Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×

Search

Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

7 Gorgeous Spring Garden Tours Across the U.S.

Stroll through a sea of blossoms at these top sites

spinner image people walking through a garden
HSVRS/GETTY IMAGES

Across the country, the arrival of spring brings bright floral landscapes. These seven annual garden tours offer particularly lovely opportunities to enjoy spring’s blossoming.

spinner image rows of pink, red and yellow tulips at the Skagit Tulip Festival
More than 350 acres of colorful tulips are on display in the Skagit Valley.
COURTESY SKAGIT VALLEY TULIP FESTIVAL

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival (Mount Vernon, Washington)

April 1–30

Sixty miles north of Seattle, Skagit Valley is at about the same latitude as the Netherlands and home to 350 acres of tulips. During the annual festival, a self-guided driving tour of the tulip fields takes about 30 minutes and you can also walk through the rows of brilliant flowering bulbs. Festival stops include RoozenGaarde, Tulip Town, Garden Rosalyn and the tour’s newest addition, Tulip Valley Farms. While the four show gardens are very different, all showcase commercial growers who plant millions of tulips. Purchase tickets online for RoozenGaarde ($15), Tulip Town (general admission online is $15; $13 for seniors), Garden Rosalyn ($20) and Tulip Valley Farms (prices vary per event). Note: Tulip Valley Farms offers a new parklike area where you can stroll miles of grass “Tulip Trails” with stunning views of the North Cascades and Olympics. Parking is free at all four sites. 

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now

spinner image flowers at Garden Club of Virginia Historic Garden Week
Private garden tours are part of the festivities during Garden Week.
COURTESY OF GARDEN CLUB OF VIRGINIA

Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week (destinations across Virginia)

April 15–22 

As the only statewide house and garden tour in the country, the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, a tradition since 1927, celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. The participating 150 homes and gardens in communities across Virginia — from the Shenandoah Valley to the beaches of Tidewater — showcase private landscapes, public gardens and historic sites through tours organized and hosted by 48 member clubs. Highlight this year include two special properties opened to the public this spring: Bunny Mellon’s Little Oak Spring in Upperville and John Kluge’s Morven in Charlottesville. Some of the tours will offer outdoor demonstrations or porch talks on topics such as floral design and composting, so you can plot your daily itinerary according to your interests. Tickets start at $15 and prices vary by destination.

spinner image Charleston Glorious Garden Tours, Charleston, SC
Historical homes and formal gardens add to the charm of Charleston.
COURTESY OF HISTORIC CHARLESTON FOUNDATION

Charleston Glorious Garden Tour and the 2023 Festival of Houses and Gardens (Charleston, South Carolina)

March 15–April 16 

Known for formal gardens that feature year-round greenery and flowers from azalea to camellia, magnolia, hydrangea, jessamine and roses, Charleston in spring offers an especially lush display, often in elegant settings. On Fridays, the Glorious Garden Tours ($75) celebrate the design, history, culture and architecture of the town’s most impressive private gardens. The guides at each location will answer questions about the blooms and offer background on the history and features of the stately houses where they’re cultivated. In addition to the garden tours, special events and concerts are part of the monthlong celebration. Check out the “Live Like a Local” series for events including the popular Rosé and Roses in the Garden ($55) to listen to lovely string music as you sip and stroll the garden surrounding the Nathaniel Russell House Museum. Purchase tickets online or at the festival ticket office in Shop Historic Charleston on Meeting Street.

Travel

Holland America Line

Up to $200 onboard credit on select cruises

See more Travel offers >
spinner image flowers at Mary Lou Heard Garden Tour, California
One of the standout “real gardens by real people” in Long Beach.
COURTESY OF JENNIFER MCINTEER

Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour (Long Beach, California)

May 6 and 7

Mary Lou Heard was a passionate horticulturist who created a garden tour in 1993 to highlight the small gardens cultivated by local homeowners. Every year brings more fans to this self-guided tour of “real gardens by real people,” tucked into Long Beach’s neighborhoods. This year’s event includes 44 home gardens, 13 of them new to the tour. This year will also feature drought-tolerant gardens in an effort to reflect California’s changing climate. No tickets are required for the two-day event (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), but donations are accepted at each of the locations (funds go to the Sheepfold, a shelter that helps women with minor children in crisis). 

