Blooming tulips
Photo courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

There are few better ways to explore the beauty and diversity of the United States than a visit to a botanical garden, dedicated to preserving the nation’s most fascinating flowers, trees, insects, birds and wildlife.

Plan a romantic weekend getaway to a garden near you or take a longer trip to one of these unique destinations which let you admire fragrant tropical flowers of Hawaii, desert plants of Arizona, or the fragile ecosystem of Alaska.

Visit the highest botanical garden in the world in Colorado, the oldest botanical garden in the country in Missouri, or the largest arboretum in the U.S. in Ohio. Some of the gardens are seasonal and at their best during the warmer season. Others are lush and colorful year-round, letting you get away for a vacation of wonder and natural beauty throughout the year.

»Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri Botanical Garden

Formerly known as Shaw's Garden after the founder and philanthropist Henry Shaw, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in the country and a National Historic Landmark.

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, the garden was founded in 1859 and today sees more than 750,000 visitors each year. An oasis in the city, the garden covers 79 acres of land, displaying a wide variety of plants, trees and shrubs, which includes an incredible collection of rare orchids. The garden also features a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, an English Woodland Garden, a Victorian District and the original 1850s estate home of Henry Shaw. A Climatron conservatory is home to a thriving tropical rainforest and the Temperate House is akin to the Mediterranean.

Enjoy fine fare at Sassafras or coffee at Café Flora or the Terrace Café, and stop at the two quaint gift stores which sell vintage and antique items. Read more

4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110, Phone: 314-577-5100

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»Fuller Gardens, New Hampshire

Fuller Gardens, New Hampshire

A seaside gem on the coast of New Hampshire, Fuller Gardens is a turn-of-the-century estate located a stone’s throw away from the sea. Once part of the vast summer estate of Alvan T. Fuller, the garden is now open to the public and is home to a beautiful array of horticulture, including over 2,000 roses and many varieties of other annual blooms.

The gardens feature a conservatory and propagation house, as well as a delightful Dahlia Display that is well worth a visit. Surrounded by formal English borders of perennial plantings, a superbly manicured Japanese Garden, tranquil koi pond and the tropical conservatory are wonderful spots to spend an afternoon, followed by a stroll through the intricately laid-out Front Garden and ending in a visit to the Garden Shop for a memento.

10 Willow Avenue, North Hampton, NH 03862, Phone: 603-964-5414 Photo: Fuller Gardens

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»Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Massachusetts

Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Massachusetts

Boasting spectacular views of Mount Wachusett and Wachusett Reservoir, Tower Hill Botanic Garden is year-round botanical garden located in Boylston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1986, the New England garden hosts a variety of unique plant collections and exhibitions.

The Frank L. Harrington Sr. Orchard has a stunning display of ancient apple varieties, while the Secret Garden is a romantic idyll that contains an intricate double pergola, a glassy garden pool and fountain, and elegant statuary. The gardens have a magnificent 18th century style orangerie, which is home to Tower Hill's primary wintertime displays that feature exquisite blooming bulbs and sub-tropical plant species, while the Italianate styled Systematic Garden is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

Stop by the Stoddard Education and Visitors Center where you will find a theater with a visitor's orientation video, a fantastic horticultural library, and the ever-popular Twigs Cafe and Gift Shop.

11 French Dr, Boylston, MA 01505, Phone: 508-869-6111

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»The Holden Arboretum, Ohio

The Holden Arboretum, Ohio

Covering 3,600 acres and home to over 120,000 plants, the Holden Arboretum is the largest arboretum in the United States. Specializing in woody trees and scrubs that can be grown in the climate of Northern Ohio, groundcovers and perennials accompany Holden’s wide variety of ligneous plants in themed collections throughout the grounds. Enjoy an array of seasonal activities in the gardens to explore and discover nature’s offerings.

Myriad butterflies add color to the already rainbow-infused surroundings of the Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Butterfly Garden. Take in the natural beauty of wildflowers in the Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden or enjoy a tranquil hike along the Pierson Creek trails or in the Old Valley. The Holden Arboretum features a modern visitor’s center, an excellent reference library and a lovely picnic area to enjoy a romantic picnic for two.

9550 Sperry Rd, Willoughby, OH 44094, Phone: 440-946-4400 Photo: The Holden Arboretum

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»Santa Fe Botanical Garden, New Mexico

Santa Fe Botanical Garden, New Mexico

Located opposite the Milner Plaza on Museum Hill in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Santa Fe Botanical Garden celebrates and cultivates the rich botanical biodiversity of the region across 12 acres of beautiful landscapes.

