The Napa Valley has more tourists visit each year than does Disneyland. Over five million people come annually to enjoy food, wine, and good times in the Napa Valley. If you are planning a trip to the Napa Valley between now and through harvest time, beware this is peak tourist season. But for the savvy wine traveler, there are ways to avoid the huge crowds at tasting rooms and the long lines of traffic on Highway 29 and still enjoy a restful time in the Napa Valley.
How to Avoid the Tourist Crowds in the Napa Valley
If possible schedule your getaway from Tuesday through Thursday. You won’t avoid all the crowds but things are much quieter during this time of the week.
There are two main roads that parallel the Valley, Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail. The Silverado Trail is much less congested and there are plenty of wineries along the route. Silverado Wine Trail
during a mid-week period
Calistoga is the town at the very northern end of the Napa Valley. It may not have the chicness or suave of Yountville or St. Helena, but there are fewer crowds in cozy Calistoga and several fantastic wineries such as Summers, Envy, Zahtila, and Vincent Arroyo, all north of the main street in Calistoga. Drive to Calistoga along the Silverado Trail and avoid Highway 29 altogether. Driving through St. Helena on HY 29 can be a nightmare.
Try the wineries on the crossroads of the Valley. Most visitors just motor along Highway 29 and never venture off on one of the crossroads between Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail. Try Raymond on Zinfandel Lane or Trefethen on Oak Knoll.
See our list of secret and hidden Napa Valley wineries.
One very important tip: You may be able to avoid the tasting room crowds with our tips and tricks but always be sure to call well ahead to find lodging and make your lunch and dinner reservations.