There’s nothing more Texan than bluebonnets, and there’s no better place to find them in all their glory than the charming city of Ennis. Located minutes south of Dallas along Interstate 45, Ennis is the “Official Bluebonnet City of Texas,” the home of the famous Bluebonnet Trails and the springtime Bluebonnet Trails Festival. Although it’s known for its tranquil attractions and natural beauty, Ennis packs a punch with some of the most exciting and unique locales in the Lone Star State.
Ennis is named for Cornelius Ennis, an official of the Houston and Central Texas Railroad, whose arrival in 1872 was instrumental to the city’s growth. By 1930, the city was being described as the place “Where Railroads and Cotton Fields Meet.” Get an in-depth look at Ennis’ history at the Railroad and Cultural Heritage Museum, where you can learn more about the important role the railroad played in shaping Ennis and see displays of historic artifacts, replicas, and memorabilia.
The city’s settlers had a lasting impact, as well, particularly the many that came here from Czechoslovakia in the late 1800’s. Their culture lives on at places like the Kolache Depot Bakery, where the classic Czech breakfast pastry comes in more than two dozen flavors. Annual events like the Czech Music Festival and the National Polka Festival celebrate the town’s European heritage with the merry sounds of accordions, tubas, and clarinets, parades, dance contests, horseshoe tournaments, and other activities. Meanwhile, the Czech Museum inside Sokol Hall Activity Center houses Czech costumes, books, dolls, and other pieces that can be viewed by appointment or at special showings.
Although it’s best to slow down and appreciate the wonders of the bluebonnets along the Bluebonnet Trails, Ennis also knows how to kick things into high gear. Racing fans come from all over the world to the Texas Motorplex to see and hear high-octane cars roar down the drag racing strip at speeds of up to 300 mph. The track hosts a number of special events each year, including the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals drag-racing event in October. Another race track near Dallas is the 85 Speedway, a dirt oval track that is the oldest racing facility in Ellis County. From March to October, the track features races with factory stocks, cruisers, Texas Wing Modifieds, and more.
Still don’t have enough reason to visit Ennis? Fish, water ski, swim, and go boating at the 3,500-acre Bardwell Lake and enjoy a picnic or play on the beach at High View Park. Catch a double feature at the old-fashioned Galaxy Drive-In Theatre, one of the south’s last remaining drive-in theaters. See a play at the Ennis Public Theatre, sip some wine at Sugar Ridge Winery, and shop in historic downtown Ennis. There’s no wrong way to enjoy this delightful part of Texas! Even better, there are several high-quality hotels in Ennis that have everything you need for a remarkable getaway to this North Texas town.
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