9 flower festivals to visit in your lifetime

Flickr | roseannadana

The best way to celebrate spring? Stopping and smelling not just the roses, but also the lilacs, tulips and cherry blossoms.

If you can’t get enough of spring blossoms in bloom, we’ve rounded up nine flower festivals that are bidding for your attention! They’re sorted in order of when they are happening.

1. Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival

Where: Orlando, Florida

When: Feb. 28 to May 28, 2018

Traipse through topiary gardens featuring your family’s favorite characters expertly carved into shrubs at this festival inside Walt Disney World’s Epcot resort. You’ll find topiary renditions of Anna and Elsa from “Frozen,” Bambi and friends, Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story” and more. Plus, the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival features internationally inspired gardens throughout the park, including a Bonsai collection reminiscent of Japan and an English tea garden.

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival photo
Getty Images | Gustavo Caballero

2. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Where: Skagit Valley, Washington

When: April 1-30, 2018

Millions of tulips bloom in Washington state’s Skagit Valley each spring, and the Pacific Northwest spends an entire month throwing a flower fête for tulip fans. Wine festivals, galas, parades, art shows and photography contests are all a part of the month-long event celebrating the tulips. Two can’t-miss destinations during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival are RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town, gardens that are filled with more than a million tulips!

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival photo
Flickr | Shot in a Frame

3. Azalea Festival

Where: Muskogee, Oklahoma

When: April 1 to 30, 2018

Every April, Muskogee’s Honor Heights Park turns into a gorgeous garden of blooms. The festival features more than 30,000 azaleas covering at least 600 varieties of the flower. There are also plenty of dogwoods, redbuds and other flowers, as well as carriage rides, crafts and other entertainment throughout the month.


4. Tulip Time Festival

Where: Holland, Michigan

When: May 5 to 13, 2018

No need to pull out your passport and travel all the way to the Netherlands to see gorgeous rows of tulips. Michigan also has its own Holland, which is home to the annual Tulip Time Festival featuring thousands of tulips, rounded out with windmills and Dutch dance. The festival’s roots date back to 1929 when the city of Holland, Michigan planted its first crop of 100,000 tulips.

Photo courtesy of Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan

5. Rochester Lilac Festival

Where: Rochester, New York

When: May 11 to 20, 2018

Highland Park in upstate New York boasts the largest collection of lilacs in the United States, with more than 500 varieties on 1,200 plants. During the Rochester Lilac Festival, the fragrant flowers share the spotlight with pansies, tulips and azaleas, which can also be found in the gardens.

highland park rochester photo
Flickr | tobo

6. Portland Rose Festival

Where: Portland, Oregon

When: May 25 to June 10, 2018

More than a century old, the Portland Rose Festival now features a treasure hunt, dragon boat races and parades. When it first started, festival organizers imagined the rose celebration would put Portland on the map as the “summer capital of the world.”

Today, the festival has evolved into a large summer festival, but the roses still shine at a rose show that showcases award-winning roses.

Courtesy Portland Rose Festival

7. Mackinac Island Lilac Festival

Where: Mackinac Island, Michigan

When: June 8 to 17, 2018

Horse-drawn carriages add charm to Mackinac Island’s garden party. The lilac festival is the first of many celebrations during the summer season. If chocolate is more your thing, there’s also a fudge festival in August.

Photo courtesy of Mackinac Island

8. Crested Butte Wildflower Festival

Where: Crested Butte, Colorado

When: July 6 to 15, 2018

The blooms don’t stop in the spring. The wildflowers in Colorado’s mountain towns peak in the summer, with the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival devoted to celebrating the blooms with hikes, walks, photography workshops and garden tours.

crested butte wildflower photo
Flickr | Larry Lamsa

9. Brussels Flower Carpet

Where: Brussels, Belgium

When: Aug. 16 to 19, 2018

You’d have to leave the country for this one, but it’s a must-see for flower lovers. More than 6,000 flowers bloom and form an ornate flower carpet at the Grand Palace in Brussels. The Brussels Flower Carpet is a multi-sensory experience with the sight complemented by the scents of begonias and music in the evenings.

brussels flower carpet photo
Getty Images | Andreas Rentz

Bonus Pick: While the 2018 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. has already closed for the year, the beautiful blooms of the city’s signature cherry blossoms will be visible throughout April. If you’re visiting, be sure to stop by the monuments of the Tidal Basin to get some gorgeous views of them.

Do you have a favorite flower to see bloom this time of year?

Holiday & Seasonal, Science & Nature, Travel
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About the Author
Brittany Anas
Hi, I'm Brittany Anas (pronounced like the spice, anise ... see, that wasn't too embarrassing to say, now was it?) My professional writing career started when I was in elementary school and my grandma paid me $1 for each story I wrote for her. I'm a former newspaper reporter, with more than a decade of experience Hula-hooping at planning meetings and covering just about every beat from higher-education to crime to science for the Boulder Daily Camera and The Denver Post. Now, I'm a freelance writer, specializing in travel, health, food and adventure.

I've contributed to publications including Men's Journal, Forbes, Women's Health, American Way, TripSavvy, Eat This, Not That!, Apartment Therapy, Denver Life Magazine, 5280, Livability, The Denver Post, Simplemost, USA Today Travel Tips, Make it Better, AAA publications, Reader's Digest, Discover Life and more. Visit Scripps News to see more of Brittany's work.

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