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How do you know it’s spring in Texas? The bluebonnets start popping up! Every Texas kid knows what it’s like to pose for a pic in a field of bluebonnets – it’s a Lone Star family tradition. Want to know where the best places are to catch these Instagrammable wildflowers in bloom? Read on!
Bluebonnets: A Bloomin’ Good Family Photo
Note: With Texas’ extreme winter weather this year bluebonnet season is a little different. Southern areas like Brenham and Gonzales have bluebonnets currently (3/25) while areas further north like Ennis are running a bit behind. Finding that perfect field might require a little more work. A lot of the grass died during the freezes so the flowers that are up might not have a bright green backdrop yet but it’s getting there!
Pictures in the bluebonnets are…well, sort of required…for Texas children. I’m pretty sure I’d get my Texas mom card revoked if I failed to get yearly pictures of my kids in the bluebonnets. I even managed it in 2020, even though the bluebonnets seemed to know it was a bad year and were kind of thin in our area.
Bluebonnet pictures are amazing for natives and visitors alike and, no matter where you live, they make wonderful Christmas card pictures.
But, as beautiful as the pictures are, seeing these blossoms in person is a bazillion times better and a bazillion is like, a lot, y’all. Fields of bluebonnets line the rural highways in Texas.
Here’s the scoop on some of the best spots to see and snap these famously vivid wildflowers.
When is Bluebonnet Season?
Bluebonnet season is typically late March through early April. If it’s been a warm winter, the bluebonnets can bloom early and if there’s been a lot of late freezes, the bluebonnets will usually be late. Texas experienced historic cold temperatures in 2021 so most predictions are leaning toward later blooms. We shall see.
“Bluebonnet watch” will typically begin in early March. The locals will watch places where the bluebonnets are expected and make predictions on when they expect to see peak season.
And, despite what my mom told me when I was younger, picking the state flower of Texas isn’t illegal. But, be a good neighbor and leave them for the next person to enjoy. You can buy seeds and grow them at home in many places across the state.
5 Tips for Scouting Texas Bluebonnet 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 backroads 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 consider it akin to giving out the number to 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 take more bluebonnet pictures!
Best Places to Find Texas Bluebonnets in 2021
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. There have historically been thick patches just outside of Katy, a Houston suburb. Rob Fleming Park in The Woodlands has historically had good pictures spots, too. With any location, if you’re stopping alongside the highway, be very careful.
Hermann Park, which is near the Houston Zoo and the Houston Museum of Natural Science will often have great patches of bluebonnets.
Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail
Take a day (or two) and drive through the Texas hill country on the Bluebonnet Trail.
Burnet – The Bluebonnet Capital
The best place to start the Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail is in Burnet (pronounced burn-it). After all, it’s 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 the second weekend of April.
TravelingMom Tip: Consider renting an RV for your Texas bluebonnet adventure. RV travel means you have the freedom to follow the flowers.
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 for a piece of their legendary pie. The Convention and Visitors Bureau has free maps 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.
TravelingMom Tip: If you’ve got extra time, there are a ton of fun things to do in Fredericksburg and Johnson City with your kids.
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 you are discouraged from stopping to take pictures. 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.
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 the antique hunter’s mecca Round Top where 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 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. Bluebonnets historically appear along Highway 290 East and FM 390. Brenham also has a Wildflower Watch website complete with a wildflower map.
Read More: 15+ fun things to do in Brenham with kids.
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
Off of I-35 heading into this charming German town, take the Rueckle Road exit toward Highway 46. If you’re a San Antonio-area family (or visiting) this is a popular place and an easy drive. The areas around Landa Park and Cypress Bend Park usually have lots of blooms.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t discount the other beautiful Texas wildflowers. Indian Paintbrushes, Mexican Hats and Drummond phlox are also pretty and very photo-worthy!
TravelingMom Tip: Consider getting professional family photos done with the beautiful bluebonnets. We recommend using Flytographer to find a photographer in the area you’ll be traveling to.
Where To Stay in Texas
Use this interactive map to find hotels or an Airbnb in the area of Texas you’ll be visiting.
Have you taken a family photo in the bluebonnets? We’d love to see! Please share them with us on Instagram using the hashtag #TMOM