Ennis, Texas: Airstreams, Bluebonnets, and Total Solar Eclipses

Travel Features Texas
Ennis, Texas: Airstreams, Bluebonnets, and Total Solar Eclipses

On April 8, a total solar eclipse will famously be passing through a vast swath of the United States, with several of Texas’s major metros—Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio specifically—boasting a front-row seat to totality. Each location will be offering loads of fun festivities to ring in the occasion—Burnet will be throwing the sure-to-be-wild Texas Eclipse Festival out in the gorgeous Hill Country, while resorts like the Omni, with locations in all of the aforementioned cities along the eclipse path, will be hosting “solarbrations” with themed gifts, flexible check-in/out, and rooftop parties and watches for the main event. 

However, not all totalities are created equal. Depending on how close you are to the center of the eclipse path, the length of the surreal afternoon twilight will fluctuate by as much as a couple of minutes. If you’re looking for something slightly more rustic to take in this rare show in the sky, consider Ennis, Texas, about an hour south of Dallas.

Driving on the interstate in Texas typically isn’t a very noteworthy affair. It’s a big state, with a lot of long, flat miles, a lot of towns, and an innumerable number of signs that you’ll pass by and pay no second mind. Occasionally, you’ll follow one of those names from one of those signs to the corresponding town and end up completely surprised at what you find. Ennis—located nearly dead center within the eclipse path and boasting a totality time just shy of five minutes—happens to be one of those towns. The next eclipse in the United States won’t happen for another 20 years, so don’t miss your chance to see what will surely be the most noteworthy event in the cosmos here for a long time.


You’ll want to have a fun place to stay in town for this incredible celestial show, and you can’t go wrong with glamping at The Range Vintage Trailer Resort, located about 15 minutes away in tiny Bristol. The Range isn’t your usual resort—instead of typical “rooms,” the accommodations are a fantastic collection of funky Airstream trailers. Enjoy a spell in one of the modern, swanky versions released in the past decade, or better yet, experience the “vintage” in The Range’s name by going back in time and booking one of the retro models. These older Airstreams, which cover decades all the way back to the 1950s, are filled with character, from cozy wooden aesthetics to groovy ‘60s vibes. You’ll be surprised by how much is packed within these trademark cylindrical Airstream frames—dining areas and lounges to hangout with cushy seating, light-saturated bedrooms with lots of space to stretch out, and impressively equipped kitchens and showers (the latter of which can be somewhat cramped, but The Range offers a nice bath house if you need something with a little extra breathing room). If you have your own Airstream, even better! The on-site lots include hookups, allowing you to plug in and get to having fun as soon as you arrive.

There is plenty to do on-site once you settle in. The quirky collection of trailers makes for entertaining exploration, but one of the best parts of The Range is the communal activities with the types of people that the resort tends to attract. Enjoy some company at the outdoor pool, complete with a makeshift waterfall ideal for cooling off on a hot Texas summer day. Take a ride on one of the swings found around the resort’s clearings, with hanging light fixtures dangling from treetops creating a pleasant, inviting atmosphere once the sun goes down. Grab a drink from the makeshift bar converted from a tiny Airstream and post up by the fire pit, where local musicians often drop in and treat guests to some authentic Texas country twang. The centerpiece of the resort is the large barn, doubling as a community dining area and hangout spot that is the perfect place to make new friends during the weekend dinners. Bite into one of the impeccably tasty burgers served up on Fridays, and be sure to stick around for the eight-course pizza dinner on Saturdays. With the wood-fired oven on the premises, experience the creativity of the local chefs through not only traditional pies like the margherita but also through inspired, Texas-infused favorites like the mouthwatering brisket pizza for those who want to go all-in on their Lone Star State experience.

It can be effortless to get swept up in The Range’s magic, and it certainly wouldn’t be a bad place to enjoy the eclipse, but make sure you don’t miss out on nearby Ennis. On the drive there, make a stop at the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Bristol General Store. You won’t just find gasoline and other amenities typical of your usual pit stop—quite unexpectedly for a gas station hidden on back roads a good distance from any interstates, the store also offers incredible sushi, all of which is prepared in-house and served Wednesdays through Sundays.


In Ennis proper, it’s worth taking a stroll through the downtown district and letting yourself get swept up in the allure of this tiny Texas town, its adorable streets, and charming stores. An unbelievable lunch awaits at Fern In The Wild, a lovely Southern-inspired restaurant adjoined to a cute gift shop excellent for souvenirs to commemorate your time here. Leave your palette stunned and your belly full by trying all the restaurant’s eclectic offerings, ranging from shrimp and grits to biscuits and jam to delicious quiches. Fern In The Wild also comes with a shocking twist—the restaurant also hosts a hidden speakeasy, complete with a fake wall that spins open to reveal a secret staircase that takes curious travelers up to the illustrious Green Room. With a wealth of options of bourbon and whiskey to choose from, allow yourself to soak in the chill atmosphere punctuated by the music-themed decor as you imbibe a nice, strong drink while striking up a conversation with some friendly Texans in this literal hidden gem.

Ennis isn’t just worth visiting during once-in-a-lifetime events like solar eclipses. Consider stopping by later in April when a more frequent beautiful phenomenon awaits—the annual coming of the bluebonnets. The famous Texas state flower comes in such vast numbers and vibrancy around Ennis that the town hosts its own yearly bluebonnet festival, with the next one happing from April 19 to 21, 2024. Be sure to take some seeds with you to plant your own patch of this Texas classic once you’re back home. The festival’s website also has an informative trail map whose paths demand exploration on a flawless spring day, allowing you to walk and experience the flora’s vivid, deep colors at your leisure.


John Sizemore is a travel writer, photographer, yoga teacher, and visual entertainment developer based out of Austin, Texas. Follow him on Instagram at @sizemoves. In his downtime, John likes to learn foreign languages and get immersed in other worlds, particularly those of music, film, games, and books in addition to exploring the world.

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