55 Arboretums Everyone Should Put on Their Bucket List


Arboretums are collections of beautiful tress (and often other plants), botanical bevvies of trees for the public to admire, photograph, and linger under. Anyone with a passion for nature should visit at least one, so we have created a list of 55 must-see arboretums that offer stunning views and impressive experiences for all visitors.

1. United States National Arboretum

Interpretive gardens and exhibits attract sightseers, while USNA’s long-term research serves development of new technologies that help people care for plants. The site also includes a 650,000-specimen collection of dried pressed plants related to scientific study.

2. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

This esteemed arboretum welcomes community members and visitors for annual events and educational, family-friendly programs. Over 150 kid-friendly activities and 19 named gardens create displays that last across all four seasons.

3. Morton Arboretum

Photo by willowbrookhotels Licensed under CC by 2.0

Endless events entertain year-round at Morton Arboretum, from wine tasting spectaculars to kids’ yoga classes and age-appropriate forest exploration. Adult classes teach gardening basics, beekeeping, and flower arranging, just to name a few.

  • Morton Arboretum website
  • Lisle, IL
  • 1700 acres
  • Classes for toddlers through adults cater to every interest and ongoing programs for science and conservation aim to protect and enhance the natural environment.

4. Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

A rich history precedes the arboretum and its grounds, which spread across 127 acres with multiple water features. 251 species of birds visit the gardens and botanical collections from all over the world expose visitors to rare and endangered species.

  • The Arboretum website
  • Arcadia, CA
  • 127 acres
  • Four unique historic buildings invite visitors to take a trip back in time.

5. North Carolina Arboretum

With 65 acres of cultivated gardens and pet-friendly trail access, this arboretum inspires visitors to get outdoors and get active. Breathtaking views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, nature beckons between educational exhibits and a break at the on-site café.

6. Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

Photo by Daderot Licensed under CCO 1.0

Over 450,000 bulbs bloom in the springtime at Red Butte, over half of which are daffodils. This arboretum also boasts a water pavilion garden, amphitheater, and rose garden. Multiple smaller gardens dot the 21 acres of area open to nature visitors.

  • Red Butte Garden Arboretum website
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 100 acres
  • Five miles of hiking trails plus wildlife sightings of deer, coyotes, bobcats, and many birds let visitors feel fully engaged in the nature experience.

7. Washington Park Arboretum

This arboretum features both the Washington Park site and the Center for urban Horticulture on the north side of the University garden. Over 200 species of birds make this arboretum a prime bird-watching spot while the outreach programs like family nature classes make science approachable for kids and adults alike.

  • Washington Park Arboretum website
  • Seattle, WA
  • 230 acres
  • The Union Bay Natural Area is currently a 74-acre wildlife area and natural restoration laboratory, but it used to be a landfill!

8. Lee and Virginia Graver Arboretum

This arboretum doubles as an outdoor classroom for Muhlenberg college students but also allows the public to visit and enjoy hiking or sightseeing. Dr. Lee and Virginia Graver spent forty years clearing and maintaining the arboretum area, later donating the site to the college in 1994.

  • Graver Arboretum website
  • Bath, PA
  • 63 acres
  • This site is free for the public to access and includes native and rare trees plus over 150 species of conifers.

9. Blithewold Mansion Gardens and Arboretum

Photo by Jbarta Licensed under CC0 1.0

More than just a mansion, Blithewold is the centerpiece of eight diverse gardens plus a bamboo grove. It’s also home to former owner John Gardner’s exotic collection of trees, with specimens from all over the world. Now, Blithewold’s horticultural staff runs a replanting program to propagate and replace trees that die out.

  • Blithewold website
  • Bristol, RI
  • 33 acres
  • A 45-room historic mansion functions as a rustic museum that gives tribute to the Country Place Era.

10. Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

A wildlife sanctuary and arboretum, Houston’s nature center includes five miles of trails and an expansive nature experience in the heart of the city. Programs for both parents and kids let everyone enjoy their favorite parts of nature, whether it’s indoors attending a lecture or outdoors exploring.

11. Holden Arboretum

Billing itself as an outdoor living museum, Holden boasts 3600 acres of trees, plants, trails, and breathtaking views from an elevated tower. After you’ve spotted flora and fauna outdoors, visit the Corning Library to learn more about what you’ve seen.

