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Top 10 Gardens to Explore in DC, Maryland, and Virginia This Summer

Updated: Apr 22



As spring turns to summer, gardens in the D.C. area are coming alive with bursts of colorful flowers and lush greenery. Gardens across the DMV region can provide a serene escape from the fast-paced nature of the city. From the well-known United States Botanical Garden to the intimate Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, there are plenty of natural paradises to explore in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.


Whether you're looking to enjoy a peaceful walk among blooming lilies or discover a new spot to bird-watch, there are several options for everyone. Here are 10 gardens you should visit in D.C, Maryland and Virginia:


Washington D.C.

  • Dumbarton Oaks in Northwest D.C. sits on a 16-acre property at the highest point in Georgetown. The terraced gardens, orchards, and meadows were designed by a renowned landscape gardener to provide a perfect oasis within the city. The quiet haven is an ideal place to spot growing wisteria, fragrant honeysuckles, and several kinds of magnolias. The property also holds a museum known for its collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art.

    • Admission: $11 per person

    • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.


  • Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Northeast D.C. welcomes visitors year-round to explore winding trails that lead to magnificent views of lotus flowers and lilies sitting on the water. The garden contains several ponds along the Anacostia River where thousands of water plants grow. The unique property is the only National Park Service site devoted to the cultivation and display of aquatic plants. The surrounding park is a great place to spot wildlife like green herons, butterflies, and turtles.

    • Admission: Free

    • Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m


  • The United States Botanical Garden in Southwest D.C. cultivates flowers and plants from across the world. The Botanical Garden contains three sections; the conservatory, gated outdoor gardens, and Bartholdi Fountain and Gardens. The conservatory boasts unique flora that grows in tropical environments, deserts, and southern climates, while the outdoor gardens contain classic Mid-Atlantic plants like roses and black-eyed susans. The Bartholdi Fountain is surrounded by two acres of plant combinations in a variety of styles and designs along with benches and tables that make it the perfect place to hide from the rush of the city.

    • Admission: Free

    • Hours: Conservatory - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outdoor Gardens - 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bartholdi Fountain - dawn to dusk


United States Botanical Garden by Sara Cottle on Unsplash
United States Botanical Garden by Sara Cottle on Unsplash

Maryland

  • Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland sits on 50 acres of land and has several distinct areas, including a rose garden, Japanese-style garden, and butterfly garden as well as two conservatories open year-round. The award-winning public garden sits within Wheaton Regional Park. During the spring and summer seasons, a gorgeous array of flowers grows on the property, including magnolias, tulips, wisteria, and azaleas. Brookside Gardens also hosts tours and activities throughout the year.

    • Admission: Free

    • Hours: Sunrise - Sunset


  • The Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland is home to modern and contemporary art exhibits and sits on 300 acres of fantastically landscaped property that includes walking trails, streams, outdoor sculptures, and a meadow. In pursuit of their reforestation efforts, the owners of the museum planted over 13,000 trees, plants, and flowers. The lavish property also includes a small lily pond along the Woodland Trail. The museum and surrounding garden is a peaceful place to spend a warm spring afternoon in nature.

    • Admission: Free

    • Hours: Thursday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


  • McCrillis House & Gardens in Bethesda, Maryland is hidden within a residential neighborhood. The garden’s shaded paths offer scenic and relaxing walks with pavilions and benches along the way. Eye-catching flowers and ornamental trees line the trails offering splashes of color and quiet refuge from the city.

    • Admission: Free

    • Hours: 10 a.m to Sunset


The Glenstone Museum taken by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash
The Glenstone Museum taken by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash

Virginia

  • River Farm in Alexandria, Virginia is a 25-acre historical site that sits along the Potomac River. The farm also serves as the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society. The property contains a host of different gardens, including woodlands, a 4-acre meadow, and an award-winning children’s garden. The children’s garden is made up of over a dozen themed areas that include colorful flowers and fragrant herbs to provide a multi-sensory experience. The Garden Calm is a secluded oasis shaded by a 200-year-old Osage orange tree recognized as one of the largest in the U.S.

    • Admission: Free

    • Hours: March - November: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia was the home of the first U.S. president. The property boasts four gardens, including a fruit garden and a nursery. The landmark’s manicured upper garden contains symmetrical pruned hedges along with a greenhouse. The lower garden includes fruit and vegetable trees and bushes. The property also houses a botanical garden which contains flowers like southern magnolia and massive trees like the white oak. Finally, the fruit garden and nursery boasts apple and plum trees among other colorful plants and crops.

    • Admission: $28 for adults, $15 for kids 6-11 and free for kids 5 and under

    • Hours: 9 a.m to 5 p.m


  • Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia sits on 31 acres of land and contains 22 ever-changing natural displays along with a stream and several ponds. The garden is open year-round and includes a greenhouse and plant shop for nature lovers. Hundreds of distinct and unique flowers grow all over the property, including Asian Bleeding Hearts, Spring Starflowers, and gorgeous Tulips. The expansive park also hosts family-friendly activities, changing art exhibits, and traditional English tea at the Historic House located on the property.

    • Admission: Free

    • Hours: Dawn to Dusk


  • Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia fills its open space with large ornamental and native plant collections. The property holds three serene lakes and forest gardens with thousands of plants from around the world. The intimate garden is the perfect place to sit under blooming cherry trees and watch birds dance across the sky or explore walking trails that reveal delicate peonies and exotic wildflowers around every corner. Make sure to check out some of the sculptures that are dotted throughout the gardens.

    • Admission: $4 for ages 6-17 and 55+, $8 for ages 18-54, free for 5 and under

    • Hours: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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