Boys frolic in fields of gorgeous tulips during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Credit: JiaYing Grygiel
Editor's note: Hey, tulip fans! The flowers bloomed a bit late this year so they're still blooming now in early May. Tulip Town and Roozengaarde have extended their seasons through May 7, and Tulip Valley Farms will be open through May 14.
It’s tulip time! Washington’s beloved annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is back again for 2023. This gorgeous burst of colorful blooms is a spring rite of passage for many Pacific Northwest families.
The daffodils bloom the second half of March, and that means the tulips are on their way. For 2023, growers are predicting the tulip bloom will be delayed a week or so, thanks to a chilly February. Mid-April is typically a good time to plan a trip, though the exact timing of the bloom depends entirely on Mother Nature.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs seven days a week, April 1–30, and draws visitors from all 50 states and more than 85 countries.
First, pick a farm
This year, there are four venues welcoming tulip-seekers: Two longtime mainstays are RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town. Rosalyn Garden is in its second year of operation, and newcomer Tulip Valley Farms just joined the bloom business. All four are offering advance online ticket sales now, and most will also have tickets at the gate.
Note: You have to buy a ticket for each individual venue; there isn’t a single ticket that gets you admission to all of them.
Let’s see which farm is right for your family.
If you are looking for endless rows of flowering color, RoozenGaarde is the place for you. It is breathtaking. You want tulips? They’ve got tulips. Tens of millions of them. Magnificent photos here, guaranteed.
RoozenGaarde has more than 50 acres of tulips and daffodils. This year, the tulip fields have been planted with wider rows and more bulbs, meaning three times as many flowers. The 5-acre display garden is redesigned and hand-planted every year with more than 200 varieties.
Tulip grower Brent Roozen is the third generation to run this family farm. His grandfather, William Roozen, emigrated from Holland in 1947 and started RoozenGaarde.
Admission costs a straight-up, no-nonsense $15 per person. Kids ages 2 and younger are free. Parking is included in the ticket price. No pets or drones are allowed.
RoozenGaarde details: Open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m., and Saturday–Sunday, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; 15867 Beaver Marsh Rd., Mount Vernon.
Tulip Town is smaller than RoozenGaarde (5 acres of flowers as opposed to 55 acres) but admission is a bit cheaper for your youngsters. The trolley ride — a huge hit with kids! — is included with your ticket price.
New this year: Tulip Town is allowing leashed dogs. Pet dogs enter free on any ticket level except the experience pass.
Tulip Town was founded by Tom and Jeannette DeGoede, who helped start the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival back in 1984. A group of Skagit Valley locals bought the farm when the DeGoedes retired in 2019.
General admission costs $15 online ($17 at the gate) for ages 12 and older; $13 online ($15 at the gate) for seniors and military; $7 online ($10 at the gate) for ages 6–11; and kids ages 5 and younger are free.
Additional ticket levels come in a dizzying array of options: experience passes, anytime tickets, engagement packages, date-night packages, season passes and golden-hour photography passes. Check the website if one of these options sounds appealing to you.
No drones are allowed.
Tulip Town details: Open Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and Friday–Sunday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.; 15002 Bradshaw Rd., Mount Vernon.
This tulip destination is new for 2023! Founder Andrew Miller was a co-owner at Tulip Town who left to start his own farm across the street.
What does Tulip Valley Farms have that the others don’t? Drones are allowed, for one. (A drone pass costs $201.50; proof of insurance and drone license required.) This spot also has six baby cows, visiting from a farm on Whidbey Island, to cuddle and bottle-feed. You can also view the tulip fields at night, with stomp lights, lasers and projections.
Last fall, Miller planted 12 acres of bulbs among hazelnut trees and between grass rows at Tulip Valley Farm. The goal is to minimize muddiness, and allow visitors to walk between the tulip rows. Tulip Valley Farm offers night bloom, U-pick, photo class options — and it allows dogs for an additional fee.
The second location, Tulip Valley Gardens, offers 2.5 acres of tulips surrounded by poplar trees. This garden is made for people who don’t want to deal with traffic: Reach it with just two left turns off I-5; entry is by reservation only. Experiences offered here include teatime in the tulips, yoga, glam makeovers, mini photo sessions, painting class and U-pick.
Tulip Valley Farms created a special Ethan’s Smile tulip bulb mix (25 bulbs for $25) to honor Ethan Chapin. Chapin, who grew up in the Skagit Valley and worked in the tulip fields with Miller, was one of four University of Idaho students murdered last November. All of the proceeds from the sale of Ethan’s Smile mix will go to his family and to building community gardens in his memory.
General admission to Tulip Valley Farm costs $14.50 online ($16.50 at the gate) Monday–Thursday, $16.50 online ($18.50 at the gate) Friday–Sunday. General admission to Tulip Valley Gardens costs $13.50 and must be purchased online in advance. Children ages 5 and younger enter free at both.
Tulip Valley details: Both locations are open daily, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. (buy tickets for Night Bloom for evening access). Find Tulip Valley Farm at 15245 Bradshaw Rd., Mount Vernon, and Tulip Valley Gardens at 12637 Pulver Rd., Burlington.
Garden Rosalyn is in its second year as part of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. This venue showcases its small landscaped garden that includes tulips, but not acres of tulip fields. The garden also features hand-planted designs with lots of charming details. Kids will love the pond with its resident family of geese and ducks. This season, Garden Rosalyn includes a new windmill, a gift shop and access to food trucks.
Tickets cost $17 per person and are available at the gate or for purchase in advance online. Admission is free for kids ages 1 and younger. Parking is included with your ticket. Dogs are welcome on a leash.
Garden Rosalyn details: The garden is open daily, 7 a.m.–8 p.m., at
16648 Jungquist Rd., Mount Vernon.
Tips for parents
1. Pick the best time to go.
Before the tulips, the fields are bright yellow with daffodils. Tulips typically begin their bloom right around the start of April, and peak blooming happens in mid-April. Check the festival’s bloom status info and the farms’ Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.
If you visit any sunny weekend at the peak of the bloom, you can expect heavy traffic. The earlier in the day you go, the better. Those two-lane rural roads get way backed up, and it only gets worse as the day goes on.
If you prefer less busy times, plan to arrive midweek before noon. The least busy days are the days when the weather isn’t great.
2. Dress for the weather.
Rain or shine, the tulips are always beautiful. But keep in mind that these are working farms, and this festival is an outdoor event. If you prepurchase admission, some farms are allowing you to change the date of your ticket up to 48 hours in advance.
Be prepared for wet and muddy field conditions that may not be accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. You’ll want to wear rain boots and something you don’t mind getting dirty. It’s not a bad idea to pack a change of clothes for the car ride home.
If facilities are important to you, note that you’re looking at port-a-potties at the farms.
3. Know where to go when the troops get hungry.
When the troops get hungry, the farms have concession stands and food trucks. 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-style 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!
4. Remember, 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 this county, more than any other county in the country. That’s a whole lot of flowers!
Numbers aside, the flower fields are gorgeous. You could fly to the Netherlands … or you could drive 60 miles north from the Seattle area to our local flower nirvana, right in Mount Vernon.
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 1–30, 2023, 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 April 7–25. Daffodils bloom in late March through early April. Check the bloom status page for updated info.
More fun with kids in Skagit County:
More blossoms blooming: