Every State's Best Free or Cheap Attraction to Visit This Spring

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival/Facebook

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival/Facebook

Daffodils and Azaleas and Tulips, Oh My

If you're like us, the winter doldrums have got their chilly claws in you, resulting in daily dates with your SAD lamp, long internet browsing sessions looking at warmer-weather destinations, and adopting an "I'll-get-through-this" mantra. But there is hope on the horizon — sunnier, less chilly days aren't too far off, as evidenced by the massive number of spring-focused events currently being planned in each state. From festivals celebrating dogwoods and daffodils to happenings centered around maple syrup, kites, hot-air balloons and beyond, here are the events in all 50 states where you can say "good riddance" to winter for cheap.

Related: 16 Out-of-the-Ordinary Family Vacations for Spring

Homestead Hollow Spring Festival
Homestead Hollow/Facebook

Alabama: Homestead Hollow Spring Festival

Homestead Hollow in Springville hosts three festivals each year — the first of which takes place May 8-10 this year — and all feature arts and crafts, antique and vintage goods, and pioneer-era demonstrations like wood carving, blacksmithing, soap making, wood stove cooking, quilting, beekeeping, and whiskey making. There will be live local entertainment all day, as well as a food court with barbecue, funnel cakes, fried pies, ice cream, beans, greens, footlong corn dogs, and more. Children's activities include wagon rides, bungee activities, and face painting.

Skagway Spring Festival
Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau/Facebook

Alaska: Skagway Spring Festival

Put Skagway on your must-visit list April 17-19 this year. This southeast Alaskan town near the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park hosts what it calls "your cabin fever reliever" each year with a spring event that includes a folk music festival, art show, arts and crafts market, yoga classes, and more.

Tucson Folk Festival
Tucson Folk Festival/Facebook

Arizona: Tucson Folk Festival

This more than 35-year-old event in Jacome Plaza April 3-5 bills itself as one of the oldest free folk festivals in the country, featuring both folk and Americana music. The Grammy-nominated band Calexico will be the event's headliner this year.

Fayetteville Springfest
Fayetteville Springfest/Facebook

Arkansas: Fayetteville Springfest

Expect local live music, arts and craft vendors, kids' activities, an Easter Egg Hunt, and more at the Fayetteville Springfest, which began in the 1980s. The annual bed races up Dickson Street will also return this year on April 11, giving this Arkansas festival a bit of zaniness that others don't have.

San Diego EarthFair
San Diego EarthWorks/Facebook

California: San Diego EarthFair

This year San Diego celebrates its 30th annual EarthFair, which attracts about 50,000 fairgoers interested in "ways to live a more sustainable life and support a clean, healthy, prosperous environment." Expect over 300 exhibitors in 11 exhibit areas on April 19, including three international food courts, two beer gardens, a children's activity area, four entertainment stages, the Earth Day Parade, and more.

Related: 31 Products to Help You Use Less Plastic

Boulder Creek Festival
Boulder Creek Festival/Facebook

Colorado: Boulder Creek Festival

Held creekside in this foothills town's Central Park, the Boulder Creek Festival features food and drink, live music, kids' and wellness activities, lots of arts and crafts booths, and more May 23-25 in Central Park. If the festival crowds overwhelm you, Pearl Street Mall is just a hop and a skip away (translation: walking distance) and offers lots more to do.

Meriden Daffodil Festival
Meriden Daffodil Festival/Facebook

Connecticut: Meriden Daffodil Festival

There may be no surer sign of spring than daffodils popping up out of the ground, and this 41-year-old event April 25-26 in Hubbard Park seeks to honor that with fair-like culinary offerings, a craft market, parade, live music, carnival rides, and more. Cap the weekend off with fireworks on Saturday night, usually starting at around 8 p.m.

Dover Days Festival
Delaware's Quaint Villages/Facebook

Delaware: Dover Days Festival

There are longtime festivals, and then there are events like Dover Days, which is celebrating its 87th anniversary this year on May 2. Promoted as "one of Delaware's largest and longest-running free events," Dover Days celebrates the state's history and culture with traditional Maypole dancing, a colonial artisans' village, and historic re-enactments of the Revolutionary, World and Civil wars. But it also has modern festival features like tethered hot air balloon rides, a moon bounce village, more than 100 craft and food vendors, and live music.

