Spring has sprung: here are the best places to find bluebonnets near Austin this season

Gracyn Freiling

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 16 issue of The Daily Texan.

The familiar sight of bluebonnets popping up on the sides of highways and overtaking previously barren fields is a sure sign that spring has sprung in Texas. Bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas and only bloom for a short time in the spring.

The fields of blue and white petals attract constant visitors and make for a classic Texas photo op. The Daily Texan has compiled some of the best places for students to see the bluebonnets.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

UT’s own Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the official Botanic Garden and Arboretum of Texas. Located in Austin, the center is only about a 20-minute drive from campus and offers art exhibitions, art workshops and workout classes. An advanced reservation is required, but admission is free for UT students, faculty and staff.

Ennis Bluebonnet Trails and Festival

For those who want to make a day trip out of their visit, consider driving to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails and Festival. They are about a three-hour drive from campus and offer over 40 miles of mapped driving bluebonnet trails.

KyongJoo Hong, an assistant professor in the department of statistics and data sciences, said her family recreates the same bluebonnet picture there every year.

“I’m originally from South Korea, and though I have lived in Texas for more than 10 years, still every spring I am amazed,” Hong said.

The annual Ennis Bluebonnet Festival will take place April 16-18 with live music and activities for guests. Admission is $5.

UT Tower

To see the bluebonnets here on campus, take a walk to the tower to see the wildflowers that have popped up in the flower beds nearby. This location is convenient for students and provides a more unique photo op than the typical field of flowers.

Hong encourages her students to take time out of their day to visit the blooms.

“I know you are stressed,” she said. “Go smell the flowers. Don’t miss the beautiful moments.”

Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail on Lady Bird Lake

One of Austin’s most popular trails is also a prime location to spot patches of bluebonnets that have sprung up around the lake. Kayak, paddleboard, bike or simply walk around the lake for a fun way to get active while admiring the bluebonnets.

Fayetteville, Texas
For those willing to drive about an hour, there are several picture-perfect fields in Fayetteville, Texas. One is right off of Texas State Highway 71 and would make a convenient stop for students planning a drive to Houston.

Katie Wilson, a youth and community studies freshman, said she stopped there on her drive back to Austin after the Easter holiday.

“We were just driving, and I saw a bunch of cars on the side of the road, so we decided to stop and get out and look at (the bluebonnets) ourselves,” Wilson said. “It was really pretty and was definitely a sign that spring was for sure here in Texas.”