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

Should you visit Monterey or Sonoma?

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 Sonoma. 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 Sonoma?


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.


When people say Sonoma, they are often referring to the region's wine country, but in fact, Sonoma is a county, a valley, and a town. The county covers 1,768 square miles and is more spread out than nearby Napa. There are more than 30 cities and towns in the county and 425 wineries with tasting rooms. The county also borders the Pacific Ocean, and the beautiful 55 mile stretch of coastline is rugged and dramatic.

Which place is cheaper, Sonoma or Monterey?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Monterey is $170, while the average daily cost in Sonoma is $219. 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 Monterey and Sonoma in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Monterey $90
    Sonoma $93
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Monterey $180
    Sonoma $186
Compare Hotels in Monterey and Sonoma

Looking for a hotel in Monterey or Sonoma? 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 Sonoma

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 Sonoma Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Monterey $32
    Sonoma $134

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sonoma

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

  • Private transfer from Sonoma to SFO: $215
  • Private transfer from SFO to Sonoma: $215
  • From San Francisco: Transfer to Lake Tahoe & Palisades Tahoe: $1,699

Is it cheaper to fly into Monterey or Sonoma?

Prices for flights to both Sonoma 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 Meals for one day
    Monterey $56
    Sonoma $56

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sonoma

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

  • Wine Country Food Tours. Sightseeing to various local artisanal food producers: $462

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Monterey $27
    Sonoma $16

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 Sonoma

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

  • #1 Private Walking Food, Wine & History Tour: $139
  • 6 Hour Private Wine Sonoma Tours Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passengers Van: $499
  • All-Inclusive Sonoma Wine and Picnic Tour: $198
  • Behind-the-Scenes Food and Wine E-Bike or Regular Bike Tour: $151
  • Point Reyes Station: Food and Farm Tour with Lunch: $225
  • Rides by me, Sonoma Sidecar Wine-Tasting tours: $220
  • Small-Group Wine-Tasting Tour through Sonoma Valley: $130
  • Sonoma County Wine Segway Tour: $151
  • Sonoma Food and Wine Private Group Tour: $138
  • Sonoma Valley Full-Day Pedal Assist Bike Tour with Lunch - (Reg. Bike Optional): $151
  • Sonoma Valley Half-Day Wine Country Tour: $100
  • Sonoma Valley Wine Buyer's Picnic Tour: $125

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Monterey $21
    Sonoma $41

Sample the Local Flavors in Sonoma

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

  • 2-Hour Private Guided E-Trike Wine Tour at Sonoma: $80
  • Sonoma County Wine Tasting Tour: $103
  • #1 Small Group Sonoma Walking Food and Wine Tour: $105
  • Napa Valley: Guided Wine Tour with Picnic Lunch: $119
  • Sonoma County: Small-Group Wine Tasting Tour: $130
  • From San Francisco: Redwoods and Wine Tasting: $179
  • Private Sonoma and Napa Wine Tour Including Custom Concierge: $225
  • Wine Tours: $513
  • 6 Hour Napa or Sonoma Wine Tour in Private Limousine: $675
  • 8-Hour Private Wine Tour Experience for up to 6 Guests - San Francisco to Sonoma: $680
  • Guided Private Wine Tour to Napa and Sonoma Wine Country: $800
  • 8 Hour Napa or Sonoma Wine Tour in Private Limousine: $875

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Monterey and Sonoma, we can see that Sonoma 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 Sonoma would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sonoma than you might in Monterey.

When is the best time to visit Monterey or Sonoma?

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 Sonoma in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Monterey and Sonoma.

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

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

  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Monterey 63°F (17°C) 
    Sonoma 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Sonoma in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Monterey as well as Sonoma.

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

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

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Monterey 62°F (17°C) 
    Sonoma 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Sonoma in the Winter?

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

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

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

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Monterey 51°F (11°C) 
    Sonoma 46°F (8°C)

Should I visit Monterey or Sonoma in the Spring?

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

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

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

  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Monterey 56°F (13°C) 
    Sonoma 56°F (13°C)

Typical Weather for Sonoma and Monterey

Monterey Sonoma
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. Sonoma Travel Comparison

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