Across our beautiful country, Spring is springing! Birds are singing, babies are being born, sports are peeking their buds out of the soft earth, and flowers are bloom, bloom, blooming! And while we love spending time at the vast array of national and state park spaces, it is always exciting to add a new type of outdoor hobby into the mix.
This is why we are trading out our list of the go-to's for a more colorful and blossoming way to spend a Saturday. Discover our list of the best botanical gardens in America. This list covers them all from desert gardens in the southwest to exotic plants and fruits in Miami to wildflowers in the Lone Star State to urban gardens in the middle of New York City.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Boasting 24 acres of diverse gardens and plant collections, the Denver Botanic Gardens or the York Street Gardens offers an incredible way to spend a spring or summer day in Denver, Colorado. With species of plants from all over the world, these Denver gardens showcase 18 arid "Gardens of the West," which feature native plants that provide color and texture throughout the entire season. Ever-expanding, these gardens also offer internationally-inspired and ornamental gardens and shady gardens for sunnier days.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Located in Texas, The Dallas Arboretum are award-winning gardens with 66 acres to explore and love. A highly-rated wedding destination and 1.4 million plants trailed, it is no wonder more than 700 weddings and events happen here annually.
The arboretum hosts fun-filled events for the entire family throughout the year. It is home to approximately 20 signature gardens, including a children's garden, magnolia glades, water gardens strewn with water lilies, the Crape Myrtle Allee, a sunken and secluded garden for more private weddings, and a two-acre garden with a collection of more than 80 types of signature Maples from Japan.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
One of the world-renowned havens for tropical plants, the Fairchild: Miami's Botanical Gardens is 100% worth spending a day or two discovering the wonder and beauty of tropical and exotic plants. Located just six miles south of Coral Gables, this expansive property features 27 specialty gardens highlights include the Cycad Collection, the Richard H Simmons Tropical Rainforest (home to the Fairchild's National Orchid Garden), the Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion with some of the world's most exotic fruit, and the marvelous Arid and Succulent Collection. While visiting the Fairchild, don't forget to stop for lunch at the famous Glasshouse Cafe.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
An urban garden in the heart of New York City, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden fuses together city living and the world of plants. To bring delight and inspire curiosity and teach visitors about stewardship of the environment. The BBG offers educational workshops and programs for people of all ages to better understand, research, and conserve the regional plants of New York and beyond. With many themed gardens, highlights include a children's garden, rock garden, desert pavilion, bonsai museum, rose garden, and the Shakespeare Garden.
Portland Japanese Garden
Claimed to be "the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan," by His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, the former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, it is no wonder that this Japanese Garden is on our "best of" list. Nestled in the layered hills of Portland, Oregon's Washington Park, this majestical outdoor garden boasts 12 acres with eight different themed gardens, an authentic Japanese tea garden and house, babbling streams, private walkways, small waterfalls, and amazing views of Mount Hood. On your next trip to the PNW, add this award-winning garden to your bucket list.
Missouri Botanical Garden
If you find yourself in the Midwest hub of St. Louis, a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden is in order. Founded by Henry Shaw in 1859, this garden is actually one of the oldest in continuous operation in America and one of the only to achieve National Historic Landmark status. Suppose you are visiting between April and October. In that case, we recommend taking the seasonal tram around to see the most popular attractions spread out over the 79 acres. The tropical rainforest flourishes in the Climatron® conservatory habitat. At the same time, the Japanese Garden spans 14 acres and is one of the most enormous strolling gardens of its kind in the states.
Desert Botanical Gardens
Situated among the desert climate in Phoenix, Arizona, the Desert Botanical Garden features 140 acres with over 50,000 plants on display. With gorgeous loop trails and walking trails, this garden is fun for the whole family to enjoy - just be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water. Mountain and city views can be seen atop the Sonoran Desert Trail, unique blooming cacti can be viewed on the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail, and learn more about the native uses on the Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail.
San Francisco Botanical Garden
A living museum within Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden provides 55 acres of both landscaped gardens, open outdoor spaces, and over 8,000 species of plants throughout the public gardens. The area is divided into three main categories - geographic (Chile, California, Southeast Asia Cloud Forest, and more), Taxonomic (camellias, Rhododendrons, and more), and Thematic (ancient plants, succulent garden, and conifer lawn).
Runner-Ups for Flower Finding
- Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta, Georgia
- Chicago Botanic Garden in Chicago, Illinois
- Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
- New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, New York
Tell us about your favorite botanical gardens on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!
READ MORE: Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens: Historic Architecture, Botanical Gardens, & Where Alcoholics Anonymous Began
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