  • Holden Arboretum website
  • Kirkland, OH
  • 3600 acres
  • A canopy walk, a walkway 65 feet above the ground, lets you cross over the forest floor without touching soil!

12. JC Raulston Arboretum

Photo by Daderot Licensed under PDM

Gardens at the JC Raulston Arboretum often change with the seasons as plants and other elements age. This means an ever-changing landscape that’s always working toward modern design coupled with ecologically sound practices.

  • JC Raulston Arboretum website
  • Raileigh NC
  • 10 acres
  • Free access to all 18 gardens, including the energy-saving rooftop terrace and the butterfly garden.

If you're into this, I also really love some of the related ideas in this article about stuff to do in North Carolina.

13. John J. Tyler Arboretum

This historic farmstead showcases heritage flowers and trees plus 11 acres of rhododendrons and azaleas. Its Fragrant Garden hosts a variety of herbs while the Vegetable Demonstration Garden helps visitors envision healthy eating.

  • Tyler Arboretum website
  • Media, PA
  • 650 acres
  • Treehouses, a butterfly house, and a meadow maze keep kids (and adults) entertained.

14. Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park

This Gold Coast estate contains historic buildings, sprawling lawns, gardens, and hiking trails. Two greenhouses (one full of camellias) offer seasonal displays and attract visitors year-round.

  • Planting Fields website
  • Oyster Bay, NY
  • 409 acres
  • A gift shop, café, and Garden Library round out the arboretum experience at this state park.

15. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

Photo by Bob Stovall Licensed under CC by 2.0

Bernheim houses a children’s play garden, an edible garden, and a host of public art displays plus education centers and a café. Take a hike over the 40 miles of trails or join a guided tour.

  • Bernheim website
  • Clermont, KY
  • 15,625 acres
  • View the landscape from 961 feet up via the Fire Tower, or take a trip across the Canopy Tree Walk 75 feet above the forest floor.

16. The Arboretum at Flagstaff

Within the Flagstaff Arboretum, 750 species of plants intrigue visitors. Between their greenhouses, gardens, and natural habitats, this location holds many wonders of the Coconino National Forest.

  • Flagstaff website
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 200 acres
  • Concert series and seasonal family-friendly events mean there’s always something happening at the Arboretum at Flagstaff.

17. Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum

Inside Dinosaur Park’s geodesic dome, early Jurassic specimens are on display, along with 250 species of conifers and varieties of plant families from the age of dinosaurs.

  • Dinosaur State Park website
  • Rocky Hill, CT
  • 80 acres
  • The accidental discovery of dinosaur tracks in 1966 sparked the designation of the site as a state park, and those Eubrontes tracks are still on display.

18. University of California, Davis Arboretum

Photo by Daderot Licensed under PDM

17 gardens make up the Davis Arboretum, with collections ranging from a California foothill designation to desert specimens to colorful East Asian trees and shrubs.

  • UC Davis Arboretum website
  • Davis, CA
  • 100 acres
  • This free arboretum is part of UC Davis’s teaching campus and also hosts programs for families and schools.

19. Arboretum at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Plants from California, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand are on display at UC Santa Cruz, a college campus situated on diverse soils that allow the horticultural staff to grow nearly ever coastal species available.

20. Dawes Arboretum

Attractions at Dawes range from Glacier Ridge, a hilltop view that looks down on a valley formed via glacier activity, to the Dutch Fork Wetlands which houses a meadow, observation deck, and plants, birds, insects, and mammals.

  • Dawes website
  • Newark, OH
  • 2000 acres
  • This arboretum holds over 40 years of bluebird observation records, so birdwatching is a highlight.

21. Scott Arboretum

Photo by Kristine Paulus Licensed under CC by 2.0

Swarthmore College operates this arboretum which showcases garden plant varieties which grow well in the surrounding region, so visitors can enjoy similar plants at home.

  • Scott Arboretum Website
  • Swarthmore, PA
  • 357 acres
  • Free admission to the gardens, library, and either self-guided or tour guide hosted tours accommodate all visitors.

