Did you know I am part Dutch? I am. My mother is Dutch, born and raised in Holland. I’ve made a few visits there myself as a kid, young adult, and as a young mom and no visit was complete without taking time to stop and smell the tulips. It’s only natural that I would love tulips. I grew up with them around and we gave away wooden tulips as wedding favors when I married my husband. So every year as tulip season approaches I start to look for places to pick tulips in New Jersey or NJ tulip festivals we can attend as a family.
We visited our first tulip festival at the Holland Ridge Farms in Cream Ridge, NJ. It was beautiful. There were tulips in nearly every color and we could pick any and as much as we wanted. It was glorious!
There was so much we could do at this NJ tulip festival, but I quickly realized we weren’t as prepared as we could have been. Had I thought about what I needed to know before picking tulips or visiting a tulip farm I would have had an even better time.
It’s with that in mind that I’m sharing my 10 tips for visiting tulip festivals. If you’re local to New Jersey, I’ll also share where to pick tulips in NJ, after my tips.
12 Tips for Visiting Tulip Festivals
Visiting a tulip festival with your kids or friends can be a fabulous way to spend a spring day. But don’t arrive unprepared. My tips will help you have a great time picking tulips.
In addition to my tips for tulip festivals, I’m also sharing my Amazon affiliate links. These links will helpful you find the items you need and that we recommend quickly. We do participate in Amazon’s affiliate program. When you make a purchase using one of our links we earn a small commission.
Pack gardening shears
Pack gardening shears. It seems so obvious, right? But in your excitement to get to a tulip festival to see all the beautiful tulips you may forget about needing garden shears. You may think, I don’t need them. I’m just going to look around.
No, buy the gardening shears. You are going to find the tulips at tulip festivals so pretty you are going to want to bring them home. You and the kids are going to want the experience of picking tulips. You can only do that if you have gardening shears. Get the kids a set and you a set.
Ripping the tulip stems out of the ground will only damage them and shorten their life span. You can’t dig the tulips up, because tulip farmers need those tulip bulbs to grow and rebloom the following year.
The tulip festivals will not have shears you can borrow. At the ones, we’ve been to there aren’t even any gardening sheers to buy.
I like these gardening shears on Amazon.
Bring along a filled tall wide- mouthed water bottle
You’ve picked your tulips, now what? How are you going to keep them hydrated until you get home?
There aren’t a lot of tulip farms or festivals in New Jersey. If you’re like us you will likely drive over an hour to get to one. It’s totally worth it. That being said, you need a way to keep your tulips in water until you get back home.
Pack a tall wide-mouthed water bottle or small jug to serve as a temporary vase while your tulips are in transit. Bring along a few if you plan to really pick a lot of tulips.
Tulip stems are long and somewhat thick, yet fragile. The opening of a traditional water bottle will only be able to accommodate one or two tulips. The length of an 8 once water bottle will not be long enough for full length tulips.
Whatever you use make sure it’s filled and that you have a lid to contain the water while traveling to the tulip farm. There likely will not be water at the tulip farm to fill up your temporary vase.
I discovered these travel collapsible vases on Amazon.
Bring a bag to carry purchases
Bring bags. First, you’ll want to be able to pack your temporary vases into a bag to help minimize their movement on the car ride home.
Secondly, some tulip farms in NJ and elsewhere have pop up shops for gifts and souvenirs. They may not have bags for customers. The ones we visited didn’t. Plus, it’s always better for the environment when we bring reusable bags.
Grab a stool or cushion to sit on for pictures
Next to picking tulips to bring home, taking pictures among the tulips is one of the best things to do during tulip festivals. Tulips tend to grow anywhere from 12-18 inches in height. They are too short to stand with and to tall to sit on the ground next to them. We also don’t recommend sitting on the ground as the dirt between rows of tulips tends to be muddy.
Instead bring a small stool or cute cushion you can sit on. Place your stool safely between the rows of tulips so as not to cause them damage. Then, as you sit down you’ll truly look as if you are sitting among the tulips.
Here’s a few stools on Amazon that are easy to travel with.
Coordinate what you’ll wear
You can’t visit a tulip festival without taking pictures! I mean there’s just so many tulips you won’t be able to resist filling your camera roll and Instagram feed with adorable pictures of your family with the tulips.
Tulip festivals present tulips in an array of colors, patterns, and designs. If you’ve never visited a tulip farm before you will be amazed at the variety. For picture taking, it’s best to wear solid colors. Tops or shirts with plaid, stripes, dots, or other busy patterns will clash with the stunning tulips you’re taking pictures with.
Not only are their fields of tulips, but the best tulip farms have props in the fields for posing with. Be on the lookout for bikes, wheelbarrows, carts and other items to pose with.
Special note: If you plan to visit a tulip festival with a regular photographer or hold a photo session please check with the tulip farm first. Most have a policy for how they handle photo shoots or professional photography.
Pack your patience
It’s the time of the Instagrammers, TikTokcers, and other influencers. They’ll be with you at the tulip festivals. The beauty of a field of tulips is hard to resist. Try to be patient. If they are at a photo prop you’d like to use, see if there’s another you can use. Then, go back to that one. Or give them some space and time to take their pictures. If their time seems to be excessive, say 15 minutes, politely ask if they can take a break so you can get in a few pictures.
Come up with a plan with your kids
Will you let the kids pick tulips? How many? Who will use the gardening shears? Will you buy food from the food truck? Will they kids get to shop for a souvenir? Do you want them to take pictures with the tulips?
