Best botanical gardens on the east coast! Relax and take in the sights and scents of these magnificent gardens. Includes hours and costs.

21 Best Botanical Gardens On The East Coast

Best botanical gardens on the east coast! Relax and take in the sights and scents of these magnificent gardens. Includes hours and costs.

Best Botanical Gardens On The East Coast

There are many benefits to spending time in nature. It’s been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, and strengthen the immune system. However, you don’t have to hike a mountain to get these benefits. Instead, you can visit a botanical garden!

With the help of our blogger friends, we’ve put together this epic list of the best botanical gardens on the east coast. We’ve placed them in order from north to south. We’ve also listed important information like opening hours and admission costs.

Pro Tip: As you’re exploring botanical gardens, make sure to also check out the best wineries on the east coast and the best lighthouses on the east coast!

Best Botanical Garden In Maine

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Address: 105 Botanical Gdns Dr, Boothbay, ME 04537
Hours: May 1 through October 23, open daily 9 AM to 5 PM
Admission: $22 for adults

By Brianne of A Traveling Life

Whether you’re doing a day trip from Portland or taking a break on your drive to Acadia National Park, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is definitely worth the stop. Spanning 300 acres of gardens, lawns, wetlands, forests, and ponds, it’s the largest botanical garden in New England, and can keep the whole family entertained for a few hours or more. There are 19 acres of gardens, which feature plants native to Maine and similar coastal climates, and are dotted with art and sculpture inspired by the surroundings. 

Highlights include a peaceful meditation garden, a spiral-shaped Dahlia Garden, a Native Bee Exhibit that educates visitors on Maine’s 276 species of bees, and a Native Butterfly and Moth House that showcases the entire life cycle of butterflies and moths. Kids love the Fairy House Village, where they can build dwellings from natural materials, and the Children’s Garden brings to life the settings of popular children’s books.

All of the main gardens are fully wheelchair and stroller accessible, and for folks with mobility limitations, there are one-hour golf cart tours available. Plus, the Lerner Garden of Five Senses encourages visitors to explore flowers and the natural surroundings using all of their senses and even includes raised flower and vegetable beds for gardeners who use wheelchairs.  

The Botanical Gardens has ample parking and the Cafe serves locally sourced lunch fare and snacks.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is one of the best botanical gardens on the east coast
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Best Botanical Garden In Massachusetts

Berkshire Botanical Garden

Address: 5 W Stockbridge Rd, Stockbridge, MA 01262
Hours: May 1 through Oct. 31, open daily 10 AM to 4 PM
Admission: $18 for adults, but free on Tuesdays

By Kate of Yes, Massachusetts!

Many visitors to New England stick to the big cities and the coast — but there is much to enjoy once you head further inland. The Berkshires, comprising the westernmost county of Massachusetts, are home to adorable small towns, gorgeous scenic wonders, and a vibrant, welcoming arts community.

Berkshire Botanical Garden is a must-visit while visiting the Berkshires. Located in the town of Stockbridge, this is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Northeast US, established in 1934. Today, the garden is comprised of 24 acres.

There are several different exhibits in the garden. You can stroll along Daylily Walk, sit on a bench by Pond Garden, or see how the vegetable gardens are growing this season. The newest exhibit, Lucy’s Garden, is a collection of exotic animal topiaries, that opened in 2019.

Like most of the Berkshires, the Berkshire Botanical Garden highly values the artists of this region. You can always find local artist exhibitions here! There are also lots of events open to the public, from gardening workshops to plant-based cooking classes to watercolor sessions.

One thing to keep in mind is that the phone signal is not great while in the garden, but you can find WiFi close to the entrance.

And if you’d like even more spring gardens, be sure to visit the historic homes of the Berkshires, from Naumkeag in Stockbridge to Edith Wharton’s The Mount in Lenox!

