Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- 1. Bluebonnets Near Houston Texas
- 3. Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
- 4. Brenham/Washington County
- 5. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- 6. New Braunfels
- 7. Bluebonnets Near Dallas/Fort Worth
- 8. Ennis
- 9. Kingsland
- 11. Unexpected Places to Find Texas Bluebonnets
7 Tips for Finding Texas Bluebonnet Fields and Patches+−
- Why are Bluebonnets such a Texan Thing?
Texas bluebonnet season typically lasts about 4 weeks, from late March to late April, peaking in mid-April in east and central Texas. But 2023’s warmer, wetter winter means earlier blooms, so plan your getaway now for early April!
Whether you live near Houston, Dallas, Austin, or San Antonio, or are planning a road trip to see the fields of bluebonnets lining the Lone Star State’s scenic drives, we’ve selected the Top 11 best spots guaranteed to give you lots of photo ops as you experience the wonder of Texas wildflowers.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Make a weekend out of your bluebonnet trip. Here are our favorite Texas resorts that you should check out!
1. Bluebonnets Near Houston Texas
If you are driving from San Antonio to Houston on I-10 you will see lots of patches of bluebonnets along the highway. Chances are good you’ll find thick patches just outside of Katy, a Houston suburb. Rob Fleming Park in The Woodlands tends to have Instagram-worthy spots, too.
Hermann Park, which is near the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science, will often have great patches of bluebonnets. Hermann Park also offers free parking, a rarity in a big city. The park is large and the bluebonnets occur most predictably in the Bayou Parkland area between Holcombe Boulevard and Almeda Road.
If you pop 6532 Almeda Road into your GPS, it will bring you to the Pavilion. There is parking around the corner off of MacGregor at the Park Maintenance Building.
SheBuysTravel Tip: If you’re stopping alongside the highway to get bluebonnet photos, beware of traffic.
2. Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail
Take a day (or two) and drive through the Texas Hill Country on the Bluebonnet Trail, a self-guided driving tour of these spots:
Burnet – The Bluebonnet Capital
The best place to start the Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail is in Burnet (pronounced burn-it, durn it!), also known as the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas.
Burnet, Texas, is located 60 miles northwest of Austin and directly west of Georgetown on Highway 29. Residents and visitors celebrate the blooming wildflowers at the annual Bluebonnet Festival, set for April 7-9 this year.
From Burnet, head south on Highway 281 to Marble Falls. As you approach Marble Falls, look for the Bluebonnet House at 4554 N. US Highway 281. The mid-19th century abandoned home sits in a field of wildflowers and is a popular place to take pictures.
While in Marble Falls, make sure to stop by the Blue Bonnet Cafe to sample the restaurant’s legendary pie.
Stop by the Visitor’s Center at 801 Highway 281 and pick up a free map of the Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail.
Johnson City and Fredericksburg
From Marble Falls, head south on Highway 281 to Johnson City and then west on Highway 290 toward Fredericksburg.
Stop at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site to learn more about where the 37th president was born, lived, died and was buried.
In Fredericksburg, shop the stores on Main Street and eat at my favorite German restaurant, the Altdorf Biergarten, at 301 West Main. You can also find bluebonnets blooming in the spring at Wildseed Farms.
SheBuysTravel Tip: If you’ve got extra time, there are a ton of fun things to do in Fredericksburg and Johnson City with your kids.
Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail: Highway 16 from Fredericksburg to Llano
When you leave Fredericksburg, head north on Highway 16 to Llano. After about 13 miles, go east on Ranch Road 1323 to Willow City.
The Willow City Loop heads north and eventually loops back around to Highway 16, where you can continue your trip toward Llano. The loop is a scenic 13-mile drive filled with wildflowers. However, this land is private, so stopping to take pictures is discouraged. If the weather is good, consider a side trip to climb Enchanted Rock.
The last leg of the Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail takes you back west from Llano to Burnet on Highway 29 and past Lake Buchanan.
3. Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
Known as one of the most incredible bluebonnet spots in the state this recreation area along the Colorado River is just under an hour from Austin in Spicewood, Texas.
Fields of bluebonnets bloom here annually, turning the countryside into a sea of blue flowers.
This area is very popular and can get busy. It’s located on a finger of land that pokes into the river. That means entry and exit is limited and traffic tends to back up. Visiting on a weekday is ideal.
Also keep in mind that most of Texas is on Spring Break from March 13th-March 17th, so that week is bound to be busy.
There are campsites here but they go fast! Book early.
4. Brenham/Washington County
Washington County is located on Highway 290 between Austin and Houston. It is the home of Brenham and the Bluebell Creamery Tour.
