Anywhere you go in Virginia, nature abounds. No matter what county or city you’re visiting, there’s always an opportunity to get back to nature. These 10 botanical gardens make the trip a little easier, and a great deal more beautiful.
The Norfolk Botanical Garden’s mission is “to enrich life by promoting the enjoyment of plants and the environment through beautiful gardens and education programs.” The Norfolk Botanical Garden sits on 155 acres of land and offers various tours, including a tram, boat tour, and rose walk. Seasonal events include holiday lights, oil painting, and more!
The Edit J. Carrier Arboretum is a favorite of James Madison students and native Harrisonburg-ites alike. Located just across from campus, the exhibits include a trail system on over 125 acres, an oak-hickory forest, and over 15 unique gardens. If you’re ever in the Shenandoah, make sure to stop for this free garden experience!
This year-round garden operates on 50 acres of themed gardens and includes dining options and a domed conservatory. Voted one of the top gardens in the country, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers a festival of lights for the winter months, and many classes for all ages during the rest of the year.
Highland “was the home of James Monroe and features boxwood gardens overlooking a working farm. Many events throughout the year take place here, such as Plantation Days and the Virginia Wine Festival.” When you’re done with the gardens, guided tours of the guesthouse and the rest of the 500-acre plot are available.
Open every day from 7 a.m. to sunset, this free garden’s mission “is to enhance the life of residents and visitors by promoting beautiful gardens for the enjoyment of plants and the environment through year-round educational and recreational programs.” With 19 different gardens, including the native plant garden, green roofed pavilion, and therapy garden, one could easily get lost for hours exploring the various flowers and fauna. Make sure to take a map and stick to the self-guided tour.
The Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden sits on 15-acres and includes over 1,300 cultivars in its collection. With over 163 different varieties of plants, there’s always something new to marvel at. The PlayTrail is a nature playground perfect for young children.
Sitting on 48-acres, the Chesapeake Arboretum offers nature trails and “promotes horticultural and environmental awareness through displays, education, and research.” The trails go through a mature hardwood forest. Other sights include the Caleb Williamson Farm House, propagation nursery, and the three-acre Lake Hughes.
The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens sits on over 100 acres and is operated by the Northern Virginia Regional ark Authority. Weddings are common under the Atrium, as the park boasts one of the most beautiful collections in the state. Check out the three ponds, two gazebos, Island Bridge, and over 20 varieties of cherry trees. Three collections make up the bulk of the garden, including the Potomac Valley Collection, Virginia Native Tree collection, and Virginia Native Wetland collection. In addition, make sure to stop by the Korean Bell Garden to have a true Korean experience.
The Shenandoah Valley is one of Virginia’s natural treasures, and the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley exists to celebrate it. Visitors can enjoy the Glen Burnie Historic House, build in the late 1700s, the various museums, and, of course, the gardens. The six acres around the House include Japanese Water Gardens, a Rose Garden, Vegetable Garden, and more.
The cozy Tidewater Arboretum sits on just five acres, but provides a green escape from the bustling industrial city of Virginia Beach. Maintained by Virginia Tech’s Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center, the garden is open daily for free. Twelve themed gardens make up the bulk of the arboretum, including collections of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants “grown for display, research, and educational purposes.”