Designed by landscape architect W. Gary Smith, and covering more than 12 acres with breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains, the gardens consist of impressive and unique collections - all of which highlight distinct elements of New Mexico's rugged terrain and spectacular flora. The Orchard Gardens are home to ranks of fruit trees flanked by a beautiful green meadow garden, while the Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands boasts the century-old Kearny’s Gap Bridge.

The best way to experience the wealth of natural biodiversity within the gardens is to take a free guided tour, which is offered daily by local experts. A Temporary Visitor’s Center and Garden Shop is open year round for information and a range of garden items.

725 Camino Lejo Suite E, Santa Fe, NM 87505, website, Phone: 505-471-9103

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»Sawtooth Botanical Garden, Idaho

Sawtooth Botanical Garden, Idaho

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden is home to a wonderful display of native and unique plants that flourish at high altitudes in the heart of Ketchum in Idaho. The garden aims to educate visitors about the region’s rare beauty through its unique displays and extensive plant collections.

Founded in 1994, the garden enjoys a variety of distinct areas, including an ornamental garden, a xeriscape (water-conserving) garden and a stream-side garden. A large greenhouse is home to flowering perennials, herbs and vines, while a new-built alpine garden called the ‘Garden of Infinite Compassion’, has received international attention.

Designed by a Zen Buddhist monk, the garden’s waterfalls, reflecting ponds and spectacular rock art were put together for a visit from the 14th Dalai Lama who blessed the garden, which also contains a finely carved Tibetan Prayer Wheel filled with over one million mantras and turned by a bubbling brook.

11 Gimlet Rd, Ketchum, ID 83340, Phone: 208-726-9358

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»Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Delaware

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, Delaware

A former home of renowned antiques collector and horticulturist, Henry Francis du Pont, Winterthur is a magnificent museum of American decorative arts, housing one of the most important collections in the country, as well as a 60-acre naturalistic garden, and an outstanding research library. Situated near Brandywine Creek in Delaware, the museum’s collection is housed in 175 period-room displays, spanning more than two centuries of American decorative arts, while the Winterthur Library is a wealth of American history, decorative arts, and literature about architecture.

Winterthur's Garden encompasses undulating hills, peaceful meadows, dense forests and winding streams, all of which contain a diverse array of both exotic and indigenous fauna and flora. The gardens are criss-crossed with wonderful walking paths and showcase a number of exhibitions and gallery displays throughout the year. There is a restaurant and gift shop on site for added enjoyment.

5105 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19735, Phone: 800-448-3883 Photo: Image Winterthur, by Jeannette Lindvig

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»The Four Arts Gardens, Florida

The Four Arts Gardens, Florida

The Four Arts Library, Gardens and Philip Hulitar Sculpture Gardens, also known as The Four Arts Gardens, are beautiful demonstration gardens in Palm Beach, Florida designed to display the diversity of tropical plants in the region.

Established in 1938, the Gardens are home to wonderful collections of local and regional flora, interspersed by statues and sculptural art displays by famous artists. The glorious Chinese Garden has a winding pathway that leads to a beautiful Spanish façade and decorative well. A moon gate and statuary make for lovely photographs, and a large shady path leads to the Madonna garden with a magnificent fountain.

The Four Arts Society also offers an excellent lineup of cultural programming, concerts, films, educational programs, and art exhibitions.

2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach, FL 33480, website, Phone: 561-655-7227

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»Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is home to more than 30 acres of breathtaking botanical gardens, with an array of fascinating collections, exhibits and the famous treetop Kendeda Canopy Walk. Located adjacent to Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta, the garden has been around for 35 years and has constantly been updated and reworked to create a fascinating haven of urban bliss.

Discover the beauty of rare high-altitude growing orchids at the Fuqua Orchid Center and don’t miss the Kendeda Canopy Walk, a popular adventure. Visitors can stroll along the 600-foot-long skywalk, which winds its way through the treetops of the Storza Woods. The Sunflower Fountain is a great place to slow down and take in the scenery.

The Venus flytraps in the Soggy Bog are always a hit. Learn about honeybees in the garden’s natural observation hive, or discover seasonal edibles in the Edible Garden for your next home-cooked meal.

1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30309, Phone: 404-876-5859

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»Alaska Botanical Garden

Alaska Botanical Garden

Tucked away in the heart of Anchorage, Alaska Botanical Garden is a beautiful arboretum that displays the local flora of Alaska. The garden is home to a wonderful variety of indigenous and alien plants, a network of trails that wind through the grounds for exploring, as well as a nursery and gift shop.

