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Home Blog The Best of Skagit Valley: A Visitor Guide
March 29th 2019

The Best of Skagit Valley: A Visitor Guide

Written by
Floret

Here in the Skagit Valley, the tulip fields are about to burst into the most phenomenal show of color. Even after living in this area for nearly 20 years, I still can’t get over how beautiful it is. No wonder every year over a million people come from all over the world to experience the Skagit Valley Tulip FestivalThis annual event started as a three day festival and has grown into a month long celebration that now features art shows, concerts, street fairs, bike rides and more.

Today I’m excited to share our guide for visiting this incredible area. As our farm is closed to the public, I’m happy to share some of our favorite restaurants, shops, and other places of interest. There are so many wonderful things to do in this area! You could easily spend a few days exploring and having fun. If you can’t make it for the Tulip Festival, not to worry since all of these spots are great any time of the year.

field of tulips at Floret

Daffodils at dusk at FloretA few things to take note of when visiting the Skagit Valley during tulip season:

  1. Weekdays are best! We’ve found that the traffic can be pretty bad on the weekends, so try to plan for a mid-week adventure if you don’t want to spend hours in grid lock. If you brave the weekend crowds be sure to pack snacks and note that there are limited restroom facilities along the way.
  2. Respect the signs, farms and notices around the tulip fields. There are designated areas to stop and enjoy the beauty. Please don’t go walking into any fields that are marked “No Trespassing” just for a photo. The tulip fields are a photographer’s dream, just be sure to enjoy them in the designated areas. Information for seeing the tulips can be found here.
  3. Check ahead. As always, hours of operation are subject to change so before you head out, verify your plans with the businesses you intend to visit.

Skagit Valley Washington at duskPlaces to visit with your kids

Padilla Bay Research Reserve: As a living field laboratory with support facilities and professional staff, Padilla Bay Reserve has a free indoor aquarium with lots of opportunities for kids to see what plants and animals are native to this area. Be sure to call (360) 428-1558 for their hours of operation. You’ll also find lots of wonderful nature trails and places to explore.

Drive or hike up Mount Erie: Either drive to the top, or enjoy a hike. Mount Erie is a favorite for the locals and the views at the top are incredible! If you’re in the Anacortes area, you’ll enjoy this spot.

Visit Deception Pass: One of our personal favorite places in the park is Rosario Beach. My grandfather was a biologist and taught there, so I’ve been visiting this amazing place as long as I can remember. It’s worth planning to spend at least a few hours exploring the park and the beaches. If your family enjoys camping, you’ll want to come back in the summer.

Please note that you’ll need a Discover Pass to access the Washington state recreation lands. 

Storvik Park, Anacortes: This playground has a huge place for the kids to run, climb and get all their energy out. During the summer it’s a favorite, as there’s also a splash pad for the little guys.

Washington Park, Anacortes: Located along the water, this is a beautiful place to bring your picnic. Enjoy views of the boats going in and out, while the kids play on the playground.

Places to go for a walk or enjoy views of the valley

Padilla Bay Trail: Stroller and bike friendly, you’ll enjoy a beautiful and flat walk along the bay, where the Skagit River meets the Salish Sea.

Little Mountain Park: A covered viewpoint provides a spectacular look at the Skagit Valley, San Juan Islands, Olympic Mountains, and the tulip fields. The park also provides miles and miles of hiking trails.

Christiansons NurseryChristiansons NurseryA few must-dos when you visit this area

Christianson’s Nursery:. One of my all time top favorite places, this is the ultimate stop for every gardener. In addition to having an amazing selection of plants, they have a beautiful garden themed gift shop, vintage glass greenhouses and the largest selection of potted garden roses in the state. Bring your checkbook and plan to stay a couple of hours! 

Enjoy Chuckanut drive: This 24 mile curvy route hugs the Chuckanut mountains. Chuckanut Drive overlooks Samish Bay and offers gorgeous views of the San Juan Islands and Chuckanut Bay.

Take a ride into the San Juan Islands on a ferry: From Anacortes you can park your car and walk on the ferry for a fun day trip. Enjoy a relaxing ride, while watching for whales. You can also drive on and then spend the day or take a longer vacation exploring one of the islands.

Red Door Antique Mall in Mount Vernon The Red Door Antique Mall: Located in historic downtown Mount Vernon, this is one of the best places to look for unique treasures. The gals who own it are a riot and I always find so many wonderful things to take home. With 20 vendors under one roof, inventory changes on a daily basis and the selection is unmatched. Many of the props and vases that we use in our studio and photoshoots come from the Red Door. If you get a chance to visit tell the ladies we sent you!

Daffodils at FloretRecommended places to eat

Seeds Bistro in LaConner: Featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farms, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, and fresh seafood from our local fishing community, there are a million reasons to visit this charming place. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in the area.

