Get ready for a blast of color right in your face! A few weeks ago, Lori and I took a day off from our Mt Rainier training to check out the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Located about an hour and a half north of Seattle, the tulip festival is easily accessible and incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike. There are even shuttles available from the city that will bring you up here for the day. The official festival is held every year from April 1-30, but you can visit earlier or later to see the daffodils and irises as well. I have great memories of coming here as a kid and am excited to be heading back again.
We get an early start and arrive at Tulip Town (one of several farms in the area) before it opens at 9am. I snap a few photos from the gate. I’m so excited by all the color and can’t wait to walk around those fields more closely. It’s a cloudy day, but that seems to make the colors pop even more, in contrast to the grey skies.
Next we head down the street and around the corner to another farm, Roozengaarde. It’s also not open, but the flowers around the entry are stunning.
An interesting note, the tulips being grown in the Skagit Valley have their roots (haha, get it?) in the tulips from Holland. While the Dutch were secretive about their growing practices, they were impressed that tulips were able to thrive in this area and eventually sent thousands of bulbs over as an experiment. It was so successful that in 1984, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival was created to enhance the experience of the thousands of people who were already coming to see these colorful flowers.
Daffodil season was just a few weeks before and you can still see some of the fields in bloom, though definitely on their way out (and irises will be in bloom in about a month).
Not all the tulip fields are in the touristy farms that you have to pay to enter. Many fields are right next to the road where anyone can stop and enjoy. They aren’t as big, nor are there as many color varieties, but they are beautiful all the same, and are a throwback to how the tulip festival really got started. To pass the time before Tulip Town opens, we enjoy the reds and yellows of a nearby field.
You aren’t supposed to walk down the rows of flowers in case you fall and damage them, but people sneak down anyway. Better photos that way!
It’s a photographers paradise!
Back at Tulip Town, it’s finally time to go in! Admission is $6, cash only, but an ATM is provided right next to the entry.
Inside is a little cafe where you can get food and coffee, plus areas to admire and buy the flowers and artwork by local artists.
I’m tempted to buy all the tulips for my garden, they’re so colorful! But my wallet and I pass safely through after Lori gets her hot cocoa and head outside to see the flowers and of course, the windmill. Feels just like Amsterdam…sort of.
We walk towards the fields and I just can’t put the camera down. The colors are so striking and seem to go on forever. There isn’t much to add here by way of commentary, so I’ll stop and let you enjoy the photos.
A free shuttle ride will take you around the entire perimeter of the fields, but we walk instead. It’s not far, but those with kids or who otherwise don’t want to walk the whole thing might prefer it.
After the full loop, we head back towards the windmill and the exit. We spent probably about 2 hours here and it was plenty of time to really enjoy the flowers.
Our next stop is the tiny town of La Conner, but more on that tomorrow!