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Plan a Trip to the Top Botanical Gardens in the U.S.! An Unforgettable Journey Through America’s Finest Flora

Visiting botanical gardens is a delightful way to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, learn about diverse plant species, and find peace in meticulously designed landscapes. The United States boasts some of the most impressive botanical gardens, each offering unique experiences and horticultural wonders. In this guide, we will explore the best botanical gardens across the country, highlighting their distinctive features and must-see attractions.

Longwood Gardens – Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Longwood gardens.
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  • Overview: Spanning over 1,077 acres, Longwood Gardens is a horticultural masterpiece. Visitors can explore a variety of themed gardens, including the Italian Water Garden, the Flower Garden Walk, and the Meadow Garden. The conservatory houses exotic plants, and the seasonal displays are a visual treat year-round.
  • Highlights: The Main Fountain Garden with its elaborate water shows. The serene Orchid House and the vibrant Flower Garden Walk. Holiday displays featuring over 500,000 lights and beautifully decorated trees.
  • Why Visit: Longwood Gardens is perfect for plant enthusiasts and families alike, offering educational programs, concerts, and stunning seasonal events.

Desert Botanical Garden – Phoenix, Arizona

desert garden.
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  • Overview: Located just minutes from downtown Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden showcases the unique beauty of desert flora. Spread across 55 acres, the garden features over 50,000 plants from around the world, focusing on arid landscapes.
  • Highlights: The Desert Discovery Loop Trail, which offers a close-up view of desert plants. The Butterfly Pavilion, home to thousands of butterflies. Seasonal events like Las Noches de las Luminarias, where garden paths are lined with flickering luminarias.
  • Why Visit: This garden is ideal for those interested in learning about plant adaptations to desert environments and enjoying the striking beauty of cacti and succulents.

Missouri Botanical Garden – St. Louis, Missouri

Missouri garden.
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  • Overview: Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the oldest botanical institutions in the U.S. The 79-acre garden includes diverse plant collections, a geodesic dome conservatory called the Climatron, and a serene Japanese Garden.
  • Highlights: The Climatron, simulating a tropical rainforest environment. The Kemper Center for Home Gardening with numerous display gardens. Seasonal events such as the Garden Glow holiday light display.
  • Why Visit: The Missouri Botanical Garden offers a rich blend of history, education, and stunning horticultural displays, making it a must-visit for any garden lover.

Chicago Botanic Garden – Glencoe, Illinois

Chicago garden.
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  • Overview: Situated on 385 acres, the Chicago Botanic Garden features 27 distinct gardens and four natural areas. It offers a diverse range of plants and landscapes, from the tranquil Japanese Garden to the colorful Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden.
  • Highlights: The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden, offering serene landscapes. The Sensory Garden, designed for visitors to experience plants through touch and smell. The annual Orchid Show, a breathtaking display of exotic orchids.
  • Why Visit: With its extensive plant collections and beautiful settings, the Chicago Botanic Garden is a place of beauty and learning for visitors of all ages.

San Diego Botanic Garden – Encinitas, California

San Diego garden.
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  • Overview: Covering 37 acres, the San Diego Botanic Garden is home to over 4,000 plant species from around the world. The garden’s diverse habitats include tropical rainforest, desert gardens, and bamboo groves.
  • Highlights: The Hamilton Children’s Garden, perfect for young visitors. The Bamboo Garden, the largest collection of bamboo in the U.S. Seasonal plant sales and events that showcase rare and unusual species.
  • Why Visit: The San Diego Botanic Garden offers a global plant experience with its varied collections, making it a fascinating destination for all ages.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden – Henrico, Virginia

garden in Virginia.
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  • Overview: The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden spans over 50 acres and features a wide variety of themed gardens. Highlights include the Conservatory, the Children’s Garden, and the Cherry Tree Walk.
  • Highlights: The Conservatory, with its tropical plants and orchids. The Children’s Garden, which offers interactive exhibits and play areas. The Rose Garden, featuring over 1,800 roses of 80 varieties.
  • Why Visit: This garden is perfect for families and offers educational programs, seasonal events, and beautiful landscapes year-round​ (Fodor’s)​​ (GardenDesign.com)​.

Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens – San Marino, California

San marino Garden.
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  • Overview: The Huntington covers 120 acres and features 16 themed gardens, including the Desert Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Rose Garden.
  • Highlights: The Desert Garden, with one of the largest collections of cacti and succulents. The Japanese Garden, offering a tranquil escape with its koi ponds and bonsai collection. The Rose Garden, featuring over 1,200 cultivars.
  • Why Visit: With its diverse plant collections and educational exhibits, the Huntington is a must-visit for garden enthusiasts and art lovers alike​ (Fodor’s)​​ (GardenDesign.com)​.

United States Botanic Garden – Washington, D.C.

DC garden.
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  • Overview: Located near the Capitol, the U.S. Botanic Garden houses over 60,000 plants in its Conservatory, National Garden, and Bartholdi Park.
  • Highlights: The Conservatory, featuring a jungle, desert, and primeval garden. The National Garden, showcasing plants native to the Mid-Atlantic region. Bartholdi Park, a demonstration garden for home landscaping ideas.
  • Why Visit: This garden offers a rich blend of plant displays and educational programs, making it an excellent destination for visitors of all ages​ (Fodor’s)​​ (TravelAwaits)​.

Mt. Cuba Center – Hockessin, Delaware

Delaware garden.
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  • Overview: Situated on a historic Du Pont estate, Mt. Cuba Center focuses on native plants of the Appalachian Piedmont region.
  • Highlights: The Formal Gardens, featuring native hydrangeas, echinacea, and helenium.
  • The Meadow Garden, a serene space filled with native wildflowers. The Woodland Glade, offering shaded walks and a variety of woodland plants.
  • Why Visit: This garden is perfect for those interested in native plants and ecological gardening practices​ (Fodor’s)​​ (GardenDesign.com)​.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park – Grand Rapids, Michigan

Michigan garden.
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  • Overview: Combining art and nature, Frederik Meijer Gardens features a wide range of gardens and an impressive outdoor sculpture collection.
  • Highlights: The Japanese Garden, with its traditional design and peaceful atmosphere. The Sculpture Park, featuring works by renowned artists. The Carnivorous Plant House, showcasing a variety of intriguing species.
  • Why Visit: This garden offers a unique blend of horticulture and art, making it a standout destination​(TravelAwaits)​.

San Antonio Botanical Garden – San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio Gardens.
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  • Overview: Covering 38 acres, the San Antonio Botanical Garden showcases the diverse plant life of Texas and beyond.
  • Highlights: The Texas Native Trail, highlighting plants from different regions of Texas. The Lucile Halsell Conservatory, with a variety of themed rooms. The Culinary Garden, focusing on edible plants and herbs.
  • Why Visit: This garden offers educational programs, stunning displays, and a glimpse into the diverse flora of Texas​ (GardenDesign.com)​.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden – Fort Worth, Texas

Ft. Worth garden.
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  • Overview: Established in 1934, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden spans 120 acres and includes over 2,500 species of plants.
  • Highlights: The Rose Garden, with its beautiful blooms and water features. The Japanese Garden, featuring koi ponds, bridges, and traditional landscaping. The Fuller Garden, a picturesque space perfect for weddings and events.
  • Why Visit: This garden offers a mix of formal and naturalistic plantings, providing a serene retreat in the heart of Fort Worth​ (GardenDesign.com)​.

Denver Botanic Gardens – Denver, Colorado

Denver gardens.
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  • Overview: The Denver Botanic Gardens cover 24 acres and include a variety of themed gardens, conservatories, and natural areas.
  • Highlights: The Japanese Garden, a peaceful retreat with traditional design elements. The Orangery, housing a collection of citrus trees and tropical plants. The Monet Pool, inspired by the artist’s famous water lily paintings.
  • Why Visit: This garden offers a diverse range of plant collections and stunning landscapes, perfect for visitors of all ages​ (TravelAwaits)​.

