Portland Japanese Garden
Portland Japanese Garden.

13 Best U.S. Botanical Gardens

The largest has 30,000 trees and more than a million plants.

An encounter with nature can be rejuvenating, and there's no better place for that than at one of America's botanical gardens.

Here's a list of 13 we consider outstanding. Located from coast to coast, they include the oldest continuously operating public garden in the U.S., an arid-plant showcase in Phoenix, and more.

1. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. The largest in any city, this 250-acre wonder has 50 specialty gardens and collections comprising more than one million plants, plus 30,000 trees and a Victorian-era glasshouse. 

2. Gibbs Gardens, Ball Ground, Georgia. Twenty magnificent gardens plus a magical forest, ponds, and dramatic waterfalls, spread over 220 acres. 

3. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, Minnesota. The 1,200-aces property in a Minneapolis/St. Paul suburb offers display gardens, apple orchards, a Japanese garden, a maze, and miles of trails.

4. Desert Botanical GardenPhoenix. Thousands of arid-land plants from around the world fill 140 acres. 

5. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, Virginia. Fifty acres of themed gardens, including a Rose Garden and a Children’s Garden, plus a conservatory.

6. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida. Two thousand plants, including orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads, and tropical flowers, as well as the world’s most diverse collection of epiphytes.

7. Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Flowers, sculptures, and a zoo fill nearly 10,000 acres near Myrtle Beach.

8. Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, Washington. One of America’s most tranquil and authentic Japanese gardens with ponds, sand and stone gardens, and a tea garden.

9. San Francisco Botanical Garden, San Francisco. This living museum within Golden Gate Park showcases almost 9,000 kinds of plants from around the world.

10. Longwood GardensKennett Square, Pennsylvania. Features 4,600 types of plants and trees on 1,100 interior and exterior acres.

11. U.S. Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C. Celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2020, this is the oldest continually operating public garden in the U.S. 

12. Descanso Gardens, La Canada Flintridge, California. Featuring 160 acres of gardens, woodlands, and chaparral, this Los Angeles–area property has one of the largest concentrations of camellia plants in the Western Hemisphere. 

13. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 1910, it attracts nearly a million visitors annually with its 14,000 species of plants.