Are you looking for the best places to see spring wildflowers, flower gardens, and other flower blooms in the country? Find the most beautiful spring flowers destinations in the USA including the popular cherry blossoms in Washington DC, Carrizo Plains National Monument for the California super bloom, Mojave desert super blooms, tulip fields, alpine blooms in Washington, and Texas bluebonnet trails.
After fall, spring is my second favorite season. I just love shaking off the winter melancholy and wearing bright cheerful clothes while listening to the birds finally chirp again and seeing the bright green new foliage on my daily walks. I, somehow, never appreciated spring in India since the winter was never that cold while the short spring sometimes gave way to hot, extreme summer overnight. But since we moved to Chicago about a decade ago, I finally began to understand the hoopla about spring. You need something to be cheerful about when facing freezing temperatures everyday and seeing the birds, leaves, and flowers really does feel amazing!
Dotted Globe contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my full Disclosure here. Thank you!
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze”
– William Wordsworth
And that brings me to the flowers… vibrant, colorful blossoms are the heart and soul of springtime! Whether they are blooming in carefully planted and well-tended gardens, grown for-profit in flower fields, or sprinkled haphazardly along roadsides and on mountains – the rainbow colored display of tulips, daisies, bluebells, paintbrushes, bluebonnets, buttercups, lilies, poppies, dogwoods, and cherry blossoms are something I look forward to every spring. Each year, we try to go to different spring destinations on scenic drives, hike through wildflower fields, visit botanical gardens, and attend spring festivals.
Living in Houston, the annual bluebonnet jaunt is our favorite activity. On several weekends, we go flower searching in the areas near San Antonio, Austin, the Texas Hill country, and Dallas. We have been able to spot some magnificent fields. We have also seeing springtime in Chicago and attended Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. Each of these places have offered a uniquely gratifying spring experience. The main flower viewing areas are divided into 4 regions: American Southwest and especially, California for poppies, desert blooms, and other wildflowers, East Coast areas including Washington DC for cherry blossoms, Pacific Northwest for tulips and alpine wildflowers, and Texas for spectacular bluebonnet displays. Here are some of the best places to see the spring blossoms in the country including recommendations from our travel blogger friends:
The Tidal Basin, Washington DC
Washington DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the best known spring festivals in the world. The festival has fascinating history; DC’s many cherry blossom trees are not native to the area but a gift in 1912 by the mayor of Tokyo, Japan. The festival commemorates the gift every year and a variety of activities are held across the city from festival parade with helium balloons and floats, kite festivals, Petalpalooza concert, fireworks, etc. But the highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the many cherry blossom trees in bloom around the Tidal Basin. The peak blooms occur around April 2nd to April 5th every year and this is one of the best (though most crowded) times to visit Washington DC.
The Tidal Basin looks stunning during peak bloom. About 10 different varieties of cherry trees put on a vibrant display for visitors. The main variety of cherry trees that bloom during the peak are the Yoshino trees; these have single, pale pink flowers and are most common throughout the park. One of my favorites is the Kwanzan tree bloom with its richer hued, large, multi-layered flowers. These bloom about a fortnight after the Yoshino varieties. My other favorite things to during the Cherry Blossom Festival include paddling in the Tidal Basin, seeing the many landmarks around the National Mall like the Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, etc. To plan a trip to Washington DC during the cherry blossom festival we recommend booking a hotel near the Tidal Basin and following the blossom updates for peak bloom predictions. Be prepared for large crowds, lots of walking, and high hotel rates but the reward is certainly worth it!
Carrizo Plain National Monument, California
Carrizo Plain National Monument burst upon the scene during the 2017 super bloom with Instagram shots of wildflowers carpeting entire mountains in a vivid display of colors. However, Carrizo Plain has been home to stunning wildflower displays long before its internet fame days. Located an hour away from San Luis Obispo, Carrizo Plains is the perfect stop along a Pacific Coast Highway road trip. The park has Native American sites including pictographs, is rich in wildlife with elk, pronghorn, hawks, and eagles sightings quite common, and has biking, hiking, and camping amenities. However, the park is most famous for its vast array of wildflowers: California poppies, junipers, daisies, goldfields, fiddlenecks, baby blue eyes, larkspurs, and lupines! It is a photographer’s delight – if you are into nature photography, check out this Carrizo Plain super bloom photo guide.
