A Travel Price Comparison for California Big Sur vs. Napa Valley for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Big Sur or Napa Valley?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Big Sur and Napa Valley can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Big Sur or Napa Valley?

Big Sur

Big Sur is the 90-mile stretch of the California Central Coast which runs from the Carmel River in Monterey County south to San Carpoforo Creek in San Luis Obispo County and 20 miles east into the Santa Lucius Foothills.

However you look at it, California's Central Coast is beautiful and undoubtedly a huge tourist trap. If you're not willing to fork over big bucks for overnight stays on coastal hotels, be prepared ahead of time with your camping gear and get ready to go off the beaten track to avoid crowds as best you can and save your wallet.

While the weather in Central Coast is overall, mild and temperate, between 50 and 70 degrees year-round. The highs and lows during the year are in August and January, respectively, with dry summers and wet winters, making April through October the best times to visit but be warned: there will be crowds.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley, in the Bay Area of California, is a popular destination for its wineries and beautiful scenery. The area, referred to as Wine Country, is just north of San Francisco and makes for a great day or weekend trip. Many honeymooners visit the area for its romantic setting and popular bed and breakfasts. The best time to visit is during the months of September and October when the grapes are wipe. This time is referred to as the harvest "crush." The summer months are also a popular time but the crowds are often overwhelming.

Which city is cheaper, Napa Valley or Big Sur?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Big Sur is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Napa Valley is $230. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Big Sur and Napa Valley in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Big Sur $132
    Napa Valley $101
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Big Sur $264
    Napa Valley $202
Compare Hotels in Big Sur and Napa Valley

Looking for a hotel in Big Sur or Napa Valley? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Big Sur


Hotels in Napa Valley


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Big Sur Hotel Prices and Napa Valley Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Big Sur -
    Napa Valley $146

Is it cheaper to fly into Big Sur or Napa Valley?

Prices for flights to both Napa Valley and Big Sur change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Big Sur -
    Napa Valley $50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Napa Valley

For Napa Valley, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Napa Valley Wine Train: Vista Dome Lunch or Dinner: $260

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Big Sur -
    Napa Valley $22

Tours and Activities in Napa Valley

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Napa Valley.

  • From San Francisco: Napa Valley Beer Breweries Private Tour: $610

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Big Sur -
    Napa Valley $53


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Big Sur and Napa Valley, we can see that Napa Valley is more expensive. And not only is Big Sur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Big Sur would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Big Sur and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Napa Valley would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Napa Valley than you might in Big Sur.


When is the best time to visit Big Sur or Napa Valley?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Big Sur or Napa Valley in the Summer?

Both Napa Valley and Big Sur are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities.

Big Sur is cooler than Napa Valley in the summer. The temperature in Big Sur is usually 63°F (17°C) in July, and Napa Valley stays around 73°F (23°C).

In July, Big Sur usually receives less rain than Napa Valley. Big Sur gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Napa Valley receives 0.1 inches (2 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Big Sur 63°F (17°C) 
    Napa Valley 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Big Sur or Napa Valley in the Autumn?

Both Napa Valley and Big Sur during the autumn are popular places to visit.

In the autumn, Big Sur is around the same temperature as Napa Valley. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Big Sur in October are around 62°F (17°C), and Napa Valley is about 62°F (17°C).

Big Sur usually gets less rain in October than Napa Valley. Big Sur gets 0.6 inches (14 mm) of rain, while Napa Valley receives 1.3 inches (33 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Big Sur 62°F (17°C) 
    Napa Valley 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Big Sur or Napa Valley in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Big Sur and Napa Valley.

In January, Big Sur is generally a little warmer than Napa Valley. Temperatures in Big Sur average around 51°F (11°C), and Napa Valley stays around 46°F (8°C).

In January, Big Sur usually receives less rain than Napa Valley. Big Sur gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Napa Valley receives 3.8 inches (96 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Big Sur 51°F (11°C) 
    Napa Valley 46°F (8°C)

Should I visit Big Sur or Napa Valley in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Big Sur as well as Napa Valley.

Big Sur is around the same temperature as Napa Valley in the spring. The temperature in Big Sur is usually 56°F (13°C) in April, and Napa Valley stays around 56°F (13°C).

Big Sur usually gets less rain in April than Napa Valley. Big Sur gets 1.1 inches (29 mm) of rain, while Napa Valley receives 1.2 inches (31 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Big Sur 56°F (13°C) 
    Napa Valley 56°F (13°C)

Typical Weather for Napa Valley and Big Sur

Big Sur Napa Valley
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (11°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm)
Feb 53°F (12°C) 1.8 inches (47 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 2.1 inches (55 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (69 mm)
Apr 56°F (13°C) 1.1 inches (29 mm) 56°F (13°C) 1.2 inches (31 mm)
May 59°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (5 mm)
Jun 62°F (16°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 69°F (21°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 63°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Aug 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (1 mm)
Sep 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 70°F (21°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Oct 62°F (17°C) 0.6 inches (14 mm) 62°F (17°C) 1.3 inches (33 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Dec 51°F (10°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 46°F (8°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)


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Big Sur vs. Napa Valley Travel Comparison

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