7 Top Places to Catch Spring Blooms Across America

Capture eye-catching blooms and colorful landscapes at these flower-filled locations.

By Claire Volkman, ContributorMarch 7, 2017
By Claire Volkman, ContributorMarch 7, 2017, at 12:37 p.m.
U.S. News & World Report

7 Top Places to Catch Spring Blooms Across America

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Person hiking over the mountain meadow full of blooming crocus flowers.
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Discover dazzling floral displays around the country.

It may only be the beginning of March, but with pleasant temperatures sweeping across the country, beautiful blooms are popping up early this year. The unseasonably warm weather has brought with it more than just happier residents in major destinations, including the District of Columbia, New York City and San Francisco. It's also ushered in an eruption of color, with brilliant roses, tulips and blossoms cropping up from coast to coast. From Death Valley National Park's vibrant yellow daisies to the district's iconic cherry blossoms to the Great Smoky Mountains' colorful wildflowers and everywhere in between, here's where to catch impressive floral displays across America this spring.
Golden poppy flowers in Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, Lancaster, California.
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(Getty Images)

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Situated just two hours from Los Angeles, Antelope Valley's 1,780-acre landscape in Lancaster, California, features sloping hills and vibrant fields of bright orange, yellow and red poppies come spring. Thanks to warm temperatures and plenty of rain across Southern California this year, the golden poppies are already nearing full bloom. While you can enjoy the display from afar, the best way to take in the scenery is with a walk, jog or leisurely bike ride along the Antelope Loop Trail. For the best photo ops, bring a wide angle and a telephoto lens to capture the breadth of the park's display and the unique details of every bloom.
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Discover dazzling floral displays around the country.

It may only be the beginning of March, but with pleasant temperatures sweeping across the country, beautiful blooms are popping up early this year. The unseasonably warm weather has brought with it more than just happier residents in major destinations, including the District of Columbia, New York City and San Francisco. It's also ushered in an eruption of color, with brilliant roses, tulips and blossoms cropping up from coast to coast. From Death Valley National Park's vibrant yellow daisies to the district's iconic cherry blossoms to the Great Smoky Mountains' colorful wildflowers and everywhere in between, here's where to catch impressive floral displays across America this spring.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Situated just two hours from Los Angeles, Antelope Valley's 1,780-acre landscape in Lancaster, California, features sloping hills and vibrant fields of bright orange, yellow and red poppies come spring. Thanks to warm temperatures and plenty of rain across Southern California this year, the golden poppies are already nearing full bloom. While you can enjoy the display from afar, the best way to take in the scenery is with a walk, jog or leisurely bike ride along the Antelope Loop Trail. For the best photo ops, bring a wide angle and a telephoto lens to capture the breadth of the park's display and the unique details of every bloom.

North Cascades National Park

One of the country's largest national parks, North Cascades National Park stretches across more than a half-million acres. Even though daring hikers and active mountain bikers traverse this Washington park yearlong, leisure visitors have been flocking to the park every spring to catch the bright and beautiful flower displays that cover the valleys and grasslands. The varietals vary across the park, but you can expect to find big, unique displays of species such as tiger lily, evergreen violet, fireweed, alpine aster and more. To snap colorful photos, stage your camera to capture the snowcapped peaks of the Cascade Mountains in the background with the dazzling, multihued flowers in the foreground.

Brenham, Texas

Unless you hail from the Lone Star State, there's a good chance you've never heard of Brenham. This tiny town, situated between Houston and Austin, draws the most traffic in spring, thanks to its collection of bluebonnets, the state flower. These unique flowers coat the farmland, valleys and hills that surround the area. While it's tempting to walk through the fields for an Instagram-worthy photo session, keep in mind that most of the land is private, and traversing the blue-speckled fields could result in a fine. To enjoy as many photo shoots as your heart desires, plan your trip around the Bluebonnet Festival, which takes place in April in neighboring Chappell Hill.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which stretches across North Carolina and Tennessee, lures nature enthusiasts with its gorgeous scenery, miles of hiking trails and cozy mountain towns. Thanks to warm spring temperatures, the annual flower display is nearing its peak, so plan a trip soon to catch sight of coveted wildflowers – from lady's slipper orchids to irises to cardinal flowers to lilies. After a quick drive through the park, you'll quickly see why it's dubbed "Wildflower National Park," in the spring and summer. For an expert-led tour, arrange your trek during the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage from April 11-15, which takes you the park's most beautiful displays with a naturalist.

The Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C.

Arguably one of the most popular flower festivals in the world, Washington, D.C.'s Tidal Basin is decorated with light pink and white cherry blossoms each spring, drawing thousands of tourists to the nation's capital. Normally in peak bloom in late March and early April, the warm temperatures this year have experts speculating an uncharacteristic early bloom – starting as early as the beginning of March. To dodge heavy crowds and take beautiful photos of the delicate blooms, plan a trip to the Tidal Basin in the early morning, when the sun rises over iconic marbled monuments blanketed in petals.

Crested Butte, Colorado

The town of Crested Butte is known for its epic winter sports (think: skiing and snowboarding) and its summertime pastimes like alpine hikes. Flanked by the dramatic West Elk Mountains, this area is also home to one of Colorado's most beautiful wildflower displays. The rising popularity of catching the area's unique collection of pink, orange and gold alpine wildflowers led to the creation of the annual Wildflower Festival. Aside from admiring the spectacular wildflower displays, you can ascend to high elevations and catch sight of small, rare and impressive alpine sunflowers next to captivating mountains, making for one-of-a-kind vantage points.

Kauai, Hawaii

If you're a flower fanatic, there's no better place to visit than Kauai, which has stunning floral displays all yearlong, thanks to the island's tropical climate, frequent rainfall and varying elevations. Even though you'll find all sorts of species in bloom throughout the year, the most memorable displays arrive in spring and summer. From late March through August, Kauai wows visitors with eye-catching coral trees, lush orchard trees donning succulent fruits, delicate orchids and verdant bushes blanketed in bright pink, yellow and red flowers. To see the sheer volume and variety of blooms across the island, take a hike through the McBryde Garden, a tropical botanical green space.
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Claire Volkman, Contributor

Claire Volkman is a social media journalist with a passion for food and travel. She's spent ...  Read more

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