California’s wine country – the Napa and Sonoma Valleys are the most famous though they make up just a few of the options in the state – is a well-known destination for wine lovers and those who appreciate a vista of gently rolling vineyards dotted with world-class spas, romantic hotels, and some of the world’s best restaurants.
The area is also one of the best places for a foodie road trip in California. From San Francisco and Berkeley up to Calistoga, you can spend your days driving beautiful coastal and country roads and eating some of the state’s best bounty. Yountville, in the Napa Valley, is known as one of the top restaurants in world, and it comes with a price tag to match.
But you can get your fill of great local cuisine even if you are visiting California wine country on a budget. In Napa, there are dozens of smaller, family-run restaurants that use local and seasonal ingredients to prepare excellent food at a lower price point. And if you’re headed out for a day of wine tasting, you can save money by grabbing a lunch to go from the Oakville deli rather than splurging on a multi-course meal at one of the wineries.
After you’ve had your fill of the great food and wine of the Napa Valley, you can continue your road trip up the California coast to see the towering Redwoods near Humbolt. Depending on how far north you plan on going and what type of accommodation you’ll stay in, you may not need to pack much gear for a road trip – you’ll find plenty creature comforts along the way, from charming inns to sophisticated bistros. Road trips may be “roughing it” in some cases, but in California you can go as rustic or refined as you like.
Photo by: Nick Schmidt