In April, we eagerly take off our winter clothes, welcome the warm weather and breathe in the sweet spring air. Dogwood festivals across the country are a way to bring family and friends together and celebrate the arrival of spring. From big events to small-town gatherings, you’ll find a Dogwood festival to suit your adventurous spirit.
1. Atlanta Dogwood Festival
Head to Piedmont Park for the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. One of the largest in the country, it is known for its art exhibitions and juried art shows. More than 200 artists participate in the Fine Artist Market showcasing traditional paintings and photographs, as well as products made from wood and leather, as well as ceramics, jewelry, glass and more. Another highlight of the event are the two performance stages that provide continuous live music. The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is scheduled for early April.
Where to stay: Gracious Southern hospitality, beautiful furnishings and a short walk to Piedmont Park make Stonehurst Place the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate after a day at the Dogwood Festival.
Where to eat: Get a true taste of Atlanta with a food tour. Enjoy a full meal including Low Country shrimp and grits with drink pairings on this Atlanta Food and Cocktail Tour.
Pro tip: Use public transport. MARTA is the most convenient way to get to and from the festival. Parking near Piedmont Park will be very difficult.
2. Dogwood Arts Festival
Join in the flower fun at the Knoxville Dogwood Arts Festival, which takes place in mid-April. Situated in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the festival is a celebration of fine arts, live music and fun for the young and young-at-heart.
Just in time for the spring flowers, Knoxville’s dogwood trails invite you to enjoy over 85 miles of scenic walks and bike paths.
Where to stay: The Tennessean Hotel offers luxurious Southern hospitality with the convenience of a downtown address close to fine dining, pubs and shopping. It is the perfect place to rest after a day of partying.
Where to eat: The Central Filling Station revolves around three dozen food trucks, ensuring the selection changes daily and offers an array of unique culinary creations for the foodie fanatic. Their online calendar lists the “trucks of the day” so you don’t miss out on your favorite food.
Pro tip: World’s Fair Park, home to the 1982 World’s Fair Exposition in downtown Knoxville, is anchored by the Sunsphere. The newly renovated Sunsphere is 26 stories high and the fourth floor observation deck showcases the city and surrounding Smoky Mountains with a 360-degree view.
3. Fayetteville Dogwood Festival
Fayetteville, North Carolina
The Fayetteville Dogwood Festival is scheduled for the end of April. It starts Friday night with a weekend-long concert series featuring local bands. Saturday and Sunday have noon with carnival rides, handicrafts, car fairs and lots of food. If you’re looking for an old-fashioned festival, this is it.
Where to stay: If you love nature but need a step up from camping, try glamping. Find great camping and glamping options with HipCamp. No need to pack your gear. Find one where you can bring your toothbrush and everything else is already waiting for you.
Where to eat: For traditional Southern dining, try Fayetteville’s Texas Roadhouse. You’ll leave with a full stomach and pocketbook.
Pro tip: The US Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum brings the story of these dedicated men and women alive. The main exhibit hall begins with the 1940 US Army Parachute Test Platoon and follows with a series of events significant to today’s operations. It is a testament to these highly trained soldiers.
4. Vinton Dogwood Festival
Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Vinton Dogwood Festival. The festival is over 65 years old and offers typical hometown events including the coronation of the Vinton Dogwood Festival Queen, the Dogwood Festival Parade, a midway carnival and a car show. The town of Vinton comes together in late April for this springtime celebration.
Where to stay: Vinton is located on the outskirts of Roanoke, where you can find many top brand hotels offering great stays at an exceptional value. The Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Roanoke is centrally located for easy access to all your Blue Ridge Mountain entertainment.
Where to eat: With a focus on premium Virginia produce, Alexander’s offers fine dining in an elegant, relaxed restaurant.
Pro tip: Read Mountain has 253 acres of preserved natural forest that includes several hiking trails. The two-mile trail to the summit, Buzzards Rock, offers spectacular views of the Roanoke Valley.
5. Farmville Dogwood Festival
farmville, north carolina
The Farmville Dogwood Festival is held at the end of April in the town’s common area, where you can enjoy the beautiful dogwoods and azaleas in bloom. The festival features artisans from eastern North Carolina, music at the town’s gazebo and a carnival.
Where to stay: Find a charming log home – a dream cabin in the North Carolina woods, just a few miles outside of town. Enjoy a relaxing and cozy stay while visiting the Farmville area.
Where to eat: The best place to eat in Farmville is Plank Road Steakhouse. This is a meat lover’s paradise, offering a 14-ounce grilled steak.
Pro tip: To sample a variety of local barbecue and craft beers, grab Pitt County Brew and the ‘Cue Trail. Pick up your “Passpork” at one of the trailheads and begin your southern pork and craft beer adventure.
6. Cornus Festival
The Dogwood Festival in Camdenton has been around for over 70 years. Come to this Lake of the Ozarks town for the pageant and parade, and stay for the fish fry! Planned for mid-April, you’ll love the pride of your hometown of Camdenton.
Where to stay: A unique stay on Vrbo overlooking the Big Niangua Arm on the Lake of the Ozarks while taking in the views from your two bedroom home in Sugarloaf Vineyards is the perfect Camdenton stay.
Where to eat: Old Kinderhook’s Trophy Room is the perfect place to enjoy dinner with friends. With everything from wings and burgers to perfectly prepared steaks and seafood, you’ll be delighted with the delicious options.
Pro tip: Exit at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, where you can hike and explore castle ruins, caves and sinkholes. It’s always a good day to get outside and get some fresh air.
7. Grant Dogwood Festival
In Pollock, Louisiana, the Grant Dogwood Festival is ready with a warm welcome and lots of Southern fun. Hosting a parade, vendors, classic car show and a 5K fun run, there’s plenty of small town fun to experience.
Where to stay: Less than 20 miles up the road from Pollock is The Hotel Bentley, a grand hotel from the early 1900s in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Pro tip: There are plenty of state parks in the area to throw a bobber in the water and try to land a big one.
Whether you’re looking for a big city-sponsored festival or a small get-together in your hometown, one thing’s for sure: flowering dogwood trees mean it’s time to celebrate spring and all the promises it brings.
You can also find fantastic dogwoods (and azaleas) in East Texas; our own Janie Pace has more.
Want to see cherry blossoms too? Read about the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC