The home of numerous Michelin rated eating establishments, some of the world’s best wineries, and five star accommodations, Napa Valley can be quite pricey. With student loans at a record high and the job market slowly improving, Napa Valley could prove to be quite unfriendly for young and budget conscious people if not budgeted correctly. The good thing is that with creative research, visiting our country’s premier wine destination doesn’t have to break the bank. The area has dozens of free wine tastings and beautiful hills that make for fantastic picnic lunches.
Firstly, the best time to visit Napa Valley is during the region’s off-season, November to April. Additionally, skip the weekend and take some days off of work to visit Napa Valley midweek where prices are much cheaper for lodging and you won’t have to deal with lines of any sort (Saturdays are the most popular).
Be sure to visit the Napa Valley Visitor Center to pick up wine tasting coupons and coupons for other activities. If you’re extra nice, many of the folks at the Visitor Center have an array of knowledge of the most cost friendly activities and wineries to visit in the region. For the more budget friendly option, you can opt to spend your days in Napa and lodge in neighboring Sonoma County. Top rated cost friendly lodging options include: Wine Valley Lodge, Napa Discovery Inn, Sonoma Creek Inn, and Ivy Hotel Napa Valley. Driving around Napa Valley is tricky since you’ll be drinking wine all day so most folks hire a driver for their time there, but you’re on a budget remember? The cheapest strategy would be to either Uber around the region with your friends or limit the amount of wineries you visit and rent bicycles to travel around. No drinking and cycling!
Now for the important stuff, wine and food.
You don’t have to settle for Michelin starred restaurants to feed yourself. In Napa you can opt for places like Gott’s Roadside (burgers), Hog Island (oysters), Tra Vigne (pizza), Goose & Gander (burgers & cocktails), and Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ. Sonoma has budget friendly options like El Molino Central (Mexican), The Freemont Diner (southern classics), and Spoonbar (seafood).
While many enjoy going out to the countryside to enjoy wineries, downtown Napa has a plethora of tasting rooms and with a Downtown Wine Tasting Card, you can visit twelve tasting rooms for $25. When you go out to the countryside vineyards, you can print out two for one free tastings at wineries such as Beringer, Rutherford Hill, and Mumm. Sonoma is Napa’s laid back sibling and has an array of wineries that are budget friendly including Cline Cellars, Homewood Winery, and Larson Family Winery.
Both Napa and Sonoma County also have fantastic breweries and the Calistoga Hot Springs in Napa is a must for relaxation and rejuvenation. Visiting Napa Valley can definitely be done on a budget, it just takes some research and a lot of smiles.
All Rights Reserved 2016 | Photo by Julie Robertson, In the Moment Creative