Get Outside! Do Things Outdoors
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
By Lisa Adams Walter
While we did not experience a fair share of rainy days over our most recent winter and spring seasons, a trademark of Napa Valley living is that, drought or not, raindrops are rare from roughly mid-May through October. This means that most days are perfect days to leave those four walls behind and get outside.
Our ideal, temperate climate, coupled with outstanding scenery and vast accessibility, naturally create opportunities to do things outdoors. From strolling through towns, to parks and trails, to waterways, here are some ideas for this and the coming months, to “do things” outdoors.
Getting out and about immediately creates visions of healthy activities, that simultaneously get the heart pumping while feeding the mind and soul. A standard activity for me all year long is to go on a hike or simply take a good, long brisk walk. Rather than sit and talk on the phone with a friend, it can be much more fun to arrange a meet-up, and then catch up on the latest while walking a neighborhood or trail.
Downtown Napa is an extremely walkable destination, with neighborhoods that boast an eclectic array of historic buildings. When walking, everything looks a bit different than when cruising by in a vehicle.
Feel free to explore, yet there are also guided tours around town, focused on several topics. I discovered that the UC Master Gardeners of Napa County host monthly guided “Tree Walk Tours” at Fuller Park. Private tours are also available, as well as self-guided tours that you can enjoy at any time with the assistance of your mobile smart phone.
If getting out on the water is appealing, you can of course self-launch a boat, kayak, paddle board or canoe. Enjoy Napa Valley is a local business, however, that rents supplies such as kayaks and paddle boards, as well as, offers guided tours on the Napa River. Fishing kayaks and bicycles are also available.
Many of us own bikes, and if not, they can be rented as mentioned. Another great spot for renting bikes or booking a guided tour is Napa Valley Bike Tours (with locations in both Yountville and Napa). I love to trek up and down the Vine Trail. While the trail is not yet complete (at some point in the future, the goal is that it will stretch all the way to Calistoga) there are miles of quite level, paved trails for walking, biking running and even skating! Yes, roller skating…read on.
Lately I have noticed rollerblading as a retro activity, that seems to be on the rise. Up and down the Vine Trail, all about town, even in my own neighborhood I have noticed adventurous types on roller skates. Rollerblading, more appropriately known as “inline skating,” is a thing!
Conservancy is a terrific resource for discovering trails appropriate for different outdoor activities ranging from inline skating, to dog-walking trails, running trails and walking trails in our region, as well as nearby regions.
Even without searching online, there are plenty of local hikes that have been some of my favorites for years. Westwood Hills Park, Skyline and Alston Park are all easy, pretty much “beginner level” hiking parks that are available to everyone for free. Each provide differing vantage points of Napa, with pleasing and gratifying views from top spots in the parks. While created for tourists, the hiking recommendations from Visit Napa Valley are pretty incredible and will provide months of weekend hikes by searching “Things to Do” on their website, and then selecting “hikes.”
Tennis has long been a popular activity, yet the emergence of pickleball in the past few years has not gone without notice. Several tennis courts have been converted, and clubs exist all over for this easy-to-learn sport. Napa Valley Pickleball is described as fun, friendly and inclusive. I have witnessed a similar attitude with the Yountville Pickleball group, in that all levels of players are welcome. Pickleball is a life-size paddleball sport that in a way combines badminton, ping pong and tennis.
Recently, we had relatives visit, which as a local always creates occasions to do things that are considered to be a bit more typical for tourists. In addition to supporting some restaurants while dining al fresco, we also imbibed in some shopping therapy on both Main Street in St. Helena, as well as, First Street Napa (the actual street and shopping complex) and the emerging 1400 block of Second Street (also in Napa, which includes Grace’s Table, Be Bubbly, Monday Bakery, Jeffries General Store and Muguette Renee Boutique) to support small businesses and merchants in both towns. While shopping, part of the time is naturally spent “inside.” Yet each of these shopping options offer the chance to leisurely stroll the streets while meandering indoors and out, with opportunities to stop and taste wine at an “urban” tasting room, if desired, along the way.
We will likely have hot spot weather days here and there, but most around here are indeed pleasant. A few months of prime weather remain, so get out there and do things in the Napa Valley outdoors!
UC Master Gardeners Tree Walk
Enjoy Napa Valley
Napa Valley Bike Tours
Napa Valley Bike Shop
Visit Napa Valley Hiking Guides
Napa Valley Pickleball
Main Street St. Helena
First Street Napa