Best Spring Flower Festivals in the Northeast

Colorful tulips at Albany Tulip Festival
Shobeir Ansari / Getty Images

Each spring, the Northeastern United States comes back to life as the snow recedes, making way for the trees to bud and flowers to bloom. Days grow longer, temperatures warm, and April showers reliably deliver May flowers from southern New York all the way up to New Hampshire. Many Northeastern states welcome visitors this time of year with lively events that celebrate the emergence of colorful blooms. And since the weather can be fickle depending on your month of travel, most destinations are free of crowds and lodging is affordable. So, pack some warm layers and hop in the car for a flower tour sure to cure your spring fever.

Many festivals have been canceled, postponed, or are being held virtually for 2021. Please check with the event organizers before planning your trip.

01 of 10

Daffodil Days at Blithewold

Springtime daffodils

Apexphotos / Getty Images

101 Ferry Rd, Bristol, RI 02809-2902, USA
Phone +1 401-253-2707

The annual "Gateway to Spring" event at the Blithewold Mansion in Bristol, Rhode Island, takes place every April. This event boasts more than 50,000 daffodils growing on 33 acres of gardens and woodland paths. And daffodils are just the beginning of the displays you can see here throughout the spring. Early May, flowering cherry trees, primroses, and star magnolias show their stuff, and by late May, the grounds come alive with columbine, forget-me-nots, and lupine.

02 of 10

Nantucket Daffodil Festival

Sankaty Lighthouse Siasconset, Nantucket Island Massachusetts

Moment Open / Getty Images

There's nothing like island hopping to get you in the mood for spring. So, jump on a ferry boat in April for an off-shore excursion to Nantucket Island in Massachusetts where you can partake in a 40-plus year tradition, the Nantucket Daffodil Festival. Fields of buttery daffodils—more than 3 million—offer a seaside spectacle, complete with the backdrop of a historical lighthouse. Weekend events include an antique car parade, a tailgate picnic, a "daffy" dog parade, a hat pageant, and a children's parade.

03 of 10

Meriden Daffodil Festival

Yellow daffodils in a flower bed

Moment / Getty Images

With more than 600,000 daffodils in bloom, the Meriden Daffodil Festival can certainly be called Connecticut's most colorful April event. In addition to fragrant fields of yellow and white daffodils, you'll also find continuous music on three stages, carnival rides, a craft fair, a food tent, a parade, fireworks, and entertainment for children at this annual flower festival. A shuttle bus service to the event begins each weekend day at 8 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m.

04 of 10

Dogwood Festival

Dogwood Festival at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church

Conner Downey / Flickr

1045 Old Academy Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824-2099, USA
Phone +1 203-259-5596

Every May, Fairfield, Connecticut, hosts the Dogwood Festival at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. This longstanding local tradition draws in thousands of attendees to celebrate the beauty of the town's dogwood trees in full bloom. This event usually takes place on Mother's Day weekend and includes a local art show, garden walks, historical talks, and concerts. Festival efforts and proceeds raise both money and awareness for people in need.

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05 of 10

Rochester Lilac Festival

Rochester Lilac Festival

Rich Engelbrecht / Flickr

Highland Park, Rochester, NY 14620, USA

The lilac bushes located in Highland Park in Rochester, New York, have delighted onlookers since 1892. And Rochester's famous spring festival each May offers an opportunity to view more than 500 varieties in bloom. This free annual festival features music, including performances by national recording artists, children's activities, garden building battles, a live auction, food trucks, and a craft beer expo.

06 of 10

Albany Tulip Festival

Single yellow tulip surrounded by purple tulips

E+ / Getty Images

Washington Park, Albany, NY, USA

One of Albany's oldest events, the annual Albany Tulip Festival in Albany, New York, celebrates the city's Dutch heritage on Mother's Day weekend each spring. Historic Washington Park comes alive with blooms of more than 140,000 tulips and 150 varieties in many colors. Head to New York's capital city for a weekend of food, music, crafts, kids' activities, and the grand event, a Royal Tulip Ball. You can find free parking on Elk Street and Eagle Street and catch a complimentary shuttle service to Washington Park.

07 of 10

Lilac Sunday

A path in Arnold Arboretum

TripSavvy / Violet Smirnova 

125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130-3500, USA
Phone +1 617-524-1718

Fragrant, flowering lilacs get their very own celebration each year at Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts. The grounds are home to 397 lilac plants representing 179 different varieties. For this reason, Lilac Sunday is one of North America's most significant lilac-focused events. Embark on a self-guided tour after printing a tour brochure, and bring your favorite meal: Picnicking is permitted most years, as food vendors are not allowed on site.

08 of 10

Wentworth-Coolidge Lilac Festival

Close up photo of a lilac in a garden

Christophe Lehenaff / Getty Images

375 Little Harbor Rd, Portsmouth, NH 03801-5527, USA
Phone +1 603-436-6607

America's oldest lilac bushes erupt in lush purple hues each spring at the seaside Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion State Historic Site in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. During the lilac festival, take a tour of a grand Colonial-era home that was once home to New Hampshire's first royal governor (who was quite a character, by the way). Enjoy family activities and guided trail walks amid the fragrant lilacs. You can also purchase heirloom varieties of lilacs that have been cultivated on the grounds for 250 years. The event typically takes place each year over Memorial Day weekend.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

Rhododendron Festival

Purple and pink azalea and rhododendron flowers

iStock / Getty Images Plus

67 Grove St, Sandwich, MA 02563-2110, USA
Phone +1 508-888-3300

For a weeklong period in May, the Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts, host its annual Rhododendron Festival, an eclectic Cape Cod attraction. Here, guests can experience one of the most spectacular living collections with more than 100 varieties of flowering rhododendrons planted in the three-acre Dexter Rhododendron Garden. Talks, walks, and activities are intended to inspire gardeners to take on rhododendron cultivation at home. Plants are available for sale and regular admission fees apply.

10 of 10

Sugar Hill Lupine Festival and Market

White horse in a spring pasture

E+ / Getty Images

Gorgeous purple and pink lupines in bloom are reason enough to visit New Hampshire's Franconia region each June. The annual Sugar Hill Lupine Festival (formerly known as the Fields of Lupine Festival or Celebration of Lupine) takes you on a tour of New Hampshire's back roads, where you pass roadside gardens and blooms. After the tour, stop by the market in Sugar Hill, featuring local artisans, crafters, and demonstrations.

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Celebrate Spring at the Northeast's Most Fabulous Flower Festivals