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For the cheapest place to lay your head in the Napa Valley wine country join Bay Area locals at a campsite in the oak-shaded Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Toss in a hot springs pool open on summer weekends and more than ten miles of trails to hike or ride horseback and you come to see why none of the locals want the secret to get out. Even without pitching a tent, you can work up a sweat on the Ritchey Canyon Redwood Trail, then pop open a bottle of vino and indulge in some fancy cheese. Or if you need a break from crowds in neighboring St. Helena and Calistoga, take a meander along the creek-bed and look for pileated woodpeckers in the ...

For the cheapest place to lay your head in the Napa Valley wine country join Bay Area locals at a campsite in the oak-shaded Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Toss in a hot springs pool open on summer weekends and more than ten miles of trails to hike or ride horseback and you come to see why none of the locals want the secret to get out. Even without pitching a tent, you can work up a sweat on the Ritchey Canyon Redwood Trail, then pop open a bottle of vino and indulge in some fancy cheese. Or if you need a break from crowds in neighboring St. Helena and Calistoga, take a meander along the creek-bed and look for pileated woodpeckers in the madrone trees (they're big and bold, the quintessential woodpecker). This is a great park for camping with kids: close to civilization, with an inviting swimming pool, a good loop road for cycling and a quiet campsite up the canyon for chilling out.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, fall, spring