Berkshire Botanical Garden
Berkshire Botanical Garden

Best Botanical Gardens In New York

New York Botanical Garden

Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10458
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM, and Monday federal holidays
Admission: $35 for adults

By Kasia of Perfect Day Somewhere

The New York Botanical Garden is a stunning place to visit, with 250 acres of beautiful gardens, woodlands, and wetlands to explore. One of the things that make the New York Botanical Garden special is its incredible diversity of plants and gardens. The garden has been open since 1891 and has played a significant role in the study and understanding of plants. It has also helped to preserve and protect a variety of plant species.

The garden is open year-round. There is parking on site for $22 per vehicle and the NYBG Parking Garage with hourly rates. There are also independent parking garages nearby. Additionally, it is easily accessible by subway, with the D or B trains.

If you love flowers, the spring and summer seasons are the best times to visit, as the garden is filled with blooming flowers and plants. One of the most popular events at the New York Botanical Garden is the Holiday Train Show, which takes place every year from late November to early January. The show features model trains that travel through a miniature landscape, made up of 150 landmarks from around New York City, all made out of plant parts. Other yearly events include the Orchid Show, the Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Summer Concert series.

New York Botanical Garden
New York Botanical Garden

6BC Botanical Garden

Address: 630 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009
Hours: April (weather permitting) through October 31, Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 7 PM, Wednesday and Friday 6PM to 8 PM
Admission: Free

By Soline of On the Road Diary

6BC Botanical Garden in Manhattan is a hidden gem in the middle of the city. Nestled in the East Village, 6BC has been transforming an old industrial site into an environmental oasis for many years.

This lush botanical garden features majestic trees and colorful flower beds providing visitors with the perfect spot to take in natural beauty and relax without leaving the city. Furthermore, the East Village truly is one of the best areas to stay in New York

Visitors will find winding paths that meander through the garden’s different areas, leading to exotic plants and nice places to chill. 

6BC also features multiple water features and bird-friendly landscaping, making it a delightful spot for wildlife watching. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful place or you want to learn more about plants and wildlife, the 6BC Botanical Garden is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

The garden also hosts a variety of community events such as yoga classes, concerts, plant sales among other activities. 

6BC is a peaceful haven that provides much needed respite from the noise and hustle of the big city life.

6BC Botanical Garden
Photo Credit: 6BC Botanical Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Address: 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 AM to 3:30 PM
Admission: $18 for adults

By Megan of Your Brooklyn Guide

One of the best botanical gardens on the east coast can be found in New York City. There are actually two botanical gardens in the city, the more famous one in the Bronx known as New York Botanical Gardens, and the gardens located in Brooklyn – Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Located in the neighborhood of Crown Heights next to Prospect Park, the sister park to Central Park, and Grand Army Plaza.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden encompasses 52 acres of over 18,000 plants, conservatories, gardens, and their beautiful collection of cherry blossom trees that bloom in the spring.

The events you won’t want to miss include cherry blossom season where you can saunter through the Cherry Esplanade lined with trees or visit the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, which is the oldest Japanese-inspired garden of its kind outside of Japan.

There is something to be seen every season, though. In the winter you can walk through the illuminated magical pathways and art installations at Lightscape in the gardens and there are even winter blooms and conservatories you can check out.

In the fall you’re rewarded with the brilliant colors of fall foliage and in the summer you have the entire garden in full bloom.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of the best botanical gardens on the east coast
Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Best Botanical Gardens In Pennsylvania

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Address: 1 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 9:30 AM to 5 PM, Friday and Saturday 9:30 AM to 10 PM
Admission: $21.95 for adults

The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has been wowing visitors since 1893 and is considered one of the best botanical gardens on the east coast. Visiting the gardens is also one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh.

The gardens are spread out over 15 acres and there are 23 distinct gardens, including a 14-room glasshouse. There are beautiful flowers, fun musical fountains, and even a butterfly forest. There are also flower shows and exclusive exhibits throughout the year. And just a few miles from downtown Pittsburgh!

There is free parking available at the gardens. Additionally, there is also metered street parking that is free after 6 PM every Monday through Saturday and all day on Sunday.

