Spring is the season when New England literally springs back to life. Days grow longer, temperatures warm, and April showers reliably bring May flowers. Spring is also a relatively affordable and uncrowded time to visit New England.
Need additional inspiration for planning a spring visit? New England welcomes spring with lively events that celebrate the emergence of colorful blooms. Here's your guide to 10 fabulous flower festivals in New England and neighboring New York State.
Location: Bristol, Rhode Island
Dates: April 2020
During the annual Gateway to Spring event at Rhode Island's Blithewold Mansion, you'll see more than 50,000 daffodils growing in gardens and along woodland paths. For an added treat, enjoy afternoon tea in the dining room Wednesday through Friday at 1 or 3 p.m. from April 15 through May 8. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 401-253-2707.
Location: Nantucket, Massachusetts
Dates: April 24-26, 2020
Fields of buttery daffodils—more than 3 million of them—are a spectacle to behold each spring on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket. Weekend events include an antique car parade, a tailgate picnic, a "daffy" dog parade, a hat pageant, a children's parade and more. For information, call 508-228-1700.
Location: Meriden, Connecticut
Dates: April 25-26, 2020 (with Pre-Festival Events on April 18)
With more than 600,000 daffodils in bloom, the Meriden Daffodil Festival can certainly be called Connecticut's most colorful free spring 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, food, a parade, fireworks and entertainment for children at this annual flower festival. For information, call 203-238-1315 (from April 1 through May 1).
Location: Fairfield, Connecticut
Dates: May 8-10, 2020
The Dogwood Festival has been a spring tradition at Greenfield Hill Congregational Church for 85 years. Thousands attend this festival and craft fair that celebrates the beauty of dogwood trees in bloom while also raising money and awareness for people in need locally, nationally and internationally. Take your mom: It's Mother's Day Weekend! For information, call 203-259-5596.
Location: Rochester, New York
Dates: May 8-17, 2020
Lilacs have bloomed in Highland Park since 1892, and Rochester's famous spring festival offers an opportunity to view more than 500 varieties of lilacs in bloom. This free annual festival features music including performances by national recording artists, children's activities, garden battles, a juried art & craft show, international food vendors, a craft beer expo, plant sales and more. For information call the Springut Group at 585-473-4482.
Location: Albany, New York
Dates: May 9-10, 2020
One of Albany's oldest events, the 72nd annual Albany Tulip Festival celebrates the city's Dutch heritage. Historic Washington Park blooms with more than 140,000 tulips in a multitude of colors and 150 varieties. Head to New York's capital city for a Mother's Day weekend of food, music, crafts, kids' activities and more. The Royal Tulip Ball will be held on May 9 at 6:30 p.m. For information about this festival, call 518-434-2032.
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Date: May 10, 2020
Fragrant, flowering lilacs get their very own celebration at Boston's Arnold Arboretum each year. The grounds are home to 397 lilac plants representing 179 different varieties: It's one of North America's most significant collections of lilacs. On Lilac Sunday, picnicking on site is permitted, and special tours and activities for families are scheduled. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 617-524-1718 for event details.
Location: Portsmouth, NH
Date: TBD (typically late May)
America's oldest lilac bushes erupt in lush purple hues each spring at the seaside Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion State Historic Site. Take a tour the grand Colonial-era home of New Hampshire's first royal governor (who was quite a character), and enjoy family activities, guided trail walks, and more activities on the lawn amid the fragrant lilacs. You can also purchase heirloom varieties of lilacs, which have been cultivated on the grounds for 250 years. Call 603-436-6607 for event information.
Location: Sandwich, Massachusetts
Dates: May 23-31, 2020
For a multi-day period in May, the Heritage Museums & Gardens, an eclectic Cape Cod attraction, invites guests to experience one of its most spectacular living collections: more than 100 varieties of flowering rhododendrons planted in the 3-acre Dexter Rhododendron Garden. Many talks, walks and other activities are scheduled to coincide with the festival, which inspires gardeners and allows them to purchase rhododendron plants to cultivate at home. Regular admission fees apply. For details, call 508-888-3300.
Location: Franconia and surrounding towns, NH
Dates: June 1-30, 2020 (Market on June 13)
Gorgeous purple and pink lupines in bloom are reason enough to visit New Hampshire's Franconia region each June. The 26th annual Sugar Hill Lupine Festival (formerly known as the Fields of Lupine Festival or Celebration of Lupine) provides added incentive for travelers including special tours and events, concerts, art exhibits, and more. For information, call 603-823-5661.