Northwest Washington's Skagit Valley comes alive with brilliant color each spring. Acres and acres of daffodils, tulips, and irises entice visitors to the towns of La Conner and Mount Vernon. They come to take in the pastoral beauty, and to enjoy the annual festivities. The flower-viewing season begins with dainty yellow daffodils in mid- to late March, a rainbow of tulips takes the stage in April, and irises and lilies follow, providing color well into the month of May.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival celebrates this annual burst of spring color. Mother Nature decides exactly when the display of color begins, with special events scheduled throughout the month of April.
How to Visit
Options for viewing the blooming flower fields during Skagit Valley Tulip Festival time include driving, walking, biking, and tour buses or shuttles. Most of the flower fields are found on the west side of Interstate 5, between Fir Island Road (Exit 221) and Josh Wilson Road (Exit 231). During peak viewing time the roads through the blooming fields can become congested, particularly on weekends.
- Tulip Country Bike Tours: These guided bike tours include your bike, a helmet, a garden tour, lunch, and stops at great tulip-viewing spots.
- Helicopter Tours: Get an aerial view of the colorful flower fields, the entire Skagit Valley, and the surrounding mountains, islands, and waters.
Check out the official Skagit Valley Tulip Festival website for the most current list of tours and transportation available.
Official Skagit Valley Tulip Festival events include:
- Tulip Festival Street Fair in Downtown Mount Vernon: April 20 to 22, 2018
- Kiwanas Club Salmon Barbecue: March 31 to April 22, 2018
- Anacortes Quilt Walk: April 1 to April 30, 2018
- Tulip Run: April 8, 2018
- Tulip Pedal: April 21, 2018
Visit the official website for the full list of events which includes art shows at several different venues, tastings at local wineries and breweries, and much, much more.
Gardens and Garden Centers
The fields of flowers are grown in order to produce bulbs, a major industry in the Skagit Valley. In addition to wandering around and photographing the fields, Skagit Valley Tulip Festival visitors can enjoy exploring a number of different display gardens and garden centers in order to learn about bulb gardening and to purchase bulbs of their own. These include:
- Tulip Town: Skagit Valley Bulb Farm: Tulip Town offers indoor tulips displays and outdoor display gardens as well as acres of fields that feature an amazing variety of tulips. Tulip Town is a very popular spot to visit, and justifiably so. Not only can you walk around a sea of blooming tulips (in season), you can also take advantage of their gift and bulb shops and snack bars. Those who have trouble getting around can experience the tulip fields aboard a tractor-pulled carriage. Tulip Town's picturesque windmill adds to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival photo-taking options. During April, visitors to Tulip Town can also enjoy a wonderful display of kites from professional kite flyers. (15002 Bradshaw Road, Mount Vernon)
- Roozengaarde (Tulips.com): Stroll through the Roozengaarde show gardens and select which bulbs you want to order for your own yard. Take a family picture at their picturesque windmill or among the blooming tulip maze. Wander among their acres of tulips, with rows of blooms in most colors of the rainbow. While at Roozengaarde, pick up a bunch of fresh-cut tulips or order the bulbs for your favorite variety. During tulip-festival time, a flower tent, picnic shelter, and food vendors are available. The Roozengaarde retail shop sells home and garden items and official Skagit Valley Tulip Festival posters and merchandise, and is open year round. (15867 Beaver Marsh Road, Mount Vernon)
- WSU Discovery Garden: Gardeners will enjoy visiting the Discovery Garden at the Washington State University Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center. Open to the public year-round, the display gardens are designed and maintained by volunteer organizations such as the Master Gardener's Discovery Garden, Skagit Valley Rose Society, and the Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation. Almost 30 different types of gardens are represented, including a native plant garden, a shade garden, a water wise garden, a rose garden, a rhododendron garden, and a fuchsia garden. (16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon)
Skagit Valley Outside of the Festival
While spring is clearly a popular time to visit, Skagit Valley is a great getaway all year round. The fertile valley and water views inspire many artists, giving rise to a number of shops and galleries. Located only an hour north of Seattle, the rural panoramas provide a convenient and relaxing escape from city life.