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Ballooning in Napa

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Fort Lauderdale...
posts: 28
reviews: 1
Ballooning in Napa

Have been relying on Trip Advisor along time, but never posted...any thoughts out there about ballooning in Napa..two girls "doing" napa in October, staying in St Helena and at Carneros Inn. Any thoughts.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa Valley
posts: 4,753
reviews: 2
1. Re: Ballooning in Napa


Balloon companies have to lift where the air is cold and clear, so when it's foggy in Napa, they shuttle everyone up to Middletown. There will be less fog in October, so chances will be better that you will go up in Napa (but no guarantees).

"Cold" air means early morning-- all of the baloons take off around 6:00 am or so, so you get picked up around 5:30 am (or you need to get up and start driving there around 5:00 am).

Which brings me to my last point: Not all balloon companies make pick ups at all hotels. So if you'd rather not drive around in the dark at 5:00 am, you may want to call the Carneros Inn and ask them which balloon companies pick up at their location.

They will also be happy to call and arrange a flight for you-- have them book it, so your pick-up will not be in doubt. We've occasionally had a guest book their own balloon flight, and just assume that the balloon co. would pick them up here-- that's not what happens. You need to specifically request a pick-up (and the balloon co. is happy to do it).

There is nothing quite like the free-floating feeling of going up in a hot air balloon. My only bit of advice is for tall people: Wear a baseball cap, or some other protective covering. Since the air warmer is a large burner directlly over your head, it can get quite hot at times!

Enjoy your stay in this wonderful place,

-Russ Herschelmann


Napa Old World Inn

Fort Lauderdale...
posts: 28
reviews: 1
2. Re: Ballooning in Napa

Russ---your wealth of knowledge is amazing...thanks, I think we will look you up for a cocktail when we get there...;-) Thanks for the info.

Mission Viego
posts: 14
reviews: 2
3. Re: Ballooning in Napa

We just returned and had a hot air balloon ride. I think you will have a better experience in October than we did in such a warm month of August...... Here are my thoughts:

Hot Air Balloon: fun, but not quite the experience we were expecting. I know the weather controls the experience, and our ride was more of an "up/down in same spot" type experience, rather than serenely floating over countryside as I had imagined! Glad we did it, but wow - what a long experience- met at 5:45am and didnt go up in a balloon until 8am after Looong drive to Somewhere past Middletown. Then were taken to brunch at Meadowwood. Meadowwood is a very nice place, but we were ignored by the wait staff for a long time, and brunch was not anything to write home about.

That said, the experience itself (lasting 45mins-1hr) was amazing - just be prepared if your balloon company of choice has to shuttle you out past Middletown.

Truly fell in love with the Napa area - so beautiful, and weather was very pleasant. We will return!