A visit to Napa Valley can feel like magic—and getting there doesn’t have to be a hassle. Airports, ferries, trains, buses and cars are all viable options for getting to and from the Napa area so that you can enjoy your tour of wine country in style. Here we’ll give you the inside scoop on the best ways to travel to Napa Valley.
What is the Best Way to Get to Travel to Napa Valley?
Traveling to Napa Valley often begins with air travel to one of 5 nearby airports. Following a flight, many options are available including rental cars, shuttle services, trains and even a ferry.
In order to make the most out of your trip to Napa Valley, you’ll need a variety of recommendations so that you can make the best decision for you. Getting to Napa Valley can be done with ease, in comfort, and with minimal amounts of stress. And if you like, you can make the trip a scenic adventure in its own right!
Best Airports to Fly into Near Napa Valley
Unless they live locally, most people who are visiting Napa Valley get there by flying into one of several nearby airports. The airports that serve the Napa Valley area are listed here in order of closest proximity:
Charles M. Schulz Airport – Sonoma County Airport, Santa Rosa (STS)
People who are visiting from west coast cities who are served by Alaska Airlines (Phoenix, Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, etc.) can take advantage of a cheap flight to Sonoma County airport. Most other flights into this airport are charter or private flights. Just 47 miles from Napa Valley, this smaller regional airport makes traveling a breeze. And it’s perfect for fans of Charles Schulz and the Peanuts characters. From Santa Rosa, a car rental or curbside shuttle service will get you to Napa in just about an hour of drive time.
Oakland International Airport (OAK)
A great option if you’re working with budget airline options, Oakland airport is served by Southwest, Alaska, Spirit, Hawaiian, and JetBlue. A smaller airport, Oakland offers the convenience of intimate facilities but is still a fairly busy place. Expect about 90 minutes of drive time from Oakland airport to Napa if you’re going by car or shuttle.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Driving from SFO to Napa Valley should take approximately two hours, depending on traffic and time of day. A major airport serving Europe and Asia, San Francisco International Airport is likely to be busier than most, with longer lines and more traffic. But it also has the most options for transport to Napa Valley, including trains and the scenic ferry across the bay.
Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
A big hub for Southwest Airlines, Sacramento airport is about 90 minutes by car to Napa Valley and is often less crowded than some of the other airports. Flying into Sacramento is a great way to avoid all of the hubbub of San Francisco. If you have a late flight, California’s capital city is an ideal place to stop overnight before heading into Napa Valley the following day. And if you just can’t wait to get started on your wine-tasting experiences, then the Sacramento airport terminal offers excellent options for tasters while you wait for your shuttle or bus.
Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
Southwest and Alaska airlines are the largest carriers to San Jose International Airport, a smaller airport that is about 2 hours’ drive from Napa Valley. Because of its nearness to Silicon Valley, this airport may be a haven for techies to enjoy its futuristic features and artwork. Tech-themed cocktails are available in the Access Point lounge—and three dancing interactive robots will be glad to help you find your way around!
Getting from Nearby Airports to Napa Valley
While many people opt for renting a car and driving to Napa Valley from the surrounding airports, other transportation options, such as the ferry, can be an attractive experience in themselves. Plus, there’s no worrying about how much wine you’ve had before driving!
San Francisco to Vallejo Ferry
A scenic trip from San Francisco International Airport across the bay can be a relaxing way to get to Napa. From SFO, take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to the San Francisco Ferry Building where you can enjoy water travel to Vallejo. Both ferry terminals offer food and brewery options, and the ferry itself also has a bar. From Vallejo, you can easily pick up an Uber or grab a shuttle down to Napa.
Offering year-round weekday and weekend service, the ferry schedule is as follows:
- Weekday SF departures begin at 6:35 am and continue through 8:15 pm
- Weekday Vallejo departures begin at 5:10 am and continue through 6:45 pm
- Weekend SF departures begin at 11:10 am and continue through 7:15 pm
- Weekend Vallejo departures begin at 10 am and continue through 5:30 pm
All of the airports listed above offer shuttle options to and from Napa Valley, saving you the hassle of having to rent a car. Check with the listings for shuttles through your preferred airport. (Some of these services are cash only, so be prepared to stop at the ATM as needed.)
If you want to make the most of your travel experience without having to drive, consider taking the train from your chosen airport to Napa Valley. Santa Rosa (Sonoma Valley Airport) is the only one that doesn’t have a viable option for train travel.
Inexpensive tickets can be purchased ahead of time online starting at around $35 and these are some of the best options:
- From Oakland Coliseum/Airport Station—under two hours
- From Sacramento Valley Station—about two hours
- From San Francisco 4th Street Train Station—about 2 ½ hours
- From San Jose Santa Clara Caltrain Station—under three hours
Most train stations are located not far from the airports and can be reached by public transportation, taxi or Uber service.
Napa Valley Wine Train: An Incredible Option for Travel Around Napa Valley
If you’re thinking of combining your wine experience with transportation, then the Napa Valley Wine Train is the perfect choice. The wine train offers wine and meals to be enjoyed while traveling throughout the stunning landscape. Channeling the vibes of trains from the early 1900s, the Napa Valley Wine train starts and ends in Napa, but you won’t be the same when you arrive. Choose from train journeys that last between 1.5 hours and 3 hours including gourmet meals and tours/tastings at local wineries.
1. How much does it cost to go to Napa?
A trip to Napa Valley encompasses a variety of factors, including the cost of transportation as well as lodging. The cost of flights obviously varies depending on where you are coming from, and lodging is probably the most expensive piece of the trip, coming in between $100 and $600 per night, depending on your preferences. Food, entertainment, wine tours, tastings, and time of year should also be factored in. (See How Much Does It Cost To Visit Napa Valley )
2. How much are tolls from SFO to Napa?
If you’re driving from San Francisco airport, you should consider that tolls may be part of your expenses when heading to Napa Valley. The good news is that the Golden Gate is free when you’re heading north! On the way back, you’ll pay approximately $6 for a car to cross the bridge, depending on the time of day and the number of axles on your vehicle. You don’t need cash but can pay online within a restricted amount of time following use of the bridge.