It’s not every year that a super bloom occurs in the region partly because the wildflowers need lots of rainfall during winter to bloom and drought-parched California has not had both for many years. But it’s not just the rains that affect the wildflowers. They also need a cold winter followed by mellow spring to bloom in abundance; rapidly rising temperatures can dramatically wilt the blooms. If it rains in Southern California in winter followed by winter storms and low temperatures then the dormant wildflower seeds take roots – and what you may see is another super bloom. This year it promises to be a pretty good bloom and we recommend visiting the reserve this spring to have your wildflower fill.
Cherry Blossom Festival, New York City
By James of Travel Collecting
One of the top spots in the U.S. for spring blooms is New York City. Every spring, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens hosts the Sakura Matsuri or the Cherry Blossom Festival. The gardens are home to dozens of cherry trees, including an incredible avenue of bright pink, puffy flowers that are the heart of the festival. The variety of cherry blossoms here are particular fluffy and brightly colored, and they look like balls of pink cotton wool covering the trees. You can walk along a tunnel of pink flowers, as the trees form a canopy overhead.
There are several sites set up around the botanical gardens, including a stage for J-pop (Japanese pop music) and the main stage, where a variety of Japanese-inspired entertainment occurs throughout the day. There are performances of Japanese taiko drumming, dancing, and musical numbers, as well as martial arts displays. Japanese bento lunchboxes and drinks are also available to buy. Many people dress up as their favorite Japanese anime characters, though this is certainly not necessary. Mostly, though, people have picnics under the trees and wander around the gardens taking photos of the cherry blossoms, and other spring flowers like bulbs and, lilacs.
The festival is on April 27 and 28 in 2019. It is timed to coincide with the peak bloom of the main variety of cherry blossoms. Nature does not always cooperate, but they do get the timing right most years. The gardens are open 10:00am – 6:00pm each day for the festival. Each day has separate admission, which costs $30, and you can buy tickets online in advance.
Ennis Bluebonnets Festival, Texas
In spring, giant swathes of the Texas landscape turn blue with the arrival of spring. Texas’s state flower, the bluebonnet, emerges from its rosettes and carpets the entire countryside. Living in Houston, we see the bluebonnets while driving along the highways or at our local parks. But some of the truly spectacular displays happen around the fields of Ennis, a small town south of Dallas. Ennis is known as the ‘Official Bluebonnet City in Texas’ and has a bluebonnet festival every year to celebrate the blooms. Ennis bluebonnets are unique compared to others that bloom throughout Texas: these are large and packed with lots of flower heads and feature a prominent white tip.
There are many things to do in Ennis during the bluebonnet festival. The city has over 40 miles of driving trails through bluebonnet fields which are maintained by the Ennis Garden Club. Downtown Ennis hosts Art & Crafts and Kids Activities booths during the festival and many music concerts featuring country, rock and roll etc. are held during the festival days. This is also the best time to sample Texas Hill Country wines and craft brews in one location. The peak season for the bluebonnets near Ennis is around the 3rd week of April. Just like in other parts of the country, bluebonnet season in Texas in 2019 promises to be one of the best ones due to lots of rainfall and optimal temperatures.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, California
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is hands-down the best place to see the California state flower. The Reserve is located about 2 hrs away from Los Angeles and cover a large area of 1780 acres of fields and sloping hills in the Mojave Desert environment. Just like the Antelope Canyon in Arizona, the park is named after the pronghorn antelopes that once grazed in the valley. In spring, the hills and plains of Antelope Valley are covered in vibrant carpets of every shade of yellow, gold, orange, and crimson poppies. Other wildflowers at Antelope Valley include lupines, goldfields, and owl’s clover.
