Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - Washington USA

 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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Can't make it to Keukenhof this spring but still want to see amazing colours? If you are in the Pacific Northwest, check out the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival! Located 90-minutes north of Seattle in Mount Vernon, WA, this festival lasts throughout the month of April while the tulips are in bloom.

There are two main tulip farms to visit - Roozengaarde and Tulip Town, each with a slightly different feel.  

Roozengaarde - Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Roozengaarde Windmill

Roozengaarde is one of the largest tulip gardens in the world with a 5-acre display garden and 1000 acres of tulips fields to tiptoe through (of which you can probably only tiptoe through 25 acres).  Their display garden also features an authentic Dutch windmill, greenhouses, and indoor gift shop for rainy days.

It's not only tulips you will find in their display garden, but all kinds of spring blooms such as different varieties of daffodil, iris and hyacinth. You may even see a bumblebee or honeybee greedily taking advantage of the colourful buffet.

Admission is $7.00/person and includes parking. Kids 5 and under are free.

 

 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - Roozengaarde - Grape Hyacyinth - Honeybee
 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Roozengaarde Display Garden
 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Roozengaarde Tulip Field

Tulip Town - Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town windmill

Tulip Town, while smaller than Roozengaarde, has a few more indoor attractions and is more kid-friendly. The indoor attractions include an indoor flower show showcasing different tulip varieties in a unique, hand-painted canal-like setting, a potted tulip shop, face-painting and art gallery.

Outdoors you have their windmill, which while impressive, is only a replica. The water garden with its music playing gives off more of an "It's A Small World" vibe rather than an authentic vibe. It is also home to an International Peace Garden and the smaller but certainly colourful tulip fields. If your feet are tired at this point or you would rather avoid getting mud on your shoes, there is a trolley that will take you around the tulip fields for $2/person.

Admission is $7.00/person and includes parking. Kids 5 and under are free.

 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town barn
 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town tulip fields
 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town
 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town indoor flower show

Tips for enjoying the tulip festival:

 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town mud
  • Go during the week if possible, and get there early. Once lunchtime hits on any day, the crowds double in size and it is much less enjoyable to enjoy the flowers!
  • Wear rain boots or any shoes you don't mind getting muddy. Even on a sunny day, you will most likely have to wade through mud to get close to the tulips in the fields. I was the only one in our group brave enough to tiptoe through the fields at Roozengaarde since I was wearing knee-high combat boots.
  • After a morning of visiting Roozengaarde and Tulip Town, head to the nearby waterfront town of La Conner to have some lunch and visit the quirky little shops lined up along the main drag.
  • If you are in the area in March, you'll be too early for tulips, but no worries, that's when the daffodils are in bloom! Still, head up to Skagit Valley to see massive fields of happy yellow flowers.
 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town tulip field
 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Tulip Town

If you are interested in learning more about the evolution of the tulip and "Tulip Mania" in Holland, I highly recommend the book "Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan. Not only does it go into the history of this revered flower, but also into human's relationships with three other very common plants - apples, potatoes, and cannabis. It is a fascinating read and you are guaranteed not to look at any of these plants the same.

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 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - Washington USA
 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival - Washington USA