Seattle's Child

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Road trip! A weekend in Skagit Valley

Get ready for colorful blooms, gorgeous hikes, tiny cabins and tasty treats!

Go on a road trip to Skagit Valley with the family! With plenty of kid-friendly things to do, hiking, and a wonderful stay in a tiny cabin, this is a trip you’ll want to do with the family again and again. Bonus: You can catch the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (April 1-30). Put some spring into your step and make this your next family vacation destination.

Snow Geese in a field in Skagit Valley

Getting there

Pack your car and head to Mt. Vernon, about a 90-minute drive from Seattle. If it’s Tulip Festival time, opt to go on the weekday because traffic is heavier on the weekends. Take in the beautiful mountain views, the valleys, and lush landscapes. On the way, stop to see the annual migration of snow geese. They land in open fields, so keep your eyes peeled. These birds travel from Wrangel Island, Russia, for the winter and early spring months. When we saw them, we stopped at the side of the road (along with other drivers)  and watched hundreds of birds squawking at one another as they feasted on seeds and bugs.

Be sure to stop at the daffodil fields, too—rows and rows of these yellow beauties dance in the sunlight, waiting to be photographed. There was no one-stop, but you’ll find these yellow fields around the valley and near the tulip fields.

Tiny cabins in Mt. Vernon

Don’t overpack for this trip! These tiny cabins near Little Mountain Park were the perfect option for our weekend away.

Although small, these Getaway cabins offer a queen-sized bed and a bunk area perfect for two kids–we’re a family of four and felt comfortable. The steps to the bunk are steep, and the roof is low, so young kids may want to sleep on the bed below. The cabin’s large windows offer a spectacular view into the woods and a wonderful place to sit, read, or play games (Uno was our card game of choice).

Equipped with a fridge, cooking stove, sink, shower, and flushing toilet, you’ll be glamping before you know it. The campground even provided hot water,  towels, toilet paper, shampoo and conditioner. We brought food for meals, stored ingredients in the large fridge, and used the outdoor firepit to roast hotdogs and marshmallows.

Plan on packing light and living out of a suitcase. The coat hooks inside the cabin helped with some storage and drying wet towels and clothes, but we went back and forth to the car to grab changes of clothes and shoes/slippers. Luckily, parking for the car was right in front of the cabin, so the walk wasn’t far.

Drop the tech and immerse in nature

The idea behind these tiny cabins is to cut loose from technology and immerse yourself in nature. A small storage box inside the cabin encourages visitors to leave their cell phones behind to take advantage of the nature trails on the property and nearby parks. Maps and suggestions for things to do are provided at the cabin. Take the trails and immerse yourself in the 10 miles of protected wetlands on the 60-acre private property. A one-night stay costs $136-$350/night, depending on a weekend stay versus a weekday stay. Dogs are welcome for a $50 flat fee.

Exploring Padilla Bay

A simple internet search will yield many hiking options for kids around the Skagit Valley area. We explored Padilla Bay, about a half-hour north of Mt. Vernon. The beach and estuary trails are beautiful. Take the Padilla Bay Shore Trailhead around the estuary for an easy 2-mile hike (or scootering adventure). During low tide, miles of mud flats and a variety of birds can be seen.

Stop at the Breazeale Interpretive Center and Aquarium for a hands-on look at the sea life surrounding the estuary and Samish Bay. This free museum is a fantastic education center with interactive exhibits, touch tanks, and a children’s center.

The charming town of La Conner

West of Mt. Vernon, we checked out La Conner, a small town next to the Skagit River.

We dined at La Conner Brewing Co., serving standard pub food like burgers and pizza.

The town is lined with bookstores and small shops offering interesting keepsakes, books, and toys. After checking out a few places, we drove over the river to see the Swinomish Cedar Hats.

Located on the Swinomish reservation, this park is a gathering place for the tribe. Visitors may enter the park and take a short walk around, reading about tribal culture and history.

Kukutali Preserve State Park

Head over to the island of Kiket, owned by the Swinomish Tribe and the Washington Trails Association. This land is the first Tribal State Park in United States history. There are three easy hikes to choose from, with little to no elevation and on gravel or wood-chipped pathways. This is not a stroller-friendly path, but bring your pack if you’ve got small kids who dislike walking.

We took the 0.4-mile South Trail to the island, walked the beach, skipped stones, and took in the peaceful views. Harvesting of any kind and dogs are not allowed on this property. Please respect the private property signage at the west end of the island. Pro tip: Don’t get stuck on the island; find the tide schedule ahead of visiting this preserve so you know when to go. Crossing over to the island requires walking over a sandbar, which will be underwater at high tide.

Skagit Valley Road Trip: Ticket to the Tulips

We visited Skagit Valley during the Tulip Festival and saw the amazing display of gardens at Tulip Town and Roozengarde.

Tulip Town includes 5 acres of tulips, a windmill, and indoor gardens. Visitors can also enjoy shopping, food, a beer garden, and a trolley ride. Tickets range from $15 to $20. Dogs are welcome.

The next stop is the famous RoozenGaarde. It has over 20 acres of daffodils and tulips set against the Cascades. RoozenGaarde also has food, a tulip market, and many opportunities to take beautiful pictures. Tickets are $15 and $17, depending on the day of the week. Kids 2 and under are free. Dogs are not allowed.

Read more about Roozengarde and how to have a successful day with little ones at the Festival.

More things to do on a road trip to Skagit Valley

Download the Tulip Festival Map and find places with more tulip displays, farms that host tours and experiences, and the local children’s museum. The Skagit Valley Food Co-op sells local foods, artwork, and flowers. It also has a wonderful salad bar and bakery.

In search of ice cream? Iconic Snow Goose Produce is what you need — the scoops are large, and the waffle cones are freshly made.

My kids had large scoops of cotton candy and birthday cake—a sweet, sticky, joyful mess of fun. We stood in the seating areas located to the left of the shop and chowed down on the yummy treats.

Beware, lines are long but worth the wait!

Posing with ice cream from Snow Goose Farm and Produce after the Tulip Festival

All smiles with tons of ice cream.

Plan for your next road trip to Skagit Valley. You won’t be disappointed!

More on the tulips

Family guide to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, 2024

Tips for taking great family photos at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Visit driftwood artist, Joe Treat, near Skagit Valley

About the Author

Jasmin Thankachen

Jasmin is the Associate Publisher at Seattle's Child and an Eastside mom of two boys. She enjoys parenting with lots of love and laughter. Co-Founder of PopUp StoryWalk, she also loves children's picture books, essay writing, and community stories.