Antelope Valley is in full bloom usually from mid-March to mid-May. The display of flowers is best seen from far away while hiking or biking along the Antelope Loop Trail offers more close-up interactions with the poppies. The reserve also has many other trails for walking the fields and the hills. As always, stepping in the fields, picking up wildflowers, and drone photographs are not allowed. We recommend bringing along a wide-angle lens that can capture the panoramic image of a thousand blooming flowers. Antelope Valley is located in the desert at high elevation, so the climate can be quite different from Los Angeles. It can be quite windy, so bring along a sweater and dress in layers.
Death Valley National Park, California
By Niki of Chasing Departures
You probably don’t think of life when you hear the name Death Valley and that is totally fair. It does have death in the name after all. However, Death Valley National Park is far from the dead place you imagine. Wildlife and plants can be found everywhere if you just keep your eyes open for it. Wildflowers are especially abundant during certain springs when the park gets the right amount of rain during the winter months to create a ‘superbloom’. Even during years with sub-optimal bloom conditions, scattered wildflowers can still be found throughout the park. Death Valley experienced the last super bloom in 2016.
During a great bloom, Death Valley is covered in yellow, pink, white, and even deep purple colored flowers. Most of the blooming flowers are annuals; they fall off during harsh spring windstorm or dry out due to the heat. The dead flowers scatter seeds on the desert floor and the bloom cycle begins again in the next winter when the rains come through. The best places to see wildflowers in Death Valley are on trails and scenic drives. Remember, you aren’t allowed to pick the wildflowers so they are able to leave their seeds for the following year. The desert wildflowers bloom from mid-February to mid-July depending on the elevation. The best way to keep up with super bloom status for the current year is to check the Death Valley National Park website.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California
By Jenn of One Hoppy Momma
Just a couple hours from San Diego lies one of California’s desert gems. The Anza-Borrego Desert Park and it’s desert landscape are amazing to behold with picturesque views of the local mountain ranges, indigenous plants, and wildlife. Having received a hearty amount of rainfall this winter, this desert oasis will be in full bloom this spring. Visitors will be able to see sprinkles of Sand Verbena and Evening Primrose amongst the vast fields of the Hairy Desert Sunflower and Parish Poppies. These are just a few of the many varieties of beautiful wildflowers you are sure to experience during the long-awaited “Super Bloom”.
A day trip to Borrego Springs during March and April will offer amazing views of the wildflowers on the drive alone. To get a more extensive up-close look at the wildflowers in a perfect setting, visit the area of Coyote Canyon via Henderson Canyon Road. However, blooms and road conditions are known to change from year to year, so it helps to call the local wildflower hotline 760-767-4684 to find out which specific areas are the best spots for viewing in the current season or visit the Desert-USA site for updates. Or you can stop by the Visitor’s Center and take a guided tour on Fridays or get information about the best trails or off-road paths to take for the best wildflower viewing opportunities. While taking in the super bloom, be sure to see some of the over 130 striking metal sculptures created by local artist, Ricardo Breceda, that are scattered throughout the park.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
By Christa of Expedition Wildlife
Few sights are as breathtaking as snow-capped mountain peaks making up the backdrop for a stunning alpine wildflower display. The alpine environment found on Mount Rainier, and the surrounding Cascade Range is the perfect place to spot a rainbow array of colors in flower form. Hundreds of species of wildflowers can be found in the region, all of which have varying bloom periods, allowing visitors a longer season to see and experience dozens of flower varieties at one time. This is also the perfect time to spot wildlife in Mount Rainier including mountain goat.
Beginning in July, once most of the higher elevation snows have melted, green grass and all varieties of wildflowers begin to emerge and flourish. Pinks, yellows, blues, whites, and violets pop up in all directions. Mount Rainier’s alpine wildflowers are different than those found in the rest of the country: here you will see an abundance of glacier lilies, lupines, paintbrush, daisies, and shooting stars blooming on the wildflower meadows. While the flower bloom season varies depending on how early the snow comes back in the fall, it usually tends to last well into September. Mount Rainier National Park website posts near-weekly bloom updates as well as shares information on wildflower identification.
Easily accessible trails can be found directly from the Paradise and Sunrise Visitor Centers, such as the Nisqually Vista Trail at Paradise, where plenty of meadows can be found sporting their stunning blooms. Other great trails include the paved Skyline Trail at Paradise and the Sourdough Ridge Trail at Sunrise. Tipsoo Lake, located at the summit of Chinook Pass, is also a great place to see the wildflowers.
Brenham Bluebonnets, Texas
By Erin of Sol Salute
Bluebonnet season in my hometown of Brenham is iconic. I grew up in the heart of Washington County, an hour northwest of Houston. Wildflower season in April in this area of Texas is breathtaking. Entire pastures are blanketed in bluebonnets, dotted with red Indian Paintbrushes, burgundy wine cups, and pale pink buttercups. If you find yourself in Houston or Austin, spending a weekend or a day in Brenham is the best way to see the bluebonnets. The pastures lining the Highway 290 just outside of Brenham offer some of the best bluebonnet fields in the state.
Chappell Hill, an even smaller town in between Brenham and Houston, has a yearly Bluebonnet Festival every Spring. Bring the family to see the bluebonnets and enjoy a day in small-town Texas. Over 250 arts and crafts vendors take part in the festival. In addition, there is live entertainment and delicious food.
Feel free to pull over and take as many photos as you want. If you’re traveling with a family, bring a quilt to get a memorable picture of your child sitting among the bluebonnets (every Texan has this photo from their childhood!). Just be careful not to trample the flowers and under no circumstances should you pick a bluebonnet (they’re the official state flower and it is illegal to pick them). It’s also important to be respectful of private property, don’t hop a fence or trespass. Find one of the many open pastures and fields, bring your camera, and enjoy our beautiful bluebonnets.
Biltmore Blooms, North Carolina
By Theresa of The Local Tourist
The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, is one of the most beautiful places in the country. It becomes particularly festive in the spring when the gardens come alive for Biltmore Blooms. This annual event showcases the Olmsted-designed gardens with thousands of tulips, daffodils, azaleas, hyacinths, and more. In addition to the gardens themselves, with their two and a half miles of walking paths, there’s an extensive greenhouse. Inside, you’ll find several varieties of orchids and other rare plants.
The gardens are included with your admission to the Biltmore Estate. They do not offer partial tickets, so you’ll want to make sure you allow enough time to explore the mansion while you’re there. It’s the largest single-family home in the United States and seeing how the Vanderbilts lived is a glimpse into extravagance. After you’ve explored the home and grounds, you can finish up your visit with a trip to Antler Hill Village. This is where you can get something to eat, do some shopping, and taste their award-winning wines. A visit to Biltmore Blooms is an all-day experience and one any flower fan will not want to miss.
The Azalea Trail in Mobile, Alabama
By Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
The city of Mobile, which lies along the Gulf Coast in southern Alabama, is famous for its azaleas. Around mid-March and into the start of April, the whole city is covered in bright pink blooms. The Azalea Trail is a 35-mile azalea-lined path that winds through the city of Mobile. It was created in 1929, and for decades it attracted thousands of visitors each year.
Other traditions grew up around the trail, such as the Azalea Trail Run and the Azalea Trail Maids. The run is a 10-kilometer race along the streets of downtown Mobile, while the maids are girls from local high schools who dress up in frilly pastel-colored gowns and twirl matching parasols. They embody the image of the southern belle and serve as goodwill ambassadors of Mobile, representing the city at events nationwide. These offshoot traditions are alive and well, but the tradition of driving along the azalea trail itself was gradually forgotten.
