Culture / Travel

Where to See Bluebonnets and Other Wonderful Texas Wildflowers — From Brenham to Fredericksburg to Ennis

It's the Season Where Color Reigns in the Lone Star State

BY // 03.30.22

Every spring, Texas welcomes back more than 5,000 wildflower species. It’s like a raucous family reunion, only way more colorful. The wildflowers, including those beloved bluebonnets, are among the earliest settlers of Texas and they come back every year, almost right on cue. Peak viewing typically runs late March through April.

This is the time to search out these natural wonders along trails and backroads. Your chance to soak up a sea of blooms by the roadside and in quaint Texas hamlets is here. What’s better than being mesmerized by fields exploding with nature’s most tranquil fireworks displays?

Here’s your guide to finding bluebonnets and other wonderful wildflowers in the Lone Star State:

Fredericksburg Flower Power

The Texas Hill Country is known for its Germanic immigrant roots and its winery laden lands, with many a burgeoning vineyard. But that’s not all that has taken root in this rolling and often craggy landscape. The Hill Country is also one of the most breathtaking springtime destinations in the state, with bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush and Mexican Hat all plentiful.

Where to See Wildflowers in Fredericksburg

Wildseed Farms is the nation’s largest working wildflower farm. It’s a place where you can experience splashes of serious color and walk pathways that wind through eye-popping fields, draped with bluebonnets.

You’ll also find a working vineyard and tasting rooms at Wildseed. Currently, Wildseed Vineyards is producing everything from Mourvèdre red to Albarino white and even a rosé.

Another flower viewing option in the area is to join the swarm of day trippers on what is called the Willow City Loop, a 13 mile trail that winds along lush meadows and farmland near Fredricksburg. Most of the property you will pass is privately owned, so just enjoy the vistas along this drive. Stopping and trespassing for photos is a no-no.

To find the Willow City Loop, head North on Route 16 toward Eckert, go east on Ranch Road 1323 for about three miles, then turn left.

Where to Stay in Fredericksburg

Wine Country Cottages is an enclave of beautifully appointed bed and breakfast cabins located on Main Street in Fredericksburg. They sport fresh flowers, spa bathrooms, hot tubs and gourmet wet bars stocked with locally sourced pastries and coffees. Other amenities include trellis-covered porches, porch swings and communal fire pits to hang out around at night.

Vaudeville Restaurant is as swank as it gets in Fredericksburg.

Where to Eat in Fredericksburg

Vaudeville Restaurant is located on East Main Street. This classy new American bistro serves up seasonal menus, featuring local farmers’ produce. Stop in for lunch or dinner, or to peruse the selection of upscale pantry staples in Vaudeville’s market. You’ll find cured meats, cheeses, vinegars, oils and even caviar.

The upstairs boutique is filled with wonders as well. Pro Tip: Get in line early if you hope to score a table at lunch.

Keep Austin Weird and Wildflowered

For wildflowers blooming near the big city, Austin has you covered. You can spend the day in awe of nature and still take in the night life on Sixth Street. That’s a win-win.

Austin is steeped in history, nestled on banks of the beautiful Colorado River. Austin’s rugged geography, along with its unique geology and climate provide the environmental trifecta that produces some of the most spectacular wildflower displays in Texas. This makes it one of the state’s great springtime destination.

Where to See Texas Wildflowers in Austin

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center celebrates the passion of Texas’ former First Lady. Check the calendar and join one of the docent-led tours to learn about native plant species, the history and the architecture of the Wildflower Center. The mission of the Wildflower Center focuses on the conservation of native plants, with the aim to display them in natural landscapes.

If you want to get a Texas wildflower education, this is the place.

Where to Stay in Austin

The Hotel San Jose on South Congress Avenue is a minimalist oasis, designed by Austin’s most famous hotelier Liz Lambert. A former rundown motor court has been lovingly transformed into a luxurious retreat. Rooms are modern, minimal with just a sprinkle of that unique Austin weird that you expect. It’s a comfortable, convenient and boutique.

Hotel San Jose in Austin makes a good home base for a visit to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Where to Eat in Austin

Maudie’s Hacienda is quintessential Austin Tex-Mex. With more than 25 years in the business and seven restaurant locations now dotted around the area, expect a relaxed bar with antler chandeliers overhead. You can get nachos, quesadillas or the Strait Plate which consists of three beef enchiladas, smothered in chile con carne and topped with two fried eggs.

Marble Falls: The Bluebonnet Capital of Texas

The Hill Country terrain around sleepy Marble Falls can be dramatic, with limestone cliffs, granite outcroppings and hidden springs flowing around this storybook village. In fact, much of Austin’s iconic and historic limestone architecture was actually quarried from Marble Falls. The rugged terrain also produces swoon worthy Texas wildflowers, which are the products of the Lone Star State’s diverse ecosystems and landscapes.

Downtown Marble Falls has plenty of small town shopping and art galleries to enjoy. Plus, it’s a quick trip to Burnet, where Inks Lake State Park has been recognized by the Texas Legislature as The Bluebonnet Capital of Texas.

Where to See Bluebonnets in Marble Falls

Known as the Highland Lakes Region these country roads are almost wildflower heaven. Hike around Turkey Bend Recreation Area, bike or just drive through Marble Falls, Horseshoe Bay, Kingsland, Burnet, Llano and all around around Lake Buchanan. The roadways are simply littered with blooms on either side. County Roads 309 and 120 and Farm to Market 962 rarely disappoint.

Another must-see stop is The Bluebonnet House. It has long been an iconic backdrop for photographers. Located at 4554 North Highway 281 in Marble Falls, this Burnet County landmark is an abandoned two-story, mid-19th century limestone structure, resting on an idyllic and unspoiled swath of prairie. Shutterbugs swarm around the outside of the fence to capture this peaceful and romantic scene from sun up to sun down.

The state flower is about to drape the state in bluebonnets. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

Where to Stay in Marble Falls

Horseshoe Bay Resort is nestled along the shores of Lake LBJ and it’s one of the nicest lodging choices near Marble Falls. Classy resort accommodations are enhanced by access to a full spa, an adjacent golf course and plenty of lake activities. Recently refreshed, the resort boasts clean and modern appointments.

Where to Eat in Marble Falls

The Blue Bonnet Cafe on Main Street is an institution. It serves breakfast all day and fabulous pies, included the famed mile-high meringues. Blue Bonnet Cafe has been around since 1929 — and it’s been in its current location since 1946.

And here’s a fun fact. The restaurant is not named after the Texas state flower — the bluebonnet. It’s named after a prairie-chic hat or blue bonnet. So for all of you with an English teacher’s eye, the sign is not misspelled at all.

Brenham’s Brazos Beauty

Nothing could be sweeter than a trip to Brenham. After all, even the cows think it’s heaven. The hamlet is surrounded by flowers and there are regular live music events at the Concert Hall to get your toes tapping after a day of  flower seeing.

Check the calendar to find out when Brenham’s Farmers Market is held under the live oak trees in downtown. You’ll find an array of local produce, fresh baked goods, artisan items and a selection of food trucks at the farmers market.

Where to See Texas Wildflowers in Brenham

Washington County is situated smack dab in between Austin and Houston. This area is known as the Bluebonnet Trail and Brenham connects an 80-mile wonderland of scenic roads and wildflowers. Stop by the Visitor Center in downtown (115 W. Main Street) when you arrive, and they’ll supply you with a map and point you in the right direction to see the best panoramas of Texas wildflowers.

Plus, the chance to antique in Round Top is only a scenic nearby drive away.

Where to Stay in Brenham

The Ant Street Inn occupies a prime location on Main Street and it brings a historic, boutique bed and breakfast appeal without the chintz and ruffles (no grandma chic here). This is the perfect Brenham base for relaxing on the rocking chair-lined porch or exploring the town on foot.

Where to Eat in Brenham

Truth Barbeque will satisfy any cravings for juicy brisket, pork ribs and house-made sausage. You’ll also find down-home sides like corn pudding and tater tot casserole. Pit master Leonard Botello IV fired up his smokers in Brenham in 2015, before expanding to a new restaurant in Houston. While in Brenham, you should not miss the chance to taste the original, Texas Monthly‘s  No. 3 best barbecue joint in the state.

Of course, you can’t leave Brenham without a trip to Blue Bell Creameries, which have been churning out tasty ice creams since 1907. Get the scoop on how Texas’ favorite ice cream is made with a bird’s-eye view from the observation deck. Then pick your favorite flavor at the ice cream parlor.

Ennis: North Texas’ Bluebonnet Wonderland

Not all the bluebonnets are in South/Central Texas. The town of Ennis lays claim to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails, with more than 40 miles of mapped driving trails for peak viewing in the month of April. This year also marks 70 years of the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails and Festival.

Ennis Bluebonnet Trail is just filled with photo-ops.

Where to See Bluebonnets in Ennis

Less than an hours drive from Fort Worth, the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails are some of the oldest in Texas and Ennis has been designated as the home of the Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail by the Texas State Legislature and the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas.

Where to Stay in Ennis

The Winding Ridge Bed & Breakfast, located on an idyllic span of 22 acres, brings you to the farm. This farm is filled with donkeys, horses, chickens and goats. It boasts a classic Texas limestone farmhouse with a full wraparound porch lined with rocking chairs. Not to mention a covered patio for wine sipping and star gazing.

Where to Eat in Ennis

Bubba’s Barbeque and Steakhouse is a no frills, cafeteria style, roadhouse that satisfies locals and visitors alike. Along with barbecue served by the pound or the plate, you can enjoy grilled steaks and on Friday nights (until it sells out), the medium rare prime rib is available in 10, 12 or 14 ounce servings.

It’s high time for a springtime getaway, and those beloved bluebonnets and other Texas wildflowers await. It will make you appreciate calling this colorful state home.

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