Planning to drive down the Texas countryside to see the bluebonnets and other wildflowers? Check out our recommendations for seeing the best places to see bluebonnets in Texas, including east central part of the state and Hill Country including Ennis, Brenham, Marble Falls, and more. You might also like our post on Ultimate Texas Road Trip Itinerary.
Happy Spring y’all! It’s March and the Texas countryside is teeming with bluebonnets – by the roadside, along the medians of the freeways, in the fields, on rolling hills, and in vacant corners around churches and grocery stores! As a Texan, spring is my favorite season ever. Bluebonnet festivals and events take place all over the state and families pile up in their cars to go scout for the bluebonnets and other wildflowers.
Best Time to see the bluebonnets in bloom
Did you know that the bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas since 1901? These flowers need a peculiar combination of rainfall, sunshine, and temperature to bloom. They are particularly difficult to grow in gardens – which is what makes me love how profusely they grow in the wild. That is also the reason, no two bluebonnet seasons are alike in Texas. In some seasons you may see whole areas carpeted with the beauties while another year, you might find a sparse smattering in most places. No one can exactly predict how a season will be as even a last-minute frost or storm can have an adverse effect.
So when is the best time to see these beauties? Generally, they start blooming in the last week of March and peak by the first or second week of April. Temperatures can either rush everything forward by a week or two or roll things back. But generally, if you plan a trip to Texas in the last weekend of March / or the first week of April, then you should be able to see at least a few bluebonnets as well as many other wildflowers.
Bluebonnet Viewing Best Practices
Texans love bluebonnets and we show our love in fierce ways. That means sitting on the flowers – even for taking photos, letting pets or kids run through a bluebonnet field, plucking a bluebonnet, posing with the plucked bluebonnets, trespassing on private properties to take photos, and such other behavior will earn you angry glares and disapproving glances. If you want to take a photo of kids amongst the flowers – and this is a typical Texan thing – find a bare patch amongst a flower field where the kids can pose and stoop down low to take the photo. Take photos from the roadside whenever possible and leave the field as it was for other viewers. And always, leave no trace!
Resources to keep up to date with bloom dates
While planning our trip, we generally check the local tourism board websites. They often have updates regarding the bloom status on their websites. They also plan their bluebonnet festivals and spring events around peak dates, so that is useful while planning your trip. Last but not the least, I am a member of many Facebook groups and pages, which have in-depth information about the current year’s bloom status as well as gorgeous photos. Two of my favorite resources are Texas Bluebonnets and Wildflowers and Texas Wildflower Report.
Fun fact: While the traditional blue bluebonnet was chosen as the state flower in 1901, the law was amended to include all species of bluebonnets as the state flower in 1971. You can spot pink bluebonnets, white bluebonnets, and even blue bluebonnets with white on top!
Best Places to see the Bluebonnets in Texas
Keep in mind that the bluebonnets bloom early on in the southern part of the state including the Rio Grande Valley and big Bend and later in central Texas. So if you want to see the flowers bloom in the Chisos Range of Big Bend, you need to plan a trip closer to February while to see the famous driving trails in Ennis, you need to wait till April. And now here are our favorite places to see the bluebonnets in Texas.
Brenham is at the heart of east-central Texas’s bluebonnet region. In downtown Brenham, you will see bluebonnets planted in front of houses and bluebonnet murals on the walls of historic downtown while art galleries have beautiful bluebonnet paintings. But to see the real bluebonnets, drive around the farm to market roads surrounding the city of Brenham. There’s no map – just aimless driving while you admire the Texan countryside, jersey cows, and mustangs in the flower fields. My kind of day!
If you are short on time or prefer precise directions, stop by the Brenham Visitor Center. They can give you maps of driving trails and share areas where the flowers are particularly vibrant that year. And oh while you are in Brenham, don’t forget to see the street art and historic buildings in Downtown. Read our post on the 29 Best Things to do in Brenham for more information.
Along with Brenham, the entire Washington County deserves a special mention when it comes to viewing wildflowers in spring. The roads surrounding Brenham, Independence, and Chappel Hill have ranches that are bursting with wildflowers in spring. The Texas Independence Trail connects most of these Texan towns and is a great scenic drive for wildflower viewing. Two other favorite places to see the wildflowers and spring blossoms in Washington County include the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence and the Chappell Hill Lavender Farm, where you can cut your own lavender blossoms.