Each spring the Brenham Chamber of Commerce conducts a Wildflower Watch and posts bluebonnet sightings on its blog. Washington County is also close to Round Top, an antique hunter’s mecca. There, you can stay overnight at the nation’s only indoor campground, the Lone Star Glamp Inn.
Brenham is on the map for ice cream. Blue Bell Ice Cream is made here and if you haven’t tried that, you’re missing out. This small town is the halfway point between Austin and Houston, making it an easy Texas day trip for bluebonnet pictures.
Expect to see fields of flowers along Highway 290 East and FM 390.
Read More: 15+ fun things to do in Brenham with kids.
5. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson and actress Helen Hayes established the National Wildflower Center in 1982. In 1997, the center was renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and moved to 4801 La Crosse Ave. in South Austin.
At the center, you can learn about Texas wildflowers, get ideas for your home garden and walk the trails through wildflowers including bluebonnets.
While technically in South Austin, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center sits right on the edge of Driftwood, which is a beautiful rural area to explore. If you have lunch at Salt Lick BBQ or drive to Charro Ranch Park, I bet you’ll find some patches no one knows about.
Read More: Free (and FUN!) Things to Do in Texas
6. New Braunfels
Off of I-35 heading into this charming German town, take the Rueckle Road exit toward Highway 46. This is a easy drive from San Antonio. The areas around Landa Park and Cypress Bend Park usually have lots of blooms.
7. Bluebonnets Near Dallas/Fort Worth
McKinnish Park and Sports Complex and the Mary Heads Carter Park both typically have nice patches of bluebonnets. These are both in/near pretty populated areas so once they start sprouting, people will find them and they won’t be as pretty.
Driving to nearby Flower Mound or to Fort Worth (Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge usually has nice blooms, as does the Botanical Research Institute of Texas) will probably help you snag some better pictures.
If you want a day trip from Dallas, driving out to Decatur will take you along some nice country roads and you might find a more unspoiled patch. Decatur is about 60 miles northwest from Fort Worth on I-35 W.
Ennis is known as the “Official Bluebonnet City in Texas.” Located south of Dallas, the Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail is said to be the oldest bluebonnet trail in Texas.
Look for the latest new on the Ennis Bluebonnet trails website but tentative dates for 2023 are April 1-30 with the Bluebonnet Festival and live music happening April 14-16, 2023. The garden club has more than 40 miles of mapped driving trails available!
Kingsland sits on the banks of the Colorado River and Lake LBJ. The town’s official slogan is: “Where the rivers flow and bluebonnets grow.” Head to this tiny town’s abandoned railroad tracks for super bluebonnet pictures.
10. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is known for its diverse and stunning wildflowers, including bluebonnets. Here are some of the best places to see bluebonnets in Big Bend National Park:
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
This scenic drive runs for 30 miles from Castolon to Santa Elena Canyon, and it’s one of the best places to see bluebonnets in the park. The drive takes you through diverse landscapes, including fields of bluebonnets.
This 51-mile unpaved road follows the Rio Grande and takes you through some of the most scenic parts of the park. Look for bluebonnets in the open fields along the road.
Old Maverick Road
This 14-mile unpaved road takes you through the western side of the park and offers great opportunities to see bluebonnets along the way.
The Chisos Mountains are among the most popular areas of the park, and there are plenty of hiking trails that offer opportunities to see bluebonnets. Try the Window Trail or the Lost Mine Trail.
Homer Wilson Ranch
This historic ranch is now part of the park, and it’s a great place to see bluebonnets and other wildflowers. Look for them in the fields around the old buildings.
11. Unexpected Places to Find Texas Bluebonnets
Keeping your eyes out for good patches will help you find the best (and maybe secret!) places. The best bluebonnet spots I’ve found in my area are on a slope behind a shopping mall and a random patch I stumbled upon along a back road when I got off at the wrong exit.
Texas is a big state. There are tons of places to go to get beautiful pictures in the bluebonnets.
One thing to note though, private property is NEVER the right place for bluebonnet photos. Do not trespass, hop fences or anything else silly in the pursuit of these blue flowers. There are plenty of spots to grab pictures without the need for bail money for a trespassing arrest.
Don’t discount the other beautiful Texas wildflowers. Indian Paintbrushes, Mexican Hats and Drummond phlox are also pretty and very photo-worthy!
SheBuysTravel Tip: Looking for more Texas fun? Try these things to do in Dallas with kids, or these things to do in Austin!
7 Tips for Finding Texas Bluebonnet Fields and Patches
These are wildflowers.
Where and when they’ll show up is something that changes from year to year. A place that had a thick carpet last year isn’t guaranteed a repeat performance. Weather plays a big factor in when, where and how bluebonnets bloom.
