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Bluebonnet bountyBluebonnet bounty

Enjoy the beauty of Texas Hill CountryEnjoy the beauty of Texas Hill Country

In early spring, the prairies in Texas Hill Country transform into a sea of bluebonnets, named for their typically blue petals that are shaped like tiny bonnets. Bluebonnets were dubbed the state’s official flower in 1901 and draw spectators for photo ops and related festivities.

  • A meadow flowers with bluebonnets offering a perfect view for visitors inside the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center buildings in the background. Each spring, bluebonnets attract thousands of tourist to the Texas Hill Country. Photo by Bruce Leander, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
  • ProMark Aviation Services works fun into their seaplane training, such as landing on the Colorado River, taxiing under a bridge, and docking to go eat lunch at the River City Grille overlooking the water. Photo by Tres Clinton.
  • Wildflowers abound in the Texas Hill Country, and particularly at Canyon of the Eagles Resort. Photo by Salina McCullough, courtesy of Canyon of the Eagles Resort.
  • Alyssa Cobb flies over Lake Buchanan before sunset after a full day of seaplane training. What a beautiful way to end the day before docking at Canyon of the Eagles Resort! Photo by Tres Clinton.
  • The Canyon of the Eagles Resort's dock offers spectacular views of the sun setting over Lake Buchanan. Photo by Salina McCullough, courtesy of Canyon of the Eagles Resort.
  • With no light pollution, the night sky is brilliant at Lake Buchanan with Fall Creek Falls in the foreground. Photo by Erich Schlegel, courtesy of Canyon of the Eagles Resort.
  • Overlook the sunset at Lake Buchanan from the restaurant at Canyon of the Eagles Resort. Photo by Salina McCullough, courtesy of Canyon of the Eagles Resort.
  • Enjoy the night sky and take a closer look at some stars and planets at the Canyon of the Eagles Observatory. Photo by Erich Schlegel, courtesy of Canyon of the Eagles Resort.
  • Following a major renovation to its aging lighting system, Longhorn Cavern State Park provides stunning new views to visitors through much of its near two-miles of pathways and rock features. Photo by Earl Nottingham, copyright Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The Bluebonnet Capital of Texas, Burnet, hosts a Bluebonnet Festival the second weekend in April every year, drawing 30,000 people to the town of just over 6,000 residents. The festival features live music, parades, fun runs, a destruction derby, classic car display, a wild-west shoot-out, arts and crafts, carnival, numerous children’s activities, and more.

Fly in to Burnet Municipal Kate Craddock Field Airport right in town. Hertz and Enterprise offer service at the airport. Horseshoe Bay Resort Airport is about 20 miles south. Buchanan Lake, Inks Lake, and Lake LBJ lie along the Colorado River, all less than 10 miles from Burnet, as an option for seaplane pilots. For those flying commercially, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is about an hour and a half southeast of Burnet. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is just 10 miles from downtown Austin, the perfect side trip to get you primed for Bluebonnet spotting on the drive to Burnet.

Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Resort features more than 14 miles of manicured trails on 940 acres and overlooks Buchanan Lake (you can get permission to dock your airplane at the resort’s private dock). The Eagle Eye Observatory offers two telescopes for guests to view stars and planets. Guests can camp, hook up their RV, or stay in lodges. The Overlook Restaurant features traditional Texas cuisine and sits atop a hill, its floor-to-ceiling windows offering magnificent views of Lake Buchanan, particularly at sunset.

A bluebonnet blooms in a field across the road from the Butterfly Garden at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The bluebonnet is the Texas state flower. Photo by Ray Mathews, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Lake Buchanan offers plenty to do, including Vanishing Texas Cruises, which you pass on your way to Canyon of the Eagles. Enjoy scenic wilderness cruises, bird watching during eagle season, kayak rentals, and more. If you are hungry for fresh catfish, look up Catfish Jim, who offers a guided fishing service on Lake Buchanan. He’ll provide the gear, but you need to bring a Texas fishing license. Afterward, Catfish Jim will fillet and bag your catch for you.

Horseshoe Bay Resort is an upscale resort with pools, shops, sunset cruises, tennis, and more. The resort also boasts multiple golf courses, three designed by A. Robert Trent Jones Sr., one Jack Nicklaus signature course, and one whitewater putting course.

Log Country Cove offers housing overlooking Lake LBJ, provides watercraft rentals, and features the Sarayu Trail where visitors can identify a variety of birds and flowers, including the famous bluebonnets.

Explore Longhorn Caverns State Park with one-hour, 25-minute guided tours and enjoy natural underground formations such as Crystal City, which features calcite crystals.

For a broader look at the Texas Hill Country, follow the Texas Hill Country Wine Trails, which include 52 wineries. Self-guided tours are available throughout the year, but if you want to enjoy the bluebonnets and other wildflowers, book an April visit.

One of the famous restaurants in Burnet is Bills Burgers Wings and Things, locally known as much for the burgers as for Mamaw, who greets visitors with a friendly smile and backrub. According to Mamaw, she grew up rubbing her younger sisters’ backs, and it just stuck.

ProMark Aviation Services based at Burnet Municipal Kate Craddock Field offers flight training including seaplane training in a Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser and off-airport backcountry flying in a Piper PA-18 Super Cub. Photo by Jack Fleetwood.

Pilots who want to take in some flying activities while in Burnet can check out ProMark Aviation Services, which offers seaplane training in a Piper PA–12 Super Cruiser on amphibious floats as well as backcountry, off-airport adventure training in a Piper PA–18 Super Cub. The airport also is home to the Commemorative Air Force-Highland Lakes Museum.

Come for the bluebonnets, but stay to enjoy the small-town atmosphere, nature walks, resorts—and Bills Burgers. You wouldn’t want to disappoint Mamaw, who’s ready to welcome you with a backrub.

Share your favorite destination in the AOPA Hangar: Places to fly, things to do, where to eat!

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Cobb has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: Travel, US Travel

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