10 Garden-loving Cities That Make Great Vacation Destinations
Blooming flowers, green plants and serenity – these are just a few things that draw millions of people to these garden-loving cities every year. Additionally, many cities showcase nature’s beauty year-round, making it easy for travelers to escape to fairy tale-inspired lands. Ready to explore? Come see these garden-loving cities and prepare to take pics.
10 Garden-loving Cities You Can Visit Year-round
Charleston: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Charleston houses multiple gardens open to the public. However, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens tops the must-see list. In fact, the attraction has ranked among America’s Most Beautiful Gardens, according to Travel and Leisure magazine.
The garden dates to 1870 when it first opened to the public, ranking it one of the oldest gardens in the U.S., and the Lowcountry’s oldest tourist attraction. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens features a large-scale romantic garden as well as camellias, daffodils, azaleas and dozens of other species. Guests even enjoy different flowers in-bloom each month.
Dallas: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Fodor’s Travel deemed this attraction with one of the best Spring Flower Festivals in the U.S. Other accolades include attention from Martha Stewart, USA Today and Southern Living. What makes it so special? How about 65-plus acres of signature gardens.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens offers year-round blooms in over 20 different gardens. Families with children connect to nature in the Children’s Adventure Garden. Or stroll Japanese Maples, tulips, rose varieties, courtyards and water features. Additionally, visitors have places to play and relax. Don’t forget to see the Trial Gardens, where up to 5,000 plants are trialed each year.
Denver: Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens manages two locations: York Street and Chatfield Farms — both offer pristine flowers and plants. In fact, the gardens have earned honors from Forbes and USA Today.
York Street features 24 acres of diverse plants and flowers from around the world. A total of 17 gardens represent drought-tolerant conditions and thrive in Colorado. See cactus, succulents, agave, dwarf conifers and native wildflowers. At Chatfield Farms, explore 700 acres of plant refuge and a working farm. A few highlights include a corn maze open in fall, herb garden, iris garden, vegetables and apple trees. Both locations have areas for children to play.
Fort Worth: Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
Fort Worth ranks among the top garden-loving cities because it has multiple gardens. However, access two floral attractions at Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. While most gardens here are free, there is a small fee for the Japanese Garden.
Fort Worth Botanic Gardens houses 18 gardens total. No matter the time of year, these park-like settings provide a place to escape. While visiting, see the rain forest conservatory greenhouse, working backyard veggie garden, native plants and trial perennials. To enhance the trip, budget for the Japanese Garden – less than $10 per adult – and stroll cherry trees, bamboo and ponds home to some 1,200 koi fish. For romance, some claim the rose garden is one of the most romantic places in Fort Worth.
Maui: Garden of Eden
As a tropical paradise in Hawaii, Maui has six gardens worth visiting. The island has two botanical gardens, sacred gardens, tropical plantations and arboretums. However, one main attraction is Garden of Eden, an oasis located on Road to Hana.
At Maui Garden of Eden, guests explore 26 acres of color, rare trees, flowers and sweet smells. While strolling, admire the tree farm, banana patch, enchanted forest, anthurium garden and various overlooks. That’s right: Garden of Eden offers access to waterfall overlooks and ocean views. The attraction also houses 700 species from other tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Myrtle Beach: Brookgreen Gardens
In Murrells Inlet, a beach town near Myrtle Beach, garden-lovers find Brookgreen Gardens. This attraction earned a top 10 spot among the Best Botanical Gardens in the U.S., according to USA Today. But there’s more. Brookgreen Gardens also houses an American sculpture garden and Lowcountry zoo.
This 10,000-acre oasis preserves history and natural beauty. Gardens include 250-year-old live oak trees and seasonal varieties. In spring, see Iceland poppies and daffodils. Summer brings begonias and hydrangeas. Meanwhile, fall and winter welcome roses, spider lily and winter jasmine. If visiting from April through October, don’t miss the Whispering Wings Butterfly Experience.
Nashville: Cheekwood Estate and Gardens
Nashville may be known as Music City, but this destination features a diverse landscape and four distinct seasons. One place to enjoy the city’s changing scenery is Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. The attraction offers 55 acres of gardens and an art museum that welcome some 225,000 people per year.
At Cheekwood, gardens offer different environments and atmospheres. For example, the color garden features beds of perennials, annuals and tropical beauties. Others include herbs, boxwoods, dogwoods, roses and the Japanese garden. In addition, Cheekwood hosts an annual springtime festival with 150,000 blooming bulbs such as snowdrops, magnolias and tulips.
Phoenix: Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix has made best botanical gardens lists by Thrillist and Curbed. Even better, it’s located less than 3 miles from Scottsdale – a top destination for golf, food and spas. This means those vacationing in Phoenix and Scottsdale easily access Desert Botanical Garden.
The award-winning garden features 140 acres with over 50,000 plant displays. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with walking trails. See plants that thrive in the hottest, driest places in the world. Admire picturesque views of the mountains. Then smell various fragrances, and watch hummingbirds and butterflies. Exhibits at Desert Botanical Garden include Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert and Desert Wildflower Loop.
Portland: Portland Japanese Garden
Travel and Leisure named this hot spot among America’s Most Beautiful Gardens. While Portland has several worthy gardens, Portland Japanese Garden ranks among the best garden-loving cities for beauty and culture.
For over 50 years, Portland Japanese Garden has served as a tranquil place. Borrowing from Japanese garden history, the attraction features cherry trees, pond garden, tea garden, bonsai terrace and flat garden. Many plants and flowers have been imported from Japan and represent that culture. In addition to Portland Japanese Garden, the city welcomes nature lovers to visit Lan Su Chines Garden, International Rose Test Garden and Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.
St. Petersburg: Sunken Gardens
Located near Tampa in Florida, St. Petersburg offers a tropical escape and one of the state’s oldest living museums. Sunken Gardens – a botanical paradise – houses a 100-year-old garden with some of the oldest plants in the region.
Sunken Gardens doubles as a public park. Its sole purpose is to preserve plants, flowers and animals that live in the park. Guests stroll paths, watch flamingos, admire waterfalls, and see 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. Visitors may even see koi fish, turtles and exotic birds. For a serene escape, tour the lily pond, orchid arbor, meditation patio, cactus garden and palm grove.
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