However, in recent years a local organization called Keep Mobile Beautiful has been working hard to redefine the trail and bring it back to life. The revitalized trail was officially opened in 2015, and maps are available at the city’s welcome center. There is now an annual Mobile Azalea Trail Festival that takes place during the second and third weeks of March. During the festival, some of the historic homes in Mobile, such as Bellingrath Homes and Gardens, put on special events and offer tours to the public.
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Washington
By Christa of Expedition Wildlife
The Netherlands isn’t the only place to view expansive and stunning tulip displays! The Skagit Valley in Washington State is the gateway to some incredibly scenic eye-openers in the Pacific Northwest. Start the day right by getting breakfast at the Calico Cupboard, which opens a couple hours before the nearby tulip gardens. Tulip festivals are held annually near Mount Vernon in the Skagit in the springtime, starting in late March to early April and last for about a month. It is worth a visit to see how much the region gets into their tulip spirit!
Roozengaarde and Tulip Town are the two largest farms showcasing these beautiful blooms, but any drive on the country roads in the area will yield plenty of flower viewing. Please keep to designated paths and roads, and do not walk into or through tulip or daffodil fields. Roozengaarde maintains a Bloom Map for visitors to get a good idea of what’s currently blooming and when each blooms, which is helpful as tulip blooming rates vary depending on how long winter lasts. At Tulip Town, you can take a trolley ride through the fields.
Be sure to book your accommodation in Skagit Valley well in advance because the region vibrates with the excitement of spring. We recommend bringing a good pair of rain boots, as the tulip fields can be very muddy. Amidst exploring flower fields, pop over to beautiful La Conner to explore art galleries and grab a bite at Anelia’s Kitchen and Stage.
Holland Tulip Festival, Michigan
By Heather of RaulersonGirlsTravel
One of the most beautiful spring flower blooms is at Tulip Time. The Tulip Festival is held in Holland, Michigan for two weeks in May. Over 5 million tulips bloom around the city of Holland. You can find all the colorful bed displays along Main Street, at Centennial Park, in the Windmill Island Gardens, and along the houses on Tulip Lane.
Holland takes pride in the Tulip Festival and puts on one of the longest parade routes in Michigan. A whopping 3 hours of floats, antique cars, marching bands, Dutch dancers, and of course lots and lots of tulips. There are three different parades during the Tulip Festival that you can watch. You can also see over 100,000 tulips at the Windmill Island Gardens and a working windmill. The entrance fee is $10 for the windmill garden and you can plan approximately 2-3 hours walking through the island.
After the island, parades, and walking through the town, don’t forget to stop at Veldheer Tulip Gardens. Here you will be able to walk around the beautiful garden filled with over 6 million tulips of over 800 kinds. This is usually the last stop of my trip so, I can order tulips from Veldheer and have them sent to me in the fall for planting. This year’s Tulip Festival is celebrating its 90th anniversary on May 4-12, 2019. And for the celebration, they will be painting the town orange (orange tulips of different varieties all throughout the town). You won’t want to miss it!
Dallas Blooms, Texas
Every spring the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens transforms into an eye-catching fiesta of over 500,000 tulips, colorful azaleas, cherry blossoms, daffodils, hyacinths, poppies, and other vibrant spring blossoms. The annual festival is the largest floral event in the Southwest and occurs from the 3rd week of February to 1st week of April. It has been named among America’s Best Spring Flower Festivals and is attended by over a million visitors. Each year there is a unique theme for the festival; for 2019 the theme is ‘Life’s A Picnic’. You can experience everything from picnic themed topiaries, eat picnic lunches in the garden, and see picnic themed movie scenes.
We love visiting the Dallas Blooms and its beautiful display of flowers. I miss Chicago’s tulips and the Dallas Arboretum is the only place in Texas where I can find them in such abundance. The Blooms festival has many other attractions and events including special days for kids with activities like face painting, spring afternoon teas, florist demonstrations, film screenings, live music, and band performances, and of course, spring bulbs sales. If you are visiting Dallas during the 6 week period of the festival, we strongly recommend visiting it for spectacular flower displays.
