Bask in Blooms: Andrew’s Guide to Making the Most of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

All photos in this post are by Karen Hicks!

Tulip Valley Farms

It probably won’t surprise you, I spend a lot of time talking to tons of people about how best to enjoy the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. When we started Tulip Valley Farms in 2022, our whole purpose was to create the ULTIMATE tulip experience, with a focus on creating and sharing the experiences I had come to love as a tulip farmer. We’ve grown  a “feeling farm” here where fun is as important as the flowers

With that in mind, allow me to share some insider tips on how to maximize your time and enjoyment of my hometown, stomping grounds, as well as the world renowned Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. So, let’s dive into how you can make the most of your visit and ensure the experience of a lifetime amidst the bloom.


Plan Ahead to Beat the Crowds:

First and foremost, planning is key to avoiding traffic and enjoying a leisurely stroll through the tulip fields. While the festival runs throughout the month of April, weekdays tend to be less crowded than weekends. Consider visiting on a weekday if your schedule allows, as this will offer a more tranquil and intimate experience amidst the blooms. Additionally, arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon can help you beat the crowds and capture stunning photos in the soft light of dawn or dusk.

  • Karen Hicks

    If you can’t visit mid-week: 

    • Get here as soon as you can. If you’re not on a farm by noon on a good weather weekend you can plan on 3-4 hours of traffic. No joke. Not funny. Be patient. 
    • Stay late. Stroll the afternoon at Tulip Valley Farms and then run out to La Conner or into Mount Vernon/Burlington (or even out to Anacortes) for dinner and then come back to Tulip Valley Farms for Night Bloom Friday and Saturday night (7-9pm). 
    • Bring your bike. Park at the Port of Skagit and ride your bike to the fields. Also, be VERY careful as we’ve got amazing views but very small shoulders on the roads and also distracted drivers. And also be careful of gravel and potholes–rural roads aren’t famous for being smooth!
  • If you’re planning on visiting Roozengaarde (and I hope you do!) go early to avoid the most intense traffic of the entire festival. Seriously, I tell all my friends to be there when the gates open. Also mid-week is a key to optimal enjoyment of this gem of the Tulip Festival. 
  • Ignore Siri. No matter what Siri (or your AI assistant of choice) says, DO NOT GO THROUGH DOWNTOWN MOUNT VERNON. DO NOT TAKE KINCAID STREET. 
    • Take Hwy 20 (in Burlington) west towards Anacortes
    • Turn left on Best Road about 3 miles west of I-5 and head back towards the tulip venues on McLean Road at the roundabout. 
    • **take another left on Bradshaw road to get to Tulip Valley Farms! 
  • If you find yourself in traffic through downtown Mount Vernon, pull up your favorite playlist, podcast or Audible selection because you’re probably going to be enjoying the cutest town on I-5 for a few hours. And yes, the bridge over the Skagit River is scheduled to be painted. Yay! 
    • Don’t get clever and try and drive up Memorial Highway (Hwy 536) thinking you’ll just turn left on Bradshaw because it’s most likely going to be blocked by the Washington State Patrol. 
      • On that note: when the sign says “no right turn” and you think “you’re not the boss of me” you’re probably going to get some illuminated attention from our friends at the Skagit County Sheriff’s department of Washington State Patrol. It’s not worth the risk to you or others, please obey the traffic signage!   


Explore Off-the-Beaten-Path Locations:

Karen Hicks

While the main fields along the Skagit Valley are undeniably stunning, don’t overlook the opportunity to explore lesser-known locations that offer equally breathtaking views of the tulips. Take a scenic drive along country roads to discover hidden gems and charming farm stands nestled amidst the fields. These quieter spots provide the perfect backdrop for a peaceful picnic or a romantic stroll hand in hand with loved ones.

Beyond the Bloom:

Karen Hicks

To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of the tulips, consider participating in interactive activities offered by local garden centers and museums. Don’t miss the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, the Skagit Historical Society, Art in a Pickle Barn, and of course the Tulip Festival Street Fair (yes, I know I said avoid downtown Mount Vernon but that was just for TRAFFIC, not for FUN). For the full download be sure to check the festival’s schedule for special events and activities that align with your interests, whether it’s learning about tulip cultivation or indulging in farm-fresh treats.


Embrace the Spirit of Adventure:

Karen Hicks

Finally, don’t be afraid to embrace the spirit of adventure and wander off the beaten path. While the main fields are undoubtedly stunning, some of the most magical moments can be found by exploring lesser-known areas and seeking out hidden pockets of beauty. So lace up your hiking shoes, pack a picnic, and embark on a journey of discovery through the kaleidoscope of colors that is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.

So much to do, so much to see! 

Karen Hicks

These are my stomping grounds and I could (and someday might) write an entire book on how best to enjoy this natural beauty and phenomenal opportunities for feels here in the Magic Skagit. Don’t fret with overwhelm, there’s a reason EVERY season to visit the Magic Skagit so come back after the bloom fades for a million other things to do!

The bloom is fast on and will be fast gone, so get here when you can and stay for as long as your circumstances allow! The  Skagit Valley Tulip Festival offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and create cherished memories with loved ones. By planning ahead, exploring off-the-beaten-path locations, engaging in interactive activities, and embracing the spirit of adventure, you can avoid traffic and make the most of your time amidst the tulips. So grab your camera, breathe in the fragrant air, and let the vibrant colors of the tulips transport you to a world of wonder and delight. We can’t wait to welcome you to Tulip Valley Farms and share in the magic of this beloved annual tradition!

2 Responses

  1. I love the emails and this blog. Your enthusiasm and energy for your farm shows. I love stopping by and see your creation to the land.

    1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to leave a comment to share your thoughts. We love sharing the farm and it’s nice to hear that comes across 🙂

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