The beauty of Northern California is on full display as you prepare to drive through the rolling hills, twisting vineyards, and stunning wineries of the world-famous Napa Valley region- Better known as California’s wine country- on your way to San Francisco.

The best thing about this road trip is that it can be tailored to any length of time you desire. The full drive takes just over an hour, so you can stop as little or as much as you like. Explore the area on a half-day trip through the Sonoma Valley area, or make it a round-trip San Francisco day trip.

Our stunning Chateau de Vie will be waiting to welcome you home from your adventure!

Driving From Napa Valley to San Francisco

A road trip from Napa Valley to San Francisco features stunning scenery year-round but is most scenic during the spring or fall. During your drive, you’re bound to see stunning displays of nature as the foliage turns or spring blossoms begin to emerge. During these months, the weather is generally pleasant, and you’ll also avoid the summer crowds.

That being said, it is worth noting that if you’re a wine enthusiast, you should consider this trip through California’s wine country during the grape harvest season in late summer or early fall.

Choosing Your Route: Highway 29

As you leave Downtown Napa, you’ll take the scenic route along the iconic Highway 29. This rural highway winds through the heart of Napa Valley, allowing you to witness this breathtaking wine region in all of its glory.

Once you’ve enjoyed the views of the surrounding valley, jump onto the Silverado Trail, a rustic two-lane road lined with shady oaks and world-class wineries. This will lead you to the heart of Napa.

Where to Stop on Your Road Trip

The journey between Napa and San Francisco is dotted with stopover potential. Here are a few places you don’t want to miss on your trip to the Bay Area! 


If you’ve just gotten into town and finally settled into the luxurious Chateau de Vie, it’s possible that you haven’t had the chance to explore past our walls just yet. However, the town of Calistoga is a short ride away and is the perfect place to pick up a rental car if you need one before heading out on your road trip! Calistoga has a few things you should put on your list. 

Geothermal Hot Springs

The area surrounding Calistoga is well-known for its geothermal hot springs and mineral springs. Relax in healing waters and feel your cares drift away. Visit Dr. Wilkinson’s Backyard Resort & Mineral Springs if you’re looking for a hot springs experience complete with a volcanic ash mud bath. Or, explore romance at the Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, where you can get a singles or couples tub filled with spring water and even spa treatments!

Castello di Amorosa

Explore the iconic and impressive castle winery, take a guided tour, and savor their exquisite wines. Take note you must have a guided tour or tasting reserved ahead of time to gain access to the Castello di Amorosa property! 

St. Helena

Not even 15 minutes away from your first stop, you’ll find yourself encroaching on the St. Helena limits. Pop into this town for a bite and, of course, some wine!

Gourmet Dining

Enjoy a gourmet dining experience at one of the acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurants in St. Helena, such as The Restaurant at Meadowood or The Charter Oak.

Napa Valley Wine Train

If you’re looking to make a day of it, take a quick reprieve and enjoy a 6-hour round-trip wine-tasting tour. Your train journey will take you to the renowned wineries of Charles Krug and V. Sattui, where you’ll enjoy a tasting tour and learn the fine art of winemaking. Finally, enjoy a 4-course meal aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train as you return to St. Helena.


This small town, which spans just over a mile, is said to be the birthplace of the first vine in California. There are plenty of vineyards to choose from but also tasting rooms in town if you are short on time. 

Jessup Cellars Wine Tasting Gallery

Jessup Cellars Wine Tasting Gallery is a famous Napa winery with guided experiences led by seasoned wine educators. Take a wine tour and consider indulging in their wine and chocolate tasting experience – the best of all worlds!

The French Laundry

Thomas Keller’s three-starred Michelin restaurant The French Laundry, is the spot for an opulent lunch or celebratory dinner. Their Farmers & Foragers menu tells you everything you need to know about local sourcing, seasonal ingredients, and the skilled craftsmanship of unique ingredients. 

Downtown Napa

One place you cannot miss on your road trip through Napa Valley is the heart of the region –  Downtown Napa. There are plenty of can’t miss opportunities here for visiting breweries, eating fine foods, or relaxing at one of the luxury spas. If you’re short on time as you pass through, the promenade and market are a great way to see the city. 

