Napa Valley is notoriously expensive and being on an around the world trip every penny counts. We managed to do two days in Napa spending $155. Here’s how we did it:
Camp instead of staying in a Napa Hotel:
We spent two nights in Napa Valley, 1 night at the North end of the Valley in Calistoga, camping at Bothe Napa Valley State park: $25 for two and 1 night at the South end in Napa at Skyline Wilderness Park: $15 for two. Camping can be just as fun and romantic as staying in a hotel too. We loved it.
Total Cost: $40 for two nights
Don’t do a Napa wine tour if you don’t have to:
We opted to do a days wine tasting in our own car as opposite to doing a tour as the cheapest one we could find was $110 excluding tastings which includes 4 wineries, that was with Platypus Tours. You can also hire bikes if you want to drink more or don’t have a car however bare in mind Napa is pretty big. If you don’t have a car, don’t want to hire bikes or do a tour, there are quite a few wine tasting rooms in Napa Valley town to amuse yourself with too which is a good alternate option.
Total Cost: Cost of petrol for the day in your own car.
Share the wine tasting:
We found the tastings to cost around $15-$20 for 3-4 tastings and most of the time that was enough for us to share, we didn’t need our own. We did 3 wineries.
Total Cost: $55 sharing tastings at 3 wineries
Opt for a picnic lunch instead of a restaurant:
We had the most gourmet sandwiches for lunch from Soda Canyon store and ate them on the picnic benches outside.
Total Cost: $20 for two.
Have dinner at Oxbow Public Market in Napa:
This is a great little market place with bustling stores and cafes where you can pick up whatever you fancy for not very much. For the other night we cooked around our campfire.
Total Cost: $40 for two
Opt for Sonoma Valley Instead:
We didn’t go to Sonoma Valley, only drove past it but have heard great things about it and that its a lot cheaper so if you’re tight for cash head to Sonoma.
7. Stay on a week day:
We all know weekends bump up prices so go mid-week to save.
TOTAL COST FOR TWO NIGHTS/DAYS IN NAPA FOR TWO PEOPLE: $155 leaving you some extra $ to buy some delicious wine or souvenirs.
Pretty damn good if you ask me. Normally that’s not even 1 night’s accommodation here.
But I don’t know where to go?
Okay so you’ve got the budget covered but Napa has thousands of wineries and you don’t know where to go?
Napa is huge so the first thing you should do is grab a winery map and plan your day before you leave. A good option is to go to the information center and Napa and ask for guidance, they were super helpful with us.
I’d recommend one of the two options:
- Start in Napa or Calistoga and meander down the valley stopping at various towns and wineries along the way until you get to the end of the valley. Bare in mind you’ll be driving along a mini high-way which I don’t really like in wine country as I feel it should be narrow gravel roads winding in and out of the vineyards instead however some of the better more picturesque views are up towards Calistoga.
2. Do the Silverado Trail, which is what we opted for. The trail is off the main highway so has much less traffic and there are plenty of walk in winery options as well as beautiful views.
Try these 3 Napa wineries: (I am no means a wine connoisseur – we picked these ones and liked them)
Silverado Winery (Silverado Trail):
Probably our favourite of the 3. Actually owned by Walt Disney’s daughter, Silverado is a beautiful winery with rolling vineyard views and delicious wine and wonderfully friendly staff. They also have a pretty patio for you to sit outside and enjoy your wine tasting on.
Luna Winery (Silverado Trail):
The first winery on the west on Silverado Trail in the Napa Valley, with a beautiful Tuscan Villa look and an elegant tasting room the wines here did not disappoint.
A bit of a drive away up in the hills but worth the visit if you like thought provoking modern art. The owner has been collection art since 1966 so there is quite a collection. Not really my thing but I enjoyed the wonder around looking at all the crazy pieces with a glass of vino in my hand.
Other things to do in Napa:
I love hiking and surprisingly there is some great hiking out here especially in the Skyline Wilderness Park. I went out on an early morning hike before leaving for SF. It was a beautiful hike but I had to turn back half way through because I was scared of mountain lions, haha true story. There were all these signs saying they had spotted them in the area and to be careful plus I was hiking on my own and it was really foggy, I could hardly see the trail in front of me. Never the less I still got to see some beautiful scenery and even some deer.
Treat yourself to a mud bath in Calistoga:
We didn’t do this but it’s recommended as one of the top things to do in California in the lonely planet. The volcanic mud has therapeutic properties that will rejuvenate you for days. There are also plenty of Spas and hot springs to indulge in too.
For more wine tasting around the world check out:
- Wine Tasting in New Zealand
- Wine Tasting in Mendoza, Argentina
- Wine Tasting in Margaret River, Australia
- Wine Tasting in Santiago, Chile