22. Morris Arboretum

The University of Pennsylvania’s arboretum lies on a historic mansion site circa 1887 with over 12,000 plants featuring informational labels plus 2500 types of plants currently growing in a living collection.

  • Morris website
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 167 acres
  • A quarter mile of miniature railroad tracks, including a trestle bridge you can walk under, enchant kids and adults alike.

23. Taltree Arboretum and Gardens

An oak preserve with formal gardens, woodlands, wetlands, and prairies hosts year-round exhibits and events for visitors. A Children’s Adventure Garden attracts the young at heart while a Railway Garden caters to train enthusiasts of all ages.

  • Taltree website
  • Valparaiso, IN
  • 330 acres
  • Schedule a golf cart tour to experience the entire collection of ecosystems with a naturalist as a tour guide.

24. Frelinghuysen Arboretum

Photo by Tomwsulcer Licensed under CC0 1.0

Activities for kids, families, and aspiring gardeners give a community feel to this Colonial Revival-style property. Historically a summer home, the estate now contains the public arboretum plus an auditorium and classrooms.

  • Frelinghuysen website
  • Morris Township, NJ
  • 127 acres
  • The arboretum offers a “get-to-know-us” stroll which lasts about 30 minutes and covers one mile, for those who prefer to explore on their own.

25. Orland E. White Research Arboretum

Notable collections at the University of Virginia’s arboretum include 162 varieties of Boxwood, a 300-tree ginkgo grove, and a 36-tree Cedar of Lebanon alley.  

26. Adkins Arboretum

This arboretum focuses on plants native to the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain and houses habitats with over 600 species of native shrubs, trees, flowers, grasses, and ferns.

  • Adkins Arboretum website
  • Ridgely, MD
  • 400 acres
  • Self-guided tours take visitors on a five mile walk through a variety of habitats. Audio and docent-led tours are also available.

27. Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Photo by John J. Mosesso Licensed under PDM

Demonstration gardens supply inspiration for visitors’ home gardens while a Food Pantry Garden helps support local food pantries and shelters in the nearby community.

  • Klehm Arboretum website
  • Rockford, IL
  • 155 acres
  • A unique Fountain Garden and the Nancy Olson Children’s Garden offer two innovative perspectives on nature.

28. Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Arboretum        

A conservancy program which focuses on preserving water and educating the public, the Watershed invites visitors to explore a butterfly house, organic farm, and over ten miles of hiking trails.

  • The Watershed website
  • Pennington, NJ
  • 1000 acres
  • A range of programs inform and engage the public throughout the year.

29. Lyon Arboretum

Lyon Arboretum aims to cultivate a love of local Hawaiian ethnobotany and horticulture through their collection of over 5000 tropical plant species.

  • Lyon Arboretum website
  • Honolulu, HI
  • 193.5 acres
  • Twelve separate themed gardens include an herb and spice garden, a Bromeliad Garden, and a Children’s Garden.

30. Bartlett Arboretum and Gardens

Photo by gailf548 Licensed under CC by 2.0

Focusing on southwest New England natural ecosystems, Bartlett Arboretum provides recreation opportunities and diverse plant and tree viewing. Collections of conifers, magnolias, and herbs are just a few of their offerings.

  • Bartlett Arboretum website
  • Stamford, CT
  • 93 acres
  • Art classes, yoga, and dog training classes are a few of Bartlett’s community programs.

31. Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Contemporary gardens and woodland forests combine to deliver gardening, hiking, art, and bird watching opportunities. Adult programs and kids’ programs and camps give educational insight to all.

  • Reeves-Reed website
  • Summit, NJ
  • 13.5 acres
  • Nearly a mile of woodland trails encourages quiet reflection while you enjoy six acres of woodland species.

32. Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

More than 1000 species grace this relatively small arboretum, covering 13 acres while the organization aims to expand an additional 18 acres of adjacent prairie land.

  • Dyck Arboretum website
  • Hesston, KS
  • 13 acres
  • A specific birdwatching area lets visitors spy on the arboretum’s feathery populations while a butterfly garden invites investigation of butterflies in various stages of life.

33. Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park

Photo by Bellbird190 Licensed under CC by-SA 4.0

This site’s streams and inlets invite both land and aquatic animals to inhabit this State Park. Alongside natural history displays and historic buildings, a café allows visitors to stay for a meal.

