Photo by Malcolm Carlaw

The drive up to Napa Valley from San Francisco is always filled with anticipation, not just because of the presumed wine drinking that one is about to partake in, but the beauty that one sees peering out their car window.

Many people have enjoyed this drive countless number of times and it's starting to get some national recognition. The people of Smart Travel have named it one of the most sensational scenic drives to take this Autumn. This is what they had to say:

Napa Valley/Silverado Trail


Drive: About an hour north of San Francisco, the vineyard-draped hills of Napa Valley are awash in crimsons and golds in the fall. Harvest season's crush parties are in full swing. From the town of Napa, follow the main Highway 29 route north 30 miles past big-name wineries and quaint towns to Calistoga. Then return on the quieter, breathtaking Silverado Trail.

Stop: Buy a $25 wine-tasting card in Napa to access 12 downtown tasting rooms for only 10 cents per taste. Pick up lunch at Napa's Oxbow Market for a roadside picnic en route to a winery. You can browse boutiques and hit the Culinary Institute's flavor bars ($10 to $15) in St. Helena. See a geyser and Petrified Forest near Calistoga.

Stay: Even during the valley's high season, there are still some inns and B&Bs with select rooms available for less than $200 a night. Try the Hennessey House, Napa Inn, or Arbor Guest House in Napa. The California Association of B&B Inns posts specials and last-minute deals on its website.

Check out the other sensational scenic drives over at Smart Travel.

Need more Napa Valley recommendations? There are a lot of great places to eat and sleep.

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