KATY MAGAZINE | April 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
Family pictures in fields of bluebonnets are as Texan as rodeos, football, and pecan pie. Each spring, Katyites hit the highways in search of picturesque bluebonnet backdrops for this annual family tradition. Heavy rainfall earlier this year, combined with warmer temperatures, has blessed Texas with some of the most plentiful bluebonnets seen in years. Here's what Katy families need to know about where to go and how to stay safe on their bluebonnet adventure.
Ava, Cannon, and Maddie. Photo by Amanda Green Photography
Wildflower Hunts and Road Trips
Pack your picnic basket, load up the family, and head west on Highway 290 toward Brenham and College Station. Long before road trip boredom sets in, you'll be stopping to take pictures of the beautiful blooms!
For a truly spectacular display of bluebonnets and other wildflowers, head to the Texas Hill Country. Follow the Bluebonnet Trail through the waterfront communities of the Highland Lakes and drive around Horseshoe Bay. Consider planning a weekend trip to take in the beauty of the colorful fields.
Popular Texas Wildflower Destinations
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Located in southwest Austin, the center’s mission is “to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.”
The center covers 284 acres with cultivated gardens and a 16-acre arboretum. More than 900 species of native Texas plants have been cultivated or grow there naturally. Visitors can participate in a variety of programs like garden tours and year-round, seasonal activities.
Burnet Bluebonnet Festival
Texas legislature has recognized Burnet as the "Bluebonnet Capital of Texas." Each spring, the small town, nestled on the edge of the spectacular Texas Hill Country, about 50 miles northwest of Austin, hosts its annual Bluebonnet Festival. The festival features a pageant, carnival, car show, arts and crafts, fun run, parade, music and more. This year the festival runs April 12-14. Learn more at their website.
Wimberley Flowers and Market Days
Near San Marcos, you'll find many bluebonnet photo ops in the small town of Wimberley. You can spend the day walking through Wimberley's charming town square and quaint shops and impressive galleries.
On the first Saturday of the month, April through December, you can shop for treasures during Wimberely's Market Days. More than 450 booths of arts, crafts and housewares, make Texas’ second largest flea market a must-see! April 27th marks their 21st Annual Butterfly Festival where they will release over 3800 butterflies throughout the day.
From Wimberley, you can also take a scenic drive along the Devil’s Backbone, often called one of Texas' most beautiful drives.
Fredericksburg Wildseed Farms
Head west on U.S. 290 to Fredericksburg and you’ll reach Wildseed Farms, the largest working wildflower farm in the country. You'll find great photo opportunities in "The Meadows," their flower fields. During the spring, you can see a lovely field of poppies or lavender, and in the summer, the cosmos or zinnias are in full bloom.
The Butterfly Haus captivates old and young alike with the miracle of live native Texas butterflies hatching. Learn about the individual species as well as the plants that they love most.
Boerne Creates Wildflower Lovers' Dream
About 30 miles northwest of San Antonio sits Boerne, with its historic downtown. The town and surrounding area, including the Cibolo Wilderness Trail and Nature Center, provide a wonderful landscape of wildflowers.
More than 100 acres of Boerne City Park showcase the development of a reclaimed prairie and marsh. There, you’ll find an historic farm and prairie, creek side, and marsh loop walking trails that wind past native plants and wildflowers as well as birds and animals native to the Hill Country.
Hunter and Hayden Sitton show their sibling love in a field of bluebonnets. Photo Credit: Haven Photography
Safety Tips For Wildflower Hunting
Texas wildflowers are a spectacular site to behold. Be careful, though, if you get caught up in their beauty, you could put yourself in danger.
Keep Eyes on the Road- Countless Texas families make the drive each year looking for wildflowers. Remember, the driver's eyes need to be on the road and not the pretty flowers.
Park Safely- Pull your car over safely and park on the correct side of the road (with traffic, not against). Park far enough off of the road to ensure your family's safety, and the safety of other drivers on the road.
Road Crossing- Remember to follow safe road crossing practices.
Snakes- Wildflowers grow in fields among the weeds and tall grass, a perfect and natural hiding spot for snakes and other wild critters. Before sitting your family down for that perfect photo, check the area before a slithering friend photo bombs your shot. Snakes don't want to be around you just as much as you don't want them around. Walk with strong, loud steps; the noise could frighten them away.
Know the Law- While it is not against the law to pick Texas bluebonnets or wildflowers, it is illegal to pick or destroy any flowers in a state park. Always know your surroundings and obey the laws to avoid any tickets or fines.
Do your Homework
Planning your perfect bluebonnet and wildflower road trip? Here are some resources to help:
The site is updated regularly and reports spectacular wildflower sightings by region.
Learn about the preservation of native Texas wildflower species, attend programs, take tours and more.
When to go
Typically, the early morning, around 9:30 am, or the early evening before dusk, provides the best natural light. Remember, young children have short attention spans and will be happiest running among the flowers. Candid, real-life moments often result in the best photos, so don't struggle to pose the kiddos. Somethings are best left to Mother Nature.
Take advantage of this wonderful Texas wildflower season. Capture those family moments, and be safe.