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

Should you visit Monterey or Napa Valley?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Monterey or Napa Valley?

Monterey

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

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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Monterey and Napa Valley in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Monterey $72
    Napa Valley $101
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Monterey $144
    Napa Valley $202
Compare Hotels in Monterey and Napa Valley

Looking for a hotel in Monterey 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 Monterey


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: Monterey Hotel Prices and Napa Valley Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Monterey $26
    Napa Valley $146

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Monterey

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

  • Private transfer from Monterey to SFO: $370
  • Monterey Peninsula Airport One Way Transfer: $43

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Monterey $45
    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.
    Monterey $22
    Napa Valley $22

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: $75
  • 2-Hour Monterey and Pacific Grove Sea Car Tour: $130
  • 3-Hour Monterey Bay Winter Whale-Watching Tour in California: $65
  • 3-Hour Monterey, Cannery Row and Pacific Grove Sea Car Tour: $178
  • Big Sur Self-Driving Audio Tour in California (Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway): $7.60
  • Half-Day Whale Watching Tour From Monterey: $75
  • Historic Cannery Row: Explore John Steinbeck's Monterey on an audio walking tour: $5.00
  • Monterey Bay: Sunset Catamaran Sailing Cruise: $95
  • Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour: $65
  • Monterey State Historic Park and Fisherman’s Wharf: A seaside audio walking tour: $5.20
  • 17-Mile Drive Guided E-Bike Tour: $79
  • San Fran: Carmel, Monterey & Big Sur Full-Day Private Tour: $875

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
    Monterey $17
    Napa Valley $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.


When is the best time to visit Monterey 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 Monterey or Napa Valley in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Monterey and Napa Valley.

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

In July, Monterey usually receives less rain than Napa Valley. Monterey 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
    Monterey 63°F (17°C) 
    Napa Valley 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Napa Valley in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Monterey as well as Napa Valley.

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

Monterey usually gets less rain in October than Napa Valley. Monterey 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
    Monterey 62°F (17°C) 
    Napa Valley 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Napa Valley in the Winter?

Both Napa Valley and Monterey are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities.

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

In January, Monterey usually receives less rain than Napa Valley. Monterey 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
    Monterey 51°F (11°C) 
    Napa Valley 46°F (8°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Napa Valley in the Spring?

Both Napa Valley and Monterey during the spring are popular places to visit.

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

Monterey usually gets less rain in April than Napa Valley. Monterey 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
    Monterey 56°F (13°C) 
    Napa Valley 56°F (13°C)

Typical Weather for Napa Valley and Monterey

Monterey 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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Monterey vs. Napa Valley Travel Comparison

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