10 Best Public Gardens in the US

  • Getty Center Gardens in Los Angeles, California

    The Getty Center's Central Garden, designed by Robert Irwin, features tree-lined walkways that meander past streams, arbors and waterfalls. Thanks to the mild Los Angeles climate, the Central Garden is beautiful year round, but particularly so in spring and fall when the colors are at their best.

    Photo courtesy of brewbooks

  • Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia

    Nestled in the Appalachian foothills, the Callaway Gardens of Georgia contains 13,000 acres of landscaped gardens, including a butterfly habitat, white sand beach and two golf courses. The gardens have been open to the public since 1952 as a place where visitors could connect with and be inspired by nature.

    Photo courtesy of Tony Crescibene

  • Biltmore House gardens comprise several acres plus a conservatory

    Gardens at the Biltmore Estate

    Asheville, North Carolina's most famous attraction - the Biltmore House - stuns visitors with its beauty during all four seasons.  Gardeners, however, are particularly enthralled in spring, when the azaleas present a riot of color; the tulips bloom; and warm sunny days offset Blue Ridge mountain altitude.  

    Photo courtesy of Libby McMillan

  • Kykuit in Tarrytown, New York

    The gardens at Kykuit are part of the Rockefeller family estate where four generations of Rockefellers lived. The gardens, overlooking the Hudson River, are dotted with fountains, terraces and classical sculptures, some by artists the likes of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

    Photo courtesy of Photo © Bryan Haeffele

  • Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

    Aside from being one of Portland's most popular attractions, the Japanese Garden is one of the best public gardens in the entire country. A pavilion on the garden grounds offers panoramic views of downtown Portland with Mt Hood in the background. Unlike most gardens, the Portland Japanese Garden reaches its picturesque peak in autumn when the maple trees turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange.

    Photo courtesy of F. D. Richards

  • Vizcaya in Miami, Florida

    Part of the home of the wealthy gilded-era businessman James Deering, the Vizcaya estate gardens are considered the best Italian Renaissance gardens in the United States. After the city of Miami purchased the estate and converted it to a museum in 1952, the 10 acres of formal gardens were restored to their original splendor.

    Photo courtesy of VisitMiami

  • Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Mendocino, California

    The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens sit on a 47-acre site perched above the Pacific Ocean. The non-profit garden seeks to preserve the species found naturally along the Mendocino coast, but in addition to native flora, you'll find formal manicured flower gardens, a coastal pine forest and fern-filled canyons. Bird watchers can try to spot the 150-odd species that call the gardens home.

    Photo courtesy of Bev Sykes

  • Longwood Gardens, west of Philadelphia

    Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia

    The heart of the Brandywine Valley holds the amazing Longwood Gardens, spanning 1,077 acres.  Horticulture is an art here.  Even the conservatory is 4 acres large.  Easy to reach, Longwood is 30 miles from Philadelphia; 12 miles from Wilmington DE; 43 miles from Lancaster; and 72 miles from Baltimore

    Photo courtesy of Ron Cogswell

  • Wave Hill in Bronx, New York

    One of the best parts about Wave Hill is how unexpected the beautiful gardens are in the heart of the Bronx. The garden's 28 acres contain everything from greenhouses and manicured flower beds to aquatic gardens, woodlands and natural gardens. Master gardeners carefully design the space to feature colorful sights year round.

    Photo courtesy of Jeffery DelViscio

  • Denver Botanic Garden in Denver, Colorado

    While on the smaller side – only 24 acres – the Denver Botanic Garden's themed landscapes are not lacking in beauty. If you're traveling with children, be sure to check out the Deer Creek Discovery Children's Area, complete with a working nineteenth century farm.

    Photo courtesy of John Fowler