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Chanticleer, A pleasure garden

Address: 786 Church Rd, Wayne, PA 19087
Hours: March 29 through November 5, Wednesday to Sunday open daily 10 AM to 5 PM, and until 8 PM on Fridays May through Labor Day
Admission: $12 for adults

By Susan of Beans, Bikes, and Blooms

With over 30 natural and Botanical Gardens within 30 miles of Center City, Philadelphia is considered the Garden Capital of the United States. And with so many amazing gardens, choosing the best one is a challenge.

But Chanticleer in Media Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia is a clear standout. This garden’s full name is “Chanticleer, A pleasure garden” and for good reason. Everything about it is delightful. These gardens have been an inspiration for many local artists. It’s not unusual to see artists set up with their easel and tools of the trade.

Only a 30-minute train ride from Center City (take the  Lansdale/Doylestown Line) this stunning botanical garden is set on just 35 acres but has over 5000 species of plants. This bite-sized garden really packs a punch. 

Overshadowed by some of the larger better-known gardens such as Longwood Gardens and Winterthur, this wonderful garden should be included in any Philadelphia area garden tour. It offers a little something for every garden-lover. There are natural gardens, woodlands, formal courtyards, and even a vegetable garden. 

Paved walkways guide visitors to the individual gardens. Some of the highlights include the formal gardens around the house, the Serpentine, the Pond Garden, Ruins, and Gravel Gardens.

Visitors to Chanticleer can easily see the entire estate in about an hour and a half. But why not pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the stream or a shady area in the Bulb Meadow? 

Chanticleer, A pleasure garden
Chanticleer, A pleasure garden

Best Botanical Garden In Maryland

Brookside Gardens

Address: 1800 Glenallan Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902
Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset
Admission: Free

By Lola of Deyewa

Brookside Gardens is an amazing 50-acre botanical garden that has been open since 1969. Its location within Wheaton Regional Park also makes it a favorite as there is so much to do. From the carousel, to the miniature train, Wizard of Oz themed playground and more, visitors will surely have a blast. It’s one of the best things to do in Maryland with kids.

Springtime is one of the best times to visit. Brookside Gardens has some of the best cherry blossoms to experience, plus it’s never crowded compared to other places. In April, you can check out the Azalea Garden Walk which is an oasis of beauty with lush and colorful azaleas.

Brookside Gardens holds a butterfly event called Wings of Fancy. You can learn about caterpillars and butterflies, and how they develop. This event is great for kids because they can get close to the butterflies and caterpillars. There is also the outdoor Butterfly Garden where visitors can observe butterflies as they feed on nectar-rich flowers and plants.

Another spectacular event is the annual Garden of Lights. The entire garden is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. This event is a great way to celebrate the holidays. Stroll among thousands of twinkling lights, decorations, and festive displays.

Parking is free and available at both the main entrance and the Conservatory entrance of the garden. One tip for visiting is to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon, although, due to the size of the garden, it never really gets crowded.

Brookside Gardens
Brookside Gardens

Best Botanical Garden In Washington DC

United States National Arboretum

Address: 3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
Hours: Open daily 8 AM to 5 PM
Admission: Free

By Kath of familyTravelsUSA

Most visitors to Washington, DC spend their time around the National Mall or in the surrounding museums. But one of our favorite hidden gems in the city is the U.S. National Arboretum. It’s located less than 3 miles from the United States Capitol, and with free parking and no admission fees, it’s worth a visit. 

So what makes the National Arboretum special? Every season offers something but springtime is my favorite time to visit. Colorful blossoms pop on the cherry trees, throughout the Azalea Garden, and in the Asian Collections. Spring visitors can also enjoy the multi-colored collection of tulips near the National Herb Garden.

Visitors won’t want to miss the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum located on the grounds of the arboretum. Take a peaceful stroll through the winding outdoor courtyards and view unique trees and plants that are part of the Chinese Penjing and Japanese bonsai collections. And don’t be surprised when you look out and see a group of tall, ornate columns standing alone in the middle of a meadow. The National Capitol Columns, once part of the U.S. Capitol Building, provide unique photo opportunities.

