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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're into this, I also really love some of the related ideas in this article about stuff to do in North Carolina.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Demonstration gardens supply inspiration for visitors’ home gardens while a Food Pantry Garden helps support local food pantries and shelters in the nearby community.
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.
Lyon Arboretum aims to cultivate a love of local Hawaiian ethnobotany and horticulture through their collection of over 5000 tropical plant species.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum oversees over 100 public gardens throughout Nebraska but its headquarters resides at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The school’s collection of woody and herbaceous plants demonstrates diversity among flora alongside a collection of inviting sculptures.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In between plant, book, and bake sales, Landis Arboretum also hosts community activities, musical events, and theater productions.
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.
The ancient Eqyptians used to collect, plant, and care for exotic trees from all over the world.