The best time to visit Texas is Springtime because the roadways and cattle fields turn into massive seas of blue! But not in a sense of water. We’re talking about the Texas state flower, the Bluebonnets! And we’re going to show you where to find those mass carpets of blue perennials stretch for miles everywhere you look! So, start your engines because we’re going to take you on a ride to the best places to see Bluebonnets in Texas!
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But, before we guide you to where the best places to see bluebonnets in Texas Hill Country, let’s first learn about what’s so spectacular about this spectacular blue wildflower superbloom.
About the Bluebonnet
The Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) is a name given to any number of species of the genus Lupinus. Lupinus, commonly known as lupine, lupin, or in Texas, the bluebonnet.
Six species of Bluebonnets grow predominantly throughout the state of Texas. These wildflowers also grow through cultivation in Florida, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
Bluebonnets are predominantly found in the southwestern United States. They thrive on our alkaline soils, low moisture, lots of sun and sometimes very thin soil coating over limestone. Hence, why Texas is the perfect growth bed for these magnificently blue annual bloomers.
The bluebonnets are a low-growing annual that boasts elongated clusters packed with up to 50 fragrant pea-like flowers per stem.
Variegating from deep blue at the bottom to white tips at the top of the flowers, the bluebonnet flowers are a major attraction for butterflies and bees as the nectar is abundant.
Why are they called bluebonnets? Ironically, the shape of the petals on the flower resembles the bonnet worn by pioneer women to shield them from the sun.
Is the Bluebonnet native to Texas?
Yes, the bluebonnet is native to Texas!
On March 7, 1901, lupinus subcarnosus became the only species of bluebonnet recognized as the state flower of Texas. However, lupinus texensis emerged as the favorite of most Texans.
So, in 1971, the Texas Legislature made any similar species of Lupinus that could be found in Texas the state flower.
Former President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s wife, First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird Johnson”, shared her immense interest in nature. Thus, sharing it with Texas through the United States Highway Beautification Act by encouraging the planting of bluebonnet seeds along Texas highways even after she left the White House.
Through researching for this article, I’ve learned that the bluebonnet’s color has significance tied to the Lonestar State’s history. The blue is representative of admiration, bravery and sacrifice of Texas’ history.
Today, the massive arrays Bluebonnet blooms are a common sight along Texas’ highways to the backroads every Spring. They serve as a popular backdrop for family photographs and are a photographer’s dream.
So, you can see why visiting Texas Hill Country in early Spring is one of our personal U.S. travel destinations!
When do the Texas Bluebonnets bloom?
Typically, the Texas Bluebonnet blooming seasons starts about mid March in the southern portions of the state. But, in northern Texas, you’ll have to wait even as late as early May before seeing the blue start to peak.
Like the southwestern U.S. super bloom , blooming abundance all hinges on the weather. The famous blue wildflowers can bloom early if Texas has a warm and mild winter.
On the other hand, if the Lonestar State experiences several late frosts, don’t be surprised when the blooming season lags from a few days to even a couple weeks.
In the center of the state, known as Texas Hill Country, you can typically expect to see the seasonal Bluebonnet bloom nearing the end of March into early April.
That said, depending on the weather conditions, you may see a sporadic bluebonnet blooms earlier or later than the usual blooming season.
The Bluebonnet plants mature their seeds about 2 weeks after their full bloom. The seeds of the bluebonnet have a hard exterior to protect it from drought.
It’s said that when the preceding winter is wet, expect a more flourishing bloom. So, pray for rain in the winter!
How long does the Texas Bluebonnet Spring bloom last?
Again, the weather has everything to do with when and how long the Texas super bloom starts and ends.
Typically, the bloom lasts only about a month. However, there may be sporadic blooms at different times of the year and in different locations.
Do Bluebonnets give off an aroma?
Personally, I’ve not gotten down on my hands and knees to smell the bluebonnets.
Reason being, rattlesnakes are known to bask in the sun and roam amidst the flowering plants. I’m not in any hurry of meeting one head-to-head (and neither should you!).
That said, some say they smell really sweet while others say they have no odor. Who knows? At least I won’t!
Why do some Bluebonnets turn white, pink or dark red?
In some of the best places to see bluebonnets, you may notice some are white to even dark red. According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, these other-than-blue bluebonnets are mainly due to genetic mutation.
Are Bluebonnets edible?
Actually, bluebonnet seeds are highly toxic if eaten. As a member of the Lupinus family, the whole plant is poisonous from the leaves to the seeds.
In fact, though grazing longhorn steers and cows share the same fields, they avoid eating them because of their toxicity. (who said cows are stupid?)
Signs of bluebonnet poisoning affect the nervous system and are similar to those of nicotine use.
So, if your child or pets ingest bluebonnets, especially the seeds, you need to call the local poison control center and get them to the doctor and/or emergency room. This is good reason for not allowing your children and pets to traipse through the abundant blue wildflowers.
That said, there are some farm animals, like goats and sheep, that seemingly enjoy the taste of bluebonnets and aren’t affected by the toxicity of the plants.
However, there are benefits of the Bluebonnet. Oddly, those benefits come from the soil where the plant attracts a bacteria called Rhizobium. It converts nitrogen into a very fertile habitat for other plants to grow and thrive.
And finally, the Genista Broom Moth (Uresiphita reversalis) caterpillar is known to chomp at the leaves of bluebonnet plants.
Can you pick or pose for photos in the Bluebonnets?
I absolutely cringe sharing this part of this article. Because to some, it may sound presumptuous; even amongst friends and family. But, this is really important.
We love seeing all of the beautiful photos of bluebonnet super blooms shared on Instagram, Facebook, in blogs and articles, etc. However, people are haphazardly posing in the middle of the bluebonnets which smashes and kills the flowers and future blooms.
In fact, this seemingly is also a common practice we witnessed during the super bloom in California as well.
So, please heed my advice; DON’T! This goes against everything about the Leave No Trace principles.
While the lush and beautiful blue wildflower fields may try to lure you in to get that perfect Instagram shot, be aware there’s lots of dangerous goings-ons under the mesmerizing bluebonnets.
From rattlesnakes to fire ants and cactus plants, it’s just not the ideal place to plop down for a family portrait or lay back in the field to get that memorable shot.
I’ve personally witnessed several rattlesnakes amidst the bluebonnets myself! Hence, why you’ll never see me running through the Texas hillside bluebonnet fields singing ‘the hills are alive with the sound of music’.
You should also never step on or trample, sit or lay on the bluebonnets because it injures and eventually kills the flower blossoms and plants. This lessens the seed production which depletes the enjoyment of seeing them.
But also, doing so also interrupts and affects the pollination process for our bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t get some great shots of this amazing blue floral extravaganza. There’s plenty of beautiful places to see the bluebonnets to photograph them without stepping on them or posing in the middle of them.
This also includes allowing your dog to frolic in the bluebonnet fields.
Is it illegal to pick Bluebonnets?
“You can pick your friends, you can pick a place to eat, but please don’t pick the Bluebonnets!” – Always On Liberty
You’ll get many uniformed answers to the question if you are allowed to pick bluebonnets or not; especially being the Texas state flower.
Cited by Texas State Law Library (September 8, 2021):
“The Texas Dept. of Public Safety published a press release regarding bluebonnets in 2015. While it states that “there is no law against picking the state flower,” it urges you to consider other laws and other issues that might come into play — criminal trespassing, impeding traffic, damaging rights-of-way, etc.
Also keep in mind that apart from state law, local governments (e.g., counties, municipalities) can enact ordinances that might apply within your jurisdiction.
Now that said, we all need practice the leave no trace principles which includes leaving it better than you found it. This is for the continuance of the protection and preservation of our natural environments.
But also, so others can enjoy the same beauty; including our wildlife.
So, now that we’ve shared all the deets about the Texas Bluebonnets, get your camera’s ready! It’s time to check out Texas’ super bloom! Here’s a great informational compilation of the best places to see bluebonnets in Texas!
Best Places to See Bluebonnets in Texas
“Alongside the roads, nestled beside Prickly Pear Cacti and tucked into rock crevices, the Texas Bluebonnets are literally everywhere you look!”
Burnet, Texas may be a small city but as the saying goes, ‘everything’s big in Texas!’.
But, don’t let Burnet’s size sway you from visiting; especially during the Texas Bluebonnet bloom! Mass carpets of bluebonnets cover the pastures and hills making it the reason why Burnet is designated as the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas! Which, I guess it makes sense why Burnet is at the top of the list of best places to see bluebonnets in Texas!
But, let’s pull some double duty here. You’ll need to plan to visit Burnet every year during the 2nd weekend in April which is during the bluebonnet peak season anyway! The city of Burnet hosts their own Bluebonnet Festival which draws over 35,000 visitors annually.
Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail
Highland Lakes is comprised of three areas; Burnet, Llano and Marble Falls. This region boasts as one of the most favorite and best places to see the bluebonnets in Texas Hill Country as it thrives in the sandy and limestone grounds.
Highland Lakes has put together a great bluebonnet guide on where the best places to see the bluebonnets in the Highland Lakes Region.
And seriously, no road trip to or even near Marble Falls isn’t complete until you stop in for a home-cooked, diner style meal at the Blue Bonnet Cafe at 211 N US Hwy 281 in Marble Falls. But, make sure you save room for mile high Meringue pie! Our favorites are their Coconut Creme and Lemon! They’re ta die for!
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
From Fredericksburg via Texas 16 and along RR 965, take a jaunt over to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.
Right at the base of the big pink rock mound, you’ll be treated to amazing views of bluebonnets cohabitating next to the prickly pear cactus and widow’s tears.
Just be aware, all trails close 30 minutes after sunset, except the Loop Trail. And, the Summit Trail (up on the rock) may close in wet weather.
Turkey Bend Recreation Area
Along the Colorado River on the western side of Lake Travis between Marble Falls and Lago Vista lies another of our best places to see bluebonnets in Texas; the Turkey Bend Recreation Area.
In the peak spring blooming season, the Turkey Bend comes alive with mounds of Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and glorious white poppies throughout.
This 1146-acre LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) park in Marble Falls has 29 campsites (with picnic tables and grills) on the shores of Lake Travis. It’s prime location for canoeing and kayaking, fishing and swimming as well.
Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
Located along the shores of the Colorado River on the western side of Lake Travis to the south is Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area. It’s just a short jaunt from Austin, Texas in the town of Spicewood.
Their 5.4 mile hiking trail loops around incredibly beautiful fields of Bluebonnets and other wildflowers. But, only if the winter weather proves for a good bloom in the spring.
Muleshoe Bend has over 9 miles of trails, 41 tent campsites, and picnic tables to enjoy lunch outdoors. The highlight of this park exhibits miles of bluebonnets that typically bloom in mid March through late April.
It also has a park boat ramp to launch your kayak or paddle board or you can check out their on-site watercraft rentals.
Check out GeoExplorer Studio’s video of Muleshoe Bend during a bluebonnet bloom:
Fredericksburg, Texas is an amazing town to visit anytime of the year. But during the bluebonnet bloom, this Texas town of German influence is another of our best places to see bluebonnets in Texas! In fact, it’s one of our favorite towns to visit; especially in the Springtime.
You need to check out Wildseed Farms located just outside the small city limits.
It’s the nation’s largest working wildflower farm; boasting over 1,000 cultivated acres in Texas and over 200 acres of wildflower fields at its Hill Country headquarters outside of Fredericksburg.
You can stroll through the pathways that wind through the magnificent bluebonnet fields.
Just past Fredericksburg on the way to Johnson City, flower peepers can enjoy seeing over 400 species of wildflowers, including the Texas Bluebonnets at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site.
Take time to enjoy an afternoon in LBJ Country Tour while you’re there. Explore the park on easy trails.
The Fredericksburg Trolley vintage-style vehicles offer a novel option for wildflower scouting.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous and blood-pumping outdoor excursion, definitely book a guided bicycle ride with Texas Bike Tours.
And, for a relaxing day to enjoy the scenery or sample wines, definitely hook up a reservation with one of Fredericksburg’s Wine Tours.
✰ PRO TIP ✰ Make Fredericksburg Texas your next Hill Country Adventure Destination First Time Visitor’s Guide to Fredericksburg, Texas
Willow City Loop
According to the Full Moon Inn Bed and Breakfast in Fredericksburg, if you’re looking for Bluebonnets, they’re most plentiful in the northern part of the Hill Country.
If you’re traveling from Fredericksburg to Llano take highway 16 to the Willow City Loop. The Willow City Loop winds along 13 miles of private ranches.
Beginning at Willow City Loop, the Bluebonnets literally grow everywhere! They even spring up between the cattle guard bars and ditches.
And, while it may be tempting to get out of your car and traipse through the bluebonnet fields, know that you will be trespassing. So, just stay on the edge of the road to take your breathtaking photos.
You won’t need to walk far anyways. It’s easy to see them peppering the landscape throughout the flood washes and as well as fields alongside the road.
The Willow City Loop was actually my very first bluebonnet experience of seeing mass sea of blue bluebonnet wildflowers; stretching along the roadways and down in the distant valleys of US 281, US 290, and RR’s 1323, 1631, 2721, and 1320.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin has a large variety of wildflowers in the springtime. The bluebonnets bloom in especially intense masses during the season making it one of the best places to see the bluebonnets in Texas!
During your visit, you should stay past dusk to check out the Field of Light exhibit (2023)! It’s truly spectacular evening display to help bring people together outdoors.
Located in Austin, Texas, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is open year round at 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin, TX 78739.
✰ READ MORE ✰Springtime is a great time to visit Texas Hill Country! Read why we love to visit the beautiful town of Fredericksburg! Visitor’s Guide to Fredericksburg, Texas
“Where the rivers flow and bluebonnets grow” is Kingsland Kingsland Texas official slogan. And, it’s the reason why Kingsland made our list of best places to see bluebonnets in Texas.
But, a word to the wise, skip wearing flip flops and opt for more suitable walking shoes. You’re going to hike a little through the weeds to get to the abandoned train tracks that are overgrown with yes, amazingly beautiful bluebonnets!
Kingsland, Texas is located on the shores of the Colorado River and Lake Lyndon Baines Johnson or “Lake LBJ”. The tracks are off RR 1431 near CR 302 just outside of town.
Mason County is another of our best places to see bluebonnets in Texas because, well, you just have to see them for yourself.
According to the Mason County Chamber of Commerce, there’s three spectacular bluebonnet auto trails you just have to drive!
Also called the “Mason Historic Country Lanes”, the 3 different self-guided auto tours wind through the county on the back roads of Mason County.
- Drive #1: Fredonia – Pontotoc Drive
- Drive #2: James River Road
- Drive #3: Hilda Drive
Take it slow though, so you don’t miss the bluebonnets. But also, be aware these are narrow country roads.
San Antonio is widely known for The Alamo, Fiesta, the Rodeo and its’ beautiful winding River Walk.
But, amidst the hustle bustle city life of the Spanish influence, it’s also one of the best places to see the Texas bluebonnets at the San Antonio Botanic Garden.
Located on the northeast part of San Antonio, there’s quite a few trails that wind through the variations of biomes in Texas.
They have a beautiful flourishing garden of wildflowers that of course, showcase the Texas Bluebonnets as well as Prickly Pears and other wildflowers.
For other bluebonnet super bloom locations in The Alamo City, check out San Antonio Things to Do’s article, Best Bluebonnet Fields and Places Near San Antonio.
Ennis is another town in Texas Hill Country that boasts they have the biggest regional bluebonnet display of nature in Texas.
According to Parenthood and Passports in their article Ennis Bluebonnet Trails – The #1 Best Wildflower Route in Texas, they tell you about three trails in Ennis (just outside of Dallas-Fort Worth) where you can see the lush pastures of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush. I love their picturesque description:
“The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails include 40 miles of mapped driving trails. Along the popular wildflower route, you will find field upon field of Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush. The scenic trails wind thought tiny country roads, passed longhorns, donkeys, horses, and picturesque barns, antique cars and even wineries.” –Parenthood and Passports
But another great reason to visit Ennis during the springtime bluebonnet season is the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival!
The fair takes place usually during the 3rd week of April as the bluebonnets are typically in bloom! There’s great entertainment, food, arts and crafts and activities for families.
Big Bend National Park
At Big Bend, everything seems bigger because it is; including the Bluebonnets! That’s because the Harvard bluebonnets, also known as the Big Bend Bluebonnets, grow anywhere from 1 to 3 feet high with the flowers on the upper 4 to 8 inches of the stem.
While growing conditions are harsh in the Chisos Mountains, the Bluebonnet has learned to adapt to the soils and weather. After the blooms are spent, the seeds find their way into rock crevices; oftentimes staying dormant for a few years.
But, when Big Bend National Park receives ample rains in the fall and winter, it sets the perfect scene to take place in the spring with explosions of blue spring out from the rocks.
In years of normal expected precipitation, the Big Bend bluebonnet grows thickly along the park’s paved roads.
During a superbloom year, the monstrous size bluebonnets pepper the rocky landscapes with sprigs of brilliant blue clusters.
Some report the best areas to take amazing photos of the bluebonnets are the area around Cerro Castellan and both, East and West River Roads. And sunset seems to be a favorite time of day to score exceptional shots of beauty!
Unlike Hill Country’s peak season of bloom, the best time to see the bluebonnets is before Spring in February through March, even as late as early April.
If you can’t make the trip to this out-of-the-way National Park, then check out Images of Texas for their sensational photographs taken at Big Bend National Park during the bluebonnet blooms.
✰ READ MORE ✰ Make Terlingua your next amazing Texas vacation destination: Top Things to Do in Terlingua, Texas – Places to Eat, Stay & Play!
If you’re looking for an amazing RV Resort in Texas Hill Country near San Antonio with great amenities and a golf course, watch our video:
Final thoughts on best places to see Bluebonnets in Texas
The perfect time to visit the Lonestar State is for good reason! It’s to see the vast seas of bluebonnets amidst the rolling hills of Texas.
The bluebonnet season is Texas’ version of their Super Bloom that attracts pollinators, picture takers and people! If you’ve never seen the bluebonnets up close, then plan to visit Texas in the Spring!
You surely won’t regret seeing these best places to see bluebonnets in Texas!
✰ PRO TIP ✰ Stay up to date on where are the best places to see the bluebonnets in Texas! →Texas Wildflower Bloom Report
Bluebonnet Photography Tips
Drive respectfully and only park in legal designated parking locations.
Refrain from stepping, walking, sitting or laying on the flowering plants. Doing so will injure or kill the plants. Dead plants make no seeds for next year’s production.
Avoid stopping your vehicle and walking on the highway or even the breakdown lane. It is illegal in Texas to do that!
Respect property owners; do not walk even to take photos on personal property or land. Pay attention to purple fence posts and no trespassing signs.
Be aware of bees. Do not swat, injure, squash or kill them. Our planet needs them! If you or someone in your party is allergic to bees, it may mean sitting in the vehicle to take photos.
Mind your children and pets. Do not allow them to roam freely through the fields or eat the plants. While it’s not illegal to pick or collect bouquets of bluebonnets, it’s advised to leave them for others to enjoy.
Adhere to the Leave No Trace principles. Take nothing but photos and memories.
Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s bluebonnet areas. The center provides stands in safer locations to truly enjoy the blossoms and get those amazing photographs to share with your friends and family. And yes, of course you can post them on Instagram!
Learn how to take fantastic photos on your smartphone before you go on your road trip!
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The Texas Bluebonnet season typically lasts a short time from March into April. These natural treasures attract countless visitors each year across the Lonestar State.
While we all want to enjoy these magnificent wildflower blooms that stretch along the Lonestar State’s highways, byways and backroads, it’s important to practice the outdoor leave no trace principles.
Let’s all put our best foot forward to protect the Texas Bluebonnets so we and our future generations can enjoy them for years to come.
Fun Things to Do in San Antonio & Texas Hill Country
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best places to see bluebonnets in Texas
best places to see bluebonnets in Texas