Warmer air and longer days signal the arrival of spring in Texas when the rain eases up, the barbeques are lit, and the state's wildflowers are about to transform the landscapes. Famed nationwide for its springtime flora and signature bluebonnet - the official flower of Texas - and springtime is the very best period throughout the year to search for them. Often found lining the roadsides and covering undulating hills and sprawling fields, Texas's wildflower population is the reason why so many Texans head out during spring to get their mandatory annual family photos surrounded by a blanket of fresh blooms.
Of course, the natural distribution of Texan wildflowers varies every year with many contributing factors that affect their location, as well as their size. However, there are many areas across the state where they seem to appear time and time again and are almost guaranteed to be on display during peak blooming season between mid-March and mid-April. What's more, scoping them out gets even easier; they tend to grow and bloom on lands where the soil is just right - and many of these spots are situated along highways and popular driving routes, allowing for the ultimate, scenic road trip, which visitors should definitely include on any Texas itinerary no matter how long they're staying for.
Explore Ennis For Bold Bluebonnets
The one and only Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail in Ennis is the perfect place to start one's wildflower tour of Texas. Home to extensive grassy landscapes overflowing with seas of brightly colored bluebonnets, springtime in this glorious region of the state is truly a treat for the eyes - as well as the camera.
In addition, the area has even more on offer for wildflower-loving visitors; the state's Bluebonnet Trails Festival takes place each April, which shows off over 40 miles of picturesque routes where pretty bluebonnets are known to flourish each and every spring.
Eastern Texas Is Home To The Texas Dogwood Trails Festival
Routes in east Texas offer a wealth of magnificent floral sights featuring the unique white and pink blooms the region is known for - and one particularly reliable place to find these two elegantly-hued colors of wildflower is during the Texas Dogwood Trails festival that takes place in Palestine's Davey Dogwood Park from late March to early April.
The park promises unrelenting beauty; boasting 254 acres of public terrain and five miles of scenic roads, so visitors never even need to leave their car. The expansive area, and its gorgeous dogwood trees in bloom are nothing short of a photographer's dream.
Drivers and passengers will particularly enjoy another spot in Texas's east - the FM 227 road to State Highway 21, along which myriads of graceful yellow jessamine and redbuds all put on a drive-by show for cruisers.
Western Texas Plays Host To gorgeous hillsides & plenty of Flora
What's different about West Texas is that, in addition to many of the state's wildflower species, it also hosts its very own. Some of the best areas to drive around seeking local flowers are in Terlingua and Big Bend, where amidst the dramatic landscapes are plenty of elegant roadsides blooms perfect for pictures.
From these areas, floral fanatics can head five hours further north to check out the roads winding through Franklin Mountains State Park, where exquisite trails of diverse flora can be enjoyed, including the yucca, ocotillo, and even certain types of cacti, such as the claret cactus, the Chihuahua fishhook cactus, and the Southwestern barrel cactus.
Head To the Texas Hill Country For The Most Scenic roadside Landscapes
Although many bluebonnet-laden spots aren't guaranteed to sprout the signature flower every year, some of them never fail to disappoint - making them a safe bet to head to. Roads through these towns include peak spring foliage:
- Marble Falls
- San Saba
- Johnson City
A useful resource for information - not just about this area, but also those all over the state - is the Texas Highways website, which tells of other great locations for viewing wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country and more. For drivers, the Willow City Loop incorporating U.S. 281, U.S. 290 is cited as a fantastic route, along with Ranch Roads 1320, 1323, 1631, and 2721 also being mentioned on the site as an illustrious flower-viewing road trip.
A full day trip of wildflowers, taking less than two hours to complete
This particular route entails a lovely round trip between Brenham, Burton, Independence, Washington, and Chappell Hill. The day trip stretches for roughly 80 miles, featuring bountiful displays of Indian paintbrush blooms, purple coneflowers, thistles, skullcaps, rattlesnake masters, blanket flowers, and of course plenty of bluebonnets.
According to Texas Highways, some of the most reliable roads to find the flowers are Farm to Market 50 (FM 50) to Independence, FM 390 to Old Baylor Park, FM 1155 between Chappell Hill Historic District, and Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, and State Highway 105.
With so many alluring floral driving trails throughout Texas, the state is inarguably one of the best springtime regions in the country for road trippers and photographers. Because much of the terrain perfect for supporting wildflowers are in vast fields and along the roadside, venturing by vehicle to scope out the state's marvelous floral populations is as easy as it is rewarding. And, thanks to many of the best locations already having been discovered, it's highly likely that visitors and newbies to the state will have an easy and reliable experience navigating Texas's many wildflower-riddled routes - even from the comfort of their car.