Napa, California

Napa, California is the Napa County seat, making it the de facto co-capital of California’s wine country. Sonoma in Sonoma County shares the honor. In this two-county Wine Country, there are 400 wineries. Organized tours and private cars crowd the roads during summer weekends, but there are times when the County seems more like the quiet area that it was once. Once, wineries simply made wine. Now they attract tourists to see the vineyards and the wine-making process up-close. Wine tastings are common attractions. Top chefs and up-and-coming gourmet cooks prepare meals at wineries, spas, resorts and restaurants.
Sunrise at a vineyard in Napa, California
Outdoor activities are favored in the gentle climate. These include hiking, biking and sightseeing among pygmy forests, petrified forests and other unique wildlife habitats. Hot air ballooning is a favorite activity due to the unique landscape. Many guests come just to relax at the resorts or the spas with natural hot spring baths.

Napa County is the home of the volcano Mount Saint Helens. It is at the north end of the county in the Mayacamas Mountains. Robert Louis Stevenson State Park offers a 5-mile hike to the mountain summit. A popular link is the Napa Valley Wine Train which runs between the city of Napa and the town of St. Helens. Passengers can enjoy expert wining and fine dining while seeing many vineyards and wild areas from the comfort of a train. The Missimer Wildlife Preserve in northern Napa County seeks to protect many rare flowers that are native to the area.

Napa is home to 75,000 of the 125,000 residents of Napa County. This population is somewhat small by California standards. The city is over 18 square miles. The Napa River and Napa Creek wind through the area and end up in the Napa Sonoma Wetland along San Pablo Bay. This rare natural marsh provides refuge to many migratory birds including endangered species. Boating, kayaking and fishing are common activities.

Like the coastal areas just a county away, Napa County boasts a Mediterranean climate. Summers are warm and dry with temperatures in the 80s and occasional 90s. Winters are cool and wet with temperatures ranging from the high 30s to the high 50s. This is a wonderful grape-growing climate. Napa wineries tend to make more red wines, due to these warm summers, while Sonoma County, which enjoys lower summer temperatures, tends to make white wines.


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