Saint Helena Travel Guide

Browse 8 travel reviews, 4 travel blogs and 213 travel photos from real travelers to Saint Helena.

Saint Helena Locals

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Saint Helena Overview

Learning about the history of St. Helena sheds some light on this unique Napa Valley destination, known both for its gorgeous countryside and charming small-town feel. Though not far from major urban areas, St. Helena remains strikingly pristine. Part of that can be explained geographically; in the days of stagecoaches and bad roads, the valley was relatively remote and hard to reach through the hills. But in modern times, preserving St. Helena’s character and countryside was a conscious act. In the 1960s, Napa County adopted one of the first major agricultural land protection policies in the United States, setting in motion a tradition of preservation.

Today, that fierce love of the land and strong sense of community live on. You see it in historic downtown, where multi-generational family businesses still thrive, and in the vineyards themselves, 95% of which are family owned. The unique character of the town is evident in annual activities such as the Easter egg hunt, Harvest Festival pet parade, free summer concerts and even the annual wine auction hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners Association. Whether a visitor or a resident, we hope you’ll enjoy learning about this one-of-a-kind city.

The site that is now the city of St. Helena was once part of the range of a Native American people who called themselves the Onastis, the “outspoken ones.” When Spanish (and later, Mexican) soldiers claimed the region as part of their northernmost outpost, they dubbed these warlike folk the “Wappo,” from a word meaning “brave,” or “handsome.”

From Restaurant Month in January to November’s Napa Valley Film Festival, there are always exciting things to do in St. Helena. Gourmands will love the Flavor of Napa Valley weekend, when the Culinary Institute in St. Helena opens its doors for cooking seminars, classes and tastings. If it’s high adventure you seek, consider soaring above the valley on a hot air balloon ride. Nature lovers should visit the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, which contains three different climates in one area alone. Stay active with hiking, biking, tennis, golf and swimming, or stimulate the mind with a lesson in wine appreciation from a master sommelier at a local winery. For those interested in rest and relaxation, there are plenty of spas and wellness centers to rejuvenate the spirit. Of course, shopping at charming boutiques and dining at area cafes are always a satisfying way to explore, too.

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