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Napa from San Francisco without a car

London
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Napa from San Francisco without a car

My partner and I will be visiting San Francisco for a week in early May. We would like to make a short trip to Napa or Sonoma valley for one or two nights to visit some vineyards. However, we don't drive, so would need to use public transport or join an organised tour. We'd rather be independent if possible, so could anyone suggest a great location to stay in, and tell me how we would get there? We have a budget of $200 per night, plus the cost of any excursions etc. Many thanks!

Napa, CA
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1. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

It's pretty simple. Just take the airport shuttle from SFO to Napa. They can then take you to your hotel. From there you can be picked up in the morning by one of the tour companies.

evanstransportation.com/rates_scheduled_airp…

Here's some tour companies but there are others. Research them on TA.

http://www.beauwinetours.com/

http://www.platypustours.com/

http://www.californiawinetours.com/

http://winetrain.com/

Berkeley, Ca.
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2. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

If you want to go from San Francisco itself, rather than the airport, here's how. You can take the ferry from San Francisco to Vallejo, a scenic ride. At the Vallejo ferry terminal, take the VINE #10 bus to Napa. It's about an hour ride on the ferry and another hour on the bus.

www.baylinkferry.com/schedule/index.php

nctpa.net/routes-schedules/vine/route-10.html

Napa is easier to get to without a car than Sonoma. But you can take Golden Gate Transit, the #101 bus. In Petaluma, you can take Sonoma County Transit to the town of Sonoma. Or you could continue up to Santa Rosa and take Sonoma County Transit to Healdsburg, service which runs more often.But up to Healdsburg is an awfully long trip, easily 3.5 hours. goldengatetransit.org/schedules/current/rout…

http://sctransit.com/SchedulesMaps.aspx

Napa
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3. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

Sounds like you will first be in San Francisco, so the Ferry makes good sense to me. Here's a thought- many tour companies will pick up at the Vallejo Ferry. Take the early ferry, have a car pick you up, or Platypus Tours, go wine tasting for the day, then have them drop you at your hotel. Do the opposite the day when you go back to San Francisco. If there is a day in-between, there are plenty of tasting rooms in all the towns to fill up your day. Try the River Terrace Inn- they might have rates around $180, or Napa Valley Hotel and Suites (use to be a Travelodge). Regardless, you'll want to pick a place that is downtown so you can walk from your hotel.

Cheers!

London
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4. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

Many thanks for your helpful replies. We'll be coming from San Francisco, so the ferry sounds like a great idea. We could then be picked up for a day tour by Platypus, followed by a night in a Napa B&B. Could you tell me how easy it would be to get from Napa to SFO airport? Just wondering whether we could go direct, rather than having to go back into San Francisco itself.

Napa, CA
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5. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

Here's the airport shuttle website again:

evanstransportation.com/rates_scheduled_airp…

Being met at the ferry by Platypus is a much better option than taking the Vine bus which is not really designed for taking tourists to the Napa Valley. You would have to take an early morning ferry. Also, if coming on a weekend, the ferry schedule is limited.

www.baylinkferry.com/schedule/index.php

If you want to go to Napa in the afternoon, another option besides the airport shuttle or ferry/vine bus options is Amtrak. The Amtrak bus picks up passengers at several locations in San Francisco and then transports them over to a train in Emeryville which takes them to Martinez where a connecting bus takes them to Napa.

www.amtrak.com/

London
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6. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

After a couple of weeks of thinking, we've settled on Yountville as our Napa Valley destination, mainly because of the fabulous restaurants.

Would taking the ferry to Vallejo and then the Vine bus to Yountville still be the best way to get to Yountville from San Francisco without a car? Another (perhaps crazy) option I thought of would be to take the BART to SFO, then the Evans airport shuttle direct to our Yountville hotel. Is that mad?!

Once we're in Yountville, is the town small enough to walk around to reach the various restaurants etc? I haven't chosen a hotel yet, and want to make sure we can easily get around.

Finally, can you recommend a good value private wine tour company? I'm tempted by the group Platypus tour, but don't want to rule out the private option just yet!

Many thanks.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

Yes you can walk around Yountville and Platypus is a good tour. There are others and you can check them out on the Napa Valley page and click on things to do. They have reviews for the tour folks (private and otherwise)

Are you sure you don't want to drive. Is it US driving on the other side the issue or you folks just do not drive. As you can see, getting to Napa via option A or B is still a long journey that you could do in an hour without traffic. You can get a company like Napa Bee driven to drive you around the Valley if you dont want to drive further.

London
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8. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

Yes, unfortunately neither of us are drivers - so public transport is our only option! We don't mind this at all - it's all part of the adventure - but I'm finding it difficult pinning down exactly the best method.

Napa, CA
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9. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

Your options for getting to Napa or Yountville haven't changed. Taking Evans from SFO is still probably the easiest and quickest way to get there. It may seem like you are back-tracking when you take Bart to SFO but, if you time it correctly, the Evans bus will get you to your destination quicker than a ferry - bus combination. A private driver from the Vallejo ferry would be even easier but also a lot more expensive.

If you want an adventure and want to save money, take the Vine #10 bus. This bus takes a while to get to Yountville because it doesn't use the main highway for the most part. Instead, it weaves in and out of neighborhoods in Vallejo and American Canyon before arriving in downtown Napa and then uses the frontage road to get to Yountville.

At certain times of the day, the quickest way to Yountville might be via Bart to El Cerrito del Norte and then express Napa bus to Yountville. This would also be the cheapest option but this option is limited to commute hours on weekdays only.

Did you find a room in Yountville for under $200 per night?

Huntington, New York
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10. Re: Napa from San Francisco without a car

We took the ferry from SF to Vallejo and rented a car there. The ferry ride was very scenic and I highly recommend it. We stayed in Yountville and got a good rate at the Napa Valley Lodge - Yountville is very walkable.