10 Best Wildflower Hikes
Portland Island, British Columbia
Insider's tip: The island is reachable only by private boat or rentable kayak from Vancouver Island.
What's growing: native sea blush (the purple blooms shown here), chocolate lilies, fawn lilies, and shooting stars.
When to go: April and May; 250/654-4000 or http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/gulf/index.aspx
Sea Pines Forest Preserve, South Carolina
Insider's tip: Look for the 4,000-year-old Indian shell ring around a former native village.
What's growing: 18 different wildflowers, including California poppies, toadflax, African daisies
When to go: late March-April; 843/671-1343 or hiltonheadisland.org
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
What's growing: blue harebell, orange dune lilies, and purple beach pea blossoms
When to go: Saturdays in June, when rangers host free, guided hikes; 231/326-5134 or nps.gov/slbe
Yellow Island, Washington
Insider's tip: Book a charter or kayak tour here from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, or rent your own vessel at Deer Harbor Marina on Orcas.
What's growing: Western buttercups, bluish-purple camas, and paintbrush
When to go: late April/early May; 206/343-4344 or nature.org
Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Insider's tip: Hike along Chimney Rock trail (less than 2 miles round-trip) to cliffs overlooking Drakes Bay.
What's growing: Douglas irises, Indian paintbrush, and California poppies
Deer Isle, Michigan
What's growing; lupines
When to go: June 19–21 for the annual lupine festival; 207/348-6124 or deerislemaine.com
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas
Insider's tip: Visit the 40-foot observation tower for views of San Antonio Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway.
What's growing: Texas prickly pear, phlox, and pink evening primroses
When to go: April–May (or late summer, when you might see gayfeather, a fleeting purple flower); 361/286-3559 or fws.gov
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
Insider's tip: Take the Green Gardens Trail for lush displays of irises; about two miles inland, the Lomond River Trail leads to a boardwalk beside showy lady slippers and orchids.
What's growing: blue flag and coastal irises; Labrador and Newfoundland's provincial flower, purple pitcher plant
When to go: June–August; 709/458-2417 or http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/index.aspx
Insider's tip: Bring binoculars; it's a birding hot spot, too.
What's growing: chocolate lilies and, later, pink fireweed
When to go: Mid-June through Labor Day; akcoastalstudies.org
Anacapa Island, California
Insider's tip: Follow the trail to a 1932 light station, and take in views of Cathedral Cove. Continue to Inspiration Point, where the park's other islands are a must-see.
What's growing: ice plant, giant coreopsis, wild hyacinth