Discover the BEST time to visit Napa Valley! I'll take you through each season and month so you can enjoy the perfect mix of good weather and fewer crowds.
Napa Valley is a special getaway for Jake and me. One we try to make at least once or twice a year. There's something about the beauty of the vineyards, cozy restaurants, and charming bed and breakfasts.
We have the best time seeking out our next favorite winery...one that isn't known to the masses.
Some people avoid Napa Valley as it's become extremely touristy. I won't disagree that tourism has made certain months almost unbearable.
If you plan your trip right and pick just the right time to visit, you may be surprised at the lack of crowds and how easy it is to find a quiet tasting.
Continue reading to learn the BEST time to visit Napa Valley!
short and sweet: The best time to visit Napa Valley is Spring and Fall
April and November are my favorite months to visit
Spring in Napa: March – May
Spring is the best time to visit Napa Valley for decent weather, lower prices/crowds, and colorful blooms
April happens to be one of my favorite months to go to Napa. It's a bit warmer than March and brings fewer crowds (and a lower chance of rain) than May.
March can be on the cool end with lows in the 40s and highs in the mid 60s. This is also the wettest month of spring with a 30% chance of rain.
May gets a little warmer with highs in the low 70s, but this is also when you start to see an uptick in crowds.
April is the best month to visit Napa Valley in spring if you're looking for decent hotel rates. Prices are low (for Napa standards) this time of year since there typically aren't many, if any, festivals or events going on this month.
March and May have several big events like Bottle Rock, Flavor! Napa Valley, CabFest, Napa Valley Marathon, and more.
Apart from the Napa Valley Spring Triathlon, April focuses more on the arts scene in Napa. These events are smaller in scale and held at galleries and homes, which means you won't be seeing an influx of travelers during April.
Visit Napa Valley lists pretty much every event in Napa.
WHAT TO PACK/WEAR FOR Spring IN NAPA VALLEY
Layering is key. It can be chilly in the morning and evening, then turn to t-shirt weather in the afternoon. Pack a light down/down alternative jacket, jeans, t-shirts, and light sweaters. You can even get away with a dress paired with a sweater/jacket this time of year. Pack an umbrella, especially if you're visiting the beginning of spring.
Napa Valley in Fall: September – November
Fall is the best time to visit napa if you want to experience harvest season...which means ideal weather, fun events, and high prices.
Visit Napa Valley in fall if you want to experience harvest season (and are willing to pay the price). Visitors flock to Napa during this busy season as the valley seems to buzz with excitement.
Many wineries host events like crush parties, special tastings, live music events, and more. It's a really fun time to visit and get in on the action.
Mid-September through October is typically the busiest time as that's when harvest is in full swing. Prices will be steep for both September and October not only because of harvest season but because the weather is beautiful with highs in the mid to upper 70s.
If you're visiting Napa Valley in fall, make your reservations far in advance for everything; hotels, restaurants, wineries, etc.
Hotels start booking up a good six months out, earlier if you don't want to be robbed on price, and it's common for restaurants to be full a month out.
November is the best month to visit Napa Valley in fall if you don't mind missing the harvest and are looking for cooler weather and lower crowds. Temperatures range from the high 30s to mid 60s.
November is similar to April when it comes to chance of rain; around 20-24%. The colors are a beautiful gold this time of year, crowds are low for Napa standards, and you'll have a pretty good chance at finding a hotel deal.
November is a good time to visit Napa for the region's other famous liquid...olive oil. Harvest is November through February.
WHAT TO PACK/Wear FOR Fall IN NAPA VALLEY
Fall is very similar to spring, so packing recommendations are the same. Layering is key. It can be chilly in the morning and evening, then turn to t-shirt weather in the afternoon. Pack a light down/down alternative jacket, jeans, t-shirts, and light sweaters. You can even get away with a dress paired with a sweater/jacket this time of year. Pack an umbrella, especially if you're visiting towards the end of fall.
Napa in winter: December – February
Winter is the best time to visit Napa Valley for fewer crowds and decent prices
Napa in winter may be on the chilly side with lows in 40s (sometimes 30s) and highs in the high 50s, but the upsides are worth packing a jacket. You'll be rewarded with slim crowds, lowest hotel rates of the year, and more attentive service at the wineries.
December is a fun time to visit with wineries hosting special Christmas events and decorating their tasting rooms in holiday cheer. Christmas and New Years Eve surprisingly doesn't get overly crowded, but be careful, many wineries close their tasting rooms or have limited hours.
January is a must for truffle lovers as Napa hosts its annual Napa Truffle Festival with tastings, pairings, classes, and more. Napa restaurant week is also held in January.
Napa in February can be hit or miss with weather. Winter, in general, is Napa's wettest month and February is no exception. But it's also not uncommon for there to be short spells of warmer temperatures in February.
The last time we visited in February it was actually quite comfortable. We wore light jackets, if any at all, and even had some moments in the sun when a sleeveless sweater (picture above) was plenty warm. It didn't rain once.
Another visit in February brought overcast days with on and off light rain. But honestly, I don't mind the light rain in Napa. It makes for a really cozy experience in the tasting rooms and the rain never seems to last all day. Just short spells of light rain here and there.
You'll also find the vineyards and fields ablaze in yellow tones during February and March. This is when bright yellow mustard flowers all over the valley reach full bloom. February is the peak of wild mustard season...it's quite spectacular and one of the best kept secrets of Napa Valley.
February will be pretty quiet with a bump of visitors over Valentine's Day weekend.
What to pack/wear for winter in Napa Valley
An umbrella is a must for winter in Napa Valley. Jeans and a light sweater with a jacket is what I typically wear. For my jacket I'll either bring a pea coat or a puffer jacket.
Summer in Napa: June – August
Summer is the best time to visit Napa Valley for warm weather and sunny days, but it's crowded and expensive.
The summer months bring long, sunny days. Lows hover in the mid 50s and highs are in the low 80s. Weather wise, this is a lovely time of year and you'll find many tourists escaping their hotter than hot home states...like Texas.
Summer in Napa Valley also brings a calendar full of events; Festival Napa Valley, WineShine Half Marathon, Music in the Vineyards, Napa Porchfest, and more. Pair that with the heavy summer crowds to begin with and you'll discover that summer gives fall a run for its money in terms of crowds.
Steep hotel prices are the norm, traffic can become a nightmare and booking reservations for restaurants, tastings, and tours is a must.
Save yourself some money and a headache from the hordes of crowds and visit in late fall or spring instead.
WHAT TO PACK/WEAR FOR Summer IN NAPA VALLEY
Dresses, skirts, shorts, tanks, and t-shirts. I usually pack a jean jacket or some sort of sweater to throw on at night and early in the morning.
I hope this post helps you decide the best month to visit Napa Valley for your upcoming trip! April and November are my favorite months. I can usually find a decent hotel deal, the weather is nice, and it's not too crowded.
If visiting during harvest season is on your bucket list, then head to Napa in October...otherwise...November is a gorgeous (and much cheaper) time to visit in the fall.
Summer will be expensive and crowded and winter will be chilly with some wineries offering limited hours during the holiday season.