Where to Find Spring and Summer Flowers Near Seattle

With abundant precipitation in the Pacific Northwest, Seattleites are quite familiar with the old saying, "April showers bring May flowers". And it's true: with cherry blossoms, tulips, lavender, and more, the Evergreen State offers a kaleidoscope of color to those who seek it out. Embrace the blooms this year by attending one of Washington's many flower festivals, or by simply taking a hike.

Cherry Blossoms
During March or April (depending on the year), pretty-in-pink cherry blossoms are at their peak in Seattle. The most popular place to see them is the UW's Washington Park Arboretum. UW cherry trees are so sought after, in fact, that they have their own Twitter account. For a less crowded alternative with better parking, visit Seward Park. If you'd rather attend a festival, the Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival takes place annually at Seattle Center in April. Founded in 1976, this festival celebrates the 1,000 cherry trees gifted to Seattle by Japan's former Prime Minister.

Where do Washingtonians go to see spring tulips? Tulip Town, of course. Taking place in the fields between Mount Vernon and La Conner, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is an annual event held during the month of April. Don't miss the Downtown Mount Vernon Street Fair for food, live music, and family fun. As for seeing the tulips themselves, your best bet is to visit during weekdays or early mornings on weekends. It gets crowded out there on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Come summer, lavender is all the rage. Visit Sequim, the so-called "Lavender Capital of North America" for their annual Lavender Festival in July. Or ferry out to Friday Harbor for the San Juan Island Lavender Festival & Summer Arts Fair. Either way, you'll be surrounded by all things violet - including lavender ice cream.

Feeling adventurous? Hit the trails instead of the festivals. Many Washington trails are bursting with colorful wildflowers between April and August. Try Skyline Divide near Mount Baker or Rainier's Mazama Ridge in July and August. For more ideas, the Washington Trails Association is a wildflower-seeker's best friend.

Brandon Fralic is a Bellingham-based writer and photographer focusing on the outdoors, travel, and craft beer. He has contributed to a handful of publications including Washington Trails and Outdoor Project. Visit his portfolio for more info.