This post was contributed by Ben Holt of Lawnstarter.
Visiting the Texas Hill Country in the spring and summer is like walking through Mother Nature’s art gallery. Vibrant creations are on display. A stunning color palette beckons you closer. Careful not to trample the tiny masterpieces, you drop to the ground and snap a quick picture. This vivid photo opportunity is temporary; the beauty eventually fades. For Texans, it’s an annual ritual to capture this fleeting color explosion. Welcome to wildflower season in Central Texas.
Austin area natives and newcomers soak up the scenery year-round. Wildflowers aren’t the only things growing in the state capital. The quality of life here fuels constant expansion. An estimated 150 new residents make their home here every day. Have you explored the sites that attract them? Experience the allure for yourself on trails through the heart of the city, out to the suburbs and beyond.
Bluebonnets are the star of the spring wildflower show across Texas. Legislators named it the official state flower in 1901. Gorgeous supporting players include Indian paintbrush, Indian blanket, and pink evening primrose. Here are the local trails where you’ll find them.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Texas wouldn’t be the wildflower showcase that it is without the work of Lady Bird Johnson. The former first lady’s environmental efforts included beautifying our nation’s highways with native plants. You’ll enjoy brilliant landscapes and learn about conservation at the wildflower center in South Austin that bears her name.
Capital of Texas Highway
Navigating rush hour traffic is infinitely better if you’re surrounded by a floral rainbow. The Capital of Texas Highway, aka Loop 360, in West Austin, features miles of red, yellow, and blue wildflowers. (Commuters enjoy the visuals in December when locals decorate the roadside trees for Christmas.)
Other Popular Spots
Brushy Creek Lake Park – This picture-perfect setting in Cedar Park is a popular spot for snapping pics of pets and kids in flowers. Even on a busy day, you’ll have room to roam in this 90-acre park. It features a nature trail, hike and bike trail, playscapes, a splash pad and a fishing pier.
Pace Bend Park – Spring’s wildflowers are just one reason why people flock to Pace Bend Park in Spicewood. This is an ideal spot for anyone who loves the outdoors. The cliffs overlooking Lake Travis draw campers and hikers all year. The terrain is perfect for mountain bikes. Recreation activities include swimming, fishing, boating and lazing around in a hammock (some hammock assembly required). Day use of the park is $10 per car, golden sunset included.
Willow City Loop – Bluebonnets, paintbrush, and white prickly poppies flourish along this winding country road. The 13-mile drive between Fredericksburg and Llano includes hills and fields covered in flowers. Keep in mind that most of the land is private property; be respectful and safe if you pull over to take pictures. This Google Map will show you the route.
Marble Falls and Burnet – These two small towns offer loads of Texas charm with their spectacular landscapes. Burnet hosts the Bluebonnet Festival every year to celebrate the explosive color. Twelve miles away, amazing displays line the country roads in Marble Falls. If you’re hungry for home cooking with a Pie Happy Hour, take a break in the Bluebonnet Cafe.
Honorable Mention: Zilker Botanical Garden
A floral adventure through Central Texas has to include this tucked-away gem. You’ll find 26 acres of themed gardens just a few minutes from downtown Austin. It features rose, herb and Japanese gardens connected by streams and waterfalls. You won’t find many wildflowers, but the dinosaur habitat makes up for that. Zilker Botanical Garden is across from Zilker Park, which draws a host of swimmers and soccer players every day. Full of outdoor adventures and resplendent landscapes, Central Texas is a natural place to put down roots.
About the author...Ben Holt is a fresh air enthusiast and loves writing about it. Ben is always looking to make the most of a summer day, whether he is relaxing in his garden, hiking on an off-beaten trail or entertaining friends on his newly renovated patio.