Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Mt Vernon WA Tips & Places to Visit!
The tulip festival is now open! Organizers are anticipating that the full blooms will occur mid month, so if your wanting to see the most color, you might want to plan a visit around that timeframe. I know the tulips in my yard are popping now, so I think it would still be beautiful to visit this weekend as well! We have resources that you can check out below to determine what is in bloom (when you check out their websites they often give current updates on the status of the blooms) to help you plan the best time for your visit.
April is the month for the big Tulip Festivals around the Northwest – the biggest festival is up in Mt Vernon, WA – the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, although there is also a popular Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon that we used to go when we lived in western Oregon – it’s also beautiful, just on a smaller scale to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. We also recently learned of another smaller Tulip Festival in Woodland, WA (southwest Washington).
I spent several years living right in the heart of the tulips in Mt Vernon – it’s actually where my husband and I got married (18 years ago!) & I worked just 5 minutes away from the Tulip Fields during our time there. So I always get sentimental when the Tulip Festival time comes around as I miss those days of living so close & heading out to the fields for pictures and watching the sun go down on the tulip fields after work.
The obligatory picture of your cute kiddo in the tulips!
We frequently head up to the Tulip Fields during the festival timeframe, either when we’re passing through headed up north or we make a specific trip to go there. So I thought I’d share a few tips with you about visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Resources for you to Use:
My personal favorite of the tulips – love all the varieties you can find!
Check out this Bloom Map which is updated regularly to show you where the fields are located & which flowers & varieties are blooming. We visited a Roozengarde field on our visit off McLean Road near LaConner-Whitney Road. You can pay per car to park at the field (Or it’s free if you have a ticket from Roozengarde Display gardens). When we went a few years ago, you could use that same ticket when you park & visit other fields as well for the same price, but I can’t confirm if they are still offering that ticket deal.
Roozengarde also has an amazing 3 1/2 acre display garden at their main location off Beaver Marsh road, as well as more tulip fields. I definitely recommend this beautiful display garden – it’s gorgeous and filled with 1/4 million bulbs! Wow! Plus they have a gift shop where you can find fun flower items and all things tulips!
Tulip Town is the other popular destination to visit when you visit the Tulip Festival. We went to visit Tulip Town recently and there is so much more to do here now. They have a trolley/wagon ride that you can ride for a fee. There is an indoor plant & garden show, which is nice for those rainy days when you don’t want to spend the whole day outside to see all the beautiful flowers. They also have professional kite fliers each weekend, as well as local artists on hand as well.
What I love about Tulip Town is there are so many great photo opp locations.
5 Tips for Visiting the Tulip Fields::
1) Make sure to get a map either before your visit or in town before you hit the fields – You definitely want to have a printed map to take with you so you know exactly where to drive to see all the best fields. You can download this printable map of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Or you can pick up a map with a brochure at any of these Tulip Festival official locations.
2) Visit early in the day or late in the afternoon – On the weekends, especially, the Tulip Festival can be very popular and that means crowded & slow driving thru the fields. If you can, it’s best to try to hit the Festival ideally earlier in the day or if that doesn’t work, then head there later in the afternoon. Just make sure you’ve checked on the times the fields are open as many of them do close at 5pm (although if you follow them on Facebook -Roozengarde or Tulip Town) they may extend hours during certain times.
3) Make it a Day Adventure as there is so much to see & do in Skagit Valley – There really is a lot to see and do up in the Skagit Valley, so if you’re coming from a distance, I’d recommend you plan for a day of excursions. Check out our post with all the budget-friendly options of what to see & do in the Skagit Valley. Once you’ve visited the fields & gardens which could take a few hours, then you can head to downtown Mt Vernon to check out their shops and restaurants or the quaint town of La Conner nearby in the valley, filled with antique shops, specialty shops, restaurants & pretty views along the water.