The garden is thoughtfully laid out in various sections connected by walking trails for easy access to all the areas. The Lower Perennial Garden and Herb Garden, which is a haven of culinary and medicinal herbs, the Rock Garden, which boasts more than 350 species of alpine plants from around the globe and the romantic Wildflower Trail, which hosts an exquisite array of common Alaskan wildflowers.

Winding down to Campbell Creek, where salmon can be seen spawning, the Lowenfels Family Nature Trail is a wonderful way to spend a few hours, watching wildlife and soaking up some spectacular views.

4601 Campbell Airstrip Rd, Anchorage, AK 99507, Phone: 907-770-3692

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»Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona

Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona

Dating back 70 years, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona has been conserving and protecting Sonoran Desert Plants, as well as desert plants from around the world. You will get to admire more than 50,000 plant displays showcased in beautiful outdoor exhibits.

Enjoy ‘Dinner on the Desert’, a unique romantic evening where you can savor sumptuous cuisine under the stars surrounded by plants, pots and garden art, while ‘Music in the Garden’ promises wonderful starlit music shows in Spring.

The Desert Botanical Garden offers a range of tours and activities where knowledgeable guides introduce you to the incredible diversity of the landscape. There are three lovely restaurants in the garden for light snacks and meals.

1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ 85008, Phone: 480-941-1225

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»The Brenton Arboretum, Iowa

The Brenton Arboretum, Iowa

Located in the heart of Dallas Center, Iowa, the Brenton Arboretum is a public garden displaying a spectacular array of trees and shrubs native to Iowa, as well as many other species of central Iowan flora.

Established in 1997 by Sue and J.C. (Buz) Brenton due to their love of trees, the Brenton Arboretum now includes over 2,600 types of trees and shrubs carefully laid out amongst a lovely network of walking paths, streams that flow into glassy ponds and lakes, wooden boardwalks, picturesque bridges, and pavilions for romantic picnics. A large prairie has been established to restore the land back to a pre-agricultural setting and support sustainability.

25141 260th Street, Dallas Center, IA 50063, Phone: 515-992-4211 Photo: Photo by Deb Wiley

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»Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, Connecticut

Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, Connecticut

Located in Stamford, Connecticut, the Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens is home to over 30 hectares of beautiful landscapes, made up of manicured gardens, woody parklands, and a number of interesting hiking trails, all of which focus on the regional ecology of Southwestern New England. Founded in 1913, the arboretum has a number of excellent collections, including Conifer and Mehlquist Gardens, a Nut Tree Collection, a Pollarded Tree Collection, and the recently added Magnolia Collection.

There are pristinely managed habitats around the garden, such as The Meadow, The Woodland Pond and The Red Maple Wetlands, that are home to an incredible diversity of wildlife and birds. The Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens has a herbarium with over 3,500 species, as well as the Silver Education Center where you can find a wonderful art gallery with local art exhibits, a well-stocked horticulture resource library, and a plant clinic during the growing season.

151 Brookdale Road, Stamford, CT 06903, Phone: 203-322-6971 Photo:

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»Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC

Located in Georgetown, Washington, DC, Dumbarton Oaks is a historic estate that is home to a famed museum collection, established research library, and beautifully manicured gardens. Once the residence of Robert and Mildred Bliss, the estate is now owned and administered by Harvard University.

Designed by Beatrix Farrand and Mildred Bliss, the gardens are a beautiful collection of terraced vistas, orchards, cutting gardens, meadows and streams. Ancient stone walls enclosing the Fountain Terrace are curtained with vines. The Roman-style amphitheater embracing a small cobalt-blue pool is a beautiful romantic spot.

Visitors have a variety of options to experience Dumbarton Oaks' gardens and museum collections with weekly and monthly guided tours, public lectures and concert series.

1703 32nd Street, NW Washington, DC 20007, Phone: 202-339-6401 Photo:

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»Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden, Illinois

Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden, Illinois

Nestled in the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden boasts some of the most beautiful natural flora in the region. Located in Mahomet, just off State Route 47, the gardens cover eight acres of pristine landscape with lovely walkways, bridges, ponds and streams.

Home to the Discovery Garden – an interactive haven where you can learn about the local flora – and the prestigious Miriam Davies Memorial Enabling Garden, which can be found at the south end of the garden, the gardens have many romantic corners and picture-perfect spots, such as the waterfall and gazebo, where many couples have exchanged their vows.