Norfolk Botanical Garden – Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk gardens.
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  • Overview: With over 60 themed gardens, Norfolk Botanical Garden offers a diverse array of plants and landscapes to explore.
  • Highlights: The Butterfly House, featuring a variety of butterfly species. The Japanese Garden, with its traditional design and serene atmosphere. The Hydrangea Garden, showcasing numerous varieties of hydrangeas.
  • Why Visit: This garden offers something for everyone, from educational programs to beautiful landscapes and seasonal events​ (Fodor’s)​.

Descanso Gardens – La Cañada Flintridge, California

Descanso garden.
Image credit Kit Leong via Shutterstock.
  • Overview: Descanso Gardens covers 150 acres and includes a wide variety of themed gardens, including the Rose Garden and the Oak Forest.
  • Highlights: The Rose Garden, with thousands of rose varieties. The Japanese Garden, featuring a koi pond and traditional tea house. The Oak Forest, a natural area with ancient coast live oaks.
  • Why Visit: This garden offers a mix of cultivated and natural landscapes, making it a peaceful retreat near Los Angeles​ (GardenDesign.com)​.

Atlanta Botanical Garden – Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta garden.
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  • Overview: Located in Midtown Atlanta, this 30-acre garden features a wide range of plant collections and themed gardens.
  • Highlights: The Canopy Walk, offering a unique perspective of the Storza Woods. The Fuqua Orchid Center, with a stunning collection of orchids. The Children’s Garden, designed for interactive learning and play.
  • Why Visit: This garden offers a blend of education, conservation, and beauty, making it a top destination in Atlanta​ (GardenDesign.com)​.


Longwood Gardens.
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From the lush greenery of Longwood Gardens to the stark beauty of the Desert Botanical Garden, the United States offers a rich tapestry of botanical gardens. Each garden provides unique insights into plant life and offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you’re a seasoned horticulturist or simply looking for a peaceful escape, these gardens are sure to inspire and delight. Plan your visits to these stunning botanical havens and immerse yourself in the splendor of America’s finest flora.

The Ultimate Family Trip: 20 Amazing Animal Sanctuaries You Can Visit In The U.S.!

young girl feeding a pig
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Time for a new kind of vacation! Here’s a list of the top 20 animal sanctuaries in the United States that welcome visitors. A perfect family trip. These sanctuaries provide a safe haven for a variety of animals, including domestic, wild, and farm animals. Each sanctuary has its unique mission and set of animals it cares for, offering educational tours and opportunities to learn more about animal welfare and conservation. READ: The Ultimate Family Trip: 20 Amazing Animal Sanctuaries You Can Visit In The U.S.!

Bucket List Item: Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary

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Hopefully all of you have had the experience of gazing into the night sky in dark surroundings, so that you could take advantage of the stars, planets and cosmos. Unfortunately, manmade lights often interfere – it is called light pollution for a reason – but did you know that the U.S. can now claim the largest international dark sky sanctuary? You will have to travel to Oregon to take advantage, but it is worth the trip. READ: Bucket List Item: Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary

Your Guide To Landing Refreshed: Best Red-Eye Travel Strategies

Woman enjoying traveling.
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Where are you traveling to? Somewhere exotic, or a favorite place you return to again and again? Are you taking an overnight “red-eye” flight? There is a reason why they call it a “red-eye”! 

We asked some travel experts and frequent flyers for their best tips.Read: Your Guide To Landing Refreshed: Best Red-Eye Travel Strategies

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  • Dede Wilson

    Dédé Wilson is a journalist with over 17 cookbooks to her name and is the co-founder and managing partner of the digital media partnership Shift Works Partners LLC, currently publishing through two online media brands, FODMAP Everyday® and The Queen Zone.

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