Another idea that friends of mine recently tried was to head first to the Tulip Fields, lunch in Mt Vernon and then they headed out to Whidbey Island and Deception Pass State Park, which has gorgeous views & some pretty hikes and a beach to play at. You can check out the park on the Fidalgo Island side and the Whidbey Island side. You can then continue down the length of Whidbey Island to catch the ferry at the southern end to bring you back to the Everett area.
4) Take the scenic route through the valley at least one direction on your way to/from the tulip fields – Get off at the Conway exit (Exit 221) if you’re coming from the Seattle area. If you’re coming from up north of the Skagit Valley festival, I still think it’s worth it if you have the time to either drive down & start from the Conway exit or end up there on your way back to I-5. This will give you the full effect of the beautiful Skagit Valley as you drive along this road and you’ll also pass the always popular Snow Goose Produce Market (great place to stop for ice cream cones!).
5) Bring boots for the whole family – most likely, the fields will be VERY muddy as it is springtime in the Northwest, which typically means a fair amount of rain. Even if it hasn’t rained for a day or two, all that dirt out there will still hold the rain (which makes for some fun, squishy ground to walk on if there’s water underneath – almost like a trampoline we all decided) –but you will get dirty/muddy. But what kids don’t love to tromp around in fields? Great fun for the kids! You might want to think about a change of clothes for the younger kiddos, too!
A reader also mentioned bringing plastic bags for the kids boots to go in after they are done wearing them. What a great idea! Plus, baby wipes to clean them up from any muddy falls.
Restaurants to Try:
Calico Cupboard Cafe & Bakery – One of my favorite restaurants in the Skagit Valley, as it’s been a family favorite for years growing up, is the Calico Cupboard and the great news is that there are 3 different locations. It is found in downtown Mt Vernon, La Conner, and Anacortes. This is a great place to stop for a baked goodie or for lunch.
Skagit River Brewing Co – This is always a favorite of those who visit Mt Vernon. My friends recently went to this restaurant for lunch on their visit up to the Tulip Festival & they loved it & said the food was delicious!
Skagit Valley Co-Op – This is actually a grocery store Co-Op but it also has a fantastic little deli/cafe, where you can get sandwiches, soups, salads, with organic & locally sourced ingredients. They also offer a number of vegan, gluten-free & more options. I used to go here for lunch when I worked near downtown & it was a favorite. You can either eat in the cafe or bring your sandwiches with you to go to eat on your tour of the fields.
Pacioni’s – If you’re looking for great pizza or Italian food, Pacioni’s in downtown Mt Vernon is the place to go! My husband loved the calzones from Pacioni’s and the pizzas are delicious (voted best pizza in the Skagit Valley).
Mexico Cafe – If you’re looking for great Mexican food, plus a location right in the heart of tulip country, Mexico Cafe is your place to go! This is another one of our favorite restaurants in Mt Vernon that we regularly visited.
Snow Goose Produce Market – This is not a restaurant but a fabulous place to stop & get ice cream cones right in the heart of the valley on the way to LaConner (outside of Conway) – their ice cream cones are huge! They also have a nice produce market to check out with a wide variety of options. You will need cash for the ice cream cones, though!
Big Scoop Sundae Palace – this is an old fashioned ice cream parlor with great ice cream & sundaes plus it’s a restaurant too. This place has been around since I was a kid and it’s just a fun, happy place to visit.
More Places to Check Out:
Mt Vernon Street Fair – The weekend of April 17th – 19th is the Mt Vernon Street Fair & I think this is a good one to check out as they have a wide variety of arts & crafts as well as entertainment, yummy food & more.
Christianson’s Nursery – This is a high quality nursery in the Skagit Valley and it’s a must-visit if you love plants & gardening. We used to love to go walk around this nursery & check out all the different varieties of flowers & plants they had.
Where are your favorite places to go when you visit the Tulip Festival? We’d love to hear any tips you have on visiting?
Check out our post about visiting Skagit Valley on a Budget too!
And a review of an affordable hotel in the Skagit Valley area – Angel of the Winds Hotel