colorful tulips

Tulip Season Is Almost Here: Don't Miss These Blooming Festivals

13/05/2020

Early spring in the Pacific Northwest means a brilliantly colourful celebration of all things floral, or more specifically, tulips. The annual tulip blooms in British Columbia and Washington's Skagit Valley put on quite a show, normally wowing thousands of visitors from all over the world.

It's not just the blooms drawing admirers, however. Although the tulips are unquestionably the stars of the show, other events including art shows, food festivals, and outdoor activities abound this time of year as well, attracting their fair share of visitors.

If you're located in these tulip-filled areas and are looking for a way to support local business and get out in the fresh air next month, these tulip festivals are the ticket! What better way to enjoy the blooms of spring and beautiful weather than with a "staycation" to your local tulip farm?

Chilliwack Tulip Festival

41310 Yale Road, Chilliwack, BC V2R 4J1, along Highway 1

Located on a 20-acre tulip field in the Fraser Valley, the annual Chilliwack Tulip Festival is western Canada's largest and most famous flower festival. It boasts over 30 varieties of tulips and 6.5 million blooms in a rainbow of colors. As of 2019, there are also a few fields of hyacinths and giant double daffodils that add colour to the tulips. In addition to the flowers themselves, the Festival features food trucks, a train on weekends, a gift shop, and the iconic Chilliwack Tulip Festival windmill and tulip swing.

Like many things in Mother Nature, tulips bloom on their own time, so the exact date of this year's Festival has yet to be announced, but it is planned for April 2020. Check out the Festival's official site for updates, directions, and to purchase tickets.

Every year, the Festival hosts a photo contest and this year's grand prize totals $2,700. There are several categories including action shot, pet photo, Instagram video, and much more. Entries must be submitted via Instagram by May 25, 2020, and should include #ChilliwackTulipFest. See complete submission details here.

rows of tulips in Chilliwack

Where to Stay

The tulip festival is reason enough to visit Chilliwack, but the town offers so much more. Chilliwack is surrounded by mountains and is an outdoor lovers' sanctuary, with ample opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, camping and horseback riding.

The best-of-both-worlds (and pet-friendly!) Coast Chilliwack Hotel is situated right downtown and boasts top-notch amenities, but also offers sweeping mountain views. The onsite Prestons Restaurant + Lounge, serving comfort food, is open daily from 6:30 AM until late and features a pondside patio. Some of the hotel's amenities include:

  • TOTO® Washlet electric bidet seats
  • 55" flat-screen TVs
  • Triple-sheet bedding
  • Complimentary slippers

The Coast Chilliwack Hotel is proud to offer a 15% discount and complimentary parking to BC residents and residents of Washington state. Guests can also join Coast Rewards for other promotions.

BLOOM: The Abbotsford Tulip Festival

36737 North Parallel Road, Abbotsford, BC 1

Attracting nearly 100,000 visitors each spring, the Abbotsford Tulip Festival encompasses 10 acres and over 2.5 million blooms. Festival-goers enjoy “u-pick” flower fields, a flower market, making flower crowns, duck races and a playground made of hay bales, all in a picturesque setting with gorgeous views of Mt. Baker. There are also food trucks on weekends, or visitors can pack a picnic lunch.

Tickets will be available for purchase closer to bloom time and are released Tuesdays at 12:01 AM for admission the following Saturday-Friday. Group rates are offered and there are discounted tickets available for locals on certain days of the week. Find rates and purchase tickets here. In addition, Abbotsford's Friends of the Tulip Festival program allows visitors to receive discounts and special promotions at participating local businesses when they show their admission ticket.

Though this tulip festival does not host an official photo contest, visitors are asked to submit photos to social media with the hashtags #bloom and #colourinthecountry.

people standing in tulip fields
Photo Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver | Kazutoshi Yoshimura

Where to Stay

For those visitors who wish to stay and play in Abbotsford beyond the tulip festival, there is much to be enjoyed. Abbotsford is known for its small-town charm, being extremely hospitable, and for being a foodie's paradise.

The Coast Abbotsford Hotel & Suites is an ideal hotel choice to soak up all that Abbotsford has to offer, in particular the dining and nightlife scene. Many popular options are within short walking distance, yet the hotel is situated on a tranquil hill so guests can enjoy rest and relaxation while on the property. Guests of the Coast Abbotsford Hotel & Suites can take advantage of:

  • Daily complimentary continental breakfast
  • Indoor pool with hot tub
  • In-room coffee and tea
  • Daylight lighting in guestrooms

Booking directly online and pre-paying provides hotel guests with significant savings, and those who join Coast Rewards earn loyalty points and additional perks such as express priority check-in and room upgrades.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

From April 1-30, 2020, the sprawling Skagit Valley plays host to numerous events centered around the millions of blooming tulips. In its 37th year, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is unique in that it is a driving tour, with events held miles apart throughout the Valley. Activities and points of interest include a street fair, petting farm, wine festival, a tulip parade and run, Skagit Beer Week, and much, much more. See the complete schedule of events or check out the online brochure.

Because of the unique structure of this Festival, general admission tickets are not sold. Instead, visitors can purchase tickets for the individual gardens, exhibits, attractions, or events they intend to visit. See the brochure for complete details.

The annual photo contest is something locals and visitors alike always look forward to. Details for this year's contest will be announced on the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Facebook page in early March.

red tulips

Where to Stay

The Skagit Valley is situated between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, flanked by the Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains. Naturally, the fertile valley is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hiking, biking, boating or enjoying an outdoor seafood or farm stand.

Just about an hour south of the Skagit Valley is the chic Hotel 116 in vibrant Bellevue, Washington. Bellevue is an ideal place to stay for a visit to Skagit Valley, as it is situated right off a freeway and easily accessible. After a long day of exploring the valley and enjoying the tulips, guests can relax in their room or enjoy nightly happy hour at the onsite Eastside Bar & Grill. Bellevue also offers plenty of options for upscale shopping and dining, as well as many cultural events. Hotel 116 guests will enjoy amenities including:

  • Complimentary parking
  • Spacious work areas
  • Complimentary shuttle within 5-mile radius
  • Free HBO

To take advantage of special members-only pricing and last-minute deals, guests should sign up for Coast Rewards.