Spring is one of the best times of the year for travel in Texas. With the temperatures still pleasing for the most part, the colors vibrantly sharing all of the blooms around and school crowds not yet fully released for summer vacation you have an amazing opportunity to get out and enjoy the beauty that the state has to offer.
One of the most popular activities during this time of year is touring the wildflowers throughout the state. And honestly who could blame people for wanting to drive out and get those classic family portraits in fields of vivid colors.
For those traveling from other states who are unfamiliar, the Texas State flower is the Bluebonnet. From late March to Mid May you can find the blooms of the signature flower thriving across the state scattered from highway roadsides to state and national parks. The sight is spectacular!!
But Bluebonnets are not the only flowers which thrive in the rich soils of the Lone Star State. The Indian Blanket, Pinkladies, Indian Paintbrushes, Prairie Verbena, Drummond Phlox, Antelope Horns, Blackfoot Daisies, Black Eyed Susan and Fleabane also can be found scattering bold colors which paint the plains and hill country like a piece of art.
But where are the best locations for seeing these amazing fields of flowers and what should you know before you visit?
Big Bend National Park
A visit to this park has you in for a treat! This season the Bluebonnets reached nearly 4 feet high throughout sections of the park. Unlike the species you find throughout much of the state, this species thrives in the mixed vegetation and have developed a more hearty stem and root structure. Because of this they are able to withstand much different elements and often you can find them boldly blooming within the same fields as cactus flowers.
McKinney Falls State Park
Once you drive into the park and visit the Visitor’s Center quickly you are informed about the wildflower field. In fact, this park is known for their amazing water features but also their Bluebonnets which have become one of the most coveted spaces to take family photos outside of Austin. Located only 15 minutes from downtown you can easily drive to the park and enjoy the day roaming the many wildflower lined trails, exploring the upper and lower falls of the park and making the final stop in the fields of flowers which are simply beautiful!
April is the prime month to make a stop in Ennis where you can visit the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails. Noted as the oldest of the Bluebonnet trails in Texas, this location has over 40 miles of driving trails and road which wind through not only fields of bluebonnets but also other amazingly bold colors, scents and textures. This site is recommended for a trip in the DFW area which will leave you feeling like you have escaped the massive highways and congestion and gotten back to the basics.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Another stop in the Austin area, the center features over 650 native plants to the area. In early to mid spring the scent of love and life thrives here throughout curated gardens and trails. The Center is a a part of the legacy of former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, who believed in conservation and preservation of the lands plants and landscapes. It is a beautiful get away but also an educational stop for solos or the entire family.
Earlier in April the community shares their love for the Bluebonnet with the world through their Annual Bluebonnet Festival. The community itself is famed for its festival thanks to the framing of the community by fields and hills of bluebonnets thriving in every direction.
So now that you have all the best places to visit what do you need to know before visiting?
First and foremost remember when visiting the wildflowers that yo want to be aware of your surroundings. Often times we get consumed with enjoying the beauty and forget that we might be treading into uneven landscape, holes or even critters. When getting out and getting ready to snag those epic wildflower photos or family photos do a little investigating before you start wading through the fields of flowers.
I recommend wearing close toe shoes when arriving and exploring, this will prevent you from having any mishaps exploring. Taking photos and want sandals? That’s ok you can always put those on after securing your area.
Despite popular belief it is NOT illegal to pick bluebonnets. But before you start taking a bouquet home remember that wildflowers like so many other plants around us are a part of the ecosystem which provides homes to even the tiniest of critters, food for the surrounds and they through their lifespan create seeding which allows the plant to return the following year. When we pick them we destroy the ecosystem which thrives from them, so try to remember that when visiting and take memories and photos not things with you when you leave.
Lastly, remember to leave no trace. The beauty of the spaces around us are more so when you don’t have to see plastic bottles, disposed of cigarettes or wrappers lurking amongst them. If you bring something with you take it when you leave. And if you really want some good karma, pick up a few items you find that others have left behind and dispose of them to make a difference in the world around you!