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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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