What Are The Most Beautiful Gardens In The USA?
If you're anything like us, you're constantly on the hunt for garden inspiration. And, what better way to get inspired than by taking a look at some of the best botanical gardens the country has to offer?
Here at Happy Gardens, we've touched on the 10 Must-See Gardens to Visit in the U.S., but we want more! That's why we've decided to dive deeper down the rabbit hole of the nation's swoon-worthy sights for even more landscaping, design, and decor ideas than we could ever know what to do with.
So, whether you live in the area or are looking for an enjoyable and exciting road trip, here's a complete list of all of the most beautiful gardens in the U.S., sorted by region.
Let's get started!
The Best Gardens on the West Coast
We'll start off on the West Coast, where the weather stays relatively temperate year-round with an oceanic climate known for ample precipitation in all months. If you're headed far west you can also include the Kula Botanical Garden, with the best carved tiki exhibit, or the Limahuli Garden in your journeys, both located in Hawaii.
Here are the best outdoor gardens to visit on the west coast:
- Bellevue Botanical Garden in Bellevue, WA
- Descanso Garden in Flintridge, CA
- Filoli in Woodside, CA
- The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA
- Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, OR
- San Francisco Botanical Garden in San Francisco, CA
Bellevue Botanical Garden
The Bellevue Botanical Garden is known for being a true community jewel. The Garden Partners, the nonprofit Bellevue Botanical Garden Society, and the City of Bellevue all work in partnership to bring the Bellevue Garden to life.
This garden truly has something to offer everyone, from children to keen gardeners. A 150-foot-long suspension bridge overlooks a deep ravine, which is a popular hit among the kids, as is the Urban Meadow, a naturalistic display. The perennial border boasts innovative combinations that even the most advanced gardener can only dream of.
The Bellevue Botanical Garden is open daily from dawn until dusk.
Unique to Southern California is Descanso Gardens in Flintridge. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, it's hard to imagine a garden of such beauty given the concrete jungle surrounding landscape. Incredibly, Descanso displays year-round natural beauty filled with seasonal horticulture displays and internationally renowned botanical collections.
Some of the incredible displays you can find here include:
- Nature's Table
- Oak Woodland
- Center Circle
- California Garden
- Ancient Forest
- Oak Forest
- Camellia Collection
- Japanese Garden
- Rose Garden
Another stunning California garden is Filoli, located in Woodside, just 30 minutes south of San Francisco. Historically, two families shared the property that resided on the Santa Cruz Mountains slope and aimed to create a memorable country estate and private garden.
Today, Filoli spans across 16 formal garden acres and boast the following stats:
- 96 original garden objects
- 210 Irish Yews
- 250 fruit trees
- 75,000 spring bulbs planted annually
Filoli has so much to offer anyone who takes the time to visit, including the people, the garden, the house, and the estate.
Filoli is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.
The Huntington Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Botanical Gardens is just one aspect of this Southern California marvel, which also includes the Library and Art Exhibitions Museum as well.
Spanning across 160 acres, there are 16 uniquely themed grounds, including some with exotic plants. Some of the all-time favorites at this garden include:
- Camellia Garden
- California Garden
- Herb Garden
- Rose Garden
- Subtropical Garden
- Japanese Garden
Not only are the garden collections beautiful to look at, but they also serve a purpose as a part of the Huntington's educational programming. You can choose to participate in plant sales, gardening workshops and demonstrations, and even botanical lectures while visiting here.
The Huntington Botanical Gardens is open Wednesday through Monday and closed to the public on Tuesdays. Visit from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm each of their available days to the public.
Portland Japanese Garden
The Portland Japanese Garden is known for its serenity and tranquility and has been an established garden for half a century. Found in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon, this garden has eight unique garden spaces, which include:
- Entry Garden
- Historic Garden
- Natural Garden
- Flat Garden
- Tea Garden
- Sand and Stone Garden
- Strolling Pond Garden
- Cultural Village
- King of the River Koi Pond
According to the former Ambassador of Japan, His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, the Portland Japanese Garden is the most authentic Japanese garden found outside of Japan. You can't forget to visit the tranquil ponds and the authentic Japanese tea house while you are here.
The Portland Japanese Garden is open Wednesday through Monday and is closed every Tuesday. You can visit the grounds any time from 10:00 am until 3:30 pm. Members can access the grounds during special member hours from 8:00 am to 10:00 am, Wednesday through Monday.
San Francisco Botanical Gardens
The San Francisco Botanical Gardens is yet another urban marvel, offering the densely populated city of San Francisco, California, an oasis of extraordinary beauty. This garden boasts over 8,000 different plants from regions spanning across the globe.
Within the 55 acres of grounds, you can find plants split up by different themes, including geographic, taxonomic, or thematic characteristics. The grounds are known for their remarkable display of over 200 magnolias while they bloom in the early months of the year, around January and February.
