[Some parts updated 3/25/11]
If you live in Texas, the next several weeks (latter part of March, probably April) are the prettiest time to get out of the city and see the open road. The flowers are blossoming a tad later than usual this year because this winter was the coldest we’ve had in perhaps a decade. [Some sources are saying that wildflowers may not peak until sometime in April because of the late start they got this Spring. – Mike]
Largely because of Lady Bird Johnson’s push for highway beautification in the 1960s, Texas highways are full of beautiful blossoming wildflowers this time of year, particularly bluebonnets. The best places to see these lovelies are typically in the Hill Country and Piney Woods of east Texas.
Living in Houston, my preferred routes are US-290 between Houston and Austin, or I-10 between Houston and San Antonio. If you have the time or inclination to detour off those roads and want to have a chance to pass through some small Texas towns, there is also plenty to see in fields left fallow along the smaller country roads. One option for that course is to go out I-10 west from Houston, exit at Hwy 36/Sealy (heading north), swing up to Brenham, and then take US-290 East back toward Houston.
You can also find more information on bluebonnet- and wildflower-seeing at the following links:
The Texas Tripper: On The Trail Of Bluebonnets: “Each April 24, Texas celebrates State Wildflower Day, and many cities have pageants, parades, and other celebrations. A partial listing of cities includes Mason, Chappell Hill, Keney, Glen Rose, Ennis, and Hughes Springs. The best way to learn what is scheduled is to contact the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin, TX 78739, (512) 292-4100
“During March, April, and May, the Department of Transportation also has a telephone hotline with information on where bluebonnets are blooming: (800) 452-9292″