Canola Flower Blooms, Oklahoma
By Melissa of Parenthood and Passports
When you think of springtime in Oklahoma, you probably think of tornadoes and severe weather. While the state has plenty of both, during the months of April through June Oklahoma is transformed into a canvas of color. Spring is actually one of the best seasons to visit the flyover state because there are several flowers that bloom wild in Oklahoma. The Indian Paintbrush is one of the most popular and beautiful wildflowers in Oklahoma. Although you won’t find it every year. This vibrant red wildflower only blooms during years when the state received plenty of rain the previous fall followed by a cold winter. When conditions are ideal though, ordinary fields of green grass turn into blankets of brilliant red.
But even if the Indian Paintbrush isn’t blooming, you can still find other flower fields that will have you eager to pull off the side of the road and take a photo. For about 3 weeks in late spring, the canola fields across rural Oklahoma put on a beautiful display. Canola is technically a crop grown by Oklahoma farmers, so be careful not to trespass or damage the flower buds of the plants if stopping to take a photo. In spring, the flowering crop will cover acre upon acre of farmland. Yellow fields will stretch as far as the eye can see. It’s enough to make any road trip across Oklahoma a scenic one.
Carlsbad Flower Fields, California
By Allison of Seeking Neverland
Carlsbad Flower Fields located in Carlsbad, California is home to an endless sea of gorgeous Ranunculus (Persian Buttercup) flowers from mid-March to mid-April. Formally known as the Flower Fields, Carlsbad Ranch comprises of 60 acres of land and contains many attractions including the flowers fields, a butterfly garden, orchid greenhouse, and tractor wagon rides. Entry tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for children. If you take the tractor wagon ride, it costs an additional $5 but the 20 min guided ride that stops at various points is totally worth it. The Flower Fields also has many activities for children such as Santa’s Playground – a row of life-sized mushrooms and whimsical playhouses, as well as, the Carlsbad mining company. If you’re hungry, you can find small bites to eat at the local food trucks. I found some delicious cookies and lemonade.
I recommend spending time walking around and learning about the love and care that goes into growing the beautiful flowers. Over 13 different shades of flowers are grown in the fields. If you look closely, you will even find some tie-dye ones. In addition to growing the ranunculus flowers, the Flower Fields also grows coffee, 5 varieties of blueberries, and 18 varieties of olives that are used to make olive oil. Visiting the Carlsbad Flower Fields really makes for the perfect spring afternoon. And trust me, it will take you all afternoon to tour the ranch. After leaving the flower fields, I recommend stopping at the Karl Strauss Brewery for their refreshing craft brews and delicious entrees.
Daffodil Hill, California
By Ava of Gold Country Cowgirl
If you visit northern California’s Gold Country in spring, you need to add Daffodil Hill in Volcano to your list of must-see places. Although Daffodil Hill is not formally promoted, the glorious display of blooms from more than 400,000 bulbs is legendary and people come from all over the world to see it. Approximately 7 acres of the farm is dedicated to daffodils with more than 300 varieties producing a display of amazing colors ranging from various shades of yellow to deep reds. This privately owned, working farm has been in the McLaughlin family since 1887. The original owner of the farm planted daffodils to remind him of his home in Holland. When Arthur and Lizzie McLaughlin purchased the farm, they continued planting them to beautify the property. The family has continued this tradition for over a century. The history of the farm and area in general is another interesting reason to visit Daffodil Hill.
Daffodil Hill is open to the public only during blooming season, which is usually from mid-March to mid-April. It closes during and after a heavy rainfall so be sure to call and check if its open before your visit. Daffodil Hill has no entry or parking fees but donations are welcome. All donations received are used towards planting new bulbs so I would recommend donating. Around 16,000 bulbs have been planted on average for the past few years. After seeing daffodil Hill, you can visit nearby Volcano which is a fascinating old mining town and one of my favorite attractions in the area. You can take a walking tour of the Gold Rush era buildings, shops, and relics then find some great food and local wine for a perfect end to a relaxing day.