The San Francisco Botanical Gardens is open daily from 7:30 am with the last entry at 5:00 pm. The grounds close one hour after the last entry.
The Best Gardens in the Midwest
Next, we'll head over to the Midwest, with relatively moderate Spring and Autumn temperatures. Here, summers are hot and humid, with the temperature hitting the triple digits multiple times throughout the summer months.
Here are the best grounds to visit in the midwest:
- Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL
- Cleveland Garden in Cleveland, OH
- Missouri Botanic Garden in St. Louis, MO
Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden has been open for nearly half a century and has maintained its title as one of the world's most important conservation science centers and living museums. Visiting these grounds, you can enjoy 27 unique displays and four natural areas across 385 acres of land.
This garden is so vast that not only can you enjoy it on foot but they also offer tram tours as well. Some of the favorite exhibits, some including unusual plants, at the parks include:
- Bonsai Trees
- Children's Growing Garden
- Enabling Garden
- Sensory Garden
- Waterfall Garden
- Nature Play Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden is open daily from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.
Cleveland Botanical Garden
Holden Forests and Gardens, also known as the Cleveland Botanical Garden, includes the Holden Arboretum, spanning an impressive 3,500 acres. Of that acreage, 200 are explicitly dedicated to cultivated garden displays of that acreage, 10 of which make up the Cleveland Garden.
Here you can enjoy seasonal displays, like the Leaf Discovery Trail, which emphasizes the beauty of fall colors. A favorite amongst children and adults alike is the Return of the Butterflies, which has over 600 newly emerged butterflies in a Costa Rica biome.
Other favorite garden displays you can find here include:
- Restorative Garden
- Hershey Children's Garden
- Topiary Garden
- Woodland Garden
- Costa Rica Glasshouse
The Cleveland Garden is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm.
Missouri Botanical Garden
The Missouri Botanical Garden spans 79 acres of land, with a combination of international and formal gardens and indoor conservatories and demonstrations. The international gardens prove to be fun for the whole family to explore and include:
- Bavarian Garden
- Chinese Garden
- English Woodland Garden
- Japanese Garden
- Ottoman Garden
- Strassenfest German Garden
Known as the country's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation, the garden was founded in 1859 and has since been named a National Historic Landmark.
The Missouri Garden is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. The last entry to the grounds is at 4:30 pm.
The Best Gardens in the Southwest
Then, we'll hit the Southwest, known for its warm temperatures year-round, along with clear skies and minimal annual precipitation.
Here are the best grounds in the Southwest:
- Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ
- Forth Worth Botanic Garden in Fort Worth, TX
- San Antonio Botanical Garden in San Antonio, TX
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden spans across 140 acres in Phoenix, Arizona. Here you can enjoy over 50,000 plant displays in outdoor exhibits with 485 rare and endangered species in its care.
The garden also has a series of trails that allows you to fully immerse yourself in a desert plants experience. The Sonoran Desert nature paths include:
- Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail
- Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail
- Desert Recovery Loop Trail
- Center for Desert Living Trail
- Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail
The Desert Garden is open daily from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.
Fort Worth Botanic Garden
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is partnered with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, known for being one of the country's largest botanical exploration and discovery centers.
There are nearly 20 different destinations to visit within the garden bounds, with some of the favorites being:
- Cactus Garden
- Perennial Garden
- Rose Garden
- Water Conservation Garden
- Texas Native Forest Boardwalk
The Texas Native Forest Boardwalk is known for its outdoor grounds and learning environment, with native species and culturally significant plants growing all around. Here all ages can observe and learn through 13 different education stations.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is open every day of the week from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm. The last admissions are sold at 5:00 pm each day.
San Antonio Botanical Garden
The San Antonio Botanical Garden spans across 38 acres and is designed for people to enjoy, learn from, and appreciate the plant life it exhibits. Established in 1980, today, the manicured gardens boast 13 endangered and rare species currently in its care.
Some of the attractions you can explore at the grounds include:
- Texas Native Trails
- Lucile Halsell Conservatory
- Family Adventure Garden
- Kumamoto En
- The Zachry Foundation Culinary Garden
- Discovery Complex
- Sunken Garden
The San Antonio Garden is open every day of the week from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm, with extended hours on Thursdays. If you visit on Thursday, you can enjoy the gardens from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm.
The Best Gardens in the Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are unique to find a beautiful garden with deep snowpack, high winds, and sudden blizzards. Yet, you can see one of the best gardens in the country here.
Here is the most beautiful garden in the Rocky Mountains:
- Denver Botanic Garden in Denver, CO
Denver Botanic Garden
The Denver Botanic Garden is unique in that it provides visitors with indoor season displays of innovative gardens. Here you will find internationally inspired, ornamental, and other gardens as well as native plants and adapted plants to the Colorado area.
