A Travel Price Comparison for California Joshua Tree National Park vs. Napa Valley for Hiking, Couples, Backpackers, and Families

Should you visit Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Joshua Tree National Park and Napa Valley can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is a unique, fascinating, and adventurous national park. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. It's also popular because of the hiking.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley is a idyllic, scenic, and picturesque area. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It's also popular because of the food, hiking, and shopping.

Joshua Tree National Park and Napa Valley: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Napa Valley. Although Joshua Tree National Park and Napa Valley are popular destinations, Napa Valley has more sights and attractions for tourists. Napa Valley is very popular for its food, nightlife, shopping, and impressive beauty, while Joshua Tree National Park attracts visitors for its hiking. Joshua Tree National Park is famous for its unique vegetation and large boulders. Napa Valley is famous for its world class wineries and beautiful countryside. It is also well known for Louis M. Martini Winery.

How is Joshua Tree National Park different from Napa Valley?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Napa Valley and Joshua Tree National Park. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

You'll find a number of reasonable museums and attractions in both Napa Valley and Joshua Tree National Park.

While most people don't head to Joshua Tree National Park specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. There are a couple of museums in the area that display local art or cultural and historical items.

Napa Valley offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Most visitors spend their time visiting vineyards, but there are a couple of local museums and galleries in the area that are worth checking out.


Is the Food Better in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Napa Valley is renowned for its restaurants. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for its restaurant scene.

Many restaurants in Napa Valley have been singled out for their culinary prowess. It's most known for its world-class wine, but Napa Valley is also filled with Michelin starred restaurants and charming local eateries. Whether you're looking for a casual meal or something more upscale, there is no shortage of options. Most places take advantage of local ingredients that are very fresh. Menus change regularly and seasonal ingredients are common. And, of course, you'll find a wide selection of local wines.

While Joshua Tree National Park is not famous for its food, you'll find what you need there. There aren't any restaurants inside the park, so you'll want to pack your own food and eat at one of the picnic areas.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley Better for Nightlife?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Napa Valley is a very popular place for its evening party scene. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for nightlife.

Napa Valley has a large number of nightlife venues. In the evening, visitors will enjoy the area's live music scene, theaters, and bars. There are also plenty of wine bars where you can continue to enjoy local wines.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Joshua Tree National Park. Stargazing and gathering around campfires are the most popular activities during the evening.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley Better for Hiking?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Joshua Tree National Park is terrific for hiking. Also, Napa Valley is not as popular, but is still a nice area for the nearby hiking options.

Around Joshua Tree National Park visitors will find world-class hiking trails. There are a wide range of hikes that include easy, moderate, and strenuous options. Some of the best hikes include Discovery Trail, Boy Scout Trail, and Black Rock Canyon Panorama Loop.

Napa Valley is a popular spot for hiking. There are a number of state parks in the area, and there are also trails that pass by vineyards. Some of the best hiking trails are found in Alston Park, Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, or Las Posadas State Forest.


Is the Shopping Better in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Napa Valley is a very popular place for its shopping areas. However, Joshua Tree National Park is lacking in good options for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Napa Valley. There are many interesting local boutiques in the different towns. You'll find shops selling clothing, jewelry, local items, and gifts. Some of the best shopping is found along First Street in downtown Napa.

Joshua Tree National Park has some shopping areas for those that seek them out. There is a park store where you can pick up gifts or other items.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley Better for Families?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Joshua Tree National Park is a great national park for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Napa Valley is not as popular, but is still a nice area for its family-friendly activities.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Joshua Tree National Park. With its giant boulders that kids can scramble on and its Dr. Seuss-like Joshua Trees, this really is nature's best playground. There are also kid-friendly hikes and Junior Ranger Programs that will both educate and entertain the kids.

Napa Valley is a family-friendly place to visit. Vineyards and wine tasting may be what comes to mind for most travelers in Napa Valley, but those visiting with kids will appreciate the hiking trails, markets, and outdoor activities.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley Better for Couples?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Napa Valley is renowned for couples. Also, Joshua Tree National Park is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

Napa Valley is a great area for couples, as it has plenty to offer. It's long been considered a favorite honeymoon destination for newly-weds. The scenic vineyards and charming hotels make this the perfect couple's destination, whether you're celebrating an anniversary or simply want some time away together.

Couples visit Joshua Tree National Park frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples who enjoy the outdoors, adventure sports like rock climbing, and hiking through spectacular landscapes will find this to be the ultimate romantic destination.


Is Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Joshua Tree National Park is terrific for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Napa Valley is not known for backpackers.

A large number of backpackers visit Joshua Tree National Park, as it is a very popular national park for budget travelers. There are campgrounds and hiking trails that are popular with backpackers and nature enthusiasts.