LaConner Pub and Eatery: For the best fish and chips and a beautiful view while you enjoy your meal, LaConner Pub and Eatery is the place to be. Call ahead of time and have them save you a spot right on the water.

Nell Thorn in LaConner: A little jewel of northwest! They offer a fresh, daily menu of artisan made, sustainable, farm to table NW fare, craft cocktails, fine wines, & microbrews on tap. Awesome food with incredible views!

COA Mexican Eatery: We love this place! Everything is super fresh and they have awesome margaritas. Locations are in LaConner and Mt. Vernon.

Il Granaio: If you’re craving amazing Italian food, this is your place. Having earned the reputation as the Skagit Valley’s best authentic Italian restaurant, Il Granaio incorporates the flavors of fresh, local ingredients into traditional Italian recipes. The bonus is that it’s located in the old grainary building of Mount Vernon. A true beauty!

Skagit Valley Food Co-Op: If you’re looking for a sustainably sourced deli or some wonderful grocery items, go here. This is the natural marketplace for our community and it features something perfect for everyone.

Valley Shine Distillery: Valley Shine Distillery provides an inviting atmosphere to enjoy small batch spirits, craft cocktails and unique tapas. They offer a delicious lunch and dinner menu that they refer to as “Farm to Market Classic Comfort Food with a Twist”. All ages are welcome.

CSquare and Third Street Cafe: C•SQUARE is a wonderful marketplace of specialty food shops and a farm-to-table restaurant, the Third Street Cafe. Bonus tip- try their coffee!

Snowgoose Produce: Known for their “Immodest Ice Cream Cones” Snowgoose Produce is a seasonal, family run, country market located in the Skagit Valley. They offer incredible organic produce and local fare such as fresh and smoked seafood, baked breads, artisan cheeses and carefully selected wines. When you stop by be sure to tell the owner Vico hello! What a nice guy he is!

The Donut House, Anacortes: A fun little stop before heading to a park or onto one of the San Juan Island ferries. This shop has a huge selection of fresh baked goodies and very affordable prices.  

Taylor Shellfish: If you like oysters, you’ll love this spot. Since the 1890’s Taylor Shellfish has been farming high quality, sustainable shellfish. Feast in the waterfront picnic area, or take your goodies to go.

Slough Foods, Edison: Awesome for wine, fancy meat and cheese. Our good friend John owns it- tell him we sent you!

Breadfarm, Edison: Located in the small village of Edison, Washington, just off of scenic Chuckanut Drive in beautiful Skagit Valley. Breadfarm is an artisan bakery focusing on naturally leavened breads,  rustic pastry and pantry staples.  Every item is beautifully handcrafted.

Tweets Cafe, Edison:  Tweets has great food, especially breakfast and ice cream. Featuring an artisan cafe, organic coffee, and farm to table northwest cuisine. Cash or check only!

As you enjoy the beauty of Skagit Valley, I hope these ideas help you feel welcomed, and a little bit more like a local.

And if you’re from around here, and you have a few favorite places you’d like to share, please post them in the comments below!

24 Comments

  1. Leca Moose on

    Thank you for all this great info! I wish I could visit😃

    Reply
  2. Janli on

    Awesome list! You’ve got some new places I’d like to try.
    Chuckanut Manor is my go to for a relaxing, quality meal. Their happy hour halibut tacos are awesome!
    I like to drive up to the fields early in the morning for some great photos and then if I want to visit Roozengaarde I’m early enough to beat the traffic.

    Reply
  3. Wendi Baldi on

    Thank you for the information. This sounds like an amazing place to visit.

    Reply
  4. Rachel C. on

    I love Rexville Grocery for a quick sandwich. Such a fun store. Heavens how I do miss Bunnies by the Bay, that was such a wonderful, whimsical place back in it’s heyday. Christensen’s and Snow Goose are on my must visit list too whenever I make the trek up North. I love breakfast at Calico Cupboard too.

    Reply
  5. Sara on

    Love everything on this list. I would add Perry & Carlson, the boutique and adjoining gallery in downtown Mount Vernon. Their wares are beautifully curated and I always love stopping in for a chat with Trina, the charming proprietress.

    Reply
  6. Jesse May Danson on

    You just made me fall in love with our area all over again! Seeing all these favorite places in one list makes me feel spoiled beyond belief to live here. My two additions would be coffee shops – Ristretto in Mount Vernon and North Cove in Burlington. And apparently, I need to explore Edison! Thank you so much for the recommendations!