With 24 acres to choose from, the gardens split its display into five primary sections, with some of the most popular showcases being:
- Gardens of the West
- Cactus and Succulent Garden House
- Conservation Garden
- Internationally Inspired Gardens
- South African Plaza
- Bill Hosokawa Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden
- Ornamental Gardens
- Victorian Secret Garden
- Fragrance Garden
- Shady Gardens
- Woodland Mosaic
- Oak Grove
- Water Gardens
- Monet Pool
- Four Towers Pool
The Denver Botanic Garden is open daily from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.
The Best Gardens in the Northeast
The northeastern U.S. has a relatively diverse climate, with semi-humid summers and bitterly cold winters. Another runner-up in the northeast that you cannot forget about the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which is listed in our previous article. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is in Virginia and known for being one of the most beloved in the country.
Here are the best gardens in the northeast:
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn, NY
- Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA
- New York Garden in Bronx, NY
- United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden was created as a public garden over a century ago. Developers saw that New York City was quickly becoming a cityscape of paved roads and buildings. Today, this garden serves as an urban oasis spanning across 52 acres.
There are 15 different unique gardens within the parameters, with some of the favorites being:
- Cherry Tree Esplanade
- Japanese Hill and Lily Pond Garden
- Shakespeare Garden
- Rose Garden
- Rock Garden
The Brooklyn Garden is open every day of the week, except for Mondays from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. Members can gain access to special hours on the weekends from 9:00 am until 10:00 am.
The Longwood Gardens spans across acres in a meadow in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Enjoy all sorts of natural wonders, from plantings to birds to butterflies.
Some of the favorite displays at Longwood Flower Gardens include:
- Rose Arbor
- Garden Path
- East Conservatory
- Peirce's Woods
- Rose Garden
- Italian Water Garden
Another incredible display worth seeing at Longwood Gardens is the Festival of Fountains, which boasts romantic fountains and premiers May through September each year.
The grounds are open every day of the week, except for Tuesday. You can explore the garden Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. Enjoy extended hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm.
New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden spans across 250 acres with 50 different specialty gardens to choose from. This garden is so large it even boasts a trolley garden tour service within it, although even with the help of the trolley, it's likely you won't be able to soak it all in in one visit.
The garden breaks down its flower garden displays based on which seasons they are most beautifully displayed. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Cherry Blossoms
- Children's Adventure Garden
- Edible Academy
- Lilac Collection
- Herb Garen
- Maple Collection
- Ornamental Conifers
- Azalea Garden
The New York Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. You can also enjoy the grounds on federal holiday Mondays, during the same hours.
United States Botanic Garden
The United States Botanic Garden is a living plant museum that was a vision that roots back over 200 years ago to George Washington. The garden boasts multiple professional memberships, including the American Public Gardens Association, the American Alliance of Museums, and the BGCI Botanic Garden.
The premises is split up into the National Garden, Bartholdi Park, and the classic domed Conservatory. Some of the main exhibits include:
- Kitchen Garden
- Pollinator Garden
- First Ladies Water Garden
The United States Botanic Garden's National Garden is open daily from 7:30 am until 5:00 pm, including weekends and holidays.
The Best Gardens in the Southeast
We'll conclude our tour of the best grounds to visit in the southeast. The weather is primarily mild here, with extreme heat in the summer and the occasional extreme cold in winter.
Here are the best options in the southeast:
- Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta, GA
- Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL
- Naples Gardens in Naples, FL
Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden boasts 30 outdoor acres with award-winning displays that are sure to capture the hearts of all ages. Some of the most popular collections here include;
- Skyline Garden
- Unique Canopy Walk
- Storza Woods
- Children's Garden
Enjoy seasonal displays as well within the gardens. Like the SUPERnatural display, which showcases beautiful glass art. But hurry. These seasonal displays come and go quickly. You don't want to miss them!
The Atlanta Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm. The last entry into the garden is at 7:00 pm each day.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida, is just a 25-minute drive from Miami International Airport and just nine minutes away from the University of Miami.
With over 40 buildings and plant collections to explore within the boundaries of the gardens, you can easily spend the whole day here. Enjoy a wide variety of fruit trees, tropical plants, and flourishing garden rooms amongst countless other displays. Some of the favorite attractions include:
- Tropical Fruit Pavilion
- Tropical Flowering Trees Arboretum
- Vine Pergola
- Lougheed Spiny Forest of Madagascar
- South Florida Butterfly Garden
- Bamboo Collection
The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens is open daily from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. The only day of the year the gardens are closed is on Christmas Day, December 25th.
Naples Botanical Gardens
The Naples Botanical Gardens has 90 acres of some of the most incredible natural scenery the country offers. There's undoubtedly something for everyone to enjoy with a dozen themed gardens and displays ranging from the Caribbean Islands to Bali.
Some of the most famous gardens here include:
- LaGrippe Orchid Garden
- Scott Florida Garden
- Kapnick Brazilian Garden
- Lea Asian Garden
The Naples Gardens is open daily from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Members can enjoy an extra hour each day with an opening time of 8:00 am.
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