Related: The 40 Best Places in America to Travel Back in Time

Island Fest
Island Fest in Islamorada/Facebook

Florida: Island Fest

Spring comes earlier in the Florida Key village of Islamorada than in most of the country on May 28-29, and this nearly 30-year-old festival celebrates that arrival with a juried art show, live music, plenty of food, classic cars, and much more. A can't miss? The "Who Floats Your Boat?" homemade boat race, which takes place on Saturday.

Atlanta Dogwood Festival
Atlanta Dogwood Festival/Facebook

Georgia: Atlanta Dogwood Festival

In terms of heralding spring, right up there with bulbs pushing up flowers is the blossoming of trees. This Atlanta festival, in its 84th year, is named for one of the loveliest. The event April 17-19 includes an artists' market and exhibition, disc dogs, midway rides, live entertainment, a kids' village, and more.

Kapu'uola Hula Festival
Kapu'uola Hula Festival/Facebook

Hawaii: Kapu'uola Hula Festival

This Aloha State festival on April 4 features the usual suspects — live music, local crafters, food booths, etc. — but will also include presentations from several of Oahu's local hula schools, as well as a traditional dance on cultural and historic site Pu'uokapolei's pā hula, or hula mound. Getting to Pu'uokapolei can be tricky, so make sure to reference the event's Facebook page details.

Pocatello Spring Fun Fair
Pocatello Spring Fair/Facebook

Idaho: Pocatello Spring Fun Fair

A free community event on May 23 organized by a service dog organization, the Pocatello Spring Fun Fair will feature live entertainment (in the form of a live DJ and some karaoke), food, vendors, and more. For kids, there will be balloon twisters, face painting, and inflatables. Other events include a Motor Show featuring pre-1990 cars, trucks, and tractors, a watermelon-eating contest, petting zoo, and lots more.

Related: 21 Great Car Museums and Car Shows Worth The Drive

Lilac Time
Illinois Office of Tourism

Illinois: Lilac Time

Lilacia Park, where this event takes place May 1-17, features 700 lilacs and 25,000 tulips, so if you need a spring pick-me-up, this will almost certainly be the place. Expect everything from tastings and tours to concerts and even a coronation (a "Lilac Queen" will be anointed). Festival-goers will also be able to purchase lilacs.

Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival
Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival/Facebook

Indiana: Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival

Sure, blooms are a sure sign of spring, but in some parts of the country, the season of renewal is just as much about maple syrup. Established in 1969, the Wakarusa Maple Syrup Festival features carnival rides, contests, tours and demonstrations, live entertainment (including a pogo stunt show!), and two all-you-can-eat events April 24-26. One, of course, features the festival's guest of honor: maple syrup, served with pancakes and sausage, for $9 for adults and $5 for children.

Amana Colonies

Iowa: Maifest

Kick off the celebration of Maifest (May 2-3) in the Amana Colonies with a Saturday morning parade, and then fill the rest of your day with German food and music, international food trucks, live music and dancing in the town's Festhalle Barn, and more. Sunday offers a wine, beer, and food walk.

Country & Food Trucks
Greater Topeka Partnership

Kansas: Country & Food Trucks

Each year, Topeka hosts three of these music and food truck festivals, each with a different musical genre, and spring equals country. In addition to live music on May 9, more than 20 food trucks will be present, and festival-goers are encouraged to bring families and leashed dogs. Trucks begin serving at 3:30 p.m., and music starts at 4. Entry is free, but be sure to bring money for food and beer, as well as chairs to hang out in. 

BB&T Great BalloonFest
Kentucky Derby Festival/Facebook

Kentucky: BB&T Great BalloonFest

Part of the much more extensive Kentucky Derby weekend festivities, the BB&T Great BalloonFest April 23-25 actually features four events: a Thursday night balloon "glimmer," a Friday morning race, Friday evening "glow," and then wraps things up with another balloon race on Saturday morning. When not checking out balloons, head over to the Kroger-sponsored Fest-a-Ville at Waterfront Park, which will offer all the usual festival features.

Kite Fest Louisiane
West Baton Rouge Convention & Visitors Bureau

Louisiana: Kite Fest Louisiane

This award-winning festival brings together professional kite flyers, hobbyists, and just those whose faces light up at the sight of a kite to the West Baton Rouge Parish town of Port Allen April 3-5. Bring the kids if you have them because this festival includes kites of all sizes and shapes, inflatables, face painting, a kite-making workshop, and more. There will also be fireworks on Saturday at dusk.

