Posts tagged things to do in washington state
5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

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!

Roozengaarde

https://www.tulips.com

Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids under 5 free

9am-7pm 7 days a week

Free parking

Tulip Town

https://tuliptown.com

Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids 6-11 $5, kids under 5 free

Hours: 9am-5pm 7/days a week

Free parking

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Bring Cash

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!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

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!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

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!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

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!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

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.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

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.

Washington State Fair :: My Picks for What to See & Eat
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

Since I decided to move home, something I have been really looking forward to going to is the Puyallup Fair aka the Washington State Fair! I honestly can't tell you the last time I went, but I know it's been at least 10 years! Going to the fair was always one of my favorite memories growing up, so I was really looking forward to a day filled with a little nostalgia. 

While I was excited for a lot of different things, I definitely went into the day with two top missions... To see alllll of the animals and also eat allll of the food. Clearly, my priorities are in check! Ha! We kicked off the day getting a jumpstart on one of those missions by starting with a fresh scone! A fair must-have. So simple, and yet so delicious. 

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

After we were fueled up on scones it was time to get a little bit of the lay of the land. A lot of the buildings definitely have had a little facelift since the last time I was there. Since when has there been a beer garden and multiple bars too?! Things have definitely grown up a bit since the last time I was there. We started the day off by making the rounds through the 4-H, hobby and vendor halls. Checking out all of the goods in each of those! After that, we also stumbled upon a pretty hilarious variety show by the Stooge Dudes, which was fun.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

Once we went through most of the halls it was back to my missions. On the food end, realistically, I needed like 4 or 5 visits to be able to try everything I wanted to. Occasionally, I watch the show Carnival Eats so being at an actual fair again with all of the ridiculous food options was AWESOME! Since I was only there for one day though, I decided to stay true to my classic favorites I haven't had in awhile. 

I'm all about getting as many options in as possible so having someone who is down to share is key when doing fair food! Something I had to have once I saw was a blooming onion. I first fell in love with them at the 9th Avenue Food Festival in NYC. It was the only street fair of the year that had them and was something I'd look forward to. Until a few years ago when the booth was nowhere to be found! And yes, I know you can get them other places... but there's just something about getting them at a fair that makes them so much better so I was PUMPED to see them at the Puyallup!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

Beyond our scones and blooming onion, we also had another fair classic -- a crusty pup. There are just some fair classics that are hard to beat! Then we closed things out at their DIY slushie stand -- which I also love. 

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

I have to be honest, it was really hard saying no to some of the other options! A girl can only eat so much though.. So here's a look at some of the options! Some of which I'll definitely be trying next year and others that I'll save for some other brave people.

The delicious...

  • Elephant ears: Another one of my absolute favorites at the fair are elephant ears! Cinnamon and sugar for me!
  • Curly fries: These were another one of my picks as a kid. They come in a huge block which is kind of insane, but dang are they good.
  • Turkey legs: The turkey legs were looking on point! If I didn't just have one at the Renaissance Fair, I may have had to pick one of these up!
  • Chicken and waffles and Nashville hot chicken: Two things I'm pretty sure you can't go wrong with.
  • Apple fries with caramel: Is there anything more perfect for Fall? These sounded delicious!

The ridiculous...

  • Everything at Totally Fried: Which was you guessed it... totally fried. The stand had fried classics like deep fried pickles, oreos and mac and cheese. Then they also had deep fried pop tarts, cinnamon rolls, hand pies and cosmic brownies
  • Funnel cake with bacon, maple syrup, and whipped cream: While totallyyyy ridiculous and over the top, I would 100% try this.
  • Fire Cheeto fries: Also ridiculous, but also probably delicious!

The downright cray cray... 

  • Deep Fried Butter: I've seen this on carnival shows so I shouldn't have been surprised, but something about seeing it in person just seemed crazy to me. 😱 Like guys... they were eating deep-fried butter. Like who decided that was going to be a thing?! Despite what I think though, people were lined up like crazy so it's certainly a hit.
  • Everything in the exotic food stand: Python, alligator, bugs, and Kangaroo were all on the menu here. None of which sound like things I'd personally want to try.

Needless to say, the fair food options were popping! And I may be eating all vegetables for the next 3 days to make up for all of the food we ate.. totally worth it though! Besides, calories don't count at the fair right?!

Now onto the second mission for the day... seeing all of the animals! [Insert little kid squeal here] Okay, I may be 28... but I was definitely more like 28 going on 8 during my visit. I don't know why but I was so excited to hang out with some of the farm animals. I have also been obsessed with goats as of lately. So you can imagine my excitement that it was goat weekend in the barns!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

If you follow me on Instagram, I half apologize for all of my goat Instagram Stories for the day. Only half though because I still thought they were pretty adorable! 

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

Needless to say, I was in goat heaven and even made a few new furry friends. The goat above and I were totally having a bonding moment. Ha!

After going through barn after barn of goats (and not getting sick of it) we also saw some other cuties.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

This furry little (ok kind of big) guy's name was Finnegan, which I thought was super adorable.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat
Anna Osgoodby Life + Design PNW Lifestyle Blogger :: Washington State Fair -- My Picks for What to See & Eat

Unsurprising, I also could not get enough of Piglet Palace with all of the baby piggies! There were reallyyyyy tiny piglets and then these little striped ones that are just too cute. That one up on the right was my absolute favorite too 😍. He woke up from a nap and decided he was hungry and then one by one the other piggies woke up too. They were really funny to watch! 

And just like that both of my missions were complete! It was such a fun day and I have to say it even surpassed my expectations for what I was hoping for. I already can't wait for next year!