| Driving

Sunshine and warm weather have finally arrived, and so have the first flowers of spring! If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate the arrival of this new season, here are the ten best places to see flowers bursting into bloom over the next few months.

Texas Hill Country

bluebonnets of texas hill country

If you take a trip to Texas Hill Country in the springtime, you’ll get to see fields blanketed in bluebonnets. Typically, the state’s official flower blooms between the end of March and mid-May, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, but that window can fluctuate depending on winter weather. There are plenty of places to enjoy the beauty of the bluebonnets, from small towns with bluebonnet festivals to entire loops providing spectacular views all along the way.

Big Bend National Park

marigolds of big bend national park

At first thought, the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert might not seem like a good place to see wildflowers, but in this incredibly hot climate with little rainfall, certain plants not only survive, they thrive! As early as February, Big Bend’s plant species start blooming, and they keep blooming into the fall if conditions are right, according to Texas Highways. There are approximately 1,600 plant species in the park, but marigolds, which typically appear in March, are one of the most recognizable flower varieties. The vibrant pops of yellow really stand out in the desert landscape, and they make Big Bend a great destination for anyone who loves flowers. Visitors are subject to an entry fee at Big Bend, but $15 per individual or $30 per vehicle is a bargain for such spectacular sights!

Cahaba River

lilies growing in the cahaba river

If you’re in Alabama in May, taking a drive to the Cahaba River is well worth your time if you’re in search of spring wildflowers. Every year around this time, the Cahaba lily blooms in the water of the river. The special aquatic flowering plant only grows in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, according to the Cahaba River Society, meaning this is one of the few places you can see this species. You can also paddle the river or go for a swim as long as you’re following safety guidelines for recreation.

Callaway Gardens

pink azaleas in callaway gardens

Would you like to visit a place where you can walk through a sea of azaleas this spring? Well, at Callaway Gardens in Georgia, you can have this exact experience. In March and April, many different varieties of azalea bloom, and you can see them all as you stroll around, ride a bike, or picnic in the park. You can book your visit online in advance of your adventure to save some time.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

a wildflower meadow at sunset in great smoky mountain national park

If a place hosts an event called The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage with visitors from around the world in attendance, you know it has to be a good spot to visit to see beautiful flora. While you can join this official gathering (April 26-30 in 2022) in eastern Tennessee, you can also enjoy flame azaleas, fire pinks, lilies, and more on a visit of your own. With more than 1,600 flowering plants, you should be able to see something in bloom this spring, no matter when you visit. Want another reason to get excited? Great Smoky Mountains National Park has no entry fee!

Shenandoah National Park

orange flowers growing on a hillside in shenandoah national park

Virginia is for lovers… wildflower lovers, that is! Starting in late March and running into the fall months, Shenandoah National Park sees 862 species of wildflower burst into bloom, according the National Park Service. With so much diversity on display, every drive and hike are full of stunning beauty, and the small entrance fees are worth it. Whether you like pink and purple flowers or red and yellow blooms that set the landscape ablaze, Shenandoah National Park has something for you.

Washington D.C.

cherry blossoms blooming along washington d.c.'s tidal basin

Washington, D.C., is home to all sorts of historical monuments and history, but it’s also one of the greatest spots to see spring blooms in the entire country. Every year, the nation’s capital plays host to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a commemoration of when Yukio Ozaki, the then-Mayor of Tokyo, gifted 3,000 cherry blossom trees to the city. There are typically plenty of free events to enjoy during the multi-week celebration, but the highlight is the breathtaking cherry blossom blooms all along Washington D.C.’s Tidal Basin. Visit from March 20 – April 17 in 2022 to take part in the celebration.

Macon, Georgia

cherry blossoms blooming in macon georgia

Washington D.C. is home to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, but Macon is home to the International Cherry Blossom Festival! Every spring, 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees (and that number is still growing) turn the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World” into a pink paradise for a couple of weeks. While this springtime celebration has become a month-long affair, this year, the official festival will take place from March 18-27, 2022. You can expect a big parade, food trucks, street fairs, hot air balloons, live music, and tons of blooming trees, of course!

North Cascades National Park

a wildflower meadow in north cascades national park is covered in yellow blooms

One of the best places to see wildflowers in the spring and throughout the year is North Cascades National Park. Because of differences in elevation, rainfall, sunlight, and exposure to cold weather, this piece of protected land is home to a wide variety of flowers all around the park at different times during the year, according to the National Park Service. One hillside might be exposed to more moisture, meaning it’s blanketed in beautiful blooms. But on the other side of a peak, the climate could be different, meaning the landscape is in complete contrast to what you saw before. Some flowers begin blooming as early as the end of February, and others don’t bloom until September.

Your Nearest Botanical Garden, Arboretum, or Flower Festival

If you don’t live near one of these state or national parks with thousands of wildflower species, don’t fret! There’s a good chance you can find a botanical garden, arboretum, or wildflower festival near you, whether you live in New Orleans or the mountains of North Carolina. Run a Google search to see what shows up near your location and start exploring! One perk of visiting a botanical garden or arboretum? They often give you a better chance to learn about the different species on display than if you were to do a self-guided wildflower driving tour.

Get Covered Before You Go

Before you grab your camera and get in the car, make sure you have the right insurance coverage by contacting Direct Auto. With just a callclick, or short visit, we’ll make sure you’re ready to keep driving from flower destination to flower destination.