Napa Valley on the Cheap: Knowing When and Where to Go
Long gone are the days when you could drive through Napa Valley and get free wine tastings and cheap accommodations. Napa Valley has transformed from a sleepy farming town into a wine-soaked tourist attraction that caters to those who don’t mind dropping a lot of money on posh resorts and unique vintages. Still, for those of us that want to experience Napa without going broke, there are certainly avenues available. An open mind and a sense of adventure go a long way into making a cheap trip an amazing one.
Off-Season Offers Affordable Rates
Exploring Napa Valley in the peak season certainly gives you the opportunity to view rows of lush grapes on the vines and wineries crushing for their next vintage. However, visiting in the spring and winter months still provides you with fantastic weather and more affordable accommodations. If you want a more homey stay, then try staying in an Airbnb rental, which is usually cheaper. You won’t receive all the amenities of a hotel, but you may find returning to an actual home is just what you needed after a long day of wine tasting. Online Travel websites, such as Hipmunk, can help you find great deals on hotels and Airbnb rentals in the Napa region.
Don’t Diss the Deals
You may feel some initial reluctance to look for coupons to wineries, but they wouldn’t produce them if they didn’t want you to use them. Many of the wineries in Napa offer two-for-one tastings and other discounts. Before you embark on sampling, visit the Napa Tourist Guide. They offer downloadable maps and coupons to make your exploring not only easier but cheaper.
Eat Like a Local
Splurging on an evening of fine dining can be the highlight of any vacation. However, if you’re staying in Napa for more than one night, you may not be able to afford all the high-end, decadent restaurants this area offers. You can enjoy a fantastic meal without emptying your wallet. Clements at Vals has served locals and tourist great Italian and French cuisine for years. You’ll find not only great food, but very budget-friendly prices. There is also something to be said about grabbing a bottle from one of your tours and planning a picnic. You certainly can’t do better than Napa scenery for a beautiful backdrop to your meal. Regusci Winery and Rutherford Hill are two wineries that offer picnic grounds.
Save and Splurge (At least Once)
If you find yourself under budget, then why not take one night to indulge? The Napa Valley Wine Train offers a unique experience through the valley. You’ll be able to dine in comfort and view Napa’s elegance from a vintage-inspired train car. This train also provides an inclusive evening tour to Grgich Hills. The train offers several packages that can become quite pricey, but the lower-end packages can give you some lasting memories and an exclusive tour. If you have your own tips and tricks to saving on a Napa experience, I’d love to read them in the comments below.
Matthew Potter writes about where he eats and where he travels and what he knows. He lives in San Diego, California where he enjoys the sun, surf, and the quest to find the perfect burrito.