For three decades, the month of April has welcomed more than one million visitors to Northwest Washington’s Skagit Valley to take in hundreds of acres of blooming tulips. Here’s how to get the best flower fix whether you make a day trip or a weekend of this photo-op perfect petaled event.
How to Get There
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is an easy day trip getaway from Seattle. It’s adjacent to I-5, 60 miles north of Seattle and 80 miles south of Vancouver, BC, Canada. You will need a map to help you navigate as the fields of flowers don’t have addresses and their location changes every year due to crop rotation.
What to See
The festival, which runs through April 30, is designed as a driving tour as hundreds of acres of blossoming flowers are scattered throughout the Skagit Valley. In addition to the plant life, festival visitors enjoy taking in a wide variety of events and activities that happen only during April such as the Anacortes Spring Wine Festival, which features 30 regional vintners (including Silver Bell Winery, Barrage Cellars and Finnriver Cidery), six restaurants (13 Moons, Le Crema Cakes and 5th Street Bistro to name a few) and live music from Joachim Nordensson (April 13).
Where to Eat
My go-to dining destination for breakfast, lunch or dinner is Adrift in Anacortes. The casual-eatery-meets-art-house features regional ingredients and Washington State wines and beers. Try the sinfully rich hot Dungeness crab dip with a local rotating beer on tap such as the Roger’s Pilsner from Georgetown Brewing. If you want to pack a picnic, swing by Gere-A-Deli and Catering Company, also in Anacortes, for sandwiches to go. The Reuben and its famous bumbleberry cobbler are especially good. On a warm day, head to the patio at La Conner Brewing Company for a cold beer and unique wood-fired pizzas such as the chicken gorgonzola or smoked salmon. The Northwest-style brewpub is low-key, local and friendly.
Where to Stay
Though luxe options are limited in Skagit Valley, I like the accommodations at Tulalip Resort Casino. Spacious guest rooms have built-in fireplaces and modern design with splashes of green, orange and even some polka dots at this property feature Northwest Coast Salish artwork. Plus, its full-service spa, T Spa, rivals most of those in Seattle by offering its “T Spa Packages,” which include the “Fire and Water” (ocean bath ritual, river rock hot stone massage, signature facial, river rock hot stone pedicure, lunch) and the “Heaven and Earth” (precious milk bath ritual, T Spa signature massage, T Spa harmonizing signature facial).
For more information, visit the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival website.
Photos Courtesy of Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Wade Clark, Tulalip Hotel and LaConner Brewing