Images courtesy Jessica Bryan
If you are traveling from the Seattle area to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal this spring, you may be wondering what things there are to see and do before you board the boat. Especially in the springtime when Skagit Valley’s Tulip Festival is in high gear, we suggest that you consider lengthening your drive and making a few sightseeing stops along the way to enjoy these spring blooms.
Driving I-5 from Seattle to Anacortes typically takes about an hour and a half, depending on traffic. Along the way you’ll pass through a town called Mt. Vernon, in the heart of the Skagit Valley. April and May in the valley will transport you to a tulip wonderland. For as far as the eye can see there are fields of bright yellows, reds, oranges, and pinks.
The Skagit Valley welcomes flower enthusiasts of all ages. Set aside some time to be amazed by the tulip fields. You’ll be able to purchase some bulbs to take home and plant in your own garden or to give to friends and family as gifts. Don’t have a green thumb? You might just pick up a bouquet of tulips in your favorite color to enjoy during your vacation in the San Juan Islands.
Skagit Valley’s Tulip Festival
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is held in Mt. Vernon from April 1 to 30. Once the Mt. Vernon Chamber of Commerce made note of the thousands of people gathering each year to see the tulips, they decided to inaugurate an official festival, permitting guests to have a more enhanced experience. In 1984, the festival began as a two-day event, expanding to ten days, then seventeen days. Currently, we can enjoy a full month of tulip celebration.
During the Tulip Festival, the entire town of Mt. Vernon is booming. Restaurants offer specials for those visiting for the flowers, and you’ll find artists of all types selling hand-crafted products throughout the Skagit Valley. After a few years administered by the Chamber of Commerce, the Tulip Festival became so large that it evolved into an independent event with its own team and year-round facility to help visitors.
The Tulip Festival was the catalyst for the development of a few other events in Mt. Vernon during April, including art shows, galas, concerts, and tours of the tulip fields. The second weekend of April is the downtown Mt. Vernon Street Fair and the Kiwanis Salmon BBQ. When you are visiting the tulip fields there are booths of local vendors and artists showcasing their work. As you walk through, you will notice handmade jewelry, paintings, confections, pastries, and much, much more.
If you are bringing your bikes with you on your trip to the San Juan Islands, consider unloading them in the tulip fields and taking a quick spin. Explore one of the many trails that circle around the festival. There are fourteen tulip fields that you can bike to from whichever stopping point you choose to park. The Tulip Festival also provides biking maps at every field for your convenience.
A visit to the Tulip Festival is great for families. There are many activities for kids to enjoy, including arts and crafts as well as gardens for them to explore. If you are on a weekend getaway with your loved one, take time to walk through the art showcases and the gardens.
The Tucker House Inn & Harrison Suites will help with any questions you may have about the festival or planning your trip to San Juan Island. We can’t wait to have you stay with us and look forward to sharing all of the color and springtime bounty of the area with you.