Spring Fest Weekend
Sunday River/Facebook

Maine: Spring Fest Weekend

Calling itself "one of the biggest spring parties in Northeast snow country," this celebration of winter ending in Newry April 3-5 has plenty to celebrate. Attractions include an all-afternoon outdoor concert, barbecue and other food stations, and the 7th Annual Slip 'n' Flip, which features teams tubing down slopes and flipping cups in frenetic relay fashion.

Ocean City, Maryland

Maryland: Springfest

Party on Ocean City's famed boardwalk May 7-10 to welcome spring. For four days, the 30-year-old free event features music, arts & crafts, food, and more under four massive big top tents. There are musical headliners that require tickets — this year, music lovers who want to spend the money can see Jimmie Allen, Blues Travelers, and some other acts that have yet to be announced.

Daffodil Festival
Daffodil Festival

Massachusetts: Daffodil Festival

Another spring festival paying homage to one of the season's most prolific blooms, this one April 24-26 takes place on The Bay State's picturesque island of Nantucket. There are tons of events all weekend, including art shows, tours, an antique car parade with tailgate picnic to follow, exhibitions, contests, lectures, and, of course, the annual Nantucket Daffodil Flower Show.

Tulip Time Festival
Tulip Time Festival/Facebook

Michigan: Tulip Time Festival

Yes, the centerpiece of this festival is tulips — millions of them — meant to honor the town of Holland's Dutch heritage May 2-10. But there's plenty more to do than marvel at the blooms. There will be national and local entertainment, including an Elton John tribute act, Dutch dancers, artisan markets, fireworks, and, of course, all the scenery and activities just off the shores of Lake Michigan.

Street Faire at the Lakes
Street Faire at the Lakes/Facebook
Southaven Springfest 2020
Memphis Barbecue Network/Facebook

Mississippi: Southaven Springfest 2020

Anyone near the town of Southaven should brace themselves for two full days of live music culminating in a headlining act, a carnival, and lots and lots of food, including that coming out of the standard and specialty barbecue championship contests. Mouth-watering categories include pulled pork, ribs, beef, poultry, seafood, wings, beans, sauce, chili, and dessert. So, yeah … arrive hungry April 24-25.

Dogwood-Azalea Festival
Azalea-Dogwood Festival/Facebook

Missouri: Dogwood-Azalea Festival

Though details for this longtime, 52-year-old annual event April 16-19 in Charleston have yet to be announced for 2020, past years have included tours of the town's gorgeous, six-mile Dogwood-Azalea Trail as well as home tours, a plant sale, arts and crafts bazaar, a parade, dog show, an old-fashioned ice cream social, carriage rides, and more.

Bigfork Whitewater Festival
Bigfork Whitewater Festival/Facebook

Montana: Bigfork Whitewater Festival

Whitewater is another sure sign of spring, and Montana folks celebrate it in Bigfork May 22-24 at this 44-year-old festival, which includes kayak, paddleboard and whitewater raft races, as well as a paddle, bike, and run triathlon. Spectators are considered a huge part of the festival and, between races, you can walk downtown Bigfork's Wild Mile to take in restaurants, shops, galleries, and more.

Sandhill Crane Migration
Kearney, Nebraska Visitors Bureau/Facebook

Nebraska: Sandhill Crane Migration

Birders know … Kearney, Nebraska is the best place to be between late February and early April if you're a sandhill crane enthusiast. This year, Audubon is hosting a paid festival on March 20-21, but you don't have to register for that to enjoy the free annual spectacle of more than 600,000 cranes descending upon the Platte River Valley on their northward journey.

Related: Birdwatchers Flock to These 15 Prime Spots Across America

Spring Wings Bird Festival
Spring Wings Bird Festival/Facebook

Nevada: Spring Wings Bird Festival

Another spring event for birders, this festival in Fallon is a "celebration of songbirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl returning to the Lahontan Valley from all over the western world." Expect white-faced ibis, long-billed dowitchers, American white pelicans, black-necked stilts, American avocets, and more waterfowl and waterbirds May 8-10. Not all events are free, but festival-goers are welcome to browse and take part in those activities that are at their leisure.

Celebration of Lupine
Celebration of Lupine/Facebook

New Hampshire: Annual Celebration of Lupines

Come celebrate a spring bloom in early June that doesn't get a lot of love (compared to tulips, daffodils, lilacs, etc.): the lupine. It blossoms for about a month in this part of New Hampshire, and residents celebrate that explosion of color with local artisans and crafters, live music and other entertainment, informative talks, and more in Sugar Hill. A date for this year's celebration has yet to be announced, but keep an eye on the Facebook page for specifics.

