Best Florida Botanical Gardens


Florida is known for its natural beauty, but the Sunshine State is also a botanical paradise. Because Florida is located in the subtropics, it can support the growth of some of the most unique and exotic plant life in the continental United States. Here are some of the best botanical gardens in Florida:

Villa Vizcaya | Miami

Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Villa Vizcaya is a historic site and botanical garden in Miami, Florida. It was built by James Deering in the Mediterranean Revival architectural style and is considered to be one of the best examples of this architectural style in the United States.

The gardens feature a variety of plants, trees, and flowers including azaleas, bougainvillea, and palms. The gardens also feature two pools that are open to the public during certain hours (one pool is an infinity edge pool with a waterfall).

The home is quite impressive and contains many elements which are typical of the Gilded Age. Some of our favorite aspects were the various porches which offer breathtaking waterfront views, and the beautiful central courtyard area, but one step outside and you’ll discover that the most impressive thing about this estate is the incredible gardens which feature a beautiful combination of plants and architectural elements.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens | Sarasota, Florida

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a botanical garden located in Sarasota, Florida. The gardens were founded by Marie Selby, a well-known collector of tropical plants who donated her collection to the city of Sarasota for public enjoyment. She wanted the gardens to be free and open to everyone.

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens features several different types of gardens including one of the most impressive orchid collections anywhere and another garden which displays succulents from around the world (another one of Mrs. Selby’s passions). You’ll also find an arid garden with cacti and other succulents native to South Africa as well as Australia, Chile, and Mexico; another garden filled with roses; yet another area devoted entirely to palm trees; plus much more!

As you stroll the gardens, you’ll enjoy the picturesque waterfront views which highlight the skyline of the Sarasota downtown area nearby. A favorite feature for our family was the koi fish pond in the Japanese garden. Vivian enjoyed feeding the fish. Additionally, there is an interactive garden featuring various kinds of musical instruments, fun statues, and other interactive elements.

Harry P Leu Gardens | Orlando, Florida

Harry P Leu Gardens

Harry P Leu Gardens is Orlando’s premier botanical gardens. This garden is located just minutes from downtown Orlando. This 50 acre garden contains tropical and semi tropical plants from around the world. One of the gardens is dedicated to inspiring beautiful landscaping in both urban and residential environments. Additionally, the gardens contains the former home of the Leus who traveled the world collecting plants and adding those plants to the landscaping around their home. From this collection, grew the Harry P Leu botanical gardens which we know and have today.

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Morikami Botanical Gardens | Delray Florida

Morikami Museum and Gardens

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is a museum, garden, and arboretum located in Maitland, Florida. The museum was founded by Dr. Seizo Morikami in 1977. The museum and gardens are dedicated to the preservation of Japanese art and culture in Florida.

The botanical garden at Morikami Park is divided into three areas: Tropical Plant Collection, Heritage Plant Collection, and Ornamental Garden Section with a Children’s Garden.

This botanical was a total surprise for south Florida. It literally feels as though you have been transported to Japan. The unique history of the garden and surrounding community were expounded in a video which is available for viewing within the theater of the main building. The history and Japanese culture, however, come to life once you step outside of the main building to stroll through the gardens.

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Mounts Botanical Gardens | Day Trip to West Palm Beach

Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach

Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County is a botanical garden located in West Palm Beach, Florida. The garden was established in 1932 and covers 30 acres (12 ha). It is open to the public daily except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. In addition to its formal gardens, it also contains a native plant sanctuary, an arboretum with 170 species of trees, as well as ponds and fountains.

The garden’s collections include over 7,000 plants representing 1,700 species from around the world Its focus is on plants from Florida and South America (including Brazil) with other tropical areas represented by their native flora. There are 80 different types of palm trees present within Mounts Botanical Garden, including 21 types of coconut palms which all come from one original source: Cocos nucifera L., a wild tree found in Southeast Asia.

One interesting thing to note about this garden is that it’s a little noisy due to its proximity to the Palm Beach International Airport, but this proximity makes it an interesting place to visit on your way to and from the airport–perhaps, if for any reason, you would have layover at the airport, this would be an enjoyable spot to explore and unwind.

Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales

Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Site in Lake Wales, Florida. It was built by Edward W. Bok and dedicated to the memory of his mother, Annie Johnson Juhl Bok.

The key feature of this garden is the tall bell tower located in the center of the garden where you can enjoy a lovely concert from the carillon in a beautiful, relaxing garden setting. There is an extensive children’s garden area which was fun for our children to explore. Their favorite aspects were the sand pit and a tractor which is located at the corner of the garden.

One pavilion in the midst of the garden is surrounded by herb plants and contains a kitchen where the herbs can be used in cooking classes.

McKee Botanical Gardens

McKee Botanical Gardens is a botanical garden located in Vero Beach, Florida, opened in 1932 as McKee Jungle Gardens and was one of the original Florida attractions. At the time, the gardens was also home to some monkeys and a variety of other animals.

Over time, the new attractions and theme parks in Central Florida drew visitors away from many of Florida’s original attractions including McKee Gardens. The gardens fell into disrepair, but eventually, a team of locals decided to fix the gardens back up and make them available for public enjoyment again. A portion of the gardens were sold off, so only a fragment of the original gardens remains, but there has been a wonderful job of restoration.

This lush tropical setting contains more than 10,000 plants. The garden is probably best known for its collection of water lilies. A visit to McKee Botanical Gardens feels quite a bit like exploring the jungles of a foreign nation!

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens | Gainesville, FL

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Kanapaha is a botanical garden and arboretum located in Gainesville, Florida. The most notable features of this garden are the largest public display of bamboo in the state, numerous sinkholes, an arboretum, a children’s garden, and more. For some reason, the platter lilies located within the Japanese section of the garden stood out to us in a way that they never had at any other garden. We can’t say for certain, but they seem larger here than anywhere else we’ve ever been.

Naples Botanical Garden, Naples

At 170 acres, the Naples Botanical Garden is quite large. The garden is a beautiful arrangement of more than 1000 species of plants from all over the world. These collections are arranged according to seven distinct natural habitats of the plants represented within the garden. A special guide for children is available to help families and children enjoy exploring the gardens together, and monthly themes are scheduled to make learning fun.

The Kampong, Coconut Grove

If you’re looking for a tropical garden inspired by Malaysia, look no further than The Kampong. This unique and beautiful tropical garden is located just south of Little Havana in Coconut Grove, Florida. It was built by James Deering, who also built the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens nearby. The Kampong is one of the few examples of a Victorian-era tropical garden in the United States—it has been restored and maintained by many generations since its opening in 1912. The gardens feature plantings from all over Southeast Asia, including palms, bamboo, and orchids as well as more common plants like ferns and hibiscus (which are native to South Florida).

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Miami

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden is located in Coconut Grove, on Biscayne Bay. Named for one of the most famous plant explorers in history, David Fairchild, the Fairchild Garden consists of one of the most impressive collections of plants from around the world in the entire state. This 88 acre botanical garden in the heart of the Greater Miami Metropolitan area is home to more than 3,400 species of plants. One step inside and you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to an entirely different country or planet!


These gardens will make you feel as though you have been transported to another place, another time, or another planet. it’s hard to believe that these beautiful hidden gems exist all within one state!

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Linda Aiken

Retired soccer mom; Mom of "the boy" (Gabriel); SAHM; and mom to one furbaby, Leo, who rules the house!

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