6 Amazing Places For Viewing Wildflowers

Spring is a refreshing time of renewal when mother nature blankets the nation with wildflowers in a rainbow of vibrant colors. From flower festivals to lush colorful country sides, you'll discover there are plenty of opportunities to view wildflowers. And, to welcome in the season our friend, Melanie, is sharing six destinations that offer spectacular wildflower blooms.

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park spans both western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, and offers many choices for viewing wildflowers. The Greenbriar area is dogwood central, while the Chestnut Top and Porter’s Creek trails are favorite hunting grounds for woodland flowers.

A favorite for many travelers to the area are the dogwoods, violets, and columbine flowers. Although, you'll also discover lush patches of Dutchman’s breeches, phlox, bee balm, bleeding heart, trillium, bellwort, and coneflowers.

Extra Tip For Your Trip:

Check in at the National Park Service office for maps of wildflower walks and activities to join. They can also provide updates about which trails and areas are open or closed depending on weather and other factors. For a place to stay check out Gatlinburg that has a wealth of places to stay, many on the quaint and colorful side, but a standout is Eight Gables Inn, which offers a special “wildflower pilgrimage” package.

2. Door County, Wisconsin

When searching for rare wildflowers that are found almost nowhere else, Door County, Wisconsin is the place to visit. This region is a narrow finger of land sticking into Lake Michigan, and is like one giant nature preserve.

A trip to Bailey’s Harbor is a must to view the 25 varieties of orchids that grow along its shoreline in a lacy network of sandy islands known as swales layered between marshy wetlands. Among the variations of wildflowers you'll discover native lady’s slipper and rams head orchids, Arctic primrose, trailing arbutus, marsh marigold, bog buckbeans, and the threatened dwarf lake iris.

Extra Tip For Your Trip:

While in the area take time to hop on the Door County Trolley, which offers a spring blossom tour that takes you to hidden peninsulas blanketed with flowers. And, lunch and wine tasting at local wineries is included. And, in Bailey’s Harbor, the best views are from lakeside Blacksmith Inn on the Shore, which also has kayaks and bikes on offer to make forays to local bloom hotspots easy and eco-friendly.

3. Washington County, Texas

According to the Texas Wildflower Report the September rains spurred early germination and stronger roots. The result is a bountiful growth of wildflowers along the “bluebonnet trail,” an 80-mile figure eight made by US 290, Texas 105, and the smaller roads linking the towns of Brenham, Chappell Hill, Independence, and Washington-on-the-Brazos.

While touring the area plan a stop at Old Baylor Park in Independence, the original site of Baylor University, which is now a nature preserve with some of the best opportunities for photographs of the wildflowers.

Extra Tip For Your Trip:

Check out Washington County, Texas, where you'll find the Chappell Hill Lavender Farm where you can stroll, picnic, and cut your own lavender for $5 a bunch. Also, The Ant Street Inn, a historic brick-walled hotel in downtown Brenham, is a boutique hotel that offers the generous breakfast spread of a country B and B. Rocking chairs overlook a bounteous garden so you’ll have flowers at your doorstep as well as on your drives.

4. Joshua Tree National Park, California

We begin with a visit to Joshua Tree National Park, California. While the region has suffered from years of harsh droughts, nature's beauty still thrives. Recent Joshua Tree wildflower updates reveal that the beavertail cacti are coming into bloom, and the park’s sandy washes are alive with delicate desert flowers.

For the best bloom-spotting cruise along in your car on Pinto Basin Road and you’ll see mosaics of color. Take a break from driving and venture on foot into Black Rock Canyon, Cottonwood Wash, Sylvia’s Wash, and up Mastodon Peak for better photo opportunities of the desert wildflowers that include Bladderpod, Canterbury Bells, desert rock pea, desert primrose, tidy-tips, globe mallow, ocotillo, and aromatic creosote and desert lavender.

Extra Tip For Your Trip:

Camping at Black Rock Campground is a popular way to embrace nature. Another option is staying at the modest Joshua Tree Inn, where you can also see the guitar statue that’s become a shrine to country rock pioneer Gram Parsons. And, If you don't mind the company of ghost, request room #8, where Parsons died, which is suggested to be haunted.

5. Antelope Valley, California

Among my favorite wildflowers is the California Poppy that's bright orange flower rise upward toward the sky on a long green stem. It is along the western edge of the Mojave desert in Antelope Valley, California just northeast of Los Angeles where you'll discover hillsides covered in the spectacular state flower of the aptly named Golden State.

Popular places to see California Poppy's is Kitanemuk Vista Point, Valley Vista Point, and Antelope Butte Vista Point, where the shadier, northern slopes of the hills offer more protection from the heat.

Extra Tip For Your Trip:

If you drive in from L.A. to Antelope Valley, stop for breakfast at the mind-bogglingly retro Saugus Café that is seemingly frozen in time in 1952. If you want to make it a weekend getaway the Le Parc Suites Hotel in West Hollywood makes a great choice, with its rooftop pool, retro elegance, and convenient valet parking so you can get an early start. If you want to be closer, both Palmdale and Lancaster have a string of basic chain hotels to choose from.

6. State and National Parks

With spring blooms bursting across the country a visit to a local State or National Park is a great place to explore wildflowers and nature. And, National Park Week is celebrated in April, which is a time to join local programs and tours led by Park Rangers and staff.

Plan Your Wildflower Viewing Adventure:

Check with your local convention and visitors bureau for news on wildflowers destinations, festivals and activities to join. You may find links to these travel resources via this link.

By Melanie Haiken

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