Texas Travel

10 Beautiful Texas Gardens to Explore

By Staci Parks 7.9.18

Spending a quiet afternoon in one of Texas’ wild and wonderful gardens is the perfect antidote to summer boredom or too much boating, barbecuing, and adventuring. Here’s where to start.

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

If you’re finally making that trip to Marfa, it’s worth stopping about 25 miles north of the city. You’ll see plants indigenous to the Chihuahuan Desert on the half-mile, self-guided walk around the botanical gardens. The cactus and succulent greenhouse boasts more than 160 species and varieties.

Clark Gardens

What began as a small personal garden has blossomed into a 50-acre spectacle, complete with native plants, waterfalls, and black and white swans. Take home a piece of this Weatherford oasis with you. The garden sells different types of plants; their irises are a hot commodity.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Spanning more than 66 acres, the garden offers breathtaking views of White Rock Lake and downtown Dallas. You may recognize the beautiful Crape Myrtle Allee. With 8 acres, more than 150 interactive exhibits, and a skywalk through a tree canopy, the relatively new Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is ideal for kids and parents.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Cowtown’s 100-plus-acre garden is packed with different experiences. Take a walk along the elevated Native Texas Boardwalk, where you’ll find a shaded pathway between the northern and southern gardens. Step over to the Japanese Garden for ponds brimming with more than 1,200 colorful koi fish. No matter when you go, the Perennial Garden is your best bet.

Photo by Nash Baker courtesy of Hermann Park Conservancy

Hermann Park Conservancy’s Japanese Garden

You’ll find an abundance of cherry trees, crape myrtles, and Japanese maples in this conservatory located in the heart of Houston. Spend an afternoon wandering along stone paths and bridges that give way to a granite waterfall.

Photo by Tom Reich

San Antonio Botanical Garden

What sets this garden apart from the rest is its 11-acre Texas Native Trail. You’ll find more than 250 plant species with characteristics of those found in the Hill Country, East Texas Piney Woods, and South Texas.

South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center

Choose your own adventure within these 182 acres near South Padre Island. The center has a little bit of everything, from a tropical garden and reptiles to a rose garden and orchid conservatory. Take a minute to sit among hummingbirds and butterflies.

Texas Discovery Gardens

This 7.5-acre garden in South Dallas’ Fair Park gives visitors a look at plants from around the world that have adapted to North Texas. If you go, make sure to check out the two-story Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium.

Weston Gardens

With one of the South’s largest antique rose collections, this English-style garden in Fort Worth is the perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon. Most of the plants you’ll see are native to Texas and have sustainable characteristics.

Zilker Botanical Garden

This 26-acre garden is located in Austin’s Zilker Park, home to Austin City Limits, and welcomes more than 300,000 visitors each year. Covering 2 acres, the Hartman Prehistoric Garden features ferns, palms, and mosses — plants that existed during the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the area.

Looking for more opportunities to explore Texas’ great outdoors? Try this ultimate lake tour.

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