Boys frolic in fields of gorgeous tulips during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Credit: JiaYing Grygiel
It’s tulip time! Washington's beloved annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is back on for 2022, and tulip mainstays RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town will both welcome visitors to see their gorgeous fields. There's also a new player on the tulip scene, Rosalyn Garden. Online tickets are on sale now, the daffodils are blooming, and the tulips are on their way. The festival runs seven days a week during the entire month of April.
What you need to know about the 2022 tulip festival
This year, you can buy tickets online in advance or at the gate for RoozenGaarde, Tulip Town and Garden Rosalyn. But farms are encouraging visitors to buy tickets in advance. As they learned last year, it helps a lot with traffic control. Pick a day and time for your online ticket, and know that you can stay as long as you like once you enter.
This year, the state has lifted the mask mandate, but remember that pets and drones are still not allowed on the farms.
Admission prices are essentially the same as last year for RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town. RoozenGaarde tickets cost $15 per person; tots ages 2 and younger enter free. Tulip Town tickets cost $16.29 for ages 12 and older; $7.60 for ages 6–11; and kids ages 5 and younger are free. Garden Roslayn tickets cost $13 per person. Parking is included with the price of admission.
Tulip Town tickets include a trolley ride, weather permitting. You’ll also find three acres of flowers, a café with a beer and wine garden, and a big field for flying kites (bring your own or buy one on-site).
In comparison, RoozenGaarde has 25 acres of tulips, 20 acres of daffodils and a five-acre display garden.
Garden Roslayn features tulip gardens planted in design shapes as well as a duck pond with waterfowl residents.
Dressing for the weather
Rain or shine, the tulips are always beautiful. But keep in mind that these are working farms, this festival is an outdoor event and ticket sales are final. Understandably, tickets are non-refundable — imagine the returns nightmare the farms would face on rainy days. This year, however, you can change the day and time you visit up to 48 hours before your ticketed time.
Northwest parents know that spring and farms can each mean mud. Both together? You’ll want to bring all the gear and plenty of dry clothes.
You won’t see this anywhere else in the country
Three-quarters of the nation’s commercial tulips are grown in the Skagit Valley, according to Washington State University’s Skagit County Extension. More than 1,000 acres of tulips and daffodils are grown in Skagit County, more than any other county in the country. That’s a whole lot of flowers.
Numbers aside, the flower fields are breathtaking. You could fly to the Netherlands … or you could drive 60 miles north from the Seattle area to flower nirvana in Mount Vernon.
The best time to go
Before the tulips, the fields are bright yellow with daffodils. Tulips begin their bloom right around the start of April, and peak blooming typically happens in mid-April. That all depends on Mother Nature, of course, so check the festival’s bloom status info for updates.
If you prefer less busy times, book a ticket for mid-week before noon. The least busy days are the days when the weather isn’t great.
Tough times for tulip farmers
Typically, Skagit Valley welcomes some 300,000 visitors for the festival every April. In 2020, the whole festival was canceled at the last minute.
Brent Roozen estimates that the spring bloom accounts for 80 to 90 percent of his farm’s business for the year. He’s a third-generation tulip grower; his grandfather, William Roozen, emigrated from Holland in 1947 and started RoozenGaarde.
“The bloom looked great, but in terms of everything else, it was something we’d prefer to never experience again,” Roozen told ParentMap last year. “We’ll never make that up. It’s basically a year’s loss.”
For the 2021 season, the farms adapted to pandemic regulations and reopened to the public with mask requirements, sanitizing stations and limited capacity. The border to Canada was still restricted to essential travel, but American tulip-lovers got to soak in those beautiful views.
Then, in November, historic flooding devastated the Skagit Valley. Tulip Town, two miles to the west of RoozenGaarde, lost two acres of field tulips.
“Mother Nature packed a punch for us,” recounts Kristen Keltz, CEO of Spinach Bus Ventures, which runs Tulip Town. “It’ll still be an amazing experience [this year]. Just a little different from years past.”
When you buy tickets to this year’s festival, you can feel good knowing that you’re supporting local Washington family businesses. And no matter what, you’ll go home with loads of Instagrammable photos.
When the troops get hungry, both farms have food for sale. Roozengaarde has a concession stand offering burgers, hot dogs, kettle corn, fudge — all the tasty things.
Tulip Town offers a café with hot dogs, soups, local ice cream, specialty espresso drinks, and a beer and wine garden for the grown-ups.
If facilities are important to you, note that you’re looking at port-a-potties with hand-washing stations at the farms.
In town, we like the Skagit Valley Food Co-op (202 S. First St., Mount Vernon) for grab-and-go deli items. The Chuckwagon Drive-In (800 N. Fourth St., Mount Vernon) is a good spot for really cheap burgers and watching a model train chug through the dining room.
On the west side of the Skagit River, try The Net Drive-In (18037 Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon) for old-school burgers and shakes, or find family Mexican cuisine at Mexico Café (1320 Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon).
And no visit to the Skagit Valley is complete without a stop at Snow Goose Produce (15170 Fir Island Rd., Mount Vernon). This family-run farm stand is famous for its super-sized ice cream cones. Bring cash and an appetite!
If you go ...
Find it: The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival takes place around Mount Vernon, Washington, about an hour’s drive north of Seattle.
When: Official festival dates are April 1–May 1, 2022, but the flowers bloom according to Mother Nature’s schedule, as local farmers will remind you. Typically, the most reliable dates for full tulip bloom are between April 7 and April 25. Daffodils are blooming now. Check the bloom status page for updated info.
Tulip farm info:
More fun with kids in Skagit County:
More blossoms blooming: