Follow our 2023 Texas Bluebonnet Roadmap and check out the best places to see bluebonnets in Texas!
Although February seems intent on dragging out the frigid winter weather, spring is right around the corner here in Texas. That means that soon, the Texas Hill Country will be painted in beautiful shades of blue as Texas bluebonnets - our state flower - begin to bloom again!
Now more than ever, Texans look to the great outdoors for fun family activities to get us out of the house, and the Texas Bluebonnet Trail is the perfect opportunity. With so many gorgeous towns on this bluebonnet tour, like Kingsland, Marble Falls, Burnet, Brenham, Ennis, and Austin, you can pick your favorite or plan a road trip to see them all! Read on as we take you on a tour of the best places to see bluebonnets in Texas!
"Bluebonnets near me"
Each year as we ramp up for spring, thousands of Texans take to the internet, searching through the pages of Google for "bluebonnets near me" in hopes of stumbling across a site that will show them the perfect wildflower field where they can catch a glimpse of our beautiful state flower, the Texas Bluebonnet. There are a number of amazing resources that pop up in the results, to be sure, but Germania's home office sits right in the heart of prime bluebonnet territory - Brenham, TX!
Every year, we see fields of blue spring up all around us; Texas bluebonnets line every road leading in and out of town, they grow around nearly every building and in every park, and all we have to do is look out the office window to see bluebonnet flowers adorning the landscape. Even then, many of us still take time to drive through Texas to find the best spots. The point is - we know where to find bluebonnets near you!
That's why we take special care each year to bring this list to our fellow bluebonnet-loving Texans - it's one of our favorite topics to write about! We want to make sure that every Texan gets the chance to enjoy this special time of year. So let's get to it: The 2023 Texas Bluebonnet Roadmap!
Germania HQ - Brenham, TX - The heart of bluebonnet country!
The 2023 Texas Bluebonnet Roadmap
Before we look at the best places to see bluebonnets along the Texas Bluebonnet Trail, let's look at the trail itself! As you can see, it makes quite the loop around the Texas Hill Country. Of course, you're unlikely to go through the entire 550 miles in a single day, but there are plenty of places you can hop on for a leisurely day trip.
As you go through our list, you'll notice that this map doesn't include Big Bend National Park, which is an entire trip unto itself. It's about an 8 hour drive from Central Texas, which makes it more of a vacation destination than a day trip. That having been said, if you're looking for a truly magical family camping trip, Big Bend can be an enchanting place - especially when the bluebonnets are in bloom!
Located just outside of Llano, the quaint town of Kingsland isn’t accustomed to a lot of visitors — making it a great choice for the bluebonnet tour. There are plenty of hot spots Kingsland has for visitors to catch Texas bluebonnets, including abandoned machinery and railroad tracks that have been taken over by the bluebonnets.
2. Marble Falls
Marble Falls has incredibly gorgeous scenery, including lakes, hills and rivers. Visit Marble Falls to explore the town and watch as the brilliant bluebonnets grow and coat it. Plus, it’s right next to Kingsland and Burnet, which creates a great trio of places if you’re short on time.
For one of the most iconic spots to see Texas bluebonnets, you'll want to make sure to stop just north of Marble Falls and catch a glimpse of the famous Bluebonnet House (pictured above)! It's just off the side of the Highway 281 north on the way to Burnet. The land is private, but there are plenty of places to (safely) stop for a good look.
The city of Burnet is officially recognized by the Texas legislature as the “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas”. Not only are the Texas bluebonnets strewn across the hills and pastures, but Burnet also has a large bluebonnet festival. This year's 40th annual Bluebonnet Festival
takes place April 7-9 (Easter Weekend) and offers live music, games, food, drinks, and more! 300,000 people attend every year, making it a destination worth visiting.
The whole of Washington County is brimming with Texas bluebonnets and Brenham is right in the center. While Brenham is a perfect rest stop on the bluebonnet trail, it is a wonderful destination in its own right. Brenham has a number of places to stay, places to eat and endless wildflower fields that are filled with bluebonnets. In addition to having photo opportunities, it also has a number of safe places to park. This isn’t always true when chasing photo ops, so definitely take advantage.
The Ennis Garden Club usually starts its pursuit of bluebonnets in April, sharing the flower growth information with the Ennis Convention Center. Consider making this one of your major stops as the entire town loves their Texas bluebonnets and celebrates each spring with over 40 miles of mapped bluebonnet trails and a festival of their own!
This year, the Ennis Bluebonnet Trail is open April 1-30, with the Ennis Bluebonnet Trail Festival
taking place April 14-16.
6. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (Austin)
Named after the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, this wildflower park and research center
is home to nearly 900 species of native Texas wildflowers and plants. With a variety of trails that gently loop through both meadows and gardens alike, you can spend an entire day casually exploring the scenery or even book guided tours. They host a number of educational programs for adults and children that teach the importance of conservation and cultivate an appreciation for the natural beauty Texas has to offer.
It goes without saying that Texas' state flower blooms in abundance here during the spring months, making it a perfect spot for a day full of bluebonnet gazing with the family.
7. Big Bend National Park
While our last destination is off of the traditional Texas bluebonnet trail, it is well worth the trip if you're looking for a unique and enchanting bluebonnet experience.
In 2019, something spectacular happened amidst the rocky landscape of Big Bend National Park. The previous October brought abnormal amounts of rain to the West Texas park, which gave way to a rare bluebonnet "super bloom."
All across the 800,000-acre park, the barren fields sprang to life with these beautiful flowers, painting the red landscape a brilliant shade of blue. If you're fond of camping, hiking, and breathtaking bluebonnet views, Big Bend is a must-see destination.
Often reaching heights of up to 3 feet, the Big Bend Bluebonnet (Lupinus havardii)
is thinner and taller than its cousins in the state's interior. While, we may not see another super bloom for some time, you can find these gorgeous flowers blooming throughout the spring.
A few facts about Texas bluebonnets
The Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)
has been the state flower of Texas since 1901 and holds a special place in any Texan's heart. They are hardy and rugged, yet beautiful flowers that blanket roadsides, pastures, and meadows across the state every spring. Because they complete their entire life cycle within a single season - they germinate, flower, seed, and die - they are considered annual plants (as opposed to perennial plants).
Quick fact: Although many people write "blue bonnet" as two separate words, "bluebonnet" is actually all one word!
Bluebonnets begin their lives as small, gravel-like seeds that can lay dormant for months and sometimes years before seedlings emerge. They usually sprout in October and grow slowly through the winter before rapidly growing and blossoming in the spring, often in late March and April. They are well adapted to the unpredictable Texas winters and hold up well to frost and freezing. After germinating, their roots dig deep into the soil where they are protected from the cold. This means that, despite the hard freezes and frozen precipitation brought by the recent Texas winter, our bluebonnets will be in good shape and should bloom more or less on schedule. Not even the winter storm of February 2021 could stop them!
As their name suggests, bluebonnets are almost always blue. However, if you've ever seen them in shades of white, pink, or even maroon (which are known as 'Texas Maroon' or 'Alamo Fire' bluebonnets), you know that they can come in a variety of colors. This is due to slight genetic variations that can occur, which usually don't last for long in the wild. So if you spot one, consider yourself lucky!
A maroon 'Alamo Fire' Texas Bluebonnet (left) and a white Texas Bluebonnet (right)
While the term "bluebonnet" can refer to many different species of flowers across the Southwest, there are three subspecies that we consider the "Texas State Flower": the titular Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis), the sandyland bluebonnet (Lupinus subcarnosus), and the Big Bend bluebonnet (Lupinus havardii).
Aside from being beautiful flowers with a lovely scent, bluebonnets are an important part of the Texas ecosystem. They enrich soil by "fixing nitrogen," which means they take nitrogen out of the air and convert it into a plant-friendly form. Their vibrant flowers aren't just attractive to us humans - they're irresistible to many species of pollinators which help ensure future generations of many plant species.
Is it illegal to pick bluebonnets in Texas?
You may have heard the rumor that it is illegal to pick bluebonnets in Texas. The truth is, it's a little more complicated than that. While it isn't technically illegal to pick bluebonnets
, wandering onto private property to do so is. On public property, you may not be breaking any laws by picking a bluebonnet, but wildflower experts ask that you refrain from doing so.
Picking one or two flowers may not be too damaging, but if everyone did the same, we could actually disrupt their lifecycle in certain areas and leave large bald patches in an otherwise beautiful field. Bluebonnets are for all Texans to enjoy, so it's important to leave them undisturbed.
If you'd like to make a beautiful bouquet of bluebonnets and other wildflowers, consider growing them in your garden
Safety precautions when visiting Texas bluebonnet fields
Many of the areas you will travel to in pursuit of bluebonnets can be very rural. Always follow safety precautions and be careful when leaving the road. Find a safe place to park and obey any posted signs. DO NOT trespass and only venture onto private property if you have the owner's permission.
Bluebonnet fields may be beautiful on the surface, but can be potentially dangerous below. Because these flowery fields can be so dense, they often provide shelter to animals like snakes
. Be cautious when moving around and through these areas, especially if you plan on crouching or sitting for a photo.
Our Texas State Flower is beautiful, but can be deadly. That's right, bluebonnets are actually toxic to both humans and animals when ingested. This is yet another good reason to avoid picking these flowers! If you're exploring the bluebonnet trail with children or pets, make sure to keep an eye on them.
Finally, never travel alone off the beaten path. Take a travel buddy with you or at the very least, make sure someone knows where you are and when you plan to return.
Hit the bluebonnet trail!
Bluebonnet season is one of the most exciting, beautiful and scenic experiences of spring in Texas. You can become a part of this incredible tradition by planning your road trip today! And remember, as tempting as it may be, don’t pick the wildflowers. Take photos, not flowers!
For more than 125 years, Germania Insurance has served Texans from our home office in Brenham - the heart of Texas Bluebonnet Country! For more information about Germania and our insurance products, request a free quote online, or reach out to one of our trusted agents today!
If you're out on the Texas Bluebonnet Trail, you won't want to find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Read our blog to learn all about roadside assistance coverage and how it can help you out of a tight spot