650 N Lombard St, Mahomet, IL 61853, Phone: 217-586-3360 Photo: Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden

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»North Carolina Botanical Garden

North Carolina Botanical Garden

Owned and operated by the University of North Carolina, the North Carolina Botanical Garden has been a leader in the field of native plant conservation for over 40 years. Located in Chapel Hill, the primary aim of the garden is to “research, catalog, and promote the native plant species of North Carolina.”

Spanning nearly 950 acres of pristine landscape and nature reserves, the garden is home to a fabulous array of collections, gardens and exhibits that showcase thousands of species of plants known to be native or naturalized in North and South Carolina. Excellent collections include the Carnivorous Plant Collection, which is an award-winning display of ‘meat-eating’ plants such as pitcher plants and the infamous Venus Flytrap.

The Horticultural Therapy Demonstration Garden displays varieties of heirloom vegetables and flowers that have been planted in a garden designed for people with limited mobility and reach. The captivating Mercer Reeves Hubbard Herb Garden has an array of unique herbs that can cure various ailments.

100 Old Mason Farm Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, Phone: 919-962-0522 Photo:

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»Ethel M Chocolates' Botanical Cactus Garden, Nevada

Ethel M Chocolates' Botanical Cactus Garden, Nevada

Home to one of the world’s largest collections of cacti and other drought-tolerant flora, Ethel M Chocolates' Botanical Cactus Garden is one of a kind. Based in Henderson, Nevada, the gardens are spread over four acres and feature more than 300 kinds of cacti, including favorites such as Texan Prickly Pears, agave plants, spotted aloe and yuccas.

The garden is adjacent to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory where you can see take a self-guided tour and watch how the chocolate is made.

The best time to visit this magnificent garden is at the end of April when all the flowers begin to bloom, transforming the garden into a floral oasis, or in the winter during the holiday season when the garden is a stunning winter wonderland .

2 Cactus Garden Drive, Henderson, NV 89014, Phone: 800-438-4356 Photo:

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»Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Pennsylvania

Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Pennsylvania

World-renowned for being one of the ‘greenest ‘ buildings in the world, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh was founded in 1893 by steel and real-estate baron Henry Phipps, and is one of the oldest and largest Victorian ‘glass houses’ in the country.

Designated as a National Historic Landmark, the award-winning Lord & Burnham Conservatory is made up of 13 silvered, glass-encased domes that cover flourishing garden rooms filled with exotic plants and flowers. The conservatory is surrounded by 2.5 acres of pristine landscape, which features lush, manicured gardens, tranquil ponds and romantic fountains.

The Conservatory houses a number of permanent and seasonal exhibits throughout the year, including a fantastic garden railroad display in the Palm Court, an incredible collection of rare orchids, bonsai trees, a beautiful outdoor rose garden and a lily pond. Read more

One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, Phone: 412-622-6914 Photo: Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

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»Heronswood Garden, Washington

Heronswood Garden, Washington

Located in Kingston, Washington, Heronswood is botanical garden and nursery for rare and unusual plants. The garden is owned by the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and is undergoing a transformation back to its original magnificent state.

Gardeners from all around the world, including Chile, New Zealand, Tasmania, China and Myanmar, are sending back plants that once originated from Heronswood to help repopulate the gardens once again.

You can watch the garden rebuilding process, attend lectures about the S’Klallam culture, and purchase plants during open events held every two months during the warmer season. Otherwise, visitors have to schedule a private tour of Heronswood to view the plant collections .

31912 Little Boston Rd, NE Kingston, WA 98346, Phone: 360-297-9624 Photo:

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»Zilker Botanical Garden, Texas

Zilker Botanical Garden, Texas

Resting on the banks of the Colorado River near downtown Austin, Texas, the Zilker Botanical Garden was established in 1995 and is a beautiful centerpiece of Zilker Park. The garden features a variety of striking collections of native, hybrid and exotic flora.

The cactus and succulent garden boasts an array of arid-loving plants, the herb and fragrance garden is filled with the hypnotizing scents of blooming blossoms and verdant herbs, and the prehistoric garden displays the tracks of ancient dinosaurs that once roamed in the park. Other gardens include the Isamu TaniguchiI Oriental Garden, the Mabel Davis Rose Garden, and the popular Doug Blachly Butterfly Trail and Garden.

The Zilker Botanical Garden has a modern Garden Center, which offers educational displays and information, art and sculptural exhibitions, and a gift shop.

2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78746, Phone: 512-477-8672 Photo: Zilker Garden

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»Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, Wyoming

Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, Wyoming

Located in the beautiful Lions Park, Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are a tranquil and green oasis in the heart of Cheyenne. This impressive arboreal haven is home to a unique and diverse variety of fauna and flora, a solar-powered conservatory and Engine 1242, the oldest train in Wyoming.

