Every April fields and fields of colorful tulips dazzle the eyes at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The backdrop to this vibrant display is the Cascade Mountain Range, which together creates a sight to behold, and one that can only be experienced in Washington State.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1 to April 30 and during the month-long event, “hundreds of thousands” of visitors flock to the multicolored fields to take in their brilliance, snap photos, and purchase tulips to take home.
For over ten years I’ve lived within 20 minutes of the Skagit Valley. The tulip fields, which are preceded by bright yellow daffodils, are a sight I never tire of seeing. Those colorful blooms shake loose the gray days of winter and announce to all that warm summer days are on the horizon.
Visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
There are plenty of ways to experience the tulips, and one of my favorite ways is to wander through the fields on my own. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the bright blooms.
While you can’t walk more than a few feet into a row, you’ll be able to walk around and past the vibrant fields that go from one shade to the next. A trip to the fields also means you’ll need a good pair of rain boots or waterproof shoes as the fields are usually muddy, even on a sunny day.
One thing you don’t want to forget is your camera. Rain or shine, the tulips offer a picturesque setting from every angle, and I’m sure many a Christmas photo has been snapped amongst the flowers. Paid parking lots are next to selected fields, so there is not much of a walk. There is also free roadside parking, but that fills up fast.
When friends and family come to visit, we head to the display gardens at RoozenGaarde or Tulip Town, as they turn an ordinary landscape into a magical display of imagination and creativity.
A Visit to RoozenGaarde
For over thirty years, the Roozen family has been growing irises, daffodils and tulips. In fact, their fields at RoozenGaarde, which total more than 1000 acres and 16 acres of greenhouses, are the largest in North America. Their five-acre show garden is a show stopper with around 300,000 spring flowers, including 90 tulip varieties, and other spring favorites like daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, and an authentic Dutch windmill. They are also an official sponsor of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and provide the RoozenGaarde Bloom Map, which provides information on all of the blooming fields in the Skagit Valley.
Head to Tulip Town
For indoor and outdoor flower displays and kid-friendly activities, the place to go is Tulip Town. Children will love getting their face painted, following fairies along the Dream Walk, and taking daily trolley rides through the fields. If you are a kid-at-heart, like me, the professional kite flying on the weekends will send your spirit soaring, and if you want to bring back some of the bright colors with you, there are plenty of artist booths to peruse. Be sure to spend some time at Tulip Town’s windmill, which was built by owner Tom De Goede, who used the blueprints of his village’s windmill in Holland. He is also the master planner of the gardens at the windmill scene.
Turn Your Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Adventure Into a Weekend
Throughout April, there are plenty of activities to add to your tulip adventures like the Anacortes Spring Wine Festival in Anacortes, the US Bank Tulip Parade in La Conner, Burlington’s annual Tulip Run, and Art in a Pickle Barn in Mount Vernon.
For local produce, baked goods, and ice cream my favorite nearby spots are Schuh Farms and Snow Goose Produce. For local wine and hard cider, the Tulip Valley Winery is closest to the fields. Be sure to sample their Red Barn Red and Tempranillo Rosé. For thrill seekers who want to soar over the fields, there are helicopter tours with Bellingham Helicopter Services and Sky Flin’ Helicopter. I haven’t done that yet, but it is on my list!
If you decide to stay for the weekend, the neighboring towns of Anacortes, Burlington, Mount Vernon, and La Conner have plenty of accommodations, like The Majestic Hotel & Spa in Anacortes, the La Conner Channel Lodge in La Conner, and The Grand Willow Inn in Mount Vernon.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs April 1 to April 30 and is an hour’s drive from Seattle, WA and around a two-hour drive from Vancouver, B.C. The best place for tulip bloom information is the RoozenGaarde Bloom Map and for activities and events, check out the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and Visit Skagit Valley.