Vacations in Napa Valley are mostly expensive, with hotels, tasting fees, and restaurants usually carry sky-high price tags. But if you are resourceful, creative, and smart enough to spot great deals, it is still possible to enjoy them while you save money in the process.
Finding cheap eats in Napa is already a challenge itself. Home to the Culinary Institute of America and several Michelin-starred restaurants, Napa is a foodie’s paradise — but not exactly for the budget backpackers. However, it is still possible to score inexpensive meals in Napa if you’re extra-frugal. Score cheap coffee and great baked treats at Alexis Baking Company, a street-side bakery and cafe that sells breads, pastries, and breakfast items. If you are craving something Oriental, head to Gary Chu’s gourmet Chinese restaurant whose menu is predominantly seafood. The food is delicious, inventive, and reasonably priced. Ana’s Cantina will answer your Mexican food cravings — the atmosphere is casual, and the food and drinks are also reasonably priced. Or if you’re “roughing it,” buy quality artisanal treats at the Oxbow Public Market and find any good picnic spot with great countryside views.
The quintessential Napa Valley trip must include a wine tour or two. You want to visit wineries and taste their own varietals, but you know that tastings are pretty much expensive. Good news, though, because there’s the Napa Valley Welcome Center (or Napa Valley Visitor Center). Located in downtown Napa, the Napa Valley Welcome Center provides the best deals, like free wine tasting coupons and incredible discounts for wineries and tasting rooms. Buy a $30 wine tasting card from the center (or the Napa Tourist Information Center) and enjoy tastings at up to twelve different tasting rooms.
Another good suggestion is to head to Napa Valley in the off-season. The best way is to visit the region during wintertime when crowds are almost non-existent. Hotel and resort rates also plummet at this time of the year, and most lodgings offer great discounts. If you plan to sample the hot springs and mud baths during the off-season, first check the rates of every resort you may want to visit because prices may vary. Many visitors go to the Roman Spa Hot Springs & Resort in Calistoga or the Silverado Resort and Spa in downtown Napa as they offer reasonable rates and amazing packages.
Vacations in Napa Valley on a budget doesn’t mean you have to be denied of the thrills it offers! How about a hot air balloon ride? Enjoy 360-degree views of the neat rows of grapevines, clusters of trees that dot the fields, the rolling hills, the deep valleys, and the occasional fog that envelops the lovely scenery. Wait! Yes, you’d think that having a hot air balloon ride is a luxury in itself. It is, but can’t you enjoy that kind of luxury without suffering a hole in your pocket? You can enjoy it!
Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) will answer your yearning for thrill and excitement while not making a dent in your pocket. For the budget-conscious thrillseeker, choose BATV’s basic package, the Sunrise Balloon Flight & Brunch. For only $209 per head, enjoy a pre-flight breakfast, a one-hour sunrise hot air balloon flight over the Napa Valley, and a brunch with champagne. The bonus? You also get to make new friends along the way and experience the hospitality and quality service that BATV is also known for.
When visitors go on vacations in Napa Valley, they normally expect to shell out lots of money for the lodging, wines, meals, and everything else. But if you do lots of research and planning in advance, you can enjoy a comfy hotel suite, enjoy great cuisine, and experience exciting activities in Napa on the cheap.