We love to bring our bikes to explore the roughly 9 miles of roads. Visitors can also use the Capital Bikeshare station at 24th and R Street to rent bikes. Parking lots are scattered throughout the Arboretum to make it easy to view the different collections.

United States National Arboretum
United States National Arboretum

Best Botanical Gardens In Virginia

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Address: 9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct, Vienna, VA 22182
Hours: Open daily 10 AM to 3:30 PM
Admission: $6 for adults

By Julie of Fun in Fairfax VA

One of the most beautiful gardens in the Washington DC region, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens stretches across 95 acres in the small town of Vienna. Opened in 1987, Meadowlark has become a favorite year-round destination for nature lovers. Here, a mix of ornamental and native gardens mix with forested areas and a pretty pond. In addition, Meadowlark is home to the first Korean Bell Garden in the Western Hemisphere featuring a 3-ton “Bell of Peace and Harmony.”

There are beautiful and interesting things to do at Meadowlark Gardens for every age. A Children’s Garden has interactive elements for young visitors. Kids also love to look for colorful koi and big turtles from bridges and a gazebo over the pond. A network of paved and dirt paths offers a little exercise or quiet contemplation for adults. Additionally, the main path to the pond is wheelchair accessible. In addition, traditional structures and art in the Korean Bell Garden are a learning opportunity for all.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens blooms throughout the year but is particularly beautiful in spring when cherry and magnolia trees are in bloom. Later, peonies, azaleas, tulips, hydrangeas, and more fill beds with color and texture. Benches spread throughout the gardens provide a spot to relax and take in the views while a Visitor Center offers informational displays, restrooms, and a small shop. Additionally, there is plenty of free parking.

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Address: 1800 Lakeside Ave, Henrico, VA 23228
Hours: Open daily 9 AM to 5 PM
Admission: $17 for adults

By Ada of Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: A Travel Blog

Located just north of Richmond, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens is not only one of the best things to do in Richmond but it’s also considered one of the best botanical gardens on the east coast. The 50 acres of pristine gardens you see today are an expansion of the Victorian gardens that Grace Arents, niece of prominent Richmond businessman, Lewis Ginter, cultivated. You can still visit Miss Grace’s garden near the historic Bloemendaal House on the gardens’ grounds.

Although Miss Grace donated her land to the city of Richmond for a botanical garden in 1926, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden didn’t open until 1984. All that time planning was well spent. You’ll find ample parking, special events, two cafes, and an impressive gift shop. There are more than a dozen individual gardens and an entire network of paths, some of which meander through a heavily wooded area along the shores of Syndor Lake. 

No visit is complete without visiting its impressive 11,000 square foot conservatory. Called the “Jewel of the Garden,” the conservatory features orchids, succulents, cacti, and even a little Tudor-style cottage. The Asian Valley, featuring the Lotus Bridge across the narrowest point of Syndor Lake, is another highlight. Guests with children will want to check out the massive playground area in the Children’s Garden. 

It’s worth checking out their website before your visit to see if they have any special events, like children’s concerts or garden teas, planned. The gardens host both an annual holiday lights exhibit and a live butterfly exhibit each spring and summer. Occasionally they offer free or reduced admission days!

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Best Botanical Gardens In North Carolina

Elizabethan Gardens

Address: 1411 National Park Dr, Manteo, NC 27954
Hours: February through November open daily 9 AM to 5 PM, December open daily 9 AM to 4 PM and 6 PM to 9 PM, January closed
Admission: $12 for adults

By Heather of RaulersonGirlsTravel

If you are visiting the lost colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, explore one of the best botanical gardens on the east coast. The Elizabethan Gardens is 10.5 acres of exquisitely landscaped gardens that will transport you back to when women strolled gardens on gentlemen’s arms while twirling parasols over their heads. Named after Queen Elizabeth, the gardens are a tribute to her and the colonists who made this island home.

