Top 10 Gardens to Visit in the U.S.

By Mary H. Dyer | December 30, 2017
by Mary H. Dyer
December 30, 2017

The United States is home to a huge number of public gardens, and no two are the same. Some gardens may showcase collections of rare flowers, while others are historical in nature. Public gardens may be peaceful places for quiet contemplation, or they may offer lively activities such as music, walking tours or exhibitions. Whatever your particular interest, there’s sure to be at least one public garden that you won’t want to miss. Here’s a list of 10 gardens to pique your interest.

1. Portland Japanese GardenPortland Japanese Garden is an authentic Japanese garden on 5.5 acres in Portland, Oregon that consists of five very distinct garden styles – Stroll garden, Sand and Stone garden, Flat Garden, Tea Garden and Natural Garden.

2. Luray Caverns – Luray Caverns in Luray, Virginia is home to a half-mile of medieval style labyrinths. Along the meandering, twisting pathways, you’ll discover caves and fountains tucked away amidst privet, yews and boxwood.

3. Desert Botanical GardenDesert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona is a year-round wonderland of cacti and other desert plants. A variety of trails, tours and exhibitions will delight visitors of all ages.

4. Chicago Botanic GardenChicago Botanic Garden, established in 1890, consists of 385 acres divided into 26 gardens and four distinct habitats, including prairies, shores, lakes and woods.

5. Missouri Botanical GardenMissouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis is the oldest operating botanical garden in the United States and is now designated as a National Historic Landmark. Look for a variety of attractions, including a huge display of beautiful, rare orchids.

6. Fort Worth Water GardensFort Worth Water Gardens in Fort Worth, Texas, is a contemporary, 4.3-acre garden located next to the Fort Worth Convention Center. The park is home to more than 500 species of beautiful trees and plants, with a dramatic, terraced fountain as its focal point.

7. Mendocino Coast Botanical GardensMendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in beautiful Mendocino, California is a 47-acre garden sited on a rugged headland overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The flowers are breathtaking and if you’re lucky, you may even spot a whale in its seasonal migration.

8. Sarah P. Duke GardensSarah P. Duke Gardens, located in Durham, North Carolina, consists of 55 acres adjacent to Duke University. The garden boasts five miles of pathways and meandering trails that provide a welcome oasis not only for visitors but students alike.

9. Fairchild Tropical Botanic GardenFairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, Florida displays 83 acres of exotic plants that thrive in the area’s tropical climate. The Million Orchids project, which seeks to collect native orchids for reintroduction into the urban landscape, is a particular source of pride.

10. Botanical Gardens at Springs Preserve – Botanical Gardens at Springs Preserve, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, welcomes visitors to view an extensive collection of desert cacti and succulent plants of the Mohave Desert. The Preserve, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is also home to Big Springs Gallery.

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