With its perfect balance of cloudless days and plenty of rainfall, the tropical Sunshine State is home to a vast array of big, bold, colorful blooms. Because of this, there are many botanical gardens that capture the hearts of their visitors. Here is our list of the very best gardens in Florida, so you can start planning your next visit.
The criteria used for this list included having a high volume of reviews on Yelp and Google, with a majority of those reviews being overwhelmingly positive. The locations must also provide educational programs, unique collections of plants and great care shown for their visitors. All 15 featured here certainly qualify, and are listed in no particular order. We hope you enjoy perusing our list, and don’t forget to vote for which one you think is best!
Naples Botanical Garden
Often described as paradise, Naples Botanical Garden is a wonderland of bright flowers and fun events. With six separate gardens and 90 acres of restored native preserve, it is easy to lose oneself on these grounds. People love to just wander to their heart’s content, and the educational programs and conservation efforts here ensure that no urban development will ever happen on this land.
“The garden has something for everyone. The children’s garden has a butterfly garden and enough exhibits to make this a kid destination.” –Kristen H. on Yelp.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Whether you come here in July or January, there are always beautiful flowers upon which to feast your eyes at the Harry P. Leu Gardens. The Central Florida location is what allows them to have gardens that feature a wide variety of temperate and tropical plants. This makes for a diverse day of flower-gazing, and allows visitors to experience something different every time they come.
“One of the most beautiful places in Central Florida! Whether you get a membership and bring your out of town guests, or go for free during their annual plant sale, any nature/flower/tree lover will enjoy Leu Gardens.” –Chelsea S. on Yelp.
Florida Botanical Gardens
Bring yourself, your friends, family and even your dog to the lush landscape of the Florida Botanical Gardens. All are welcome to explore the 90 total acres of natural landscape upon which these gardens sit. There are picnic areas, volunteer opportunities and even an aquatic habitat here, and you’ll feel as if you are walking through all different parts of the world because of the wide array of flowers present.
“This place is a small piece of heaven. You forget to enjoy the little things and then you go to this place and see so many different kinds of plants and you’re amazed.” –Cortney M. on Yelp.
Mounts Botanical Garden
Plants and flowers from six continents (all of the hospitable ones) grace the grounds of Mounts Botanical Garden. It has an affiliation with the University of Florida, which means that visitors have access to plenty of learning opportunities, such as Master Gardeners and the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program. From temperate to tropical, rare to unique, there is something here for horticulture enthusiasts of all tastes.
“This place is amazing and for a small donation you can wander around and enjoy so many different gardens.” –Michel U. on Yelp.
If you like your botanical gardens with a bit of history and a side of skyline views, then Sunken Gardens is the place to be. You can still escape from the city life here though, as they have more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers aligning meandering paths in which you can lose yourself. They also have gardening workshops, volunteer opportunities and you can even host your wedding there.
“This is one of my favorite places to visit in the Tampa Bay area. I’m a fan of anything that’s retro and/or celebrates nature, so Sunken Gardens is the place for me!” –Cece C. on Yelp.
Located on Biscayne Bay, The Kampong is a lush and scenic botanic garden with pristine water-side views. Should you be coming from a state without a coastline, this garden should be high on your list of must-sees. Their heritage collection from exotic locations such as Southeast Asia, Central America and the Caribbean are well worth the price of admission.
“One of my favorite places in the world. A great place to walk. You will love it.” –Larry A. on Yelp.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
This bayfront oasis of tropical flowers is as much about showcasing beautiful gardens as it is about conservation efforts. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens understands how important plant preservation is to the overall environment, and they care about their stunning flowers just as much as they do about horticultural research and education.
“What a treat! Visually breathtaking, informative, entertaining…would definitely recommend, will likely return!” –Tara B. on Yelp.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
As a recognized international leader in conservation and education of the importance of preserving tropical plants, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden takes the horticultural world very seriously. They love to have fun as well; their educational programs are all about hands-on learning and exploring. Speaking of exploring, there is plenty of opportunity to do that here.
“The gardens are huge and have many different types of vegetation. There’s also a huge collection of butterflies, which was unique and really neat to see.” –Shruti W. on Yelp.
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens
If you like having the option for a plethora of activities while visiting a botanic garden, then Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park has everything you’d want. From hiking and biking, to picnicking and swimming, these gardens have plenty of activities for everyone. Featuring hundreds of camellias and azaleas, and even a secret garden, the horticulture enthusiast has a lot by which to be entertained as well.
“The most magical, spectacular and beautiful trail and garden I’ve ever seen in Florida. I’ve never seen so many butterflies flying around!” –Sarah F. on Yelp.
Located in Tallahassee, FL
More information: https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Maclay-Gardens
Photo by Nancy Kellett
McKee Botanical Gardens
McKee Botanical Gardens has quite the history attached to it. What once was a sprawling 80-acre landscape was unfortunately forced to close in 1976 because of land development. But it reopened in 1994, and now makes the most of their 18-acre plot, as they showcase 10,000 native and tropical plants. The picturesque water lilies are also a beautiful sight.
“I have been a member for a couple years now and I love visiting the gardens. The staff are very friendly and they keep the gardens looking nice.” –Mary C. on Yelp.
Bok Tower Gardens
With 126 different species of birds, 50 acres of gardens to explore and fascinating architecture to boot, the Bok Tower Gardens are an outdoors enthusiast’s dream. Their education programs are also very engaging for learners of all ages, and they even have a summer camp, which teaches children aged 6-12 about the importance of environmental knowledge and conservation.
“Bok Tower Gardens is truly one of Florida’s hidden gems. The history and story about Edward Bok and his legacy is fascinating.” –Jennifer M. on Yelp.
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
If you enjoy learning about the history of places you visit, as well as enjoying its aesthetic beauty, Edison & Ford Winter Estates is perfect. The story goes that Thomas Edison fell in love with the area and built a retreat there. He and Henry Ford were good friends, and so Ford built his property right next to Edison’s. Today there are more than 1,700 plants representing 400 species gracing the grounds.
“A must see, great history. Very relaxed you can get guided tours or just see for yourself.” –Melissa S. on Yelp.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Resting on 62 acres of gorgeous landscape, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens seeks to have their collection be among the most diverse in the state. Their walkways are wheelchair accessible and there are plenty of benches upon which to relax and enjoy the environment. They also love to host special events for their patrons, including a Moonlight Walk that features 1,500 luminaries and live music.
“This is one of the finest gardens in Florida and hands down the best in North Florida.” –Jason C. on Yelp.
Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
If it’s peace you like, the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens offers a serene landscape and beautiful flowers in which to lose yourself. Inspired by the famous gardens of Japan, their aim is to provide that authentic Japanese experience in a land on the opposite side of the world. Their educational efforts in this regard are what keep educators and students alike coming back for more.
“First time here and I fell in love with this place. Talk about zen and tranquility from every angle you are standing within the gardens.” –Kathya D. on Yelp.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Internationally recognized for its historical significance and environmental preservation, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a natural jewel of South Florida. Featuring 35 total acres of formal gardens with 2,000 specimens of orchid, growth forests and a stunning mansion to boot, these gardens combine natural beauty with historical significance in stunning fashion.
“The gardens are magnificent; beautifully manicured and very romantic. Every which way you turn, something else catches your eye.” –Amy W. on Yelp.
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