But there is so much more to do in the county than wildflowers. Washington County is the birthplace of Texas. It was here that the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed and the Republic of Texas came into being. You can still see the Independence Hall as Washington-on-Brazos State Historic Site. Besides the par, the towns of Independence, Washington, and Chappell Hill also have many historic sites and are a great Texan weekend getaway.
Ennis is located about 45 mins drive southwest of Dallas and is famous for over 40 miles of mapped bluebonnet trails. In fact, it is said to be the bluebonnet capital of Texas. Since Ennis is further north of Brenham, the bluebonnets here peak around mid-April. Visiting during the Ennis Bluebonnet Festival is the best way to see the flowers plus enjoy the local flavor. You can either get the driving maps at the Visitor Center or download a smartphone app for the same – iPhone or Android. The Trail Map app is very convenient – it shows you where the best flower fields are located and shows you how to drive there. The Ennis Graden Club also provides a 2 hour guided tour for an additional cost.
After checking out the bluebonnets, do not forget to stop in Ennis. While Brenham and Fredericksburg were settled by German immigrants, Ennis has Czech heritage. This is the best place to eat kolaches. During the Ennis Bluebonnet Festival, you will see arts and craft booths in the city, live music performances, and can participate in wine tastings.
Fredericksburg is located in the Texas Hill Country and is popular for its mild climate, wineries, and bluebonnet fields. The city has German heritage and its Main Street is beautiful with attractions such as the Pioneer Museum and Marktplatz. There are over 40 wineries surrounding Fredericksburg, so we recommend this more of a weekend getaway than a day trip. On a scenic drive around Fredericksburg, you can see blue masses of bluebonnets, large swathes of bright red Indian paintbrushes, and yellow poppies.
Two of our favorite places to see the wildflowers near Fredericksburg include the Willow City Loop and Wildseed Farms. Willow City Loop is a gravel, unpaved road that offers the very best of the hill country. It is 13-mile long and in spring, it is surrounded by blue, yellow, red, and pink wildflowers. This is where you get the iconic Texan picture of cowboy boots hung on a fence with bluebonnets in the background. At Wildseed Farms, you can find well-maintained wildflower fields. This is the USA’s largest wildflower farm and has rows and rows of bluebonnets, poppies, lantanas, and more. They even have a beer garden and tasting room.
Big Bend National Park and the Chisos Mountains are a great place to see the famous Texas bluebonnets early on. The park often has a super bloom, the last was in 2019. Seeing Big Bend during springtime is beautiful for many reasons. First, where else in Texas can you see the sea of blue flowers in the backdrop of bare mountains! Second, Big Bend is quite remote and you can have the flowers all to yourself in the national park. Third, these are a different type of bluebonnets – called the Chisos bluebonnets – and they can grow as tall as 3 to 4 feet!
The area around San Antonio is a great place to see the wildflowers. We love driving along the country roads southwest of San Antonio for beautiful flower fields. Consider driving around the area between I-37 and I-35 around the towns of Pleasanton, Poteet, Devine, Somerset and other nearby areas to see the flowers. Another good location is near New Braunfels. There are also many areas which are bursting with flowers within the city. One of our favorites is Eisenhower Park, which has many flower patches. Another is the Rolling Oaks Mall which is a popular bluebonnets portrait spot.
Marble Falls and the nearby town of Burnet is a great place to see the blooming bluebonnets. Burnett has its bluebonnet festival while Marble Falls has a Bluebonnet Cafe and a Bluebonnet House! The bluebonnet House is one of the most photographed houses in Texas – you can photograph the historic house surrounded by a large flower field. The Bluebonnet Cafe was opened in 1929 and is the perfect place to have lunch and shop for some souvenirs. It is located on Hwy 281 near Lake Marble Falls. Along the lakeside/riverside is also a great place to photograph the flowers.
While Houston is east of the bluebonnet fields of central Texas, the wildflowers do grow here in large patches. However, do not expect many large fields and dense flowers. Some of the best areas are in Terry Hershey Park, and in the communities of Katy, Tomball, and Sugarland. Mercer Arboretum in Houston is gorgeous in spring and great for taking photos of kids. Another great place near Houston is the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site off I-10 from Houston to San Antonio.
We hope you liked our ultimate guide to viewing the best bluebonnets in Texas. Do you know any particular field or spot that keeps coming back year after year? Let us know in the comments. Do you have gorgeous photos of the Texan countryside in bloom? We would love to see them!