Are we in Holland or Washington State? The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a “driving tour” of the tulip fields in Skagit County in Northwestern Washington State.
As you jump off of I-5, you drive through the charming small town of Mount Vernon. Depending on when you go, you’ll either be stuck in traffic for an hour through town (sunny weekend) or you’ll blink and miss the town completely (cloudy weekday).
Don’t hurry through as there are plenty of good options for lunch before you visit the tulips. We chose Bill’s Diner downtown. I suggest you eat before leaving town as there isn’t much to choose from out in the fields.
The festival has been a spring staple since it started in 1984. The festival officially runs the entire month of April, but our spring has come very quickly this year, meaning the Daffodils are already past peak and the tulips are in full bloom – and it’s still March!
The bloom map on the tulip festival website gives you a good idea of what’s in bloom and where to go.
Entry to the fields is cheap. In a couple of places, you can get away with briefly parking by the road (even though the signs tell you not to) and walking around the fields for awhile. That’s where the photo of the Ford Bronco below comes from.
Most fields are run by the bulb companies and have a pay-to-park lot. In the case of the most popular one, Roozengaarde, they charge a reasonable fee to explore their fields. We talk specifically about Roozengaarde in another post. Be sure to read it, too.
There is plenty of human activity to observe at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, too. From people staring into their phones to get the perfect selfie, to workers harvesting Tulips to ship and sell, to artists painting in plein air.
Don’t forget to bring your pooch!
Visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
A weekday is the perfect time to go, if you can swing it. Weekends are a total traffic disaster for the little town. I’ve seen traffic backed up all the way to I-5 in previous years. We went on a partly cloudy Monday afternoon and were able to move around very easily.
LaConner side trip
I suggest finishing up at the fields around 4:00 and making your way to another cute little town called LaConner, WA. The stores there all closed at 6pm. If you go, I suggest visiting the Oyster and Thistle Restaurant and Pub for a drink and a Duck Confit flatbread.
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