5 Tips for Visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

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Tulip Town – April 2017

Behold the power of tulips!  I love them.  You love them.  Everyone loves them! Whether you came from the other side of the world, decided to take advantage of a sunny spring day, or waited patiently so you could take your engagement photos – tulips draw folks from all walks of life to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.  Here are some tips to make the most of your visit but you should hurry – those blooms are time limited!

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Tip #1: Find out which fields are blooming

Flowers bloom on nature’s timetable, not ours. The tulips do not bloom on a specific date but come after the daffodils. The Tulip Festival has an interactive map online so you can track which fields are blooming. Also, they post current pictures on their Facebook page. Be careful about trusting social media; your friends and followers may be posting pictures from a previous year without letting you know but the Tulip Festival is reliable.

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Tip #2: Plan out your event schedule

During the Tulip Festival, there are many special events like art walks, street fairs, and salmon barbecues. If you’re interested, check the events page early in the season to be sure you don’t miss anything!

Sometimes, I start in Mount Vernon and visit the Tulip Festival Office, have a bite to eat, or walk around the town. Other times, I start in open fields. Sometimes I go directly to Tulip Town. There’s plenty to see and do and even after going for years, I still feel like I’m discovering the area.

Tulip fields are not equipped with bathrooms. Unless you are going to a maintained field, you may be out of luck if nature calls so plan accordingly.

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Tip #3: Dress appropriately

Spring in the Northwest includes sun, rain, gloom, and everything in between. I recommend bringing boots with garbage bags or cardboard in your trunk. Even though it may not be raining, the fields may be muddy. Bringing jackets, umbrellas, hats, etc. will keep you prepared for whatever you encounter.

Some people like a more refined experience and choose to visit Tulip Town or Roozengaarde instead of tromping around open fields. If that’s the case, come early in the day since both sites are extremely popular.

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Tip #4: Bring food and drink

Mount Vernon has places to eat and there are a few stops along the tulip route. However, coming from Seattle, I’ve found that timing may not be right to stop at any of those places. I always pack food and drink which came in handy the one time we were stopped for 45 minutes on a road in tulip traffic.

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Rocky Road Lopez Island Creamery Ice Cream

Tip #5: Have a great time!

Take lots of photos, enjoy your loved ones, and respect the tulips!  The Tulip Festival is a fantastic place to build new traditions or practice existing ones.  I have a few that have been going on for years.

  • Before I see the tulips, I stop by Skagit River Produce where they scoop Lopez Island Creamery ice cream.  I can only get pints in Seattle unless there is a special event so it’s a treat!
  • I use the family pictures from the Tulip Festival in a picture collage that I send out during the holidays.
  • My son flies kites while I take what he would refer to as “100s of pictures of flowers.”

I can’t believe the Tulip Festival is almost over!  Sometimes I go twice in a season but this year I can’t make it due to travel.  I’ll have to wait until next year.

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