spinner image pink yellow and purple tulips blooming in holland michigans tulip time festival
Millions of tulips fill the fields and parks in this Michigan town.
Courtesy Tulip Time Festival

Tulip Time Festival (Holland, Michigan)

May 6–14

In spring this Michigan city rivals its namesake in the Netherlands with millions of colorful tulips filling its fields and parks for the public to enjoy for free. At the Window on the Waterfront Park, take photos next to the life-size statues in traditional Dutch dress and stroll walking paths through acres of tulip fields and beds. In addition to free activities, there’s Veldheer’s Tulip Gardens and De Klomp Wooden Shoe & Delft Factory, where you can watch artists hand-carve your own traditional wooden shoes from a block of poplar wood or hand paint blue and white Delftware pottery. Or visit Windmill Island Gardens ($12) to see an authentic Dutch windmill surrounded by tulips, dikes, canals and walking paths. 

spinner image horses stand in a field of blue bonnet flowers in ennis texas
The Texas Bluebonnet Trail and is the self-proclaimed “Bluebonnet City of Texas.”
Courtesy City of Ennis, Texas

Ennis Bluebonnet Trails and Festival (Ennis, Texas)

April 1-30

The bluebonnet, a wildflower that blankets the fields, meadows and rural roads throughout the Lone Star state, holds the title of state flower. And the small town of Ennis, a 36-minute drive south of Dallas, has the Texas Bluebonnet Trail and is the self-proclaimed "Bluebonnet City of Texas.” The bluebonnets peak in mid-April but since they are a natural occurrence, their blooms may not be in the same exact place year to year. (The locals defer to Mother Nature each year on the best trail sightings.) People trek from all over the country for the Bluebonnet Trails opening (April 1) and the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival, a weekend of music and activities celebrating the beautiful blue wildflower (April 14–16). To explore the trails, download the map for self-guided driving tours. All events are free.

spinner image gamble garden spring tour in palo alto california
The Gamble house and garden are open for self-guided tours year-round.
Courtesy Nadine Priestley

Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden Historic Home Spring Garden Tour (Palo Alto, California)

April 28 and 29

In 1902, when the Gamble House was built, the city of Palo Alto was considerably smaller, with a population of 3,000 compared with 69,000 today. Thanks to the Garden Club of Palo Alto, which assisted in creating a nonprofit organization to restore the garden and maintain the buildings, the Gamble House and garden continues on as a beautiful example of Colonial-Georgian Revival architecture, complete with restored gardens of the era. The original family gardener, Elizabeth F. Gamble, was well known for her love of flowers and her extensive collection of prized camellias. While you can take a free self-guided tour anytime, during the spring tour you can see what a restored 1900 garden looks like, from camellias, roses and wisteria to the front lawn’s three surviving Canary Island date palms. Live music, a silent auction and special shopping experiences are part of the tour admission. Plus, five private Palo Alto gardens will be open for tours April 28 and April 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Note: The private gardens on the tour are not wheelchair accessible, but all activities at Gamble Garden are fully accessible. Admission includes the five garden tours; $30 for members, $45 nonmembers; $50 at the door. 

Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 31, 2021. It has been updated to reflect new information. 

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?

AARP Travel Center

Or Call: 1-800-675-4318

Enter a valid departing date

Enter a valid returning date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid departing date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid departing date

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Flight 2

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 3

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 4

Enter a valid departing date

Flight 5

Enter a valid departing date

+ Add Another Flight

Enter a valid checking in date

Enter a valid checking out date


Occupants of Room 1:



Occupants of Room 2:



Occupants of Room 3:



Occupants of Room 4:



Occupants of Room 5:



Occupants of Room 6:



Occupants of Room 7:



Occupants of Room 8:


Enter a valid departing date

Enter a valid returning date

Age of children:

Occupants of Room 1:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 2:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 3:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 4:

Age of children:


Occupants of Room 5:

Age of children:

Age of children:

Child under 2 must either sit in laps or in seats:

Enter a valid start date

Enter a valid drop off date

Select a valid to location

Select a month

Enter a valid from date

Enter a valid to date