The garden features wonderful collections and displays, such as the Rotary Century Plazas, whose landscapes are similar to those 300 years ago, and the beautiful Moon Arch pathway from the Peace Garden known as the ‘Gateway to Garden Labryinth.’ The Paul Smith Children's Village is an arboreal wonderland with interactive displays ranging from wetlands and windmills to picnic orchards and puppet theaters, promising a fun-filled day.

The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens play host to annual shows and exhibitions, such as the Stained Glass Show and the Urban Conservation Expo, and offer seasonal gardening lectures.

710 S. Lions Park Drive, Cheyenne, WY 82001, Phone: 307-637-6458 Photo: Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

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»Garvan Woodland Gardens, Arkansas

Garvan Woodland Gardens, Arkansas

Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in Southwest Arkansas, Garvan Woodland Gardens are the botanical gardens of the University of Arkansas. Aiming to preserve this exceptional part of the Ouachita environment, the gardens have been designed to showcase the ‘The Natural State’ at its best.

First stop is the Pratt Welcome Center, which is the magnificent gateway to the botanical gardens and offers self-guided tour maps, information about the garden, and golf cart rides, if required. There are many secluded spots to escape the crowds throughout the garden: Warren’s Woodland Walk is a shady sojourn, Singing Springs Gorge says it all, while beautiful views and good photo opportunities can be found at Sunrise Bridge.

After exploring the 210 acres of beautiful flora, enjoy a cup of tea at the Chipmunk Café, which serves beverages and freshly made light meals, and browse the GardenShop for a memento.

550 Arkridge Road, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71913, Phone: 800-366-4664

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»Kula Botanical Garden, Hawaii

Kula Botanical Garden, Hawaii

Located on the slopes of the Haleakala volcano on the island of Maui, Kula Botanical Garden is a beautiful arboreal haven that celebrates the fauna and flora of Hawaii. Originally established in 1968 by Warren and Helen McCord, the garden is now home to over eight acres of indigenous and unique plants, incredible rock formations, shimmering waterfalls, and a variety of interesting attractions, including a carved tiki exhibit.

Some of the unique species of plants in the garden include proteas, bromeliads, many native Hawaiian plants, and trees such as koa and kukui. A lovely covered bridge is a romantic escape, while a koi pond, a Jackson Chameleon exhibit and aviary with Nene geese display some of the local wildlife. Kula Botanical Garden also features a lovely gift shop with handmade Hawaiian items, as well as a comfortable deck with breath-taking views of the island.

638 Kekaulike Avenue Kula, Maui, HI 96790, Phone: 808-878-1715 Photo:

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»Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Colorado

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Colorado

Nestled high in the Rocky Mountains in Vail, Colorado, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens are the highest botanical gardens in the world, and offer a wonderful array of arboreal delights throughout the changing seasons, from blossoming bulbs in the spring to spectacular wildflowers in the summer.

Established in 1985, the gardens contain over 2,000 varieties of plants, as well as nearly 500 different varieties of alpine plants and wildflowers, which can be viewed in beautifully maintained collections, such as the Alpine Garden Display and the Mountain Perennial Garden.

The Alpine Rock and Mountain Meditation Gardens are tranquil and idyllic places to escape and unwind, with breath-taking waterfalls, glassy pools and rocky hideaways. Other gardens include the Children's Garden and Schoolhouse Garden.

522 S. Frontage Rd, Vail, CO 81657, Phone: 970-476-0103 Photo: Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

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»Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, Indiana

Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, Indiana

Resting in the heart of Valparaiso, between Chicago and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Taltree Arboretum & Gardens is a beautifully preserved landscape of formal gardens, wetlands, woodlands, and prairies that offers a variety of wonderful events and exhibits year-round.

Founded in the 1990s as an effort to preserve the natural beauty of Northwest Indiana, the magnificent property boasts myriad hiking trails to explore the area, as well as quiet, secluded corners to escape to, and breath-taking vistas of the surrounding terrain. The gardens are home to one of the most diverse oak collections in the nation, with no less than 112 oak taxa and a magnificent centerpiece collection of Bur Oaks.

The garden also features the renowned Taltree Railway Garden, complete with model steam trains in a miniature, forested landscape that tells the story of the US railroad in the early 19th century.

450 West 100 North, Valparaiso, IN 46385, Phone: 219-462-0025 Photo: Taltree Arboretum & Gardens

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25 Best Botanical Gardens to Visit on Your Romantic Weekend Getaway