Every spring the season of tulip-picking in Northern Virginia seems to go by so quickly that most people don’t even realize they can even go tulip-picking until they see pictures of it popping up online, at which point it’s usually too late to secure any U-pick tickets.
Indeed, tulip season is short but splendid– so if you want to make the most of it, you’ve got to plan your U-pick experience ahead of time (usually starting in mid-March).
Burnside Farms in Nokesville, VA is a gorgeous place to get out with friends or family for a day of springtime frolicking in the flowers. It’s also our favorite place to go tulip picking in the entire state of Virginia (and believe me, we are experts).
Read this post in full to get all the details before planning your trip!
If you’re looking for the classic tulip-picking experience in Northern Virginia, Burnside Farms is your best bet.
This super-photogenic springtime wonderland opens in late April every year, and there’s usually a mad dash for weekend tickets to their “Festival of Spring” U-pick tulip fields. Plan to buy them early or go during the week.
Keep in mind: the only way to access the U-pick tulip fields at Burnside Farms is by purchasing a pre-sale ticket. (<– Click that link for more details.) They do not allow walk-ups; you have to book in advance.
Entry to the tulip fields includes unlimited access to the grounds and (as of this writing) five flowers per person.
Guests can pick from over 200 varieties of tulips and 30+ varieties of daffodils. (Daffodils bloom earlier in the season, only.)
Thus, whether it’s purple feathered parrot tulips you’re after or classic pink Easter-like tulips, Burnside Farms has a color and variegation to fit any flower lover’s personal taste. The tulips here are magical!
They also offer 6 weeks of sunflower picking in the Summer, as well. (<—This is something of a new trend among flower-lovers, BTW.)
On-site, there’s also a moonbounce as well as select farmstand treats like flavored honey sticks and popsicles available for purchase. They also sell vessels, beautiful stained glass bottles, and baskets for bringing home your flowers in style.
Plus, each row of tulips features a flag from a different province of the Netherlands. This makes for a really intriguing sight line up the hill when you first enter the field. (And it’s a fun educational reminder that the Netherlands supplies 77% of the world’s tulip bulbs!)
After wandering around and picking tulips like a scene from the Sound of Music, visitors wrap their tulips in rustic brown bouquet paper, which makes for a really photogenic bundle. See below.
You also have the option to purchase any bulbs that you pull up with your tulips for $1 each. (You can plant them in the ground at home! Plant them about 4 inches deep and 1 inch apart, then water them after planting. That’s it! With any luck, you should have beautiful tulips growing in this spot next spring.)
Otherwise, the farm collects the bulbs when you check out and will use them to re-plant next year’s tulip crop. (Tulips are perennial, but they tend to get smaller each year in the clay-filled Virginia soil. Thus, the farm uses the bulbs to re-plant them each year.)
And fortunately, Burnside Farms doesn’t spray their tulips, so those with small children can feel confident letting them touch the flowers or pick them with adult supervision. (Just be respectful of the land and only pick what you are going to buy.)
For best results, grab the stem firmly and as close to the ground as possible. Then, pull it straight up to reveal a bulb that looks similar to a clove of garlic. Ideally, try to pick the tulip with the bulb (^ above shown) still attached.
Ultimately, if you decide to keep the bulb to grow your own tulips, they will bloom annually– a cheery little reminder of spring for years to come!
Picnics are allowed and encouraged (BYO) and there are portable restrooms on-site.
Burnside Farms supplies baskets for picking, but you are also welcome to bring your own vessel.
Dogs are not allowed (tulips are toxic to dogs!), but baby strollers are welcome. That being said, this is a perfect place for a festive spring family photo-op! And, as mentioned above, Burnside Farms does not spray their tulips, so they are safe for little hands to touch.
And no, there is no time limit. If you have a ticket, you can stay in the fields as long as you like! As the website aptly notes, “It’s almost like Holland in Virginia”! Indeed, it’s a Festival of Spring worth celebrating– and you’ll want to linger as long as you can. 🙂
Before you leave Nokesville, consider visiting The Little Goat Farm at The Lake for Goat Yoga or Baby Goat Snuggles. (Yes, it’s adorable.) This is a great activity for kids and animal-loving adults, alike. If you can tack it on to your tulip adventure, you can make a whole day of it!