Tulip Road Trip: An Adventure Blossoms in Skagit Valley

Tulip Fest Yellow Tulips CCFKR JayCee Too
                                           The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is truly one in a million! Photo by JayCee Too.

March 28, 2017

Ahh, tulips! Harbingers of spring—cheerful reminders of brighter days ahead!

It’s almost April, when the fields around Mount Vernon  burst into a bloom rainbow and the month-long Skagit ValleyTulip Festival gets underway.

Are you going Dutch? The
daffodils are already in bloom, and this year the tulips are expected to burst early in the month. This year’s festival officially kicks-off Thursday night with a Gala Celebration and then begins in earnest on April 1. So if you want to witness the best of the bulbs, it’s time to get cracking!

Though the blooms are worth traveling to see, it's also a great time to explore 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 fetching flower fields?


​Stop one: Kukutali Preserve 

                                    Explore the shore! Kukutali Preserve is a swell spot to start your Skagit adventure! 

Start your daytrip with a visit to Kukutali Preserve—a superb 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 premier 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 15 scenic miles on Hwy 20 and state Route 536 to…

​Stop two: Mount Vernon

Tulip Fest Mt Vernon Women Leaping CCFKR Razvan
                              No need to tiptoe! The Skagit Valley is really jumping this time of year! Photo by razvan.orendovici

Naturally, the reason for the trip is to drink in the eye candy of tulips for miles! 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 also makes a good 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 tulips, 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

Bald Eagle CCFKR Shot in a Frame
Here's looking at you! Bird watching is a popular activity at Bay View State Park. Photo by Richard Probst.

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, you’ll find 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 horseshoes, 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 18 miles north on Chuckanut Drive (Highway 11) for…

​Stop four: Larrabee State Park

    How far can you see at Larrabee? For miles and miles! Bring your camera and get in a hike and some stellar shots at Larrabee.
The oldest state park in Washington and still one of the best! Larrabee has lots of fun daytime options. Have little kids that need to blow off steam? Why not take them to the cool play structure to monkey around to their heart’s content? Or hit up some of the super hikes along woodsy trails down toward the water. These are perfect for all nearly all ability levels to try.

Hike down to the curvy coves of surf-carved rocks and do a little exploring. Or take the beach trail cruise the shore. For a more strenuous hike, cross Chuckanut Drive to the trails on the other (east) side of the park. Desire just one more destination? Head north again on
Chuckanut Drive to Interstate 5 for …

​Stop five: Birch Bay State Park

      You'll hardly want to look up for all the cool stuff at your feet when you do some beach exploration at Birch Bay State Park!

Roll up those jeans! Much of the fun at Birch Bay revolves around discovering the mysteries and marvels lying at the water’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 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 bay!

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