Wildwoods International Kite Festival

New Jersey: Wildwoods International Kite Festival

Large inflatable kites, sport kites, collectible kites, nighttime kite flying — this Wildwood festival, in its 35th year, honors all things associated with kites May 20-25. It's a colorful, beach-side and indoor explosion of color, where festival-goers can also buy kites and bid on unique kites at the auction. Don't miss the World Indoor Kite Competition, where last year kite flyers showed "their impressive ability to fly a kite without wind" … with all performances "choreographed to music."

Truth or Consequences Fiesta
Truth or Consequences FIESTA/Facebook

New Mexico: Truth or Consequences Fiesta

Barbecue, karaoke, arts and crafts, vendors, and lots and lots of live music are what you can expect at this three-day event May 1-3. Revelers can take advantage of free admission to the Geronimo Springs Museum during the festival, and there will be a downtown parade as well on Saturday morning. Need a break from the festivities? Visit the local hot springs for a relaxing soak.

Rochester Lilac Festival
Rochester Lilac Festival/Facebook

New York: Rochester Lilac Festival

In its impressive 122nd year, this event is "non-stop festivities" for a full 10 days May 8-17. "Peek around every corner and you'll discover magnificent gardens, musical gems, exciting exhibits, and exhilarating special events." There will be a parade, art in the park, wine tastings, a craft beer expo, and much more.

North Carolina Azalea Festival at Wilmington, Inc.
North Carolina Azalea Festival at Wilmington, Inc./Facebook

North Carolina: Azalea Festival

Founded in 1948, this festival offers "a full week of natural beauty, big-name entertainment, festive galas, fun family events, and Southern hospitality" April 1-5 in Wilmington. Not everything is free, but there's plenty of no-cost fun, including a chalk art festival, free Sunday waterfront concert, and fireworks to keep everyone entertained.

Skyfest over Ft. Stevenson
Skyfest over Ft. Stevenson/Facebook

North Dakota: Sky Fest 2020

Head over to Fort Stevenson State Park on Memorial Day for North Dakota's annual kite festival. You'll see professional kite flyers launching some of the largest kites in existence as well as stunt kites, plus you can build and fly your own kite. Entry to the festival is free, but the state park does charge a $7 entrance fee per vehicle.

Geauga County Maple Festival
Geauga County Maple Festival/Facebook

Ohio: Geauga County ​Maple Festival

Ohio gets in on the maple celebration with this 91st annual festival in Chardon at the end of April. There will be plenty of syrup-focused activities, including a sap run, baking contest, and general maple contest. Expect a parade and golfing, too.

Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest
Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest/Facebook

Oklahoma: Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest

Hosted in scenic Beavers Bend State Park, this festival packs a lot of family-friendly fun into two days. The Festival of the Forest April 24-25 celebrates the great outdoors in Broken Bow with events like canoe races and an archery contest, but there's plenty more to entertain festival-goers, including a talent show, stickball games, pageant, bingo, horseshoes, and live entertainment in the amphitheater.

Portland Rose Festival
Portland Rose Festival/Facebook

Oregon: Portland Rose Festival

This Beaver State Festival goes on for weeks starting April 18 with different events, many of them free, but if you're willing to pay an admission price of $8, head to Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park for the Rose Festival CityFair. It will take place over three weekends in May and June, with different festivities and a new theme each weekend.

Endless Mountain Maple Festival
Endless Mountain Maple Festival/Facebook

Pennsylvania: Endless Mountain Maple Festival

Details for the 2020 festival in Troy April 25-26 haven't been released yet, but 2019 saw fun activities like a rodeo, monster truck show, wings cook-off, pancake-eating contest, live music, a dairy goat show, farm museum, and plenty more. The festival entrance fee is $5.


Rhode Island: Annual Daffodil Display/Gateway to Spring

Blithewold, an old country estate on Narragansett Bay now open to the public, opens its grounds each spring so visitors can enjoy the 50,000 daffodil varieties on its 33 acres. Though daffodils are the stars of April, Blithewold invites nature lovers to come back in May, when dozens more flowers, shrubs, and trees morph into a "springtime parade of ephemeral blooms, bulbs, and blossoms."

