SKAGIT, Wash. — The 36th annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is underway and the stars of the show are starting to bloom.
Now there are more than 300 acres of colorful blooms and thousands of people go to Mount Vernon each year to see them. The tulips are about an hour and half drive’s north of Seattle.
The tulips will be in full peak later in the month because of the winter’s cooler temperatures this year. Skagit County has a website to check bloom status so you can plan your visit accordingly. The area is also home to multiple bright yellow daffodil fields that bloomed in March.
There is no one official field for the festival, but there are plenty of colorful blooms. However, Roozengarde and Tulip Town offer free parking with field admission and have amazing displays with a long history in the valley. Both are open daily and sell bulbs so you can take some flowers home with you.
- Roozengarde on Beaver Marsh Road is open 9 a.m.- 7 p.m., daily. They even have their own bloom map so you can check when to plan your visit.
- Tulip Town is on Bradshaw Road and is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily.
Here are a few things to know before visiting the tulips:
- Go earlier in the day
If you want to beat the crowds, plan on a weekday morning. Most people will venture north on a weekend afternoon, so visiting the tulips during a weekday morning would likely give you the best chance to have the fields mostly to yourself. Plus, morning light can make for great photos.
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- Don’t just pull off on the side of the road
It might be tempting to park on the side of the road next to a pretty field, but don't. You may be ticketed for parking in a non-designated area, and you may damage the fields.
If you don’t want to bring your car, consider going on a bike ride. Most of the ride will be on the roadway so make sure to ride defensively. You can also book a guided bus tour from cities like Seattle, Bellevue and more.
- Wear good shoes and check the weather
The soil in Skagit Valley is great for farming but not so great for shoes. Check the weather a few days before you go and bring boots or other shoes that can withstand the mud. Check the latest weather forecast here.
- Respect the fields
Stay in designated parking areas and walkways to protect the fields. Both Roozengarde and Tulip Town do not allow dogs and other pets. Drones are not allowed to fly over fields and professional photographers should check with fields before taking photos.
- Explore the surrounding towns!
Since you already made the long drive north, consider making a day or it or even a weekend. There are a ton of events throughout the month in quaint towns like La Conner, Anacortes, Mount Vernon and Bow nearby. The Deception Pass State Park is about a 25-minute drive.
Related: Free gardens to visit this spring
Watch | Skagit Valley Daffodils bloom before the tulips
Daffodils bloom before the tulips and are an indicator of how close the latter are to blooming. You may want to make the drive north to see the yellow flowers before they're gone.