The TravelLatte team spent a day at Texas Tulips, a family-owned Pick-Your-Own tulip farm in Pilot Point, Texas. Here’s how to plan your own visit, and what to expect!
When you think about Texas, what flowers come to mind? Bluebonnets, maybe? That is, after all, the state flower. Or maybe you think of the Yellow Rose of Texas, the 200-year-old folk song that has become linked with the Texas Revolution.
As “Texas” as they are, it may be time for Yellow Roses and Bluebonnets to move over, just a bit. In north Texas, there is another flower you should seek out: Tulips! You can find them – by the hundreds – near the town of Pilot Point, on a family farm called Texas Tulips!
A Brief History of Texas Tulips
Like so many improbable stories, Texas Tulips began as a dream. In their native Netherlands, Pieter and Petra Koeman worked in the tulip industry, but wanted something more rewarding. They wanted to start a tulip farm. Not an unreasonable idea for someone in the tulip capital of the world. Only, this couple was obsessed with the American television show Dallas, and decided that’s where their tulip farm should be!
The Koemans and their kids did not land far off target. The couple researched soil conditions and weather history to find just the right conditions for their blooms to thrive. Their field of dreams – and tulips – sits in Pilot Point, about 45 minutes northwest of Dallas. The tulips are thriving, but each bulb only lasts one season in the warmer Texas climate.
Every year, the farm imports thousands of fresh bulbs from Holland, where Pieter’s family has been in the tulip business for decades. While many of those bulbs go into neatly planted rows, more are made available in Texas Tulips’ online bulb store. So, even if you can’t make it to Texas while the blooms are in season, you can still get your favorite tulips to plant at home!
Picking Out Your Texas Tulip Bouquet!
First Things First
When you arrive at Texas Tulips, there may be a line of cars. The parking lot is free, and does fill up. You’ll spot cars along the road and across the street, but be mindful that the neighboring lots are private property.
There is a $5 entrance fee per person, whether you are picking tulips or just posing for some glamorous ‘Gram shots. Check their website or Facebook page for specials. On weekdays, Veterans and Seniors can get three blooms plus their entrance fee for $7.50.
Once you’re through the gates, it turns out that picking tulips is the easy part. With so many colors and varieties to choose from, picking out your tulips will be the challenge. There are about 100 varieties of tulips available at different times during the season. But don’t fret; you can pick as many as you like. Each stem is just $2.50, but that can add up very quickly!
Rows and Rows of Texas Tulips!
The beautiful blooms come in every color of the rainbow, and a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have funny names, some have frilly flowers, some are tall, others are short. There are tulips as dark as night, and bright as the sun. It occurred to us that these tulips are a lot like people, actually!
There are cute flower baskets handy, so you can stroll, pick, and pose – that’s pretty much what we did! There are a few picture perfect spots, including white footbridges over the (usually dry) irrigation troughs, the large Texas Tulips sign, and best of all, rows and rows of colorful tulips!
The actual work of picking can be challenging. More than once, we ended up with the whole plant, from bulb to bloom. After a while, you’ll get the hang of it. Now that we are experienced tulip pickers, though, we know the secret: Bring a pair of pruning shears. (Duh!)
Once your basket is filled, pose for a selfie on one of the cute bridges, then head for the checkout. Friendly staffers will clean up your tulips, and put them in a plastic bag with flower gel to keep them fresh. Pick out a colorful paper wrap, and your beautiful pick-your-own Texas Tulips bouquet is complete! You can even keep any bulbs you happened to pull up with the stems. Cards and cash are equally welcome.
Planning Your Visit to Texas Tulips
Planning a day of picking your own tulips is pretty simple, and being in the tulip fields is surprisingly relaxing! So that your visit will be the best ever, we have some information and advice, so you can focus on the fun!
When to Visit Texas Tulips
Tulip Season in Texas is a little unpredictable, as it relies on the weather. However, mid-February to the end of March or early-April is the general season for picking your own tulips. It’s usually best around the middle of the season, which lasts about five weeks. Before heading out, especially early in the season, check the Texas Tulips Facebook page to be sure the tulips are blooming and the fields are open.
As you can imagine, a pick-your-own tulip farm is a pretty popular place! Weekends can be quite busy, so visiting during the week is your best bet to avoid crowds. Earlier in the day is better, both for the crowds and the blooms.
If you are interested in buying your own tulip bulbs, visit Texas Tulips’ online store. The bulbs are available in December and January each year, ready for you to plant and enjoy your own field of tulips.
Many of our photos for this post were taken during a visit in early-April, the second to last weekend of the season. There were still a lot of tulips in bloom, but nowhere near the numbers you would see earlier in the season. We also visited on a busy weekend, when the fields get picked over pretty quickly. If there is a lot of foot traffic, the fields can be closed early, so our advice is to visit early in the day, during the week if you can.
Weather in North Texas
Weather is a big factor in planning your visit to Texas Tulips. Rainstorms are not uncommon during tulip season in north Texas, so you will want to be prepared. That includes proper footwear, as the fields can get muddy. In fact, the plants need to be irrigated so a bit of mud should not surprise you even when it hasn’t been raining. We suggest rain or garden boots if you have them.