When you get word of a good bluebonnet spot, don’t wait.
A few days can make a difference in the quality of the blooms. Word gets around about nice thick patches and if you wait too long, the flowers will have been trampled by little feet and won’t be as fresh.
Get out of the cities.
While we’ve scouted out some known spots where these flowers pop up every year, you’re not going to find them growing out of the sidewalk in downtown Dallas or Austin. Parks, lakes and the backroads of the Lone Star State are what you want. Everyone has some sort of GPS nowadays so don’t be afraid to get a little lost in the pursuit of the prettiest blooms.
Always ask a Texan.
If you are in or traveling to an area not represented on our list, the best thing to do is to ask someone who lives there. Just be aware that some people are weird about their favorite bluebonnet spot and guard the information as closely as they guard the phone number for their best babysitter.
If you see what you think is a good spot, take your pictures!
Don’t hold out for a more Instagrammable spot because you might not find it. And if you do, then you can take even more bluebonnet pictures!
Don’t overlook wineries!
Not only can you sample some wine and enjoy a fun picnic but lots and lots of wineries have ample parking, fields of flowers and the perfect backdrop for photos.
When in doubt, check local photographers’ pages.
Head onto social media and look at photographers in your area. There are usually ample opportunities to get those ideal photos taken by professions. In addition, a lot of times they’ll strike up a deal with a local landowner and have access to private properties with lush bluebonnet fields.
Why are Bluebonnets such a Texan Thing?
At this point you may be asking “What even started all of this?”. Well, springtime bluebonnets in Texas have been a thing for a LONG time.
In 1901, the 27th Texas Legislature made it official, declaring the Lupinus subcarnosus the official state flower of Texas. This was amended in 1971 to include other bluebonnet species.
There’s even a state flower song and in the 1930s a roadside campaign to help bluebonnets spread along highways was in place. It really is a whole thing! There are even children’s books including Bluebonnets at the Alamo and also The Legend of the Bluebonnet.
Wow, there are a ton of places I already had listed to do while in Texas so it’s nice to see that a bluebonnet drive can be combined with so many other adventures. Of all the spots, do you have a favorite? I really want an Instagram worthy photo. (But not in a field with snakes lol)
Jill Robbins says
My favorites are New Braunfels and Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, both mentioned above. i live near San Antonio so those are both pretty close. Texas is a big state and you’ll no doubt find them near to where you are. I wrote this article and my best advice continues to be “ask a local.” There are “secret” spots all over the place. Our spot is behind a warehouse in back of an industrial park about five minutes from our house and no one knows about it. We always take a broomstick or a long-handled shovel and run it through the grass and make a ton of noise before we go in. Hope that helps!
Living in South San Antonio, is there any particularly scenic/picturesque areas around here? Parks or other locations?
Nasreen Stump says
We love Old Baylor Park on the border of Brenham and Independence. It’s a park so there’s off road parking. It’s very busy on weekends but weekdays are usually pretty quiet. They do have gorgeous sunsets here so if you can snag a midweek sunset that’s the best of both worlds.
Darlene at SugarsBeach.com says
About that ” The mid-19th century abandoned home sits in a field of wildflowers and is a popular place to take pictures.”… I don’t know what has happened this year, but there are very few bluebonnets around this iconic house.
I don’t know if it’s because of the new PEC (altho I don’t know why that would matter) that went up next door, but there are just a few bluebonnets between HWY 281 and the house.
My husband mentioned it early on, and next time I passed, I checked it out. I was like “what?! really?”
I didn’t know this place, It looked interesting especially for kids, I’ll visit it one day
Alecia Pacheco says
Just an FYI from an experienced mom: Watch out for fire ants when posing your little ones among the flowers. Nothing ruins the day like sitting your baby on an ant hill!! Happy bluebonnet-ing!!
Nasreen Stump, Road Warrior SheBuysTravel says
Definitely great advice! We cover some of the other safety tips for bluebonnet photos on TravelingDad including looking out for critters, not trespassing and not pulling over on highways. 🙂 https://shebuystravel.com/travelingdad/bluebonnet-pictures/
It looks like the children enjoyed spending time outdoors! I didn’t know Bluebonnets looked that good til I saw it in the pictures here. Nice to know it’s located in many areas, so there’s a lot of places we can visit. The variety of choices would definitely come in handy so we can try a new place every so often.
Is there a place close by Decatur and Denton area. Ennis is a 2 hr drive and we don’t have that kind of time to drive there
N. Kinslow says
Is there a good drive to see the bluebonnets in the northeast part of the state?
Christine Tibbetts says
Such a wonderful road trip.