Iron City Festival
Iron City Festival

South Carolina: Iron City Festival

Taking place since 2006, the Iron City Festival in Blacksburg welcomes thousands each year for a family-friendly festival that includes a street fair, live entertainment, and lots of kids' activities, including inflatables, a kids' zone, "trackless" train ride, and more. There is plenty of food and live entertainment to be had this year April 17-18, too.

Crazy Horse Volksmarch
Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association

South Dakota: Crazy Horse Volksmarch

If the arrival of spring translates into long walks or hikes for you, join the biannual Crazy Horse Volksmarch June 6-7 this year for a "6.2-mile woodlands ramble to the world's largest mountain carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota." It claims to be the most popular organized hike in the U.S., with record attendance in previous years of 15,000. Not everyone starts at once, however — hikers can begin the trek anytime between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Townsend Spring Festival
Blount Chamber of Commerce/Facebook

Tennessee: Townsend Spring Festival

Enjoy two days of bluegrass music in the Smoky Mountains at this festival May 1-2 that features arts and crafts, food, and plenty more "spring festivities." There will be exhibits and live demonstrations, too, including cornmeal-making, apple and peach butter making, rug hooking, wood carving, and more.

Bluebonnet Festival
Burnet Chamber of Commerce/Facebook

Texas: Bluebonnet Festival

Other states have their daffodils, tulips, azaleas, and maple syrup — Texas is famous for its bluebonnets, the blooming of which are feted each spring, for 37 years running, at this annual festival. The event April 10-12 in Burnet draws 30,000 people who come for the blooms, sure, but also the live music, beer garden, grand parade, demolition derby, and more.

Moab Arts Festival
Blue Rain Studio - art by Yrma/Facebook

Utah: Moab Arts Festival

Head to the slick rock of Utah's desert for this event happening May 25-26 in Moab's Swanny City Park. It will feature live music and over a hundred regional artists selling and exhibiting everything from fine art and jewelry to furniture and more. Past activities for kids have included pony rides, puppet-making, and tie-dying. Though 2020 dates have yet to be announced, the festival has historically taken place over Memorial Day Weekend.

Maple Festival
Vermont Maple Festival/Facebook

Vermont: Maple Festival

A carnival, parade, maple exhibits, food demonstrations, an antique show, live entertainment, tons of food, a dog agility show, and more will fill the three days of this 54th annual festival April 24-26 in Albans that celebrates the state's "first agricultural crop of the year."

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival/Facebook

Virginia: Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

What began in the spring of 1924 continues today with the 93rd occurrence of this festival April 24-May 3, 10 days featuring more than 40 events (some free; some not), including a parade, 10K race, fireworks, talent show, arts, crafts, car show, wine festival, carnival, live entertainment, and more. The event, based in Northern Shenandoah Valley, draws crowds of up to 250,000 each year.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival/Facebook

Washington: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

This event April 1-30 is really more of a driving tour, according to its organizers — the "fields of tulips are scattered throughout the Skagit Valley as are the many events and activities that comprise the festival." In addition to millions of blooms in a rainbow of colors, expect events throughout the month like art shows, a chili and chowder cook-off, salmon barbecue, parades, wine tasting, farm tours, and much, much more. The full schedule can be found here.

Blue Ridge Arts & Crafts Festival
Blue Ridge Arts & Crafts Festival/Facebook

West Virginia: Blue Ridge Arts & Crafts Festival

The fourth annual Blue Ridge Arts & Crafts Festival will be held April 25 in Sam Michael's Park and feature the work of more than 50 Blue Ridge artists and artisans, as well as live music, food and drinks, free kids' activities, historic property tours, art demos, and more.

SpringFest Chippewa Falls
SpringFest Chippewa Falls/Facebook

Wisconsin: SpringFest Chippewa Falls

While the musical acts will cost your extra, gate admission to SpringFest Chippewa Falls is free. Expect more than 40 exhibitor booths, a wide variety of food vendors, balloon art, face painting, a "Hillbilly Silly Science Show," choir and band performances, inflatables, and more May 1-2.

Elk Fest Jackson Hole/Facebook

Wyoming: Elkfest

Flowers, maple syrup, kites … all sure signs of spring, but Wyoming has something a little different. Antlers. Since the 1950s, after wintering elk have shed their antlers, the Jackson Hole Boy Scouts and others collect them, then auction them off to be made into furniture, art, and jewelry. The festival May 16-17 in Jackson Hole also includes a chili cookoff and live music, and serves as the kickoff for the two-week-long Mountain Man Rendezvous.