Napa Valley is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's considered to be more of a luxury destination than a backpacker's retreat, but there are a few affordable places to stay in the area.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Neither Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley offer decent public transit.

Public transit is quite limited in Joshua Tree National Park. There's no reliable public transportation in the park.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Napa Valley. Public transit in the area is limited but within the city of Napa there are buses operated by the Vine Transit.

Is Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley a more walkable city?

Joshua Tree National Park
Napa Valley

Neither Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley are walkable places.

Joshua Tree National Park is not a very walkable national park. You need a car to truly explore the park.

Napa Valley is not a walkable national park. The vineyards are spread out and require a car or bike to access.


For even more information, also check out Is Joshua Tree National Park Worth Visiting? and Is Napa Valley Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Napa Valley or Joshua Tree National Park?

How long in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

It's fun to spend time in either Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley. In our opinion, Napa Valley has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Napa Valley than Joshua Tree National Park. In general, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Joshua Tree National Park, and 1-4 days is enough time in Napa Valley.

Families should spend more time in Joshua Tree National Park than Napa Valley. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Joshua Tree National Park, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Napa Valley than Joshua Tree National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Napa Valley that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Joshua Tree National Park than Napa Valley if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Joshua Tree National Park.


  • How many days in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley? Ideal Length of Stay
    Joshua Tree National Park 2-4 
    Napa Valley 1-4

One day in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

Visitors enjoy the when visiting the adventurous national park of Joshua Tree National Park. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Most people visit for the hiking. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Visitors enjoy the shopping and nightlife when visiting the scenic area of Napa Valley. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. So, one day is just the right amount of time to spend here. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

A weekend in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

Visitors enjoy the when visiting the unique destination of Joshua Tree National Park. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. This national park offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the destination of Napa Valley. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend. Most people visit for the food. Because of this, a weekend is usually enough time for a trip here.

Five days in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

The unique national park of Joshua Tree National Park offers . Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Napa Valley is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. It offers something for everyone.


A week in Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

Many people enjoy the when visiting Joshua Tree National Park. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people visit for the hiking. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Napa Valley is a popular choice for travelers. Most people visit for the food. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Cultural Tours in United States of America, The Best Photography Tours in United States of America, The Best Camping Tours in United States of America, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Napa Valley or Joshua Tree National Park?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Joshua Tree National Park is $152, while the average daily cost in Napa Valley is $288. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Joshua Tree National Park and Napa Valley in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Joshua Tree National Park $87
    Napa Valley $126
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Joshua Tree National Park $174
    Napa Valley $252
Compare Hotels in Joshua Tree National Park and Napa Valley

Looking for a hotel in Joshua Tree National Park 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 Joshua Tree National Park


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: Napa Valley Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Joshua Tree National Park $47
    Napa Valley $183

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Napa Valley

Also for Napa Valley, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Napa, CA to Sacramento Airport (SMF) - Departure Private Transfer : $110

Is it cheaper to fly into Joshua Tree National Park or Napa Valley?

Prices for flights to both Napa Valley and Joshua Tree National Park 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
    Joshua Tree National Park $35
    Napa Valley $62

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Joshua Tree National Park $27
    Napa Valley $28

Tours and Activities in Napa Valley

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

  • #1 Sonoma Walking Food, Wine & History Tour (Small Groups): $179
  • 3-Hour Guided Wine Country Tour in Sonoma on Electric Trike: $175
  • Behind-the-Scenes Food and Wine E-Bike Tour: $179
  • Full-Day Napa Valley E-Bike Tour: $225
  • Half Day Tour: $139
  • Half-Day Napa Valley E-Bike Tour: $184
  • Napa Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Napa Valley River History Kayak Tour: Single Kayaks: $79
  • Napa Valley Wineries Tour Including Picnic Lunch: $125
  • Napa and Sonoma Wine and Food Experience (Napa pickup): $109
  • Private Sailing Tour of Bodega Bay: $122
  • Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Napa Valley: $130

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Joshua Tree National Park $4.93
    Napa Valley $66

Sample the Local Flavors in Napa Valley

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Napa Valley:

  • 6 Hour Wine Tour in Napa & Sonoma with Pick-Up from Napa: $109
  • Napa Cable Car Wine Tasting Tour: $129
  • Intro to Wine Tasting with Napa Sommelière : $195
  • Healdsburg Cycling Wine Tour : $199
  • Affordable Wine Tour in Napa and Sonoma: $200
  • Yountville Food and Wine Tour in Napa: $275
  • Private, Customized Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: $300


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Joshua Tree National Park and Napa Valley, we can see that Napa Valley is more expensive. And not only is Joshua Tree National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Joshua Tree National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Joshua Tree National Park 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 Joshua Tree National Park.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Joshua Tree National Park Expensive? and Is Napa Valley Expensive?.