The Texas bluebonnets are a big deal, each spring, in the state. In 1901, the Texas State Legislature named the bluebonnet the “Official State Flower of Texas.” While “Texas, Our Texas,” by William J. Marsh, was named the “Official State Song of Texas” by the Texas State Legislature in 1929, “Bluebonnets,” by Julia D. Booth and Lora C. Crockett, was designated the “Official State Flower Song of Texas” by the Texas State Legislature in 1933. In 1989, the Texas State Legislature named the Texas Bluebonnet Tartan, the “Official State Tartan of Texas.”
Wildflower Haven recently released the 2020 Texas Bluebonnet & Wildflower Report, which showcases the bluebonnet and wildflower conditions for the upcoming season. The report focuses on 5 main regions of the state- Big Bend, Brenham, Hill Country, North Central Texas and South Texas.
The Texas bluebonnet normally grows in all areas of the state, but the Texas Hill Country is one of the best areas to see them. Bluebonnets usually bloom from early March through mid-May, with the peak season being late March through mid-April. However, as stated above, it looks like this year will be slightly earlier than normal.
Best Places to See Bluebonnets in the Texas Hill Country
Burnet- Burnet is a city in Burnet County, with a population of approximately 5,987. It is located about 54 miles northwest of Austin. In 1981, the Texas State Legislature designated the city “The Official Bluebonnet Capital of Texas.” Since 1983, the Annual Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet draws in about 30,000 visitors each year. This year, the festival will be held from April 12-14 and festival events include arts and crafts vendors, car show, carnival, demolition derby, food vendors, live music, parade, wiener dog race and wildflower show.
Marble Falls- Marble Falls is a city in Burnet County, with a population of approximately 7,154. It is located about 58 miles northwest of Austin and 85 miles north of San Antonio. Marble Falls is home to Lake Marble Falls, which is one of 6 lakes- Austin, Buchanan, Inks, Lyndon B. Johnson (Lake LBJ), Marble Falls and Travis- which are part of the Texas Highland Lakes. The Bluebonnet House is referred to as such because of the sea of bluebonnets, around the house, each spring. The house, a mid-19th century old stone farmhouse, has been hailed as one of the most photographed houses in Texas. While the Bluebonnet House itself has a fence around it and sits on private property, the fields next to the house can be viewed when driving north on U.S. Route 281, from Blanco County. The Turkey Bend Recreation Area sits on 1,146 acres of land along Lake Travis. Each spring, the area becomes blanketed with carpets of bluebonnets. The Turkey Bend Recreation Area features 2 miles of shoreline, perfect for canoeing/kayaking, fishing and swimming, a 2-mile hiking trail, 29 campsites and a picnic area with picnic tables and BBQ grills.
Kingsland- Kingsland is a census-designated place in Llano County, with a population of approximately 6,030. It is located at the junction of the Colorado River and the Llano River, situated on the banks of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, or Lake LBJ for short. The best spot to see bluebonnets is the area of abandoned railroad tracks on Ranch to Market Road 1431 (RM 1431). Kingsland is often referred to as the place “where the rivers flow and bluebonnets grow.” Kingsland is the home of the Texas Chainsaw House, which was made famous in the 1974 horror movie- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It was the home of the Sawyer family- Leatherface, Drayton, Nubbins and Grandpa.
Austin- Austin is the capital city of Texas in Travis County, with a population of approximately 950,715. It is located about 74 miles northeast of San Antonio, 146 miles northwest of Houston and 182 miles south of Dallas. For those who want to see bluebonnets, but don’t want to deal with the driving aspect, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center may be the answer. The center, located on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin, is the State Arboretum and Botanical Garden of Texas. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was founded in 1982 by Lady Bird Johnson (former First Lady of the United States, wife of Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States) and Helen Hayes (an award-winning actress and philanthropist). Set on 284 acres of gardens, savannas and woodlands, the center is home to 1,800 insect species, 148+ bird species, 15+ mammal species, 70+ Texas native tree species, 970+ Texas native plant species and 60,000 plants that grow onsite annually. The McKinney Falls State Park, part of the El Camino Real de Los Tejas National Historic Trail, sits on 726 acres at the junction of Onion Creek and Williamson Creek. Each spring, the park features swatches of bluebonnets.
Best Places to See Bluebonnets Outside of the Texas Hill Country
Brenham- Brenham is a city in Washington County, with a population of approximately 15,716. It is located about halfway between Houston and Austin, about 70 miles northwest of Houston and 90 miles east of Austin. The city prides itself on being renowned as the “heart of Texas bluebonnet country.” Brenham is also well-known because it is the headquarters of Blue Bell Creameries, which was founded in 1907. Each spring, visitors come from all over to drive the 80 miles of scenic roads throughout Washington County, lined with Texas wildflowers, including Brenham, Burton, Chappell Hill, Independence and Washington-on-the-Brazos. The Brenham Chamber of Commerce features a Wildflower Watch page, providing current updates on where wildflower blooms have been spotted in and around Brenham.
Ennis- Ennis is a city in Ellis County, with a population of approximately 18,513. It is located in the southeastern portion of the Dallas- Fort Worth Metroplex, about 35 miles south of Dallas. In 1997, the Texas State Legislature designated the city “The Official Bluebonnet City of Texas” and home of “The Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail.” From April 1-30, visitors can drive over 40 miles of mapped routes, which make up the Bluebonnet Trail. While the routes stay the same each year, the trails where the bluebonnets bloom the most may change. The city of Ennis also hosts their Annual Bluebonnet Trails Festival, which this year will be held from April 12-14. Events of the festival include arts and crafts vendors, farmers market, food vendors, live music, wildflower walks and wine tastings.