You Don’t Need to Go to Holland to Tiptoe Through the Tulips

April 23, 2024 by

Diana Robinson, Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.

Contemplating tulips conjures images of Dutch windmills, wooden shoes, and blue Delft pottery, which makes sense because the Netherlands produces 90 percent of the world’s tulips–4.3 billion tulip bulbs annually on about 27,182 acres of tulip farms. You don’t need to go to Holland to tiptoe through the tulips when there are many North American tulip festivals to enjoy, where growers cultivate thousands of bulbs that blossom into swathes of the brilliantly hued flowers.


Tulips blooming in tulips fields.Richard Probst, Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.

Tulips Growing Beside Lavender?
Did you know that in the Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur region in the south of France, famous for its lavender fields, there are miles of land awash with thousands of colorful tulips? Dutch tulip farmers outsource the bulb production to French growers, who cut the flower heads once the flowers bloom to direct the plant’s energy to produce healthy bulbs, which they then send back to the Netherlands.

Skagit Tulip Festival, Washington State.Skagit Tulip Festival, Wikimedia Commons.

Tiptoe Through Tulips in North America
Colorful spring-blooming tulips are a feast for the eye and a sure sign of spring.
North America is home to many tulip fields and festivals where visitors can enjoy authentic Dutch experiences while marveling at acres of colorful stripes in a spectrum of brilliant red, yellow, orange, white, pink, lavender, and burgundy.


Through April 30, 2024
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Mount Vernon, Washington

Skagit Tulip Festival.Skagit Tulip Festival, Ron Clusen, Wikapedia Commons.

Sixty miles north of Seattle, four tulip farms comprising 20,000 acres in Skagit County, Washington–the largest tulip fields in the United States–harvest about two million of the flowers each summer. Visitors to the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival can partake in activities at the four different tulip fields and gardens across Skagit Valley, including RoozenGaarde, Tulip Town, Garden Rosalyn, and Tulip Valley Farms.

The month-long event features weekly family activities like bike rides, wine tastings, art shows, and even scenic helicopter rides for spectacular views over the flowering tulip fields.


April 13-30
Timbuk Farms, Licking County, Ohio

Red tulips in full bloom.Wikimedia Commons.

Nestled among the rolling hills of Licking County, Ohio, Timbuk Farms provides a stunning backdrop for their annual tulip festival featuring over 500,000 tulips across four acres. The family farm’s festivities include live music, food trucks, kid-friendly games, and photo contests, and visitors can pick their own tulips.


Through April 28th
Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest, Woodburn, Oregon

WoodenShoe Tulip Festival, tulips in bloom.Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, Jim Choate, Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.

Set on more than 40 blooming acres in Woodburn, Oregon, between Portland and Salem, the annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival offers an opportunity to view millions of colorful tulips while engaging in activities such as carnival rides and balloon rides over the fields. Visitors can take a break to sample the farm’s estate-grown wines or enjoy a glass of local beer and cider.


April 20-28, 2024
Holland Ridge Farms U-Pick Tulips, Cream Ridge, New Jersey

Holland Ridge Farms, New Jersey, tulip festivalHolland Ridge Farms, Sri S, Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.

Located an hour from New York City and Philadelphia, the fields at the Dutch family-owned Holland Ridge Farms burst into bloom each April with over eight million vibrantly-hued tulips. Though the flowers are the main attraction, visitors can indulge in tasty bites from many on-site food trucks, experience pony or horse and carriage rides, hop on a tractor-pulled hayride, visit the family’s museum, and feed the animals at the petting zoo.


April 10 through May 18
Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival, Lehi, Utah

Tulips at Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival.Thanksgiving Point Tulips, M. Robinson, Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.

Just a short drive from Salt Lake City, over 750,000 spring flowers–not just tulips, but daffodils, hyacinths, poppies, and more–provide an eye-popping display on 50 acres at Ashton Gardens every spring through mid-May. One of the nation’s largest, the Thanksgiving Point’s Tulip Festival, offers enjoyment for the whole family. The festival has live musical performances, a tulip 5-K run on pathways through the fields, lawn games, a dedicated “tot playland,” and a learning garden where budding horticulturalists can pick up some tulip growing tips then bring home a bouquet of freshly-cut flowers. If you go, keep an eye out for the farm’s signature tulipa Thanksgiving Point, a bright yellow, lily-shaped, fragrant tulip that blooms in the late spring.


