Napa Valley is famed for its wine, everybody knows that. It boasts hundreds of wineries that are open for tastings as well as almost a hundred tasting rooms in urban areas, according to Visit Napa Valley.
With adorable neighborhoods, boutique inns, rolling vineyards, oak-covered hillsides, and quaint downtowns, you’ll never be lost for something to do in Napa.
Don’t drink? That’s cool! I’m probably the only person who ever traveled to Napa Valley when they were pregnant, but I’m here to tell you that if you don’t drink, there’s plenty you can do other than wine tasting!
The area is renowned for its hiking, cuisine, spas, and artistic community – not to mention some amazing weather. The only catch: Napa isn’t known for being cheap.
If you’re going to vacation here, you’ll either need a significant budget or you’ll need to do some careful planning. I’m here to help you do the latter and to give you a touch of Native Californian experience along the way, so read on!
Average Trip to Napa Valley Cost in 2024
An average one-week trip to Napa Valley for two people will cost around $3,200:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $125 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $200 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $100 per person, per day
- Transportation: $500 total
- Total Cost: $3,200
Let’s face facts: Napa Valley is expensive, especially if you’re a wine aficionado looking to have a premium experience. But you’re not predestined to spend your life savings just to see wine country.
Instead, think carefully about the kinds of experiences you want to have. What’s drawing you to Napa? What do you want to do, and what does your partner or friend want to experience? What’s your idea of a great hotel stay?
More questions to ask include: How do you like to travel? Do you enjoy driving yourself around? Do you like to dine in style? Are you a peanut-butter-crackers-on-the-go-where’s-the-next-trailhead type of person? And so on.
If you think carefully about your desired experience ahead of time, you can more easily determine where you want to spend money and where you want to save. That will simplify the job of making a budget – and more importantly, will help you create a budget you’re likelier to stick to.
Napa Valley Trip Cost: Average by Item
The following averages are just that … averages. You can skimp on every category to save money, or you can choose one or two to spend out. If you stick to the middle of the road, this is about what you’ll pay.
Now, about that insider experience, I promised: stay with your great-grandmother Bea! It’s totally free and she has all-you-can-eat canned green beans! J/k, you can’t replicate Six-Year-Old Sarah travel hacks.
Instead, let’s take a look at some of the more affordable options for staying comfortably in wine country.
The truth is, while Napa Valley has a reputation for being spendy, spendy, spendy, there are actually plenty of places you can stay for only about $150 a night during the high season.
If you want a more resort experience, plan on paying about that. (Naturally, you can pay much more too, but let’s assume you’re not Brad Pitt.) If you look for deals, though, you will find them.
Price-shopping will net you costs between $80 and $125 for 4-star hotels in the off-season, which is typically November through February.
Although you’ll need to pack rain gear and plan for temps in the 45- to 50-degree range, you can get some awesome discounts on lodging, tastings, transport, and dining at this time of year.
If you’re determined to come during the high season – spring and fall, when the weather is at its finest – then you will pay higher prices, so budget closer to $150 unless you’re happy staying in motels in out-of-the-way towns, which is also fine. In general, let’s say about $125 a night overall.
Great news: flying to Napa may just be the cheapest part of your trip. Flights from LA to Napa cost about $100 round trip, while from New York City they’re about $250.
If you book closer to your travel dates, you’ll get better deals, but it won’t break the bank either way. In general, budget $200 per person.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
Food in Napa doesn’t have to cost more than anywhere else in America. If you get a hotel with a continental breakfast, shop at grocery stores for lunches and snacks, and eat dinner on the cheap, you can easily spend only $40 a day per person.
Drinks are a different matter, of course. Wineries can easily charge $30 to $40 per tasting, which adds up quickly. And since they really do mean a tasting – not a drink – most people choose to visit several wineries in a day.
The best way to do this on a budget is to buy a wine pass, which offers deals from participating wineries.
Make reservations at wineries at least a week in advance. In the good old days, wineries used to allow you to wander on by and take a taste or two (or seven), but that’s no longer the case.
These days, you need a reservation if you want a seat at the table/barrel/bar. Unfortunately, this also applies to walking around wineries.
Again, in the halcyon days of yore, you could stop by any winery and take an extensive stroll through the beautiful vineyards, bordering woodlands, and curated grounds. Today, you’ll need a reservation in order to do so.
With one in hand, you can usually spend as long as you want exploring the grounds.
However, this means that people who don’t drink will no longer enjoy themselves at a winery (at least not for free), so teetotalers and alcoholics should make other plans unless it’s important they be there for a group (e.g. a reunion or bachelorette).
Don’t want to drink? Not a problem at all. Napa has tons of amazing hiking trails – here’s a guide to get you started.
Bring appropriate clothing for the season, pack plenty of water and snacks (even in winter), and make sure to bring a poison oak fighting kit. You can also go on a self-guided driving tour of the valley, take an art workshop, browse the many farmers markets, or bike along the Napa Valley Vine Trail.
With lazy mornings at your lodging, a nice slow cup of coffee, a midday activity, and a relaxed dinner with a book before bed, you’ve got a full day – no tastings needed.
Planning on about $40 in food a day ($60 if you love nice dinners) and a wine pass that will give you significant savings on tours, you will spend about $100 a day on “tasting days.”
If you choose to hike, bike, stroll downtowns, etc., then budget about the same so you have money to duck into boutiques or take a watercolor class.
It’s super important that you make a smart plan when wine tasting. Even sips can give you a buzz, so if you want to go on a full-day wine tour, hire a driver or designate a DD.
The Napa police take drunk driving very seriously – as they should – so to avoid paying hefty fines or risking lives, arrange for one of Napa’s many designated drivers for hire.
Most drivers charge about $50 or $60 per hour to drive your rental car or personal vehicle (make sure they’re licensed and insured). If you rent a van or a bus, the cost will go up to hundreds of dollars per hour. However, if you’re traveling with a group, this could be worth it.
We will assume you’ll do three days of 4-hour wine tours, which comes to about $600. A rental car for the rest of the time will add up to about $150, while buses and trains that travel through the region are, on average, pretty affordable and will come to about the same for the other 4 days.
Therefore, you should budget about $750 if you don’t have a DD in your group and tastings are the point of your vacation. If that’s not true, then $300 for a rental car or some train rides and cabs will be plenty. On average, plan for about $500.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to Napa Valley:
- If someone in your party doesn’t drink, look for wineries that have other experiences to offer so they don’t get bored. US News & World Report offers a great list of wineries with grounds and activities in addition to tastings.
- Love wineries but have a small budget? Consider nearby Sonoma, which has less grandiose wineries but will give you the same experience for less.
- Plan to tip for tastings. The people serving you are still … sit down for this one … servers.
- Oxbow Public Market is a fun place to taste the region for free. The many shops, restaurants, and specialty food stores will give you the full Napa experience, but you don’t have to pay for the privilege like you do with tastings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about budgeting your trip to Napa Valley:
How much does wine tasting cost?
Wine tasting will cost about $35 per person. However, if you buy a wine pass (see “Food, Drink & Activity Costs”), then you can save significantly.
This will allow you to visit more wineries and, as they have different grounds and entertainment to offer, have more experiences.
Can I walk to wineries and avoid transportation costs?
Not really, sorry. You can save money on driving by catching an Uber to the Napa Tasting Barn, where there are three tasting rooms in the same place as well as a deli nearby.
You can easily while away the day there, then catch an Uber back to your hotel and avoid the cost of a driver waiting around.
If you just like tasting and don’t care about the winery vibes – likely because you’re looking for the best wine to take home – then go ahead and do your tastings in town where it’s walkable.
What can I do for cheap if I don’t drink or on days I’m not tasting?
There are so many things to do in Napa for free! From hiking and biking the Vine Trail to exploring the cute downtowns of Napa, Calistoga, and Yountville, taking art classes or strolling through farmers markets, and sampling the lovely food trucks, we guarantee you won’t get bored.
When is the best time to visit Napa Valley?
The best time to visit depends on whether you’re prioritizing scenery and weather or prices.
If you want to get the best deals, travel in winter, when the weather hovers around 45 or 50 degrees during the day and you should plan for rain. The second-best time to travel for good prices is high summer, when it’s hot and there’s a chance of fires, so people don’t love traveling then.
For the best climatic experience, go in spring (March through May) or fall (August through September). You’ll enjoy beautiful blooms or lovely leaves, respectively, as well as clear days with mild weather. Just know you’ll pay more for the privilege!
What’s the cheapest way to get around in Napa?
If your party is willing to designate someone to drive every day of tastings so you don’t have to hire a driver, that’s the cheapest way to get around.
And since the sweeping countryside, outdoor activities, and adorable towns are spread throughout the region, a car is the best way to get around – think $35 a day to rent.
Book Your Trip to Napa Valley Today!
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost
|$125 per night
|✈️ Average Flight Cost
|$200 per person
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities
|$100 per person, per day
|💲 Total Cost
The average cost of a one-week trip to Napa Valley is around $3,200 for two people. Given how popular a destination it is, that’s pretty good for a romantic week-long getaway.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Napa Valley has to offer. Happy travels!