    Reply
  7. Margaret Matson on

    Anelia’s Kitchen and Stage, La Conner
    We were just in La Conner and a lovely young man at another closing restaurant recommended Anelia’s.
    We were sooooo hungry and the first bite of their Polish ‘specialty’ pierogi was faint worthy delicious,
    as was the draft beer…..and great conversation with the thoughtful bartender

    Reply
  8. Charlene on

    If you forget cash and still want ice cream at Snowgoose, you can pay the cashier in the grocery area and take the receipt to the ice cream counter. I’ve done this many times! :)

    Reply
  9. Trisha on

    Great list!! Been to each and every one! Love them all….Christianson’s of course is the best!! For shopping…I’d add “The Ginger Grater” & “Go Outside” in La Conner. Food…I’d add “The TrainWreck Bar & Grill” in Sedro Woolley…a few miles down the road…but worth every step of the way! Roozengard is my favorite public display garden & I love to stop at Larabee State Park on Chuckanut Drive on my way home to Lynden! :) We Whatcom County folks are happy to be neighbors with you….but extremely thrilled we don’t have to deal with Tulip Time Traffic. Here’s to hoping you don’t get stuck in it at all this year! ;)

    Reply
  10. Kether Scharff-Gray on

    You missed Mi Cocina on McClean! They have some of the best tacos in the Skagit Valley. The birria tacos, well-seasoned braised beef, are my favorite and their accompanying salsas are also excellent!

    Reply
  11. Kathy V on

    Thank you for this fun ‘travel brochure’! I really love those tulips in the first picture. I’d like to know what they are, so it gave me an idea. Is it possible for there to be a little box that pops up with the name and variety of the flower when you hover over your pictures (at least for the ones you sell?) I think it would increase sales. I know I’d put those tulips on my wish list. :) Thanks for considering.

    Reply
  12. Adrienne Wiseman on

    Also on the north end of Commercial Ave in Anacortes is the A Town Cafe,
    Great food, lunch & dinner!

    Reply
  13. Veronika on

    Great guide! Thank you for taking your time to write it!

    Reply
  14. Jane on

    Thanks , Erin. Our daughter and son-in-law live in the area and while we’ve been to some of these places, excited to explore more on our next visit.

    Reply
  15. Ana on

    Another wonderful stop if you’re in the town of Edison is Samish Bay Cheese. Their little farm is delightful and they now serve a variety of small bites ( they’re talking adding grilled cheese sandwiches!) along with fresh ice cream!

    Reply
  16. Tricia Gray on

    rachawadee Thai cafe in Mt Vernon is the best Thai in the state of Washington!

    Reply
  17. Jeanne on

    Since your farm is closed to the public, where do you recommend people go to see the tulips? Other than the views from Little Mountain Park the guide doesn’t appear to mention how to best experience the flowers. Are there farms or fields open to the public?

    Reply
  18. von Bechtolsheim Catherine on

    Thanks so much for the great guide!!! Rexville does have the best sandwiches ….. although I admit I get the meat loaf sandwich almost every time!!! The Breadfarm in Edison is a must visit if you like pastries!! They have some of the best croissant in the State; but don’t forget the homemade Graham Crackers!! Heaven!!
    Is there any chance you would ever have an open house for an afternoon event at Floret Farms?? It’s on my top ten list to see someday …. sooner than later!!
    Your always the first place I recommend for everything Garden!!! I’m a huge fan!!! Thank you!!!

    Reply
  19. Kristi on

    Great suggestions. I would add the Olde Towne Grainery Tea Room upstairs from Il Granaio in Mt. Vernon. Open Wednesday – Sunday for lunch and tea. My editors’ group meets there monthly. A very tranquil atmosphere (except when the occasional train goes rumbling by), friendly service, good food and tea (and coffee).

    Reply
  20. Brenda T on

    Thank you for sharing this! So helpful since we may be coming out your way the end of April and was hoping to check out your farm but this will give me other ideas and places to see the tulips in bloom!

    Reply
  21. H YOUNG on

    Great list. You might want to add the tip that Snowgoose Produce only accepts cash at the ice cream shop. Just so people can plan ahead.

    Reply
  22. KW on

    Don’t forget Rexville Grocery (great breakfast and lunch + coffee and deli) on Best Rd. just past Snow Goose Produce!

    Reply
    • Team Floret on

      Agreed! That place is awesome.

  23. Marilyn J Nydam on

    i will be out at the end of the month- my ‘pilgrimage’ to your area will be the last of april- do you have a store on site – or is it only on line? i did go to the San Juans last fall, and you were buttoning up things. i think the tulips are almost finished by the time , but im still going to come to the area- i was totally inspired by the tulips in your book and planted 500 bulbs last fall- Our growing season is about 3-4 wks behind Washington State so i will not miss my tulips- My daughter moved to Seattle and i love to go visit with her – Everything you do at Floret is inspirational to me and i am totally motivated by your creativity and love of flowers- you can brighten up any day with your blogs and photos. i wish they would re- publish the wedding flower book written ‘Fresh From the Field Wedding Flowers’ another truly amazing book- i ended up downloading on my Kindle- Are you open to visitors or just the sites that are posted are the ones i would try to visit? Thankyou for all you do for flowers- Locally we do have Five Fork Farms- and i love visiting them at the local farmers market and going to their farm to pick up flowers- your dream has brought joy to sooooooo… many Regards Marilyn

    Reply

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