Napa Valley on a Budget – It can be done
Can you enjoy the Napa Valley on a budget? It depends on how you approach your Napa Valley vacation. If you want to be pampered and indulged, you will pay the big bucks. However, if the purpose of your trip is to have valuable time exploring and learning about the Napa Valley, you can spend a lot less money. Here are our recommendations for cutting the cost of a trip to Napa Valley.
Lodging is the most expensive item. We look for comfort and security in a hotel/motel. Why pay for an expensive room at a fancy hotel if you spend most of your hours exploring the Napa Valley?
Travel off-season and midweek. This strategy will save plenty of money in your travel budget. Off-season varies, but it is generally from November through February. There are several inexpensive lodging establishments in Napa and Calistoga. They may not be all that fancy, but they are comfortable. We have a list of budget lodging in the Napa Valley. Call the hotel you choose and ask for their best discounts.
Restaurants on a budget
If you stay at a budget hotel it might include breakfast, but it will be meager and unexciting. Try these spots for a fun breakfast.
- Napa Valley Roasting Company in Napa and St. Helena
- Calistoga Roastery in Calistoga
- Model Bakery in St. Helena is another great spot – think English Muffins
- Bouchon Bakery in Yountville has outstanding pastry products.
- Oxbow Public Market in Napa has some reasonable price offerings.
The best deal is a picnic lunch. Pick up lunch at a deli and picnic in one of Napa Valley’s parks. List of picnic areas in the Napa Valley
V. Sattui Winery is a favorite spot to picnic. You cannot bring in your own food. The winery has a great deli and, of course, a big selection of their wines. Here is link to places where you can picnic in the Napa Valley.
Another option is the Bruschetta truck at the Clif Family Winery in St. Helena. Here is a link to the food truck information.
There are Michelin-rated restaurants in the Napa Valley, but there are many other good restaurants with a reasonably-priced menu. Here are some:
- Oxbow Market has choices – C Casa
- Gott’s Roadside St. Helena or Oxbow
- Pizzeria Tra Vigne
- House of Better in Calistoga
- Hydro Grill in Calistoga
- Calistoga Inn
- Taco places and trucks – List on Visit Napa Valley
Wine tasting is why you come to Napa Valley. Wine tasting is how you find terrific wines from this compelling wine region. Wine tasting since COVID in Napa Valley is expensive. Wineries require reservations. Before COVID, you could belly up to the bar and get a tasting for a reasonable fee. Now that is rarely possible. Most wineries will offer options for tasting their wines. To save money, book a tasting at the bottom level of the tasting choices. The average entry tasting in our Napa Valley Wine Tasting Index is $50. The tasting will be out of reach for the budget-conscious Napa Valley wine traveler if you visit the high-end, cult wineries.
To get the best experience, go to a winery with a tasting room, cellar, barrel room and vineyards. Many wineries have tasting rooms in the Napa Valley towns. These tasting rooms are fun and less expensive. However, they do not give you the experience of what it takes to make a bottle of wine.