From coast to coast—California to Florida, and all of the states in between—here's where to go to find the most beautiful flower fields in America this year.
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Looking for an opportunity to stop and smell the roses? Luckily, you don't need to fly to Denmark to see the tulips or France to see the lavender. If you want to admire the flowers bloom on a much larger scale than your own garden, consider looking stateside. The poppies of California, bluebonnets of Texas, and sunflowers of New Jersey are equally as breathtaking.
Mother Nature offers spectacular views all year-round. The ranunculus flowers at the Carlsbad Ranch in San Diego, California, are best seen in the spring. At the Purple Haze farm in Washington, fields of lavender are grown all summer long into the fall. And at New Jersey's Liberty Farm, the field of sunflowers is in full bloom by autumn. To ensure you visit at the right time of year, it's best to call ahead or check the bloom maps available on many of their websites.
There are more than a few beautiful places to go: Many farms open their gates to locals and tourists alike so you can appreciate the view before the flowers are harvested for market. A few locales even host festivals when the fields are in full bloom. Whether you're going with family or friends, these events have activities and tours that are fun and exciting for everyone. Some even allow you to pick your own flowers. Alternatively, naturally grown fields offer another view: These parks and reserves normally have free entry, less restricted hours, and a wider variety of flowers. You'll have a lot more room to roam, but remember that these ecosystems are much more delicate than their human-grown counterparts. For preservation's sake, stick to the trails and leave flowers to grow naturally. (That way, you and the rest of the country can admire them again next year.)
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Carlsbad Ranch, California
Take in over 50 acres of ranunculus flowers at the Carlsbad Ranch in San Diego, California. For $18, you can visit the ranch from March to mid-May every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition to the designated walking trails and tractor wagon rides, there are also plenty of fun events to plan your trip around.
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Crested Butte, Colorado
Named the wildflower capital of Colorado, the valley of Crested Butte is covered in sunflowers, delphiniums, sneezeweeds, and many other beautiful blooms. With the mountains in the backdrop, it is really a sight to see. Visit during their two-week festival which is hosted every year to encourage appreciation and preservation.
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Ennis Bluebonnet Trails, Texas
The beautiful bluebonnet—a variation of lupine native to Texas—sprawls across the Lone Star State, but is especially concentrated in Ennis city. Take a trip to the Bluebonnet Trails for a two-day festival that typically takes place in mid-April when the bluebonnets peak, but even if you miss it, the trails are open for the entire month.
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Lompoc Flower Fields, California
From April to September, stock flowers, delphinium, bells of Ireland, and dozens of other varieties cover the Lompoc Valley. While there's no frolicking among the flowers allowed (these fields are privately owned), if you're open to a road trip, the colorful mosaic is absolutely stunning.
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Liberty Farm, New Jersey
There's no field quite as fun to visit as this one: Every year between the months of August to September, Liberty Farm opens its famed Sussex County Sunflower Maze to the public. You can visit the 1.5 million sunflowers, three miles of trails, and pick-your-own fields from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for $10.
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Purple Haze Lavender Farm, Washington
Growing more lavender than any region in the U.S., the Sequim-Dungeness Valley has clearly earned the nickname: the lavender capital of North America. The lavender farm Purple Haze invites tourists to pick their own bouquets, picnic on the lawns, and best of all, taste their lavender-infused ice cream. They are open every day from 10am to 6pm between May 25 and September 2. Visit in late July when the flowers are in full bloom and when Sequim hosts their annual Lavender Festival.
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Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Oregon
This Portland farm grows over 40 acres of tulips every year. They open their fields from March 23 to May 5 for their annual Tulip Fest. With the hot air balloons suspended in the sky and Mount Hound in the backdrop, the views are truly breathtaking. The $5 tickets are available for purchase online and at the front gate.
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Antelope Valley, California
Considering how barren the Mojave Desert is for most of the year, it might surprise you to know that the hills are covered in poppies from February to May. At the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, you can trek along the eight miles of trails, but be careful to leave no trace: picking or walking in the flowers can harm the delicate ecosystem.
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Carrizo Plain National Monument, California
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Skagit Valley, Washington
Farmers have been growing tulips in Skagit Valley since the 1940s, and they’ve been thriving ever since. To celebrate the blooms, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is hosted every year during the month of April. Go for the tours and stay for the exciting events and activities.