The garden’s construction began on Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation Day, June 2, 1953. However, it didn’t officially open until August 18, 1960, on the 373rd anniversary of the first child born in America’s (Virginia Dare) birthday. The references to the queen are abundant throughout the garden. There is a beautifully detailed likeness of Queen Elizabeth I admiring roses, the world’s largest statue of its kind. And within the Rose Garden, there is a rose that Queen Elizabeth II gifted from Windsor Castle’s Royal Rose Garden. 

Rain or shine, you can wander through the immaculate garden to see the Italian fountains, colorful flower beds, bird baths, rose hedges, and stone benches strategically placed for you to admire the garden’s beauty. Natural pathways lead you further into the woodlands, where you will find the Sunken Garden, ancient Oak trees, a Butterfly House, an impressive overlook of Roanoke Sound, and a Discovery area for kids, making this garden the perfect place for a family visit. Who knew this small island where the first English colonists landed would have a spectacular garden 400 years later?

Elizabethan Gardens
Elizabethan Gardens

The North Carolina Arboretum

Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
Hours: November through March open daily 8 AM to 7 PM, April through October open daily 8 AM to 9 PM
Admission: Free, but there is a $16 parking fee

By Bret & Mary of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

Spanning 434 acres in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, the NC Arboretum is the largest botanical garden in Asheville. With a focus on education and conservation, the garden offers activities ranging from educational programs and guided tours to an array of special seasonal events. 

The garden was established in 1986 by the North Carolina General Assembly to serve as a statewide and national resource. It is located near the Blue Ridge Parkway within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest.

The arboretum has seven main garden areas. The Blue Ridge Court (which features a lovely garden pool) is at the heart of the central Promenade, while the Stream Garden features an assortment of plants that are native to North Carolina. You can also learn about plants used in medicinal herbs at their Heritage Garden and see Appalachian-influenced floral designs in the Quilt Garden. 

Along with the Holly Garden and National Native Azalea Repository, these attractions illustrate why the North Carolina Arboretum is considered one of the best botanical gardens on the east coast.

Our favorite time to visit is during Christmas in Asheville when the entire garden is lit up with a dazzling array of Christmas lights. The nature theme is inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains and includes light displays reflecting the beauty of the mountains, streams, birds, and other wildlife that make the area so special. The Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum make Asheville one of our favorite places to celebrate Christmas in the USA!

The North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum

Best Botanical Gardens In Florida

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Address: Summer House, 4700 SW 58th Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608
Hours: Monday through Wednesday and Friday 9 AM to 5 PM, Closed Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM to the earlier of 7 PM or dusk
Admission: $10 for adults

One of the best botanical gardens on the east coast is Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. Located in Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, the gardens are a little piece of heaven. There are 24 collections spread across 68 acres, but you can easily navigate through them on a mile-and-a-half-long paved walkway.

Our favorite collection was the bamboo garden. It is the largest public display of bamboo in Florida! The herb garden, the largest in the Southeast, is also very impressive. There was also a small labyrinth and a couple of waterfalls.

Kanapaha is the perfect place to spend a day. Bring along some snacks and relax in their picnic area. Or, take a seat on one of their many benches or in one of their gazebos that are spaced throughout the gardens.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens

Address: 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853
Hours: Open daily 8 AM to 6 PM
Admission: $17 for adults

By Shara of SKJ Travel

Located outside Tampa, on the Lake Wales Ridge, Bok Tower Gardens sits on one of the highest vantage points in the Florida Peninsula. It’s also a designated site on the “Great Florida Birding Trail.” The gardens are home to 125 bird species. There is an enclosed blind on the bank of the Wildlife Pond where avid bird photographers can wait for perfect photo opportunities.

Rather than importing exotic plants from around the world, Bok Tower Gardens were designed with 175 different native plant species to represent the native ecologies of the region. Several miles of nature trails wind through tree groves and themed gardens with waterways, picnic tables, and a boardwalk.

The most unique feature, for which the gardens are named, is the 205-foot tall Singing Tower. It houses one of only 600 carillons that exist in the world. A carillon uses a keyboard connected with wires and levers to bell clappers in the tower which strike the inside of a set of bronze-tuned bells. The bells ring out over the entire gardens, and you can watch a live video feed of the carillonneur playing. There are daily performances at 1 PM and 3 PM.

