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The 12 Best California Attractions


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Top California Attractions

Welcome to Napa Valley

©2012 Betsy Malloy Photography

When we set out to create a list of top California attractions, we didn't know it would be so hard. First, we had to define an attraction - which for our purposes is a single place and not a city, town or national park. We decided to limit these top California attractions to the short list of things that everyone should think about doing.

Wine Tasting: A Napa Valley Winery

Other parts of California might have wine as good, but none have the cachet of Napa Valley. In 1976, the wine-tasting event commonly called the Judgment of Paris (depicted in the film Bottle Shock) thrust California wines onto a world stage, but it started long before that. Napa winemakers have been perfecting their vintages for a century and a half, starting in the mid-1800s when early settlers planted grapevines and dug wine caves into the valley's hillsides.

The "valley" in Napa Valley is narrow and pretty, barely 5 miles wide and running for about 30 miles between the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountains, its two main thoroughfares lined with vineyards and winery tasting rooms.

Napa wineries offer lots of ways to taste wine, but you deserve better than a disinterested pourer sloshing a splash of red into your glass, mutter an of-repeated phrase or two and moving on to the next customers. We won't be so bold as to declare that any single winery the absolute best experience for you, but choose any of the ones featured in our check the Guide to the best Napa Valley wineries and you won't be able to stop talking about it when you go home.

More About Napa Valley Wineries

If you need more information, check the Guide to the best Napa Valley wineries. It will tell you about hours, how to get there and the best time to go.

Take a photo tour of Napa Valley and see Napa's prettiest wineries to see what the area is like.

Don't Take Our Word For It

See how Napa Valley wineries stack up against other top attractions in this reader poll.

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