket costs a minumum of $271 if you are pulled over by the Highway Patrol.
If you have more time or are already in San Francisco or neighboring towns, another beautiful drive is to travel over the Golden Gate bridge.

It is typical urban traffic in town, can be congested during weekday commute times, but is a nice scenic drive once you head East on Hwy 37 and turn North on to Hwy 121. This route is about 10 miles longer but can be about the same time or even less than the other routes because of less commute congestion.
The Napa Valley is a gorgeous international destination to visit.
With a little thought and preparation, you will have a wonderful visit.
Have a great trip.

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