San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden, California
By Priya of Outside Suburbia
If you happen to be in San Diego during springtime, then a visit to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park to see some of the best cherry blossoms in California is a must. Balboa Park is around 100 years old and one of the largest urban cultural spaces in the US. The park is home to green spaces, fine museums, theatres, a host of beautiful gardens, and the San Diego Zoo. We love taking a stroll through the park’s Spanish colonial buildings and beautiful landscape. While walking around Balboa Park is free, there is an entry fee of $12 per adult for visiting the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Balboa Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden was created to represent the relationship between San Diego and its sister city Yokohama in Japan. It has many Japanese elements like rock lanterns, bamboo plants, bonsai trees, a koi pond, and beautiful water fountains. There is also a Zen Rock Garden with stones and gravel to rake – it is common to find this in many Japanese Gardens and is a perfect opportunity for meditation. Walking through the winding paths of the Japanese Zen Garden is calming and serene. During springtime, the pink cherry blooms dot the landscape. These little flowers know how to put on a show… they are breathtaking! If you are lucky you might even see the pretty purple wisterias hanging from the trellis – their sweet smell is intoxicating.
The best time to visit to see the cherry blossoms in bloom is towards the third week of March but make sure to check on the park website before you visit. The Japanese Friendship Garden also hosts a Cherry Blossom Week during the peak bloom period; you can enjoy cultural activities, drink sake, and eat Japanese food as part of the festivities. You can also stop at the adjacent Japanese Tea House or bring a picnic to enjoy in the park.
St. Francois State Park, Missouri
By Jessica of Uprooted Traveler
Missouri, located in the Midwestern US, is often referred to as a “fly-over” state – not worthy of travelers’ time and attention. However, this is a gross oversight as Missouri is bursting at the seams with things to see and experience. The state has a thriving outdoors scene thanks to scenic vistas, unique rock formations, and densely wooded forests. While a nature lover can find something to do here any time of the year, springtime is truly special, as the wildlife emerges from its winter hibernation and wildflowers explode across the landscape. One of the best places to experience spring flowers is St. Francois State Park in Bonne Terre, Missouri, approximately an hour southwest of St. Louis.
The park covers over 2700 acres of woodlands. The Big River flows through the park and, for the first two weeks of April, the banks of the river are carpeted with a thick blanket of bluebells as far as the eye can see. Other wildflowers like Queen of the Prairie, poppies, and mountain mints also make an appearance. To best experience the blooming wildflowers, I’d recommend hiking the Swimming Deer Trail, which is a 3.4 mile loop trail. For about half the trail, the path hugs the riverbank while the rest of the hike features craggy dolomite bluffs. The view of the river over the buffs is spectacular. While the trail is enjoyable throughout the year, the blooming bluebells make it stunning in spring.
Henry Coe State Park, California
By Jyoti of Story At Every Corner
California has hundreds of state parks that bloom in the spring with dozens of varieties of flowers. Henry Coe State Park is my favorite because it’s gorgeous spring wild flowers can be easily seen on lovely hikes through mountains and meadows, along creeks and valleys. Henry Coe State Park is the largest state park in northern California and covers over 87,000 acres. It is located on the Diablo Mountains past the beautiful Anderson Lake. Henry Coe is just a 2 hrs drive from the San Francisco Bay Area. To reach there, drive along the 101 and take East Dunne Ave exit in Morgan Hill, towards the mountains.
Wild mustard, California Poppies, milkmaids, buttercups, shooting stars, pansies, and other colorful wildflowers bloom in the shadow of the Diablo range and look spectacular from mid February to May. Henry Coe has many steep trails which require a decent level of fitness. Park rangers are happy to provide maps and give suggestions for the best trails to view wildflowers on the day of your visit. Some of the trails have creek crossing and the water is cold in spring – so be sure to bring waterproof shoes and an extra pair of socks. After visiting Henry Coe, you can cool off at the Anderson Lake County Park on hot days.