Explore the Riverfront Promenade

Walk along the Vine Trail on the Riverfront Promenade, which runs alongside the Napa River. Enjoy the views as you wind your way around restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and other buildings.

Visit the Oxbow Public Market

You never know what you’ll find at the Oxbow Public Market, a gathering spot featuring fine local goods and cuisine. This bustling marketplace offers a diverse range of vendors, from gourmet restaurants and bakeries to cheese shops and organic produce. Enjoy a delicious meal, sample local wines, or simply wander around and soak in the ambiance. It is open seven days a week from 7.30 am to 9.00 pm. 


At the heart of Sonoma County, just 20 minutes outside of downtown Napa, you’ll find the small town of Sonoma- a California gem steeped in history.

The Historic Sonoma Plaza

Take a stroll through this stunning downtown square that is lined with charming shops, restaurants, tasting rooms, and wine cellars to explore. The Sonoma Plaza has some of the best fine dining in the area as well as ample opportunities for family activities. 

 Explore Mission San Francisco Solano

Step back in time and visit the last of the California missions, Mission San Francisco Solano. Originally built by Franciscan missionaries, these historic buildings are well-known for their beautiful architecture and rich history.


Make the last stop on your Northern California road trip a pit stop in Sausalito. This town on the water will fill you with small-town charm before you embark on your last leg across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sausalito Boardwalk

Take in the stunning Bay Bridge and Angel Island views as you stroll along the Bridgeway promenade or the Sausalito Boardwalk. Browse the unique boutiques and pop into a local restaurant along the water.

Family Fun at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

Looking for something to inspire imagination and creativity? Look no further than the Bay Area Discovery Museum. With a philosophy centered around play-based learning, this museum offers exhibits that encourage children’s curiosity and exploration.

From obstacle courses to art studios, there is something for everyone to enjoy. And don’t miss out on the chance to take your little ones to Bay Hall, where they can explore a recreation of the Bay Area ports. On sunny days there is also an outdoor exploration area and treehouse play structures.

Exploring San Francisco

You’ve finally arrived! Ending your road trip in San Francisco is a fantastic choice, as the city offers many extremely popular attractions, amazing food options, and multiple ways to get around this bustling city. 

Ditch Your Rental Car

Even on weekdays; the traffic can be tricky in the city. You’ll want to use public transportation once you officially cross into the San Francisco Bay Area. Thankfully, efficient public transit offers many ways to get around, including buses, light rail, and of course, the famous cable cars.

Ride share options such as Uber and Lyft are widely available in San Francisco and offer a convenient way to get around the city. This option is particularly useful when you are short on time!

In addition, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system is another option for quick train travel to and from the city’s suburbs and local attractions. If your road trip is one-way, it also connects directly to the San Francisco International Airport.

Visit Iconic San Francisco Landmarks

The famous city of SFO is burgeoning with things to do and places to go. Here are a few places you don’t want to miss on your road trip to San Francisco.

Golden Gate Bridge

Walk, bike, or join a guided tour of this magnificent American landmark. Stop in at Fort Point and learn all about the engineering of this historic sight.

Alcatraz Island

Explore the notoriously (almost) inescapable prison. Make sure you take public transit to Pier 33, where you’ll catch the ferry to the island, as there is no parking. Prepare to be terrified!

Fisherman’s Wharf

One of the hottest attractions in San Fran, is calling your name! The Fisherman’s Wharf is the hub of San Franscico’s tourist universe. It is home to sourdough bowls of clam chowder, sea lion shenanigans, and the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Visit Pier 39, see a WWII submarine, sample some Ghiradelli chocolate, and eat to your heart’s content in this hipster neighborhood.

San Francisco Bay Ferry

If you’re chasing views, head to the San Francisco Ferry Building and take a boat ride. These waterways connect multiple routes to Oakland, Vallejo, Richmond, and beyond. Most of all, these decks are the perfect place to see unparalleled views of the San Francisco Bay.

An Amazing California Road Trip

Our luxury chateau just outside Calistoga provides the perfect sanctuary to return to after your explorations. Immerse yourself in the elegance of our accommodations and indulge in the world-class amenities that have been meticulously curated to elevate your stay.