Come up with a plan ahead of time to maximize your time and theirs at tulip festivals. It’s much more enjoyable if your child knows they can pick 5 tulips versus them nagging you repeatedly if they can pick out tulips.
Think about whether you are comfortable allowing your child to use the garden shears. If you have multiple kids, what’s the plan for them taking turns using the shears. If each child is picking tulips, come prepared with a vase for each one so there’s no fighting over who gets to hold the tulips.
Attend early in the season if you are bringing home flowers
Sadly, tulips have a short life span. When picked at the optimal time you could get a few weeks from your tulips. If you’re visiting tulip festivals in order to bring some home, visit early in the season. You’ll have a greater selection of tulips and they’ll also be in better shapes.
Avoid windy days
Tulips don’t like windy days. They droop, they sway. For the best picking and photo experience at tulip festivals avoid windy days.
Wear comfortable closed toe shoes (shoes won’t be in picture & grounds are muddy)
Wear your rainy day shoes. Wear the shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. The grounds at tulip farms tend to be muddy and messy. It’s not a big deal if you’re prepared. Photo shoots at tulip farms don’t require your best shoes. Your shoes will probably not even make it into the picture. So wear the shoes that will help you have an enjoyable experience. You don’t want to cut your visit to the tulip farm short just because someone stepped in a puddle.
Check rules for outside food & plan accordingly
If you plan to visit a tulip festival on a sunny spring day and stay for a picnic, find out ahead of time what their rules are for food. Are you allowed to bring in outside food? Is there a food concession stand? Will there be food trucks? If they sell food, can they accommodate any special food needs you or your children have?
In our experience it was pretty common to see some food and drinks available. While my kids had lots of yummy options of streusel, chocolate cupcakes, and eclairs, there were not any gluten-free options. Had I known I would have packed a snack for me.
You also need to factor in lines. With tulips fields stretched out as far as you can see, most tulip festivals can accommodate hundreds of visitors at one time. The concession stands can not. If you’re allowed to bring in food and water, pack a small snack or drink, just in case you find the lines to be a bit too much.
One more tip for visiting tulip festivals, check the current rules
By the time tulip farms were allowed to have visitors last year, the tulip season was almost over. Some tulip farms that opened were forced to close again when the crowds became to large and the lines too long. With a full tulip season, I think it will be a much better season for our tulip farmers.
That doesn’t mean you should visit a tulip farm without doing your research first. Check ahead to see how they are welcoming guests this year.
- Will you be able to walk through the tulip farm or will it be a drive thru tulip festival?
- Will you be able to just show up or do you need to buy a ticket ahead of time? Do you buy tickets through their site or a third party site?
- Will you need to wear masks? Will you need to complete a health screening?
- What happens when weather conditions are poor?
Where can I pick tulips in New Jersey
Between March and May you can pick tulips at nearly any gardening store and some roadside farms. It’s just not the same as picking tulips from a field yourself though. Here’s a few tulip farms and festivals in New Jersey.
Holland Ridge Farms in the Cream Ridge section of Upper Freehold, Monmouth County, NJ
Holland Ridge Farms claims to be the largest tulip festival on the East Coast. It just might be. Located in Upper Freehold, Holland Ridge Farms has millions of tulips for picking, more than ever before. Pick as many as you like for a $1 per tulip.
Holland Ridge Farms is a family-owned Dutch tulip grower and flower farm. They will open for pick your own tulips in April! All ticket sales will be done online at hollandridgefarms.com. Every visitor to the farm, even infants, will need a ticket. Holland Ridge Farms will be offering three time slots each day – 9 am to 12 pm, 12 pm to 3 .pm and 3 pm to 6 pm. Ticket prices range from $8.53 to $12.80.
Guests above the age of two must wear masks while entering the farm, in any farm buildings and if they cannot maintain 6 feet distance from others while outside.
The Holland Ridge Farms tulip festival will be a walk thru experience this year.
Dalton Farms in Swedesboro, Gloucester County, NJ
Dalton Farms u-pick tulip festivals, aka Tour or Tulips, will be open April 8th through April 25, 2021. Similar to above tickets will need to be pre-purchased online and in advance. Unlike Holland Ridge Farms, tickets are only required for those 3 and older. You can buy tickets for Dalton Farms tulip festivals at daltonfarmsnj.com/pages/festival-of-tulips.
Masks will be required when it is not practicable to socially distance and keep a six-foot distance from others such as our check-in/check out area or waiting for food/drinks.
You can pick your own tulips at Dalton Farms in Swedesboro for a $1 per stem.
The Dalton Farms tulip festival will be a walk thru experience this year.
More places to see Tulips in New Jersey
Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown Township
We made our first visit to Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown Township over spring break. It was so close to Holmdel Park I had to stop by and see what might be blooming in their gardens. It was magnificent.
You can get your first view of the tulips at Deep Cut Gardens at the main entrance. The pathway to the left is lined with tulips. On our visit they were just starting to bloom.
Your next chance to see tulips at this New Jersey garden is between the labyrinth rose garden and the pergola. When the tulips are in full bloom you can get a great family picture with the tulips behind you by sitting on one of the benches on the pergola. One thing to note. You CAN NOT pick the tulips at Deep Cut Gardens.
About Deep Cut Gardens
From the Monmouth County Park System website we learned, “Deep Cut Gardens is dedicated to the home gardener. The 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses are planned as a living catalog of cultivated and native plant materials to be observed through the seasons.”
Deep Cut Gardens is open year-round. Admission is free. There is a small parking lot on the property and a larger one across the street at Tatum Park.