The 2019 Texas Bluebonnet season is right around the corner and early indications look promising for a solid season. Last year was the worst season I have witnessed, there were some nice scenes to find but it took a ton work and a lot of driving to find them. The Texas Hill Country had nothing to speak of in the way of bluebonnets. The Bluebonnet House, overgrown with sawgrass. The railroad tracks in Kingsland, barren. Muleshoe Bend, completely under water for the 3rd year in a row (face it, it isn’t coming back anytime soon) Thankfully, Washington County had a solid showing from mid-March to mid-April. Ennis also had a much better year peaking in the 3rd week of April.
The drought is officially broken with plenty of fall and winter rains. Several locations in Central Texas have already seen sporadic blooming (although this is likely just a few early blooms from a warm spell). We have already begun running scout trips and early coverage is rather impressive. With the amount of healthy rosettes we are finding and If we see a typical spring pattern as the plants mature, we should see at least an average bluebonnet season overall with some areas having above average displays. The Hill Country looks to bounce back in a big way this year.
Horse grazes amongst bluebonnets off Williams Dr. 2015 season.
10. Georgetown, Texas
While Georgetown is mostly known for the red poppies it grows in its historic district, two distinct areas tend to have really good bluebonnet displays. The first is Williams Drive heading towards Andice. Wellspring United Methodist Church was surrounded with bluebonnets and had a field several acres in size jam packed.
The other area worth seeing is along Highway 130. It is a toll road highway so do not stop for photos as you would be breaking the law, but it is worth seeing with traffic usually being fairly light.
Planted field of bluebonnets.
9. Fredericksburg, Texas
Wildseed Farms does a great job with their fields and displays. There is always a large field of red poppies and a giant bluebonnet field during the peak of wildflower season. The fields are fenced off but they do grow a nice mix of wildflowers that are open to explore. They also post a bloom status update with images during the season, so you can see how things look before making the trip.
It is free and open to the public, but does tend to have crowds. I usually try to plan visits during the weekdays.
There is a tiny world amongst the flowers. Get close to capture great macro images.
8. Austin, Texas
St. Edwards University always has a great display that are easily accessible (if you don’t mind Austin traffic) and safe to pose your family in. There is a hill that usually has bluebonnets on it with a view of the Austin skyline in the distance.
Another great place for bluebonnets and an array of other wildflowers is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. They offer guided and self guided tours and are a great resource to learn more than you ever thought you could know about wildflowers.
The mixture of colors in the Hill Country can be impressive.
7. Llano, Texas
Llano has great bluebonnets in pretty much every direction running out of town. North on Highway 16 has great roadside displays around Babyhead Cemetery (yeah the name means what you think). South on Highway 16 has several fields, the best is usually at Oxford Ranch Campground. Highway 29 east of town can have some nice displays, but the western side towards Mason is typically better. Even Highway 71 to the ghost town of Pontotoc has some excellent fields and roadsides.
We will see what 2019 holds. Llano was mostly barren in 2018, but had much better fall rains for the upcoming season. I think this could be a big year for this location.
Try to take your pictures on days with clouds, The colors will be more vibrant.
6. La Grange, Texas
The biggest bluebonnet field of 2018 was in the town of La Grange. The field was situated behind an abandoned house off Farm to Market Road 609. The field was easily 10 acres of solid bluebonnets. There were also some really nice scenes nearby including a broken down barn with a decent amount of bluebonnets around it. This town could find itself very high on the list in 2020 if it has a good showing this year.
Use a light to illuminate bluebonnets in long exposure photos.
5. Terlingua, Texas
Big Bend might not be the most typical place someone would think of to see bluebonnets but they do get some impressive roadside blooms. These are not your typical Texas Bluebonnet, but a variety known as the Chisos Bluebonnet. They are massive blooms which can reach heights close to 4 feet! You won’t see big fields of them like you would in the eastern half of Texas, but large amounts can cover the roadsides and make for some great photo opportunities set in the desert landscape.
Chisos bluebonnets usually bloom earlier than their eastern counterparts with peak bloom typically occurring in late February through early March.
Wildflower’s colors tend to pop much more when the light is low.
4. Marble Falls, Texas
After a really nice showing in 2017, this area started the bust line in 2018. The further west you got from Austin, the less prevalent blooms became, quickly. Places like Kingsland and The Willow City Loop have been left completely off this list.
Marble Falls still holds a high spot on this list it is mainly due to two areas that have good bloms. The Bluebonnet House had not produced anything notable for several years. Then in 2017 the entire area surrounding the historic stone structure was completely covered in bluebonnets. Let’s hope it can return to its former glory this year. The house is fenced off and sits on private property. The adjacent field has been developed for Pedernales Electric Company. Use caution as you pull on and off of Highway 281. Another good location in Marble Falls for bluebonnets is Turkey Bend Recreation area. While it wasn’t as good in 2018 as it was in 2017, the field is tended to nicely and should have a much better showing in 2019.
Shoot at eye level when there are a few bluebonnets.
Shoot just above eye level when there is an expanse of them.
3. Ennis, Texas
Ennis had a pretty solid showing in 2018. While it was nowhere near the banner year they saw in 2012, it was nice to see some blooms returning to the area.
Hopefully, the increased coverage was a sign of things to come for 2019. Bluebonnets tend to bloom in cycles and it looks like Ennis is returning to an active cycle. North Texas is typically the last to see peak blooming with the best time to visit being in mid to late April.
Livestock keep bluebonnet fields looking great by eating the grass around the plants.
2. Washington County, Texas
Washington County had the largest field of bluebonnets in 2017. It was roughly 20 acres completely covered. Unfortunately this brought so many folks there to see it, the owners viewed the increased traffic as a nuisance and plowed up the field as the rosettes began to bloom in 2017. Even so, Brenham was still the best (and basically the only) place for great bluebonnets in 2018.
Highway 290 had multiple large fields along it from downtown Brenham into Chappel Hill. First Baptist Church had an enormous field in front of a red barn. Pleasant Hill Winery also had a great field of bluebonnets mixed with wildflowers. Brazos Bend State Park and Old Baylor Park had nice displays and there was plenty to be found along the backroads around town.
Brenham peaked in early April in 2018. This was a few weeks later than the peak in 2017.
Animals do not eat bluebonnets. They are mildly poisonous.
1. Our Bluebonnet Tours and Workshops
Not to be completely self-promoting, but the best way to assure you see the very best bluebonnet displays in Central Texas is to book with us. The only thing better than driving around looking at bluebonnets is riding around looking at bluebonnets. We spend months scouting our locations and know exactly when each field is looking its finest. We only go to safe locations and never pull off on the shoulders of busy highways. There’s always plenty of time to photograph the fields and scenes and you get expert photo advice to assure you get the best shots. Learn more about our tours and workshops. Hurry spots are filling up fast!