Live out your best cottagecore fantasy and make your way to one of these enchanting gardens.
What better way to spend the long summer days than getting lost in a garden surrounded by flowers and the summer sun? The D.C. area is filled with unique public gardens perfect for a summer picnic, photo op or simply basking in the sun. Grab your camera and sunglasses and meander your way through these 10 enchanting gardens.
Trying to capture a butterfly selfie? Brookside Gardens has you covered this summer with their butterfly garden filled with butterfly bushes galore. With several gardens including the aquatic garden, camellia garden and trial garden, be prepared to make multiple stops to snap pics of all the beautiful nature Brookside Gardens has to offer. Free+. 1800 Glenallan Ave. Wheaton, MD; montgomeryparks.org
Dumbarton Oaks Garden
This 53-acre property has a little bit of everything with art installations, fountains, pools and breathtaking gardens around almost every corner. Bring a book and relax on the arbor terrace, or in the green garden, or the rose garden — the choice is almost impossible to make. Free+. 1703 32nd St. NW, DC; doaks.org // @dumbartonoaks
Travel back in time with these century-old gardens adorned with flowers, shrines, statues and more. Throughout the spring and summer, they are offering free garden tours every Saturday where you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the history, plants, architecture and more of the gardens. Free+. 1400 Quincy St. NE, DC; myfranciscan.org // @francismonastery
Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
Teleport to a botanical sanctuary that feels like it’s pulled straight out of a romance novel. Go for a romantic stroll around Hillwood’s French Parterre, Japanese-style garden, rose garden and other breathtaking features. While originally designed by Marjorie Merriweather Post to bloom in only fall and spring, Hillwood now guarantees something beautiful no matter the season. Free+. 4155 Linnean Ave. NW, DC; hillwoodmuseum.org // @hillwoodmuseum
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
Grab your picnic basket and blanket and take to Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens this summer. As you dine on your finger food, take a moment to find the 500-year-old lotus and tropical lilies located within the historical pond. And if you’re lucky, spot some of the 250+ different species of birds that have found a home within the park. Free. 1900 Anacostia Ave. SE, DC; nps.gov // @kenilworthnps
With 451 acres of land, the National Arboretum is the master of all gardens. The Arboretum has gardens dedicated to day lilies, maples, magnolias, daffodils and more. And don’t forget to check out their iconic features including the National Capitol Columns that was built in 1828 and the friendship garden, formerly a caretaker’s residence now transformed into a naturalistic paradise. Free. 3501 New York Ave. NE, DC; usna.usda.gov
A hop, skip and a jump away from D.C. lies the estate of the founder of The Sun newspaper A.S. Abell. After a few years and a community development project, the land was transformed by Baltimore businessman John Sherwood. With sprawling grassy areas, endless evergreens and beautiful blossoms, this garden is worth the drive. Free. 4310 Underwood Rd. Baltimore, MD; sherwoodgardens.org // @sherwoodgardensbaltimore
If you are looking for a day filled with history, Tudor Place is the spot for you. Walk the flower-lined paths as you learn and reflect on the past of this landmark. If your day in the garden is taken over by a summer thunderstorm, fear not and take to the second-largest Washington collection located indoors. Free+. 1644 31st St. NW, DC; tudorplace.org // @tudor_place
U.S. Botanic Garden
This D.C. classic has it all — perfect location, an abundance of plants and great history. Just a few steps from the Capitol building, weave in and out of the endless indoor and outdoor gardens and exhibits this plant museum has to offer. Free. 100 Maryland Ave. SW, DC; usbg.gov/visit // @usbotanicgarden
Washington National Cathedral Gardens
From dawn to dusk, spend a few moments of peace while walking the grounds of this extensive oasis. Start your stroll at the Bishop’s garden. After discovering the native plants and medieval-inspired designs this area has to offer, continue your reflection at the Shadow House gazebo before taking a breath of tranquility beneath the canopy of oak and beech trees in the Olmstead woods. Free. 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; cathedral.org // @wncathedral
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