  • Bayard Cutting Arboretum website
  • Great River, NY
  • 691 acres
  • Bayard Cutting Arboretum adjoins Heckscher State Park, which accommodates picnickers and other recreation opportunities not available at the arboretum.

34. Polly Hill Arboretum

Horticulturist Polly Hill developed the original arboretum which covers sixty acres, 20 of which feature cultivated gardens. The setting includes rare shrubs and trees plus stone walls, meadows, and fields.

  • Polly Hill website
  • West Tisbury, MA
  • 20 cultivated acres
  • Seasonal plant sales let visitors purchase plants for their own home gardens.

35. Fullerton Arboretum

This California State University arboretum neighbors the north side of the CSU Fullerton campus and includes the Heritage House, an original historic building. Outdoor classrooms and a Children’s Garden accommodate diverse visitor groups.

  • Fullerton website
  • Fullerton, CA
  • 26 acres
  • Plant collections and historic exhibits make this arboretum an inclusive educational experience with a historical perspective.

36. Jenkins Arboretum

Photo by Daderot Licensed under CC0 by 1.0

Woodland, wildflower, and bog gardens along 1.2 miles of walking paths give this relatively small park an immersive nature experience. A gift shop and plant shop let you take home the beginnings of a household sanctuary.

  • Jenkins website
  • Devon, PA
  • 20 acres
  • Free admission and self-guided walking tours make this tranquil location a stark contrast to the dense city surrounding it.

37. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center offers visitors insights into the complex relationship between natural landscapes and the humble bee. Walking tours or tram rides let you see everything the arboretum has to offer.

  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
  • Chaska, MN
  • 1137 acres
  • This vibrant university extension also houses a café, gift shop, and art galleries.

38. The Arboretum at Penn State

Wildlife sculptures, a sundial, and reflective lotus pool are only a few of Penn State Arboretum’s offerings. A Children’s Garden invites kids to engage with nature.

  • Penn State Arboretum website
  • State College, PA
  • 395 acres
  • Free public access and attractions like the Margery Enes Smith Soaring Waters fountain and Marsh Meadow Boardwalk add interest to the natural landscape.

39. Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum

Photo by Kalyan Mistree Licensed under CC by-ND 2.0

Romanesque structures circa 1889 and an on-site Mausoleum lend historic clout to this tranquil woodland nature preserve. One of the five oldest garden cemeteries, the site includes over 3000 trees and 165 native plant species.

  • Woodland Arboretum website
  • Dayton, OH
  • 200 acres
  • There is no fee to access this arboretum, but keep in mind it is also a cemetery that is fully operational.

40. Edith J. Carrier Arboretum        

Winding trails and a seasonal daffodil field give pensive visitors tranquility while educational programs let natural-minded patrons get hands-on with science and conservation concepts.

41. Schedel Arboretum and Gardens

An art gallery hosts both regional and international artists and six diverse gardens include over 10,000 plans and flowers. Themed gardens like Rose, Tropical, and Japanese gardens contain extensive plant varieties.

  • Schedel Gardens website
  • Elmore, OH
  • 17 acres
  • Attend special events like Yoga in the Gardens, art classes, and local cuisine offerings.

42. Mast Arboretum

Photo by Michael Barera Licensed under CC by-SA 4.0

With origins as a small garden plot alongside the Agriculture building of Stephen F. Austin University, the Mast Arboretum now houses native Texas plants and serves as a living laboratory for the school and community.

  • SFA Gardens website
  • Nacogdoches, TX
  • 10 acres
  • Garden seminars, lecture series, tours, and plant sales are all open to the public (some events require advance reservations).

43. Nebraska Statewide Arboretum

The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum oversees over 100 public gardens throughout Nebraska but its headquarters resides at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.

44. Arnold Arboretum

On Harvard’s lush campus, Arnold Arboretum cultivates over 15,000 living plants of over 4,000 species.  Conifer and shrub and vine gardens are two unique settings.

  • Arnold Arboretum website
  • Boston, MA
  • 281 acres
  • An Explorer’s Garden houses two of the largest Franklin trees in the world plus other varieties of trees in a microclimate below Bussey Hill.

