Exploring magical gardens is an adventure that changes every year. No matter how many times you visit a lush garden, it always has something new to offer when spring comes along. Whether you’re visiting a garden for some alone time, with a friend to catch up, or just diving into your favorite book, gardens are always a crowd-pleaser.
You can picture it now, lush greenery, beautifully vibrant colors popping into spring, and the sounds of nature coming back to life after a cold winter. You don’t have to visualize it, though. I recommend you get up and go, which is why I’ve created a list of the top five most magical gardens in the US for you to visit!
Top 5 Most Magical Gardens in the US
It was nearly impossible for me to choose just five, but without a doubt, these are the five I’d go to above all others (in the US, that is — there are tons of gardens I’d go to over these that are out of the country). I’m sure you’re at the edge of your seat with excitement by now, so I won’t keep you any longer.
I will say this:
The pictures don’t do these places justice.
If you get the chance to visit any of these magical places, promise me you’ll go!
1. United States Botanic Gardens
Located in Washington, DC, the United States Botanic Gardens should be first on your list. You can visit the White House while you’re there, check out the National Gallery of Art, or (my obvious favorite thing to do) check out the magical gardens!
The white house monument in the gardens looks like a fairy tale castle. I see a place where knights sit at the round table, where hard decisions are made, and where true love is born.
When you visit the United States Botanic Gardens, you’ll also be visiting the Conservatory, the National Garden, and Bartholdi Park. It sounds like the perfect day trip to me!
2. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens
If you’re looking for a large garden to explore, this 83-acre botanic garden will certainly calm your travel bug! The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens is located in Coral Gables, Florida, and is absolutely breathtaking. There are tons of rare plants to see here (such as palms, cycads, flowering trees, vines, and more).
For some reason, this garden makes me think of The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. I can totally see one of their creatures lurking at the bottom of this small lake!
3. Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden holds a special place in my heart. It’s where Bill and I went for our third Valentine’s Day together (we loved it so much we went back a few months later for my 24th birthday). Guys, I’m not kidding when I tell you that this place oozes that magical feeling you get when you read a fantasy book. In the image above, you see the Earth Goddess — a 25’ statue with 18,000 annuals placed carefully to create her hair.
This process takes well over seven weeks to complete, too! If you’re looking for a place to bring children, the Atlanta Botanical Garden should be your go-to. They have an entire section dedicated to children filled with a small waterpark, a nature-themed jungle gym, and more!
4. Maymont Japanese Garden
Funny story — when Bill and I went to Richmond, VA last year, we had no idea that there was a secluded Japanese Garden hidden smack dab in the city. It’s hidden so well that you don’t hear the highway.
You hear birds chirping, water flowing, and tourists in awe. The Maymont Japanese Garden is full of culture and, if you get the chance, I highly recommend you take the estate tour before you go to the Japanese Garden. That way, you can fully appreciate the magical gardens (as well as get a bit of a history lesson).
5. Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is patiently waiting for you to visit. It’s located in Phoenix, AZ, so you might find yourself sweating while walking through the trails but it’s well worth it. One of my favorite things about this garden is the history that comes with it.
When you walk around the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail, you learn how certain plants have been used by people for food, medicine, and building materials! If anything, this magical garden will help you understand our connection with nature (even the most prickly parts — yes, pun totally intended).
The Best Way to See the Gardens
Wondering where to stay when you’re visiting these magical gardens?
You could stay in an Airbnb rental or a hotel. But we personally love staying in RV rentals because they are flexible and often cheaper! You can visit multiple locations and even go on a US garden road trip to see them all in one go!
I recommend using a peer-to-peer rental company like Outdoorsy or RVshare for the best prices and widest selection. Here are some tips for renting an RV to help you get started.
I almost feel like we went on an adventure together to explore magical gardens! It’s definitely been a fun ride — but the fun is just getting started! Now, it’s time for you to visit these magical gardens for yourself.
Let me know what gardens you plan on visiting and how you liked them afterward! And be sure to check out these packing hacks before you go.
About the Author: Kayla Widmer is a fantasy lover as well as a former full-time RVer. She and her husband Bill share their travel tips on their blog, The Wandering RV. She also loves food photography and snaps some mouth-watering photos over at the Fantasy Kitchen. Special thanks to Wanda for submitting this post.