Road Trip: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

April 3, 2015
Ahh tulips! Harbingers of spring, cheerful reminders of brighter days ahead! It’s April!– when the fields around Mount Vernon, WA burst into a bloom rainbow and the month-long Skagit Valley Tulip Festival gets underway.

Are you going Dutch? This year the peak blooms are expected to happen early in the month, so if you are wanting to see the best of the bulbs, it’s time to get cracking! But though the blooms are worth traveling to see, it’s also a great time of year at your Northwest Washington State Parks. Why not plan a road trip to some of these super locations while you are out getting shots of those amazing blooms?

Trip Planner

Stop one: Kukutali Preserve

Start your daytrip with a visit to one of your newest state parks! Kukutali Preserve is a great spot for an early morning walk. You’ll want your coffee AND your camera! Co-owned and managed by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Washington State Parks, this is a great spot to view wildlife and birds such as pileated woodpecker and black oystercatcher. Snap a few pictures and enjoy the views of Skagit Bay before you jump back in the car and head about 25 scenic miles down Hwy 20 to…

Stop two: Mount Vernon

Naturally, the reason for the trip is to see some amazing blooms! Mount Vernon is the center of it all with acre upon eye-popping acre of gorgeous blooms growing on the surrounding bulb farms. A pretty and classic northwest town, Mount Vernon is also a great stop for breakfast or an early lunch. Make sure to have back-up camera batteries charged and refer to this handy bloom map to plot out your tulip tour! Once you’ve had your fill of blooms, pick up some snacks or a picnic lunch, it’s time to head for a quick 10-mile drive to …

Stop three: Bay View State Park

You’ll want your binoculars! From the views of the San Juan Islands, the Olympic range and Padilla Bay to the eagles nesting in the trees there is no shortage of spectacular at Bay View. Come lunch among the trees and enjoy a peaceful stroll along the 1,285 feet of saltwater shoreline. Bring your volleyball or horse shoes and enjoy a couple of games before moving on. Or, if you plan to make a weekend of this trip, why not reserve one of the comfortable cabins the park has to offer. Whenever you are ready, head about 30 miles up Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11) for…

Stop four: Larrabee State Park

The oldest and still one of the best! Larrabee has lots of fun daytime options for the family. Kids need to blow off steam? Why not take them to the cool play structure to monkey around to their heart’s content. If your kids (or just you!) are little older, there are some super hikes along woodsy trails for all ability levels to try. Walk down to the curvy coves of surf-carved rocks and do a little exploring. Or take the beach trail cruise the shore. Want just one more destination? Head north again Chuckanut Drive for …

Stop five: Birch Bay State Park

Roll up those jeans! Much of the fun at this park revolves around discovering the mystery and marvels lying at the ocean’s door. This is a popular shellfishing park for crab, clams and oysters, but if you plan on those activities, don’t forget your license! Or just walk along the shore and spot crabs and other marine life with the kids. With 120 unsheltered and six sheltered picnic tables available, this is a great way to end the day with an outdoor dinner while you watch the sunset over the ocean!

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