45. Chadwick Arboretum

Photo by dankeck Licensed under CC0 1.0

Part of Ohio State University’s 1600-acre campus, Chadwick Arboretum includes a 12,000-square foot green roof garden, picnicking locations, and self-guided walking tour brochures and a smartphone app to help you navigate.

46. Cylburn Arboretum

A historic mansion serves as the centerpiece of the Cylburn Arboretum, along with gardens, wooded trails, and hundreds of trees and plants. The location frequently hosts community events plus plant shows and sales.

  • Cylburn Arboretum Association website
  • Baltimore City, MD
  • 200 acres
  • Open year-round with no access fee, Cylburn Arboretum even includes a sustainable farming model that utilizes aquaponics in their Food Systems Lab.

47. Parsons Arboretum

Both a park and an outdoor laboratory and visitors’ center, Parsons Arboretum features naturally occurring native species across two acres of wetlands. A gazebo, nature trails, and an 18-hole disc golf course beckon to outdoors enthusiasts.

  • Parsons Arboretum website
  • Parsons, KS
  • 19 acres
  • There is no admission fee for entry, and visitors can utilize the observation deck to watch wildlife.

48. Magens Bay Arboretum

Photo by dbking Licensed under CC by 2.0

The Magens Bay Authority operates this arboretum, which lies on the US Virgin Islands along the north shore of St. Thomas. Post-hurricane efforts helped restore the arboretum to its preexisting condition.

  • Magens Bay website
  • Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands
  • 5 acres
  • Native and exotic trees grace the naturally inviting landscape of this St. Thomas arboretum.

49. Salisbury University Arboretum

The school’s collection of woody and herbaceous plants demonstrates diversity among flora alongside a collection of inviting sculptures.

  • Salisbury University website
  • Salisbury, MD
  • 125 acres
  • An online virtual arboretum contains Professor Dr. Chris Briand’s detailed records of the University Arboretum’s collection.

50. Connecticut College Arboretum

This living laboratory allows students and faculty to use the forests, meadows, and wetlands for research and teaching. Regional native plants and animals create a diverse experience for visitors.

51. Labadie Arboretum

Photo by mk30 Licensed under CC by 2.0

Labadie Arboretum is part of Merritt College’s Landscape Horticulture facility, which includes 5000 square feet of greenhouses, floral and drafting labs, a specialized resource library, and Permaculture installation.

52. Oregon Trail Arboretum

The smallest Tree City in the USA, Oregon Trail Arboretum contains over 100 ornamental trees and shrubs. A class of fifth graders chose the arboretum’s name in 1993.

  • City of Echo website
  • Echo, OR
  • No acreage listed
  • The site contains a football field and the Gene Berry Memorial Gazebo.

53. Bailey Arboretum

The Children’s Habitat, a certified outdoor classroom, hosts immersive nature experiences for community kids. The Dawn Redwoods, Bailey Arboretum’s most famous trees, spread across the property despite rumors that the species was extinct for millions of years.

  • Bailey Arboretum website
  • Lattingtown, NY
  • 42 acres
  • The community is welcome to attend seminars and nature walks plus educational programs and festivals.

54. George Landis Arboretum

Photo by Chris Morgan Licensed under CC by-SA 2.0

In between plant, book, and bake sales, Landis Arboretum also hosts community activities, musical events, and theater productions.

  • Landis Arboretum website
  • Esperance, NY
  • 40 cultivated acres
  • Hiking, walking, skiing, and biking are all welcome at this location. Admission is free (but donations appreciated).

55. Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Sculpture exhibitions including over 30 works of art, an environmental education visitors center, and expansive botanical gardens invite visitors to explore. A Children’s Discovery Garden and a Lakeside Ampitheater round out the attractions.

  • Overland Park website
  • Kansas City, KS
  • 300 acres
  • Hiking trails and open prairie access entice outdoors sports enthusiasts.

Did you know?

The ancient Eqyptians used to collect, plant, and care for exotic trees from all over the world.


want to dig deeper?


Gardening
Plant Care
Lawn Care
css.php

Serious Gardener?... Earn money writing articles for Sproutabl.com!