10 Must-See Gardens to Visit in the U.S.
At Happy Gardens, we’re always looking for inspiration, and checking out one of the country’s finest gardens is definitely a top way for us to spend a weekend. If you love tending to and decorating your home’s garden, there’s a great chance you love visiting botanic gardens, too.
There are so many fantastic gardens in the United States that it can be hard to put together a definitive list of truly must-sees. And while that’s a great problem to have—and everyone’s tastes are different!—we’ve put our heads together to provide you with a list of what we believe are the best U.S. botanic gardens.
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
- Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
- Franklin Park Conservatory
- San Francisco Botanical Garden
- Atlanta Botanical Garden
- Missouri Botanical Garden
- Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
- Desert Botanical Garden
- ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden
- United States Botanic Garden
1. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of the most prominent and beloved gardens in the United States. Located in Richmond, Virginia, the garden is settled on former Powhatan Indian hunting grounds. A wealthy Virginian businessman, Lewis Ginter, bought nine acres of the land just before the start of the twentieth century.
Now, the grounds feature over 50 acres of flora, plus retail and dining amenities. Enjoy over a dozen themed gardens, including one specially tailored for children. There’s also a rose garden, an Asian garden and a Cherry Tree Walk that blooms spectacularly each spring.
Virginia too far? You can view the plants featured at Lewis Ginter from home thanks to its Garden Explorer.
2. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is Charleston, South Carolina’s most popular and most treasured garden. Unlike most formal gardens, Magnolia is a more natural landscape, full of flowers displayed in a more relaxed and organic way. Flowers like azaleas, camellias and more can be adored in a romantic, unstructured environment.
If there’s something specific you’d like to see, you can time your trip to what’s in season using the garden’s handy bloom calendar.
3. Franklin Park Conservatory
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are located in Columbus, Ohio. The gardens feature a children’s garden, a conservatory, a palm house, a community garden and a famed collection of glass artwork by the beloved Dale Chihuly.
4. San Francisco Botanical Garden
If you’re in NorCal, the San Francisco Botanical Garden is definitely worth a visit. The grounds are located within the breathtaking Golden Gate Park and offer a unique contrast to the city’s dense, urban landscape. Admission is free for San Francisco residents, who enjoy children’s classes, yoga in the garden and art exhibits year-round.
5. Atlanta Botanical Garden
If you are visiting Georgia, carve out some time to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The grounds features a renowned Children’s Garden, a unique Canopy Walk and an Instagram-worthy Skyline Garden with great views of downtown Atlanta’s cityscape.
6. Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis features tons of gorgeous plants and great community events, too. Roam the grounds and discover countless flowers and trees, or attend the garden’s annual orchid show in late winter.
7. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
This Miami-based garden features a full-on rainforest, tons of community events and award-winning gardens both rustic and formal. Enjoy yoga in the garden, annual chocolate and mango festivals and funky after-dark events that feature state-of-the-art lighting and art installations.
Fairchild also champions many educational initiatives to encourage children to embrace STEM-centric learning.
8. Desert Botanical Garden
Phoenix, Arizona’s Desert Botanical Garden features a vast collection of plants, including a unique display of diverse cacti. Because this garden is so different from traditional, water-loving collections, it’s a must-see on almost every garden lover’s list.
Enjoy 55 acres of markedly different grounds featuring plants from all over the world, especially dry, arid regions.
9. ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden
If you enjoyed Phoenix’s gardens, you’ll love Albuquerque's offerings, too. The ABQ BioPark Botanical Garden is nearly 40 acres of Southwestern flora and fauna. There’s also a 10,000 square foot conservatory, many formal gardens and a dragonfly sanctuary pond!
This garden is great for children, as well.
10. United States Botanic Garden
Finally, the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. is a can’t-miss collection. Next time you are in our nation’s capital, we highly recommend you set aside some time to explore the grounds and take in all that this garden has to offer.
The garden features beloved orchids and roses as well as rare and endangered plants. An indoor garden and gallery within the Conservatory features both jungle- and desert-like environments. There’s also tons of educational resources and opportunities for adults and students alike to learn more about nature.
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