On the other hand: Sunshine. Tulips love sunshine, so there is precious little shade. Even on a day with some cloud cover, you’ll be happy you brought a wide brimmed hat. Bonus: It looks great in the photos you’ll be taking!
Of course, sunshine does not always mean it’s hot. Average afternoon highs in north Texas are around 60F in February, and close to 70 degrees in March. Plus, there seems to always be a breeze in Texas, which keeps things from getting too warm. Check the weather and dress in layers. A sweater or light jacket is always a good idea, and you can leave it in the car if it’s too warm.
Getting Yourself to Texas Tulips
Texas Tulips is an easy drive from most of north Texas. The tulip fields are located almost midway between the towns of Pilot Point and Aubrey, on a well-maintained Farm-to-Market Road. Any smartphone GPS app can get you there.
It’s a pretty short drive, too. The downtown districts of both Dallas and Fort Worth are only an hour away. It’s just a bit longer from some of the more southerly cities in the area, and considerably shorter from the northern suburbs. Even Oklahoma City is less than three hours away.
If you’re at all familiar with the DFW area, Texas Tulips is sort of between Dallas and Fort Worth, but farther north than the northern suburb cities of Denton and McKinney.
More You Need to Know
- There are limited concessions available – soft drinks, chips, snacks – along with picnic tables, and a play area for the little ones.
- Yes, there are restrooms! (In the form of PortaPotties.)
- There is a hose to rinse off your boots before leaving, so you don’t bring mud and dirt back into your car.
- Dogs and drones are not allowed in the tulip fields. If you have a service animal, they request you contact them before your visit.
- Wheelchairs are allowed, and the pathways are wide enough to accommodate them. However, due to soil conditions, navigating the fields can be challenging. Wheelchair users will need to have someone with them.
Packing List for an Afternoon at Texas Tulips
It’s not like you will be driving for hours and need to be concerned whether a carry-on will be large enough! However, your visit will be better if you remember to bring a few essentials. To recap, and expand a little, here is our suggested packing list for an afternoon at Texas Tulips:
- Rain or garden boots, or sturdy shoes you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
- That wide-brimmed hat we mentioned.
- We also mentioned a sweater or light jacket. Bring that.
- Garden shears / pruning shears.
- An insulated shopping bag or ice chest to carry home your bounty of tulips!
- Pack said bag or ice chest with a picnic lunch to enjoy apre-picking, before filling with tulips. (Note: You cannot bring your picnic into the tulip fields, but you can have your lunch in the parking lot, or see more suggestions below.)
Photo Shoots at Texas Tulips
Would it be over-stating the obvious to say that Texas Tulips is a great spot for some photos?
When you visit, you’ll see groups of all sizes, from solo selfies to full-on, multi-generational photo shoots. Texas Tulips is a great place to do that! Also graduation, wedding, Quinceanera, engagement…pretty much any and every special occasion you can think of! We saw several bridal parties, and a couple of really fun “Girls Day Out” groups enjoying the sun and blooms.
Some people like to bring a few things to change up their look while taking lots of pictures. We’ve seen full-on wardrobe changes in the porta-potties, and quick change artists putting gowns over jeans right in the fields. It’s kind of funny to watch, but not an altogether bad idea!
If you’d like to do the same, you can bring along a professional photographer. Texas Tulips will charge the photographer $25, and there is no time limit. Each person in your party still has to pay their entry fee, also.
Things to Do Nearby
Remember that picnic we mentioned? Let’s admit it, the parking lot at Texas Tulips is not the most idyllic place for lunch. For that, pile everyone back in the car, and set your GPS to find Ray Roberts Isle Du Bois State Park, about 20 minutes away. There are lakeside picnic tables and ramadas, restrooms, and plenty of parking. Plus, there’s a great pier and a large beach area that are perfect for, you guessed it, more photos! Maybe posing with your bouquet of Texas Tulips?
Ray Roberts Lake also offers overnight camping, restrooms with showers, bike and walking trails, boating, and fishing. It’s a good location if you want to pair your tulip picking adventure with more outdoor activities.
Speaking of camping, there are several RV resorts close by Texas Tulips for anyone living the #RVLife.
If you did not pack that picnic, and are feeling a little hungry, there are dining options on Highway 377 in either direction. There is fast food, but we prefer pulling into the family-owned cafes and restaurants along the highway.
It’s worth noting that another family owned, pick-your-own farm is close by. Pecan Creek Strawberry Farm offers pick-your-own and prepackaged berries, jams, and strawberry plants. Unfortunately, strawberry season starts a little after tulip season ends, so you’ll have to make repeat journeys to the area.
That’s a Wrap on Texas Tulips
At the end of the day, there is something special about having a beautiful bouquet of fresh tulips that you picked yourself! Although the blooms eventually fade, the memory of that day spent under the Texas sky, in a field of Dutch flowers, will last a lifetime. Oh, and lots of photos! We’re looking forward to seeing yours!
Not ready to visit Texas Tuliips yet? You can save this post for later by bookmarking it, or saving it to Pinterest. Please share it with your flower-loving friends, too! And when you do post those pictures from your day at Texas Tulips, tag us!
Feel free to drop any questions about this day trip in the comments, too. If we don’t know the answer, we probably know someone who will!
As always, thanks for coming along with us at TravelLatte!