Should you visit Monterey or Napa Valley?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Monterey and Napa Valley. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.
When it comes to California, Monterey may not be mentioned half as much as you hear about Los Angeles or San Francisco, but it is a beautiful city to visit, with a diverse expanse of exciting and relaxing things to do, whether you're looking for adventure, a quiet getaway, or romance.
Located on California's central coast, the city of Monterey was the first State Capital of California. It was also home to many artists, athletes, and musicians, such as John Steinbeck, Clint Eastwood, and Ron Johnson.
Monterey has mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm, dry summers. Cold season runs from December to April and warm season, from July until October. The peak travel seasons are during summer, from July to September. If you want to avoid crowds, the months of April and October are ideal times to visit for fewer crowds and comfortable weather.
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 Monterey?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Monterey is $136, 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. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Monterey and Napa Valley in more detail.
For a normal double-occupancy room in Monterey, $144 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Monterey, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $72, such as in a hostel.
Travelers usually pay around $202 for a double occupancy room in Napa Valley If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.
On average, meal and food prices in Monterey cost around $45 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $18.
Food in Napa Valley costs travelers about $50 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.
Meals for one day
Napa Valley $50
Monterey's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $26 per person, per day on transportation in Monterey.
Napa Valley's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $146 per person, per day on transportation in Napa Valley.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Monterey
Also for Monterey, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private transfer from Monterey to SFO:
Monterey Peninsula Airport One Way Transfer:
Is it cheaper to fly into Monterey or Napa Valley?
Prices for flights to both Napa Valley and Monterey 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.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Monterey can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $22 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Napa Valley can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $22 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Monterey
For Monterey, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
1-Hour Monterey and Cannery Row Sea Car Tour:
2-Hour Monterey and Pacific Grove Sea Car Tour:
3-Hour Monterey Bay Winter Whale-Watching Tour in California:
3-Hour Monterey, Cannery Row and Pacific Grove Sea Car Tour:
Big Sur Self-Driving Audio Tour in California (Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway):
Half-Day Whale Watching Tour From Monterey:
Historic Cannery Row: Explore John Steinbeck's Monterey on an audio walking tour:
Monterey State Historic Park and Fisherman’s Wharf: A seaside audio walking tour:
Monterey and Carmel Day Tour & Golden Gate Bay Cruise:
Monterey and Carmel: Overnight Tour from San Francisco:
17-Mile Drive Bike Tour:
17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour:
Typically, people visiting Monterey spend on average $17 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Napa Valley, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $53.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Monterey and Napa Valley, we can see that Napa Valley is more expensive. And not only is Monterey much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Monterey would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Monterey 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 Monterey.
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