When I moved back to Washington, visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival got added to my adventure list real fast! We did a lot of adventuring growing up, but my appreciation for the state and the variety of things it has to offer is much clearer now as an adult! Plus, the last time I visited I was probably just a little bit taller than the tulips so it was time! If you’re not familiar, the Tulip Festival takes place each Spring in April (sometimes it starts a the last week of March) in the Skagit Valley, which is about an hour north of Seattle. They have a variety of events that happen locally each year, but the main draw is to visit the farms with rows and rows of all of those beautiful tulips! And yes, they really are THAT pretty! 🌷🌷🌷Now that I’ve visited and am clearly an expert on all things tulips now (onlyyyy kidding), I wanted to share some of my advice so you can plan the best trip up there too!
Prepare for Traffic & Crowds
Let’s just get this out of the way… there’s going to be traffic and crowds! it’s going to happen. You’re visiting farmlands full of a lot of two lane roads that are seeing more traffic now than any other time of the year. So just go into your adventure knowing it’s going to happen, make some good Pandora stations and you’ll be justtt fine. Obviously, the weekends are the most packed — especially on those rare sunny April days too so just be prepared for that. If you happen to have a job with days off during the week, I’ve heard that’s a great time to go, but most of us end up going on the weekends so.. yep you guessed it that crowd part comes into play. Everyone just wants to see those pretty flowers so give each other a break and just acknowledge the inevitable. That being said, we got there around 11am on a Sunday and the traffic wasn’t bad at all and we easily got a parking space. Realistically you’re not going to be there more than an hour or two so people luckily are in and out. The fields can get crowded but they’re so big that there’s plenty of room for everyone! We’re not talking Times Squares packed 😜
Pick Which Field You’re Going To
The next big question is which farm to go to. There are two main ones, Tulip Town and Roozengaarde and they’re not too far from each other. We went to Tulip Town for our trip, but the main differences I’ve heard are Roozengaarde’s fields are a lot bigger and Tulip Town is smaller (but still big) but they have a lot more color variety. Tulip Town also has an indoor display and some other family friendly activities too. I don’t think you can really go wrong whichever you decide though and the next time I go I’ll probably go to Roozengaarde so I can report on both! Their hours are a little different, but everything else is pretty similar so feel free to check out the info below to make your decision!
Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids under 5 free
9am-7pm 7 days a week
As someone who doesn’t carry cash much these days, this would be a time to make sure you have some on hand. Tulip Town only takes cash at their entrance gate (they do accept cards inside though) so my recommendation is to get some before heading there. Plus, often at events like this it can just be easier to have on hand in case places don’t take cards. FYI, they also don’t sell tickets online in advance — you’ll buy them at the gardens.
Pack the Rain Boots
It’s April in Washington… I think we’re one of the states that invented the phrase, “April showers, brings May flowers”. While we definitely get some solid sun in April, remember you’re visiting farms so when it rains during the week, it can still be pretty muddy days after. So I definitely recommend packing rain boots if you have them. I didn’t actually end up needing them when we visited, but I’m glad I had them on hand just in case because there were definitely a lot of spots that were super muddy. I’d double-down on this advice if you have kids too because.. well… kids!
Respect the Fields
Now, don’t worry you’re going to get all of the picture-perfect Instagram pictures you want… but remember to also respect the fields. There are signs everywhere to not walk down the rows, buttttt let’s just say a lot of people ignored that and being a true 1 on the Enneagram scale, you know I had to bring some attention to that! So here’s the deal, stay out of the rows! They say you can step 1-2 feet into them to get your photos, but any further than that you risk stepping on other bulbs and damaging future crops. Just don’t do it. RoozenGaarde did a great post on their Facebook page with more info and tips for getting the pics you want while protecting the fields.
Make a Day Trip out of your Visit
After you take in all the views at the fields, I recommend sticking around for a bit! Living south, I don’t get up north that often and in our experience, the traffic was a lot worse heading south than getting to the fields — so if you have the time make your adventure a day trip! Growing up in a farm town, I appreciate the slower pace that some of these towns offer so they were fun to explore. The tulip festival website is a great resource to find something that fits your fancy!
Evan had won a raffle at one of our local restaurant/bars of goodies from a brewery called Chuckanut Brewery that happened to be really close to the fields so we opted to check them out! We visited their South Nut tap room and it was great! Loved the farm vibes and the beer was solid!
There were quite a few winery or tap rooms in the area so if that’s you’re kind of thing you are in luck! You’re also only about 20 minutes for Anacortes or Deception Pass (or both) if you’re looking for some more options. Which, of course we were ready to check out alllll of the places!
Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island and is such a cute little coastal town with gorgeous views! There’s also a lot of local restaurants , fun little shops, and outdoor activities. We kind of just poked around the downtown area and drove through some of the neighborhoods which were so adorbs!
We also decided to stop by Deception Pass because it was so close! It’s about 15 minutes from Anacortes and 20 straight from the tulip farms. The pass is most notorious for its bridge which connects Fidalgo and Whibey Islands and apparently is one of the most photographed locations in the state. For good reason too, it’s gorgeous! We drove over the bridge and then made a pit stop at Deception Pass State Park where you can park and walk along the beaches under the bridge and just take it all in. Because it’s a state park, you will need a Discover Pass unless you visit on one of the free days — they are two in April so check their calendar!
Then our last stop of the day was to the Shrimp Shack. By this point in the day, we were getting hungry and had passed it on our way to Deception Pass so we decided to stop on the way back. We weren’t the only ones either, the place was hopping! We went for a basket of shrimp, but if you’re into oysters they’re known for their Oyster burger. They have a ton of options that are all local too so definitely worth a stop if seafood is your thing.
I hope these tops have been helpful! The tulips are truly gorgeous so I highly recommend checking them out if you get the chance. Plus, the area up there in general is just such a breath of fresh air so it’s worth a visit even outside of tulip season. These days, I’m such a sucker for exploring smaller adorable towns and just taking in all that Washington has to offer and this adventure definitely fit the bill.