The gardens were founded in 1925 by Edward Bok, a fascinating character whose autobiography won the Pulitzer Prize. In creating the gardens, he followed his own dictum, “Wherever your lives may be cast, make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.”

Bok Tower Gardens
Bok Tower Gardens

Florida Botanical Gardens

Address: 12520 Ulmerton Rd, Largo, FL 33774
Hours: Open daily 7 AM to 5 PM
Admission: Free

By Candice of Exploring the Gulf

The Florida Botanical Gardens offer a lush sanctuary for visitors to explore. Whether you’re a nature lover, tourist, or a local resident looking for an outdoor adventure close to home, this is a must-see. With 182 acres of tropical plants and trails perfect for exploring, it is one of the most popular attractions in Clearwater for families and couples.

The Florida Botanical Gardens first opened its doors to the public in 1991 as part of the Pinellas County Parks Department. Since then, it has become one of Clearwater’s most beloved attractions. Visitors can explore a variety of exhibits, including a butterfly garden, rose garden, herb garden, and orchid conservatory. There are also plenty of walking trails. They are perfect for bird watching or just taking in all the beauty that nature offers. 

There are several tips that visitors should keep in mind when visiting the Florida Botanical Gardens. First off, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen. Also, be aware that there may be some areas that are off-limits due to ongoing maintenance or construction projects. Lastly, don’t forget your camera! There are plenty of photo opportunities here with all sorts of exotic plants and colorful flowers throughout the botanical gardens.  

The Florida Botanical Gardens is one of Clearwater’s hidden gems. It is an oasis among urban sprawl that offers natural beauty year-round. With its combination of unique exhibits, vibrant flora, and fauna, plus plenty of trails to explore, there is a lot to see and do.

Florida Botanical Gardens
Florida Botanical Gardens

Sunken Gardens

Address: 1825 4th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33704
Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 4:30 PM, Sunday 12 PM to 4:30 PM
Admission: $15 for adults

By Angela of Fitting In Adventure

What started as a sinkhole 100 years ago has been transformed into one of Florida’s most beautiful gardens. It took the vision of a plumber in 1903 to buy the sinkhole which had become a freshwater lake. He quickly drained the lake and began planting to fulfill his vision. By 1920, he could no longer keep the gardens private and open to visitors.

Sunken Gardens quickly grew in popularity and became one of Florida’s top attractions in the 1970s. Through the years he created a home for more than 50,000 tropical plants with meandering paths and what is now the oldest living museum in St Pete. 

The Growing Stone is a favorite resting spot in the garden. Legend has it that, “He who sits upon the ancient stone shall be granted tranquility, inner harmony, and the talent to make things grow.”

Today Sunken Garden is a place to relax, wander, practice yoga at one of their classes, or hone your photography skills while surrounded by some of Florida’s oldest tropical plants, cascading waterfalls, and even a flock of flamingos. But you will want to visit often to catch all the ever-changing blooms!

Sunken Gardens
Sunken Gardens

The Ringling

Address: 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
Hours: Open daily 10 AM to 5 PM
Admission: $25 for adults (includes entry to the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, Bayfront Gardens, and the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion, but not entry to Ca’ d’Zan)

By Erin of Super Simple Salty Life

John Ringling is well known as one of the seven Ringling Brothers, and as a key member of the Ringling Brothers Circus. He and his wife Mabel spent their winters in Sarasota, and thus purchased 66 acres of waterfront property on Sarasota Bay. This purchase included a 30-room Venetian Gothic mansion later named Ca’ d’Zan, “The House of John” in Venetian Italian.

Shortly after completing the mansion, lush gardens were designed. Later, a museum was constructed filled with Ringling’s circus antiquities. Then, in the 1930s, an art museum was built. After John’s death, the State of Florida received ownership of the property.