May 2-4, 2024
Tulip Time, Pella, Iowa

Pella, Iowa Tulip Time tulip festival.Pella Tulip Time, Phil Rhoeder, Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.

About 40 miles from Des Moines, the Pella Tulip Time festival comes alive with colorful blooms in celebration of the town’s Dutch heritage. Thousands of people wear Dutch attire to regale in the village, where visitors can join locals to enjoy ethnic foods and Dutch architecture. The town is as much a representation of Dutch culture and history as it is a representation of early American life. Among the 22 historical sites showcasing Pella’s 184-year history, visitors can tour the boyhood home of Wyatt Earp, an American lawman and gambler in the American West involved in the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. If you go, check out the quintessentially Dutch “Werkplaats” where wooden shoes are made, the town blacksmith shop, the Delft House that showcases an extensive antique Delft blue pottery collection, a bakery refurbished from the 1850s, and much more.


May 4-12, 2024
Tulip Time, Holland, Michigan

Rachel Kramer, Holland, Michigan, Tulip Time, Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.

Head to aptly named Holland, Michigan, for its annual Tulip Time, where you can join the community that has celebrated its tulips and Dutch heritage eight days annually for the past 94 years. Spread throughout various locations around the town, millions of tulips burst forth in public parks and downtown city streets. Visitors follow the six miles of the “Tulip Lanes,” where over 250,000 flowers bloom curbside throughout the town and its historic district. Stop in at Veldheers Tulip Farm,  a 40-acre property owned by the same family for 80 years that boasts over four million tulips in fields and decorative beds. For the full Dutch experience, head out to the Deklomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory, then pop over to Neli’s Dutch Village, a re-creation of an 1800s Dutch village whose flower beds are a highlight. Save time to explore Windmill Island Garden, home to “DeZwaan,” a centuries-old windmill set in a verdant park with formal gardens and growing fields.


May 11-12
Albany Tulip Festival, Albany, New York

Tulip Festival, Albany, NYAlbany Tulip Festival, The Meat Case, Flickr, Licensed by Creative Commons.

Over 140,000 tulips bloom yearly at the Albany Tulip Festival, where guests can join the free tulip tours with City Gardener Jena DiTinno to learn about the wide variety of flowers planted for the festival. Stay for the musical performances and the Tulip Queen coronation, and don’t miss the Street Scrubbing, the traditional Dutch ceremony of scrubbing the streets clean before a big celebration that has served as the official kickoff to Tulip Festival weekend for 76 years.


May 10-20, 2024
Canadian Tulip Festival, Commissioners Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Candaian Tulip Festival, Ottowa,Canadian Tulip Festival.
Andrew Scheer, Wikimedia Commons.

Celebrated each May in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, The Canadian Tulip Festival or Festival Canadien des Tulipes proclaims itself the world’s largest tulip festival, with over one million tulips planted in displays throughout the city. The most comprehensive collection is in Commissioners Park on the shores of Dow’s Lake and along the Rideau Canal, where visitors will find 300,000 tulips on the waterfront. Visitors can gain in-depth historical and horticultural knowledge of the different tulip varieties by joining the free self-guided Tulip Legacy Walking Tour through Commissioners Park.

Established in 1953 to celebrate the historic royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians as a symbol of international friendship, the gift keeps on giving as the Netherlands sends 20,000 bulbs to Canada each year: 10,000 from the royal family and 10,000 from the Dutch Bulb Growers Association.

Canadian Tulip Festival, orange tulips blooming.Liberation75 tulips, formerly known as the Orange Emperor variety, at the Canadian Tulip Festival.  John Talbot, Wikimedia Commons.


May 16-18
Orange City, Iowa

As it has for over 80 years, Orange City pays homage to its European homeland and Dutch heritage every third weekend in May during its annual Tulip Festival.

The town plants a variety of early, mid-, and late-blooming tulips, the majority of which usually bloom in mid-May. In addition to the thousands of tulips, there are a dozen replica windmills throughout this charming village and Dutch fare to savor for an authentic experience. The festival features dancing children and adults sporting authentic Dutch costumes, and there are two daily parades, nightly musical theater, and a mid-week carnival.


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