Best Gardens in South Florida
In today’s post, our editorial staff has rounded up their favorite gardens across South Florida, including gardens located in Boca Raton, Key West, and Miami. If you have not ventured into these gardens, you are in for a treat, as they are some of the best Dade, Broward County, and Palm Beach have to offer!
Don’t see your favorite on the list? Drop us a line in the comments and tell us what you favorite South Florida garden is and why – maybe we will include it in our updated list.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, FL
This beautiful, tropical botanical garden is located in Coral Gables, Florida and first opened its doors back in 1938, when its founder, Col. Robert H. Montgomery, teamed together with a group of plant collectors and horticulturists to create a one-of-a-kind botanic garden. Montgomery named the garden after one of his friends – Dr. David Fairchild – who was a famous plant explorer and member of the original group. The garden was originally 83 acres and featured a wide variety of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world, with plants originating from every continent (aside from the Antarctic).
There are two primary areas of the botanical garden, with a great many exhibits located throughout. The first, known as The Uplands, is roughly 23-acres and features a host of collections and conservatories to explore. Here you will find shops and a two-acre rainforest (the Richard H. Simons Rainforest), a stream with a waterfall, and the Wings of the Tropics exhibition, featuring 40 species of native and exotic butterflies. You will also find The Edible Garden here, where they teach you methods to easily grow your own vegetables, herbs, and tropical fruits should you want to try your hands at creating your own garden.
The second section is known as The Lowlands and comprises 60-acres. It is largely made up of winding paths and sections where you can view a more “naturalized botanical” setting. A portion of this area is devoted to Caribbean flora and native plants to South Florida as well. There are plenty of birds and wildlife to be found here also, as well as 11 different lakes and eight unique water features.
In addition to the two sections, this garden is host to a plethora of events, dog events, weddings, restaurants, and virtual plant sales.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, Florida 33156. You can learn more about their prices of admission, dining options, and hours by visiting the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden website.
Mounts Botanical Garden in Palm Beach County
Mounts Botanical Garden, located near the Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, is the county’s largest botanical garden. Developed more than forty years ago, it is also Palm Beach County’s oldest. It is made up of 14 acres, containing an amazing 25 display gardens that feature over 2,000 different species of tropical, sub-tropical, and native plants, as well as, a host of exotic and tropical fruit trees, palms, herbs, and more.
In addition to its garden exhibits, Mounts Botanical Garden also offers classes, gardening societies and clubs, frequent events, and a robust set gardening education classes, resources, and tools. Admission to the botanical garden is pretty cheap, with general admission costing $10 for ages 13 and up, and $5 for ages 5-12. Members receive free admission. Hours, directions, and COVID-19 safety guidelines can all be found on the Mounts Botanical Garden website. Mounts Botanical Garden is located at 531 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, Florida 33415. You can reach Mounts Office at 561-233-1757.
Morikami Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a place of peace and tranquility, where you can go to relax as you stroll through Roji-en – the Garden of the Drops of Dew. The Roji-en is made up of six unique gardens, each inspired by “significant” gardens in Japan. Each garden covers a period in Japanese history, beginning with the Heian Period (c. 9th-12th centuries) through the Modern or Meiji Period (late 19th – early 20th centuries).
After you view the Japanese gardens, you have the opportunity to stroll through the bonsai exhibit, where you can learn about the origins, the art, and technique of training and sculpting bonsai trees. If the spirit strikes you, you can also take classes and learn the art of the “tree in a tray” at the Oki Education Center, where they offer beginning and intermediate classes.
Other exhibits and features of Morikami Japanese Gardens include the “Stroll for Well Being” – a therapeutic garden walking program, The Yamato-Kan museum, and a gift shop. Classes, workshops, and events are also held at the park.
Morikami Japanese Gardens is located at 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach, FL 33446. For more information about their hours and fees of admission, visit the Morikami Museum and Gardens website or call 561-0233.
Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden
The Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden considers itself the “Keeper of the Trees” – and with good reason: for 85 years (1936-2021), the Key West Botanical Garden Society has worked to preserve, develop, and expand its botanical garden and wildlife refuge while also helping to educate visitors and showcase its array of native Floridian, Cuban, and Caribbean flora.
In addition to its frost-free 15 acres of “native garden and forest”, visitors will be able to enjoy viewing local wildlife, birding and birdwatching, and a slew of regular calendar events.
Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden is located at 5210 College Road, Key West, FL 33040. You can find out more about their admission times and fees by visiting the Key West Botanical Garden Society website or calling 305-296-1504.
Flamingo Gardens in David Florida
Originally founded as a citrus orchard (under the name Flamingo Groves) back in 1927, Flamingo Gardens – as it is now known – prides itself on being one of the “last natural jungle growths” in South Florida. Designated as a Tropical Botanic Garden, the park rests on 60-acres of land that is devoted to exhibiting and preserving more than 3,000 species of exotic, rare, tropical, subtropical, and native plants, including a host of champion trees (the largest trees of a given species) from the state of Florida.
While Flaming Gardens is, by and large, a botanical garden, they are also equally known for their wildlife sanctuary, which shelters non-releasable animals and birds. Among the fauna living permanently in the Flamingo Gardens Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary are alligators, bears, eagles, panthers, and, of course, flamingos.
Flamingo Gardens is located at 3750 South Flaming Road, Davie, Florida 33330. You can learn more about their admission fees, hours, and events by visiting the Flamingo Gardens website.
Additional Gardens in South Florida
There are a whole host of gardens in South Florida and we will continue to showcase them as our editorial team score the area, looking for fun things to do in SoFlo. Two names that almost made our list – but didn’t because of time constraints this go round – were the Naples Botanical Garden (in Naples, FL) and Patch of Heaven Sanctuary in Miami. Both are great gardens to visit in Florida.