Spring brings mild temperatures and welcomed rain to Texas, the perfect climate for its beautiful native wildflowers. Bluebonnets are the state flower, of course, but other blooms like the Indian paintbrush, Mexican hat, white poppy, buttercups and more are all on full display this month. Now is the perfect time to take a drive along one of the country’s most colorful canvases—the Texas highway. Culture Trip has rounded up the best spots to snap a selfie.
Designated the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas and home of the Official Bluebonnet Trail, Ennis showcases over 40 miles of mapped driving bluebonnet trails—the oldest such trails in the state. This year, the city celebrates 66 years of wildflower trails with its annual Bluebonnet Festival from April 7–9, 2017. Just a short drive from Dallas, the Ennis bluebonnets typically peak around the third week of April, though this can vary from year to year based on weather conditions and terrain. Visitors can get up-to-date information from the Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is open seven days a week, except Easter Sunday (April 16, 2017).
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
This conservation site, founded in 1982, focuses on the native plants of North America to restore and create healthy, beautiful landscapes. The site moved to its current campus south of Austin in 1995, now boasting Texas’s largest collection of native plants in its expansive 42-acre gardens. Guests can take guided tours free with admission Thursday through Saturday at 11 a.m., starting in the courtyard, and April 7–8, 2017, the site hosts its annual Spring Native Plant Sale.
Turkey Bend Recreation Area
One of the best scenic drives in the state is a stretch of hill country highway between Lago Vista and Marble Falls. There are plenty of recreation areas along RM 1431, west of Cedar Park, but Turkey Bend Recreation Area is our pick for the best photo opportunity along the picturesque Lake Travis. Nearby, Muleshoe Bend in Marble Falls is partially under water this year, but the areas above water level are worth the drive.
Turkey Bend Recreation Area, 4000 Shaw Dr, Marble Falls, TX, USA, +1 512 476 3366
Birthplace of the 36th U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, this quiet little town also produces long stretches of wildflowers along Willow City Loop on Route 290 toward Fredericksburg. For a truly Texan snapshot, make a pit stop at the LBJ State Park, where you’ll find part of the Official Texas State Longhorn herd.
There are plenty of opportunities along the drive between Austin and Fredericksburg, but for a truly magnificent display, set your sights on Wildseed Farms. With over 200 acres of wildflower fields at its Hill Country headquarters outside of Fredericksburg, this family-owned farm has beautiful fields of blooms both to view and to purchase, plus there are activities for the whole family. After exploring the real working wildflower farm, be sure to stop by the Blossoms Boutique, Lantana Nursery, and the famous Brewbonnet Biergarten.
Wildseed Farms, 100 Legacy Dr, Fredericksburg, TX, USA, +1 830 990 1393
McKinney Falls State Park
Just 13 miles (21 kilometers) south of Austin, this 726-acre state park is a great place to stop and smell the wildflowers. The preserve also contains hiking and cycling trails along winding waterfalls, picnic areas, playgrounds, limestone swimming holes, and a campground if you need to fully immerse yourself in the scenery.
McKinney Falls State Park, 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX, USA, +1 512 243 1643
Another favorite route is Highway 281 through Burnet to Lampasas. You can enjoy the scenery from the comfort of your car if you are just passing through, or visit the town center April 7–9, 2017, for its 34th Annual Bluebonnet Festival. The event draws 30,000 people annually, with a parade, pageant, derby, live music, and more.