From well-trimmed bushes at botanical gardens to untamed wildflowers off the beaten hiker’s path, there’s a place for everyone to enjoy the splendor of nature in full bloom. Check out this list of the Bay Area’s best places to stop and smell the flowers this spring.
Everything’s coming up roses at the Berkeley Rose Garden. Boasting an amphitheater of roses, this landmark is the only place in the Bay Area where you can be serenaded by these long stemmed beauties. Enjoy a picnic in your own secret garden with picturesque rose bushes at every turn, their sweet fragrance hanging in the air like nature’s finest perfume. Roses may be red, but this garden also has pink, yellow, white and every hue in between — take your pick.
With over 6,000 acres of endless landscape and even free-roaming cattle, the Sunol Regional Wilderness is about as wild you can get without driving down to Yosemite. Spend a day hiking and swimming, and then sleep under the stars at the end of the night. Of course, this park also has a festival dedicated to its spring wild flowers. On April 9, embrace your inner wild flower-child with a day of hikes, crafts and nature activities.
Sunol Regional Wilderness, 1895 Geary Road, Sunol, CA, USA, (510) 544-3249
Even roses grow in the concrete jungle, and then some. For those less inclined to the outdoors, Macy’s at Union Square has your answer. Take a break from shopping and indulge in some flower therapy at their legendary annual flower show, happening now until April 3rd. The flagship store is transformed into a stunning presentation that truly represents America the Beautiful. With geographical themed installations such as the Pacific Northwest Wonderland and Enchanting Southeast, no corner of our country’s flora is left out.
Even if you’re not into historical lighthouses, there’s still a reason to head to Point Reyes National Seashore. Opposite the lighthouse to the east is the Chimney Rock Trail. Although barren during winter, the trail comes alive with lush green hills and nature lovers alike. Hike amongst endless fields of flowers, home to many California natives such as California buttercups and California poppies. As if the sweeping grasslands aren’t beautiful enough, the panoramic views of ocean waves crashing against the bluffs will take your breath away.
Although rare and exotic flowers bloom here all year round, a visit to the exquisite Conservatory of Flowers is still a must. Along with its regular floral displays, the conservatory often hosts special exhibits as well. Magnificent highland tropical flowers and splendid aquatic plants come alive under the glass domes. Even if you’re not a horticulture geek, the exceptionally beautiful Victorian architecture is enough to lure you in for a delightful afternoon.
With names like Grand Hound’s Tongue, Bear Brush, and Mosquito-bills, it sounds like the beginnings of an evil witch’s concoction. Actually, these are just some of the wildflowers blooming at Mount Diablo State Park. Home to the famous mountain bearing the same name, you needn’t worry about summiting all 3,839 feet of it just to enjoy nature’s blooms. The easy four-mile hike on Mitchell Canyon Nature Trail only has a 500-foot elevation gain, so you’ll be able to smell the wildflowers without the shortness of breath.