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10 Picture-Perfect, RV-Accessible Gardens in the U.S.

10 Picture-Perfect, RV-Accessible Gardens in the U.S.

The weather is getting colder and, if even your rock garden is struggling, maybe it’s time to hit the road for a little garden cultivation inspiration. The United States is filled with amazing botanical gardens, designed with imagination and maintained year-round through incredibly hard work that puts even the most dedicated yard warrior to shame. Most of us have a tough enough time keeping our own yard green and healthy.

That’s what’s great about toy haulers and other RVs. They take you to places of beauty and wonder, and all the comforts of home come with you. Buckle up and have your camera ready for a tour of 10 picture-perfect, RV-accessible gardens in the U.S.

 

1. Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ

You haven’t seen the desert until you’ve seen it glow during Las Noches de las Luminarias. Every December, one of the world’s most dazzling displays of desert plants shines even brighter at night. Thousands of small paper lanterns line the Desert Botanical Garden’s footpaths, with live musical performances adding to festive holiday evenings. During the day, you can comfortably stroll the park’s five trails that showcase the plants of the Sonoran Desert. RVers are welcome, as Desert’s Edge RV Park is only 15 minutes from downtown Phoenix.

 

2. International Peace Garden, Dunseith, ND​

Straddle the border between the U.S. and Canada as you hit the road for the International Peace Garden. The garden’s theme reflects the long friendship between the two countries who share the world’s longest undefended border. Displays include floral U.S. and Canadian flags, a working floral clock made out of as many as 2,500 flowers, sunken gardens surrounding an octagonal reflecting pool, and a formal garden with terraces, fountains, and sculptures. Park your camper among 2,300 acres of scenic lakes, waterfalls, and prairie wildlife at the International Peace Garden’s on-site campgrounds, which can accommodate large RVs.

 

3. Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, FL

Ever been to Bali? How about Brazil? While you can’t cruise to those exotic locations in your RV, you’ll feel pretty close when you visit the Naples Botanical Garden. Cultivated and maintained to conserve the plant life of the tropics, the garden illustrates how this part of Florida has similar weather and soil conditions. Naples RV Resort is also close to beaches and other attractions.

 

4. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO

Not many urban nature centers are a National Historic Landmark, but the Missouri Botanical Garden has been open to the public since 1859! Hop out of your camper and into the on-site tram for a 25-30-minute tour of gardens, sculptures, and buildings. While there is a great variety to see here, the largest and most popular attraction is the Japanese Garden. Serenity emanates from Japanese-influenced plants that wind among waterfalls, islands, and traditional bridges. Every year on Labor Day Weekend, the Garden hosts the Japanese Festival, with three days of entertainment, art, and food. It’s one of the largest and oldest festivals of its kind in the United States. St. Louis RV Park is located downtown, within walking distance of many attractions.

 

5. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA

It’s almost impossible to run out of things to do at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, with over a dozen themed gardens, a daffodil show in April, a plant sale in May, and an annual butterfly exhibit. This setting also has plenty of history having once been owned by Patrick Henry of “Give me liberty or give me death” fame. The grounds include a Children’s Garden, the Cherry Tree Walk, the Asian Valley, and the Rose Garden. The impressive domed conservatory is the only one of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region. Just 15 minutes north, Americamps RV Resort offers a playground and swimming pool.

 

6. United States Botanic Garden, Washington D.C.

They say that good things come in small packages. It’s even better when those good things don’t cost you anything! The United States Botanic Garden is on the small side, but it still manages a collection of more than 65,000 plants in a conservatory and two outdoor spaces. Plus, it’s free! The garden is also adjacent to the U.S. Capitol, so it’s easy to combine a trip to the Garden with a driving tour in your RV to see all the historic sights in the nation’s capital. The Washington DC/Capitol KOA campground offers a shuttle into the city if you don’t want to unhitch your travel trailer from your tow vehicle.

 

7. Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Ft. Worth, TX

They do things big in Texas, and botanical gardens are no exception. The Fort Worth Botanic Garden has 120 acres, 25 specialty gardens, 2,500 species of plants, and—for more than two months every year—a large exhibit of live butterflies. If you’re there in May, the Spring Market features food trucks, live music, local artisans, and a free afternoon in the Garden. One of the most educational features is an elevated walkway called the Native Texas Boardwalk. Settlers Haven Mobile and RV Park is just a few minutes away from downtown Fort Worth.

 

8. Denver Botanic Garden, Denver, CO

Seeing the snow-capped mountains from your RV’s window, just to the west of Denver, it’s easy to forget that this is a semi-arid region. Part of the mission of the Denver Botanical Garden is to show how water connects people, plants, and animals where the Rockies meet the Great Plains. Indoor and outdoor displays that highlight Alpine, Steppe, Desert, and other regions show how plants adapt to limited water. In fact, some gardens are not irrigated at all! On a cold winter day, escape to the tropics inside the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory and marvel as you stroll through the steamy jungle. Dakota Ridge RV Park in Golden is open year-round.

 

9. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus, OH

If you appreciate the beauty of butterflies—and it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t—this is your place. It’s been nearly three decades since Blooms & Butterflies debuted here. Every spring since then, hundreds of butterflies emerge from their chrysalis stage each week, filling the Conservatory with colorful wings of wonder. The facility showcases hundreds of plants native to environments ranging from desert to rainforest. Alton RV Park is about 20 minutes away.

 

10. Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA

Just 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles, 16 themed gardens are spread across a former ranch that now serves as a library, art museum, and botanical center. Individual gardens incorporate Australian, Chinese, Japanese, Desert, and California themes, among others. The more whimsical Shakespeare Garden features plants cultivated in England during the time of the famous playwright. Relax lakeside at Bonelli Bluffs RV Resort & Campground in nearby San Dimas.

 

Conclusion: Don’t park the RV this winter. These gardens are all open year-round and most feature colorful Christmas light displays along with the winter blooms. So grab the cell phone and get ready to hit the road and light up your Instagram page. And if you’re looking for an RV to start your coast-to-coast garden tour, browse all the RVs available for-sale and for-rent nationwide on RVTrader.com.

 


Cynthia Shackleton is an Indiana native and freelance writer whose goal is to visit every park in the country. She enjoys making winter RV trips with her husband and two children.

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Ethan Smith
Ethan Smith
is the Content Manager at Trader Interactive, managing marketing content development for ATV Trader, Commercial Truck Trader, Cycle Trader, Equipment Trader, RV Trader, and more. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to marketplace buyers and sellers.

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