Springtime in Washington means an abundance of blooms. Daffodils and crocus flowers begin to bloom, along with the hundreds of fruits and vegetables that begin to emerge from the ground after a chilly winter. But there’s one floral staple that begins to bloom in mid-March, catching the attention of thousands of Washington residents and travelers near and far — tulips.
Tulips are a staple in Skagit Valley’s agricultural scene, with several area farms devoted to the growing and selling of the gorgeous flower. And with acres of tulips fields, with color as far as the eye can see, the opportunity to view these fields is a site unlike any other.
Tulip bulbs are planted in the fall for their debut in spring. And the month of April is officially known as the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, welcoming travelers from all over the state to enjoy the sites. And while thousands flock to the northwestern area of the state to catch a glimpse of the blooming flowers and to take pictures amongst the stunning colors, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
Planning Your Trip
Visiting the Tulip Festival on the weekends throughout April is incredibly busy. So, if you can, opt for a weekday, or even a Sunday if you wish to avoid the large crowds and traffic in the area.
You can view tulips at both Roozengarde and Tulip Town, each with their own activities and amenities, along with different pricing structures.
Roozengarde was established in 1985 by the Roozen family and has since become one of the largest growers of tulips and daffodils in the world. While most visit for the Tulip Festival, the grounds are open year-round with a variety of activities, as well as the ability to pick up bulbs for home planting in fall.
Tulip Town, established thanks to the work of Anthony (Tom) DeGoede and his purchase of land in 1983, is the other main option for tulip viewing. With eight acres of tulips, trolley rides and even a beer and wine garden, this stop is a full-day destination.
The tulip fields are about 60 miles north of Seattle, just off of the I-5 corridor, making access incredibly simple. The I-5 exits can get pretty backed up with festival traffic (especially on those weekend days), but it’s certainly well worth the wait. As you’re exiting, be sure to remember that the Tulip Festival is set in a rural farm area, so restrooms are sparse. Stop at a Visitor’s Center or another option before heading in from the highway.
Wandering the Area
There are plenty of fields throughout the valley, and if you’re lucky, you may stumble upon one that doesn’t require paid parking or paid entry. It’s certainly worth the drive around the area to view the variety of fields, with tulips in bloom and other crops popping up for spring.
Traffic is typically centered around visiting Roozengarde or Tulip Town, so taking a self-guided tour around the area away from those hot spots usually provides a nice drive without very many other cars.
Taking Photos of Tulips
There’s just something so magical about the vibrant flowers in bloom, often with a slight breeze running through the fields. And photographers tend to flock to the area for unique captures, along with social media influencers looking for their latest post and even family portraits taking place.
But, please remember, these fields are first and foremost businesses, and they are someone’s livelihood. A farmer invests thousands into their crop for the next year, so traipsing through the fields is definitely a no-go. There are plenty of ways to capture photos along the edges of the fields without heading out into the middle, causing potential damage to the flowers.
Enjoy it and have fun!