April 19, 2021 By Nature Nuts Nothing says springtime like tulips blooming. After a long winter of cold and snow, it’s like those tulips popping up out of the ground are smiling at us. Imagine then the joyful sight of fields and fields of colorful spring tulips. Every color of tulip filling fields, beckoning spring to come to Washington. If this sounds magical to you, then you need to start making your plans to visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. This festival celebrates not only the right of passage that is spring but more importantly the symbol of spring, the tulip. Want to start planning your trip to see all these gorgeous flowers? Read on to learn everything you need to know about the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. 2019 and 2020 Tulip Festivals In 2019, the festival brought in thousands to see the fields in full bloom. Visitors flocked to the festival in 2019 from all 50 states and 85 countries around the globe. Why? Because all those tulips are stunning and Instagram worthy and something worthy of a trip. Sadly, the coronavirus derailed visitors from seeing the 2020 tulips in their splendor. They still sprouted, grew and bloomed in all their glory, but for the safety of the area and to comply with the shelter in place order by Washington’s Governor Inslee, the 2020 festival was canceled. In 2020, visitors were asked not to drive to the festival area during the month of April and advised to stay at home to avoid pandemic spread. A Return to Bloom in 2021 With the world breathing a collective sigh of relief after finally leaving wretched 2020 behind, we find ourselves on the cusp of the 2021 tulip festival. The official Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs from April 1 to April 30. There are driving tours available throughout the month of April to see the fields in bloom. Some years, the growers can make available fields for viewing as early as late March. Depending on the weather and heat, there may be blooms well into early May as well. Remember, as much as the growers might wish for this to be true, they can’t control Mother Nature. The tulips bloom at a variety of times during this month range and it’s very dependent on Mother Nature and her whims. If you travel to Skagit Valley during the month, there’s a good chance you will see some tulip splendor. Changes to the Festival in 2021 Festival organizers have put in place several changes to how the festival will operate. Both Tulip Town and Roozengaarde, the two main public tulip viewing areas, will require the public to purchase entrance tickets online. The tulip viewing areas have extended daily hours of operation to 8:00am-7:00pm–starting a full hour earlier than in previous years. Tulip Town has broken online ticket sales into 3-hour time blocks, during which visitors have to present their tickets for entrance. If you miss your ticket window, there’s no guarantee they will be able to let you in as overall visitor capacity is limited this year. Roozengaarde has put a similar system in place, but has further divided the ticket window times into 15-minute segments. Worried About Inflation? It’s arrived at the Tulip Festival! Questions and concerns about inflation and rising living costs are getting more pointed as of late. It appears that inflation has arrived at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, where ticket prices have risen significantly from 2019. As recently as 2019, adult tickets were $7, but they have risen to $15 in 2021. The justification may be that by limiting festival area capacity, they’ll be taking a hit to their income unless they raise prices. It will be interesting to see if prices fall again during future years when event capacity limits are presumably no longer in place. Daffodils in March If you are a fan of yellow in the spring, consider coming a little before the official festival dates. The growers also plant fields of daffodils, another sure sign of spring. The daffodils tend to bloom slightly ahead of the majority of the tulip fields. Usually the daffodil blooms peak during the last week of March but still look incredible through the first week of April, depending on the weather. Some visitors like to avoid the busier time in the heart of the festival and come early to see the daffodils in their splendor. Skagit Valley Skagit Valley is located about 90 minutes north of Seattle. It’s almost an equal distance between Seattle in Washington and Vancouver in Canada. The climate is perfect for growing these spring flowers. Growers plant the flowers in the fall to prepare for the spring festival. Mild rainy winters and generous amounts of rain are perfect for the spring-blooming tulips to grow. Over one million bulbs are planted annually by growers in the region. The tulip growers in this region produce more tulip, iris, and daffodil bulbs than in any other county in the whole U.S. It’s such a rich area for farming that annually $261 million