The Bayfront Gardens are divided into several sections. The creation of the formal Mable Ringling Rose Garden was overseen by Mable herself and covers 27,000 square feet with over 1,000 roses. The Secret Garden is a secluded and less formal garden than the rose garden and is also where John Ringling and his sister were buried.

In 2000, the Millennium Tree Trail was established. It has a variety of Florida’s native trees and they’re showcased along a meandering path throughout the gardens. Visitors can explore palm trees, pines, and huge banyan trees with aerial roots cascading from every branch. Ponds are scattered throughout the gardens, filled with fish and teeming with native animals such as Great Blue Herons, Ibis, Snowy Egrets, turtles, and butterflies.

The gardens also feature Classical and Renaissance statues, the Banyon Garden Bistro, picnic areas, and a waterfront walkway along Sarasota Bay.

The Ringling
The Ringling

Naples Botanical Garden

Address: 4820 Bayshore Dr, Naples, FL 34112
Hours: October through May open daily 9 AM to 5 PM, June through September open daily 9 AM to 2 PM
Admission: $25 for adults

The Naples Botanical Garden is truly one of the best botanical gardens on the east coast. The idea for the garden was originally put together in 1993 by a group of local plant enthusiasts. Over the years, thanks to generous donations, construction began. It grew in phases, and now has plants from all over the world on 170 acres.

There are many collections, but one of our favorites is the Orchid Garden. Different varieties of orchids are growing on and around trees. The garden also has water features that provide gentle sounds of water flowing throughout the garden.

The Naples Botanical Garden also has many special exhibits throughout the year, so be sure to check out their calendar of events before your visit. There is free parking on site, but it is limited, especially during special events.

Naples Botanical Garden
Naples Botanical Garden

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Address: 2000 Convention Ctr Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 9 AM to 5 PM
Admission: Free

Need to get away from the craziness that is South Beach? Head over to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. This urban oasis is small (only 3 acres) but you will still find plenty of plant and animal life. It’s also one of the best free things to do in Miami.

The Japanese Garden is one of the more popular gardens. Here you’ll find traditional lantern pagodas, a collection of bamboo specimens, and a red bridge that connects two small ponds. The Edible Garden is also very fascinating. You’ll see papaya, pineapples, pomegranates, coffee, and even figs. Throughout the year there are workshops taught at the garden. There are also weekly classes like yoga and Tai Chi.

Unfortunately, the garden does not have its own parking lot. However, there is paid street parking and a parking garage nearby.

Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Address: 5210 College Rd, Key West, FL 33040
Hours: Open daily 10 AM to 4 PM
Admission: $10 for adults

By Victoria of Florida Trippers

One of the best botanical gardens on the east coast of the USA is the Key West Botanical Garden. Founded in 1936, the garden was initially established by the US government during the Depression. It was a way to assist with economic recovery. Since then, the goal of this incredible botanical garden on Stock Island is to preserve the fragile local ecosystem by conserving native habitats and local plant species. As a result, the garden is a non-frost arboretum with a wide array of palms, shrubs, and trees. 

The garden features a wide array of amenities like smartphone audio tours, free parking, free WIFI, a gift shop with handmade artisanal crafts, and several water-filling stations. So, if you would like to experience one of the best things to do in Key West then use either the blue or red line bus from downtown Key West to visit. 

Once here, you can do a bit of birding before walking among the many “Champion Trees” that can be found here. Just be aware that these are not species of trees but rather various types of trees that have been nominated for conservation in the area.

Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden
Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden

Final Thoughts On Botanical Gardens On The East Coast

Ready to head outside? We hope this list of the best botanical gardens on the east coast has inspired you to get out and enjoy nature. You can enjoy sweet aromas and unwind under green canopies. Your serotonin levels will thank you!

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Best botanical gardens on the east coast! Relax and take in the sights and scents of these magnificent gardens. Includes hours and costs.

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  1. There’s just something about taking the time out to stroll around these gardens. I’m surprised that Longwood Gardens didn’t make the cut in PA. We will have to stop by there whenever we are in the area to show you and Buddy around.

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