Sprucing up the kitchen with a bright bouquet of tulips is an uplifting, stomach-tickling spring tradition. Trotting through multi-colored fields of tulips as far as the eye can see… well, that is a spring experience beyond words. I’m really having trouble finding a sentence that might adequately describe to you how mesmerized I was by my recent trip to Washington’s Skagit Valley Tulip Festival near Mount Vernon. Vibrant, orderly rows of flowers cover more than 300 acres across the valley in mounds of cakey, clay-like soil. I could sit here and jabber on for paragraphs about how beautiful the fields are, but words won’t do them justice. They are truly something you have to experience for yourself. Here are some of my favorite shots, and my tips for visiting the Tulip Festival. Tulip Festival Tips
1. Visit the fields on a weekday (if you can). You can expect an “if you build it they will come” line of traffic on the weekends and more traffic means more people in your pictures when you’re trying to photograph the tulips. I went on a Thursday and it was still busy, but very manageable.
2. Take a Shutter Tour to the fields. Take in the views and leave the driving to someone else. I can’t say enough good things about my first experience with this tour company. They will pick you up from a hotel in downtown Seattle or a Park N Ride in Lynnwood. Having a tour guide made it so easy to get from field to field. We also got good tips about photographing the tulips. I felt like we had just enough time at each location (although I could have stayed in the last field for hours!) Plus, we made a stop in La Conner to have lunch and shop in the quaint downtown area. Just be ready to carve out a full day for some serious tulip sightseeing.
4. Take a trolley ride at Tulip Town. It offers a wonderful birds-eye vantage of the fields, and it’s only $2.
5. Wear boots. Spring generally means lots of rain in western Washington. The fields can get quite muddy (and stay muddy the day after a storm) and you don’t want to sacrifice the perfect shot for a soiled shoe!