2023 marks the 40th year of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival! It is an anniversary worth celebrating and an opportunity to honor the incredible work of those who have made it a spring institution and world-class event over the decades.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival has become a beloved tradition for Pacific Northwest residents and bucket-list destination for people all over the world.
When the Tulip Festival began 40 years ago, there were nearly 4,000 acres of tulips. Now, however, there are about 400 acres of tulips. As the influx of visitors has increased, the opportunities for visitors to get up close and personal with the famous technicolor fields has decreased. Unfortunately, this has led to some serious choke points as visitors try to enjoy spring in Skagit Valley in the optimal way.
Tulip Valley Farms was born (or bloomed) as a response to the things we’ve learned about helping visitors get the most of their visit to tulip fields and Skagit Valley. We know that as we work backwards from certain tensions, we can elevate the appeal and experience even more.
There will be TWO new tulip fields for visitors to “tiptoe” through in 2023, more than 5 new acres of parking, innovative experiences designed to inspire and delight, and unexpected surprises all designed with visitors in mind.
How Tulip Valley Farms Fields Can HELP Festival Traffic
Tulip Festival traffic has been a long running joke for local residents for years, but, really, it’s no joking matter.
Every year thousands of vehicles converge on the Mount Vernon and Burlington area for the Tulip Festival. With the location of the only two tulip gardens on 2 lane country roads and limited parking, roads are often backed up for miles and miles. It is an unfortunate reality that affects the ability of locals to get around and the experience of visitors.
Tulip Valley Gardens is the smaller tulip field of Tulip Valley Farms’ locations, but conveniently located right off Highway 20, near I-5. Because it is a smaller field with limited parking, all visitors must pre-purchase tickets (no walk-up entry) to avoid overcrowding.
With such close proximity to the major arterials and being located away from the other tulip fields/gardens in the area, more visitors will be able to visit tulip fields without sitting in lengthy traffic lines.
The Tulip Valley Farm field in West Mount Vernon is a 30 acre, former hazelnut tree orchard. This year, more than 12 acres were planted with tulip bulbs and 5 acres were carved out for parking. That means it will be able to host thousands of visitors every hour…which is hundreds of vehicles off the roads. We are also encouraging scheduled, online ticket purchases (tickets purchased at the door, if available, will cost $2 more). This will help spread out visitors over more of the day and relieve some of the pressure caused by many visitors coming at the same time.
With more than 30 acres of beautiful land to enjoy, crowding won’t be an issue.
Grass Walkways Between Tulip Rows
There are a couple of common challenges when it comes to “tiptoeing through the tulips.” One aspect that frustrates every grower and visitor is epitomized by the phrase “Please get out of the rows.” Tulip farm employees do not enjoy reminding visitors to stay out of the tulip rows (which is for the protection of the bulbs) and visitors just want to get the perfect photo amongst the tulips.
Using innovative planting techniques, the tulip beds at Tulip Valley Farms’ properties were carved right into the turf. We left grass rows between the rows of tulips so that visitors can get up close and personal to the tulips without damaging the bulbs…or slipping in the mud!
Experienced Tulip Festival goers, especially parents, know that it is wise to pack an extra pair of clothes when visiting the tulip fields. Why? Because slipping in the mud was an all too common experience.
While slipping is still possible and an extra pair of clothes is never a bad idea (especially if you’re bringing children), the grass walkways will significantly decrease the risk…and increase the comfort.
Eating at the Tulip Fields
We are all experienced travelers and we love to eat as much as the next person. This means we hate standing in long lines for limited options as much as you do.
Our solution? Food trucks.
We are so excited to welcome local food trucks from Skagit Valley, Snohomish County, and even King County! Even those reluctant family members who really don’t care about flowers can get excited about the food at Tulip Valley Farm. While we are still firming up details, our goal is to have a minimum of 3 food trucks during the week and 5 on weekends.
While Skagit Valley has some amazing restaurants and eateries (we will happily tell you our favorites, or check out our “Places to Go” page and, as soon as it launches, download our app!), sometimes it just works better for your plans to have something to eat at the field.
If you have a more refined palette, you can reserve a tea box at Tulip Valley Gardens. This “tea party in a box” will include delicious finger sandwiches, scones with cream, desserts, and you get to choose your type of tea when you arrive. All to be enjoyed in our elegant Tea Tent right next to the tulip field.
Things to Do at the Tulip Valley Fields
You may have noticed, as we did, that there has been a sizeable shift in what people want to invest their time, energy, and resources in. Maybe it’s because of the Covid-19 pandemic and missing out on so many things, but we know what many visitors want is EXPERIENCES.
Certainly, walking through the tulips and taking beautiful pictures is a wonderful way to experience the tulips. But we noticed after a little time of seeing the rows and gardens, especially among children, people asking the question: Now what?
Part of the Tulip Valley Farms mission is to inspire and delight our visitors, so we’ve dreamed up some pretty creative ways to do it. Everything we do is an effort to help connect people with the spirit of spring, hope, beauty, fun, and creativity.
This is why we invited THE Mother Nature and her sister Queen of the Night Bloom to sit on her throne to greet Magic Springdom guests. It’s why we dreamed up Night Bloom…because why not?! It’s why we offer Tea Time in the Tulips, photography mini sessions, painting classes, the Tulip Tower, and so much more.
We hope our unrestrained passion for sharing Skagit Valley, spring, tulips, and everything that inspires and delights leads you to have an unforgettable experience at Tulip Valley Farms.
Many of our experiences and passes have a limited number, so we’re encouraging you to plan your visit and buy your tickets early!
Yours in spring,
Tulip Valley Team
I’m so excited to see all you have planned for 2023! What a darling little farm that I forsee many memories to be made in the further. And thank for your honorary tulip bundle for Ethan and his family. Such a beautiful and special way to commemorate his life and his smile.