worth of 90 different crops, livestock, and dairy products are produced from the region. Festival Basics Here’s what you need to know about visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. There is not one spot or location for the festival. It is intended as a driving festival that allows you to visit and see the fields from several growers. There are events and happenings planned throughout the month in the area. The fields are scattered in the valley between the town of La Conner and Mount Vernon. There are two growers, RoozenGaarde/Washington Bulb Co., Inc. and Tulip Town, who have fields available for viewing. RoozenGaarde/Washington Bulb Co. is located at 15867 Beaver Marsh Rd, Mt Vernon, WA 98273. Parking is free at all their fields with the price of the admission ticket. Fields are open daily during the festival from 9 am to 7 pm. The Tulip Town Display Garden and fields are located at 15002 Bradshaw Rd, Mt Vernon, WA 98273. Their fields are free parking as well and are open from 9 am to 5 pm daily during the festival. The growers allow visitors to walk the fields and see the tulips in their natural splendor. They feature the show and display gardens for visitors to walk, photograph and enjoy. Skagit Valley Sights Beyond Tulips Beyond the tulip festival, there are several lovely small towns to enjoy during the rest of your visit. Mt. Vernon is located east of the tulip fields and is the county capital of Skagit Valley. The region offers many interesting things to do on your getaway beyond seeing the tulips. The North Cascades National Park Service Complex offers 400 acres of trails and untamed nature. There are trails for hiking and biking and outdoor excursions. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest offers gorgeous mountain views for up to 8,000 feet in elevation. There are also two volcanoes in this national forest, Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak, and boasts over 800 lakes in the area. If hiking and biking outdoors aren’t your thing, the region also offers several casinos, abundant shopping, and rich performing arts attractions. La Conner, to the far west of the region, is a popular base when visiting the tulip festival. Its location on the Salish Sea makes it a perfect tourist stop for your visit. Not only can you see the tulips, but leave out La Conner for a whale watching trip. The best time to see the Orcas is from February to November (during tulip season), the Humpback whales, Minke whales, and Gray whales can be seen throughout the rest of the year too. Consider participating in the Skagit Valley Farm to Pint Passport Tour while visiting 13 of the area’s breweries. You even get a passport and collect stamps as you move from location to location trying out the local brew craft. The region isn’t just good at growing tulips, it’s also great wine country. If the breweries aren’t your thing, there many wineries to tour and taste from too. The area is filled with lovely restaurants taking advantage of the farms. Enjoy a true farm to table experience on your visit. Before a lovely lunch, spend some time wandering in La Conner’s quaint shops. Tulip Festival Tips As you plan your visit, there are a few things to keep in mind when you come to visit the tulip fields. Order your tickets online and in advance. From our understanding, no tickets will be on sale on site.Parking can be tricky in the fields if you drive yourself, especially on the weekends. Park only where it’s designated. Be prepared to have to circle to find parking. It’s not okay to pull off the side of the road and just park. Only walk through designated areas. No matter how much you want the perfect photo, remember these fields are also the livelihood of their growers. Never, ever pick the flowers. Imagine if everyone who visited thought it was alright to pick one or two. Take lots of photos and let the flowers be so they are there for everyone to enjoy. You can also order and buy the bulbs from the growers. Support the Growers in 2020 and Beyond Because of the coronavirus, the 2020 festival was canceled for safety reasons. You can continue to support the growers by visiting their websites for tulip deliveries and merchandise. Visit RoozenGaarde at tulips.com and they can ship a bouquet of tulips anywhere in the US via FedEx. Tulip Town at tuliptown.com has a program that allows you to have tulips delivered to area nursing homes/hospitals/retirement centers. Imagine the delight of an elderly or ill resident when they get a beautiful bouquet of tulips and it supports the grower too. Plan Ahead for the 2021 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Ready to start planning your trip for 2021 to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival? Start dreaming of those endless fields of spring color and beauty. Spend some time enjoying all the Skagit Valley has to offer. Contact us today to get started planning your trip to beautiful Washington’s Skagit Valley.