Yup, it’s true! You can enjoy the beautiful Napa Valley on a small budget! Let me show you how I did it.
When to go?
The cheapest time to go is around the grape’s “winter”. They call it winter, but we went during Spring Break and it would get up to 80 degrees. It was perfect weather. Because it isn’t the harvesting time, there isn’t a ton of traffic (tourists, blah). Also, most hotels are not booked, so it’ll be the best time for prices!
Where to stay?
We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast, MY FAVORITE PLACE TO STAY! We got a discount because it was during Napa’s Winter, our discount was buy one night, get one free. No, I’m not kidding!! The stay was literately 50% off! It was a huge room with a romantic fireplace and gigantic tub! Thanks to the Blackbird Inn. I definitely recommend staying here; it was a short walk from downtown Napa, breakfast was to die for, cookies, sodas, tea and coffee available 24/7, AND they had hor devours at 5pm every day! I ate sooo much and it was all included!
- I would look at several locations for the best rate, but keep in mind that location is everything. We stayed in Napa, however Napa Valley is from Sonoma (south of Napa) to past Calistoga. Napa is the perfect middle ground.
What type of adventure do you suggest?
I suggest taking the wine trolley. It was AWESOME! We had the funniest and sweetest tour guide. They have a trolley that takes you to 4 vineyards and includes a yummy lunch for $99. This is a really great deal because you don’t have to drive, they plan the whole day for you, and the vineyards have discounts on their tours/tastings because you’re riding on the trolley. We made a lot of friends, our tour had 15 Australians, it was a blast. Important!! The trolley really makes sure that you’re staying hydrated, they give you water every time they stop and start! We chose to do a more expensive tour because I really wanted to go see the Castle!!
Aren’t tastings expensive?
Only if you don’t know where to look. I found coupons (at our bed and breakfast) and groupons for a lot of 2 for 1 tastings. So, we saved quite a bit doing that. However, there are some places you have to see and don’t mind spending money on.
These places include:
- Sterling Vineyards- I found a coupon in a local magazine for a free upgrade from the regular tasting. It saved us $20 and bumped up our tickets. Sterling has a beautiful aerial view from a tram that takes you to the vineyard. Yeah, it’s fancy! This was just under $60 for the both of us, but it was one of the coolest places. You get a free souvenir glass and when we were done we counted about 10 tastings each, not including the multiple refills we enjoyed.
- Castello di Amorosa- also known as the CASTLE! We took the trolley up to the Castle so the tasting/tour was included and VERY in depth. We went into all the caves and it was creepy and really cold! This was a really neat and personalized tour, but I think that’s because we were on the trolley. AND THEY HAVE ANIMALS YOU CAN PET! It was so awesome!
- Heitz Cellars- Heitz was great! Mostly because it was completely FREE! Saaaaay whaaaat? It was also great, because they have a dog that works in the tasting room. He’s a great salesman. Oh, did I forget to mention that they’re tastings are completely FREE? Okay, good.
- Mason Cellars- Mason Cellars is in downtown Napa and they have free tastings as well. Just keep in mind that they are closed on Tuesdays, random I know…
- V. Sattui- V. Sattui is your quintessential tourist vineyard. It’s absolutely beautiful, but it gets JAM PACKED! We showed up, with our 2 for 1 tasting coupon thanks to the Visit Napa Valley app, right when they opened. I know what you’re thinking, 9:30 is too early for wine, but not for Napa Valley and not if you want to actually talk to the workers and learn about V. Sattui.
- We went to a bunch of vineyards, but these were the absolute best for the price!
What can I do that isn’t wine?
I am so glad you asked. Of course I know the free things to do.
- You need to take your companion over to the wine train. They have this beautiful bridge that is covered in locks. It’s super cheesy and we were all over it. (So, only bring your partner if you’re serious.)
- There’s an art walk in downtown Napa. Great paintings, statues are all around downtown and it’s beautiful. Just go for a stroll and relax, it’s vacation!
- You can go bowling at Ultra Crush Lounge in the super nice Mertiage Resort. Yeah.. bowling in a hotel!?! It’s crazy. It was $15 per person, per hour, but after a long day of wine, you need a break.
- You can always souvenir shop, or regular shop. In downtown Napa there are a ton of stores, and welcome centers that sell souvenirs or have olive oil tastings yum!
Go to my next blog to see our day by day itinerary and feel free to copy! We made the most out of our time in Napa!