Spring in Central Texas is arguably the most beautiful time of year thanks to an abundance of our state flower, the beautiful bluebonnet. If you’ve ever wondered why you see so many wildflowers along the highways every spring, you can thank the Texas Department of Transportation’s wildflower program which sows 30,000 pounds of wildflower seeds each year. While the wildflowers are beautiful, they also serve an environmental purpose as well. Planting native flowers and grasses gives pollinators and wildlife a natural habitat to enjoy that controls erosion and saves water.

The bluebonnet is the official state flower of Texas, and despite its name, it is not always blue. What we think of as the bluebonnet is made up of a few different species of Lupinus and comes in several colors in addition to the classic blue, including white, maroon and pink. Wildflower season typically starts in late March and can last as late as May. Wet, dry, hot and cold weather can all affect when we start to see the beautiful buds, but April is typically the best month for bluebonnets. If you’re looking to celebrate our state flower, check out these four family-friendly spots in and around Austin.

  1. Burnet Bluebonnet Festival: April 12-14

Burnet, a small town about an hour northwest of Austin, hosts one of the biggest bluebonnet festivals in the state during the second week of April. This year’s festival is full of fun events for all ages. Participate in a 5K or 10K race, watch the parade or the wiener dog race, eat at the food court and even listen to live music. Burnet is close enough for a day excursion, but if you want to make a getaway weekend out of it, Burnet has several nice options for lodging. In addition to hotels and motels, Burnet has plenty of charming bed-and-breakfasts and cabins to rent. Inks Lake State Park is a short 20-minute drive if you and your family want to camp among the flowers. Whether you choose to visit for the day or plan a weekend getaway it is well worth the drive to celebrate bluebonnets in Burnet. Make sure to stop at one of the many roadside bluebonnet fields for family pictures on the way.

  1. Fredericksburg Bluebonnet Festival: April 20th

Another festival located a short drive from Austin is the Fredericksburg Bluebonnet Festival hosted at Grapetown Vineyard and Farm. This one-day festival takes place on Saturday, April 20th, and includes lots of fun activities for adults and kids. This year you can find wine tasting, a vendor’s market and baby goats! Grapetown Vineyard and Farm is not only a working farm but also an animal sanctuary. You can purchase additional tickets for a safari tour where you’ll see exotic animals like camels, zebras and kangaroos. After your safari tour, kick back and enjoy live music while your kids play in the recreational area. You can learn more about the festival at www.thebestoftexas.org and purchase tickets in advance through Eventbrite.

  1. Wildseed Farms Wildflower Celebration: March-April

Wildseed Farms is a Fredericksburg wildflower farm, store, deli and vineyard grown out of a love and appreciation for wildflowers. Owners John and Marilyn Thomas are lifelong farmers and entrepreneurs who set up an oasis for nature lovers on their 217-acre property. Visit any time during March or April to experience their Wildflower Celebration where you can stroll through the butterfly garden or visit the half mile of walking trails. After you see the landscape, pick up a bluebonnet-themed souvenir in the gift shop or visit the seed shop and lantana nursery to peruse the selection of seed mixes, in-season plants and garden decor. Your family will find everything you need to start your own backyard wildflower garden. Finally, visit the Bluebonnet Biergarten to grab a snack and take home a jar of jam. Don’t forget to try the famous peach soft serve ice cream.

  1. Wildflower Center Bi-Monthly Sprouts Program: April 10th and 24th

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is one of the best places in Austin to be immersed in the native landscape. The Wildflower Center hosts a bi-monthly program called Sprouts especially for three-to five-year-olds. Trained guides lead their groups on a nature walk with sensory activities and stories. The theme of the program changes each season so your kids can always learn and experience something new. The program’s April dates will be the perfect time to spot bluebonnets and learn about them and other native plants. While the official start time is 10 am, the Wildflower Center recommends arriving early to get a spot as there is limited capacity. General admission is required for adults and children over four, but there is no additional ticket required for Sprouts.


Catherine Michalk is a native Austinite, writer and mom of three. You can follow her family’s adventures atwww.catherinemichalk.com

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