One of the quintessential festivals in Washington state is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Every April thousands of people descend upon the rural farms north of Seattle to see millions of tulips light up the lands. The festival typically runs April 1-30, but the tulips bloom according to their own schedule and Mother Nature, of course. And as of mid-March, it looks like the tulips may bloom a bit later than usual.
If your Navy tour finds you stationed in the Pacific Northwest, be sure to add this festival to your bucket list! It’s worth the drive! And even if your submariner isn’t home, take the kids or find a group of girlfriends to go with.
Photos courtesy of Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
But before you go, here’s what you need to know:
- Go early
This will come as no surprise, but this festival is very, very popular. You want to arrive early. Which, coming from Kitsap County it’s quite a trek. From Poulsbo the drive is 2.5 hours (without traffic), including ferry time. If you can, try to come on a weekday. If it’s easier, consider making a weekend of it and spend the night at a local hotel.
- There are two major farms
Roozengaarde offers a five+ acre display garden, 25 acre tylip field and a 25 acre daffodil field. Their farm has over 150 different tulip varieties and one million bulbs. Admission is $15, required for all individuals ages three and up. Children two and under are free. Parking is included in the ticket price! You can purchase timed tickets now. Tulip Town offers five acres of fields, open 8am-7pm. Military is $13 online or $15 at the gate, children ages 6-11 $7 online, $10 at the gate. Littles under the age of 5 are free! Admission includes parking, entry and a trolley ride. You can book your timed tickets now.
- New! Dogs are now welcome
Tulip Town recently announced something new for 2023 – dogs are welcome on their property! They ask that owners keep dogs on their leash and pick up after them (doggy clean up stations will be available). Tulip Town also asks that you only bring dogs that are “well-behaved” around other people and dogs.
- Wear rain boots
It is the Pacific Northwest, after all. In all my years of going to the festival (Washington native, here), the fields are almost always muddy. Plan your attire accordingly and have a good sense of humor. Just know no matter the weather, the tulip feilds are gorgeous. I’ve been there on cloudy days, sunny days, rainy days. It’s still worth it!
- Check the blooom status
- Explore the area
Beyond the tulips, there are some great local restaurants, breweries and other area attractions. For the kids, there’s the Children’s Museum of Skagit Valley. For restaurants, check out Calico Cupboard, Trumpeter Public House, Railroad Pub & Pizza, and Mt. T’s Family Cafe. For sweet treats, take the kids to Big Scoop or Snow Goose Produce ice cream stand. For breweries, you can’t go wrong at Skagit River Brewing, and any of these breweries along their ale trail.
For more information about the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, click here.