The Most Beautiful Gardens in Orlando Everyone Has to Visit

The Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens are among the finest in Orlando
The Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens are among the finest in Orlando | © Jim Moore / Flickr
Photo of Naomi Chadderton
8 July 2021

Though best known as a thrillseekers paradise, Orlando is home to plenty of tranquil, perfectly preened gardens in addition to its world-class theme parks.

While it might be renowned for its towering rollercoasters and crowded tourist attractions, there’s a lesser-known side to Orlando that continues to be a source of inspiration for creatives and nature lovers alike. We’re talking about its beautiful gardens, which offer everything you need for a leisurely afternoon adventure. Check out our picks of the bunch, pun very much intended.

Rose Garden

Botanical Garden
Map View
Orange roses growing along a garden wall
© Carrie Garcia / Alamy Stock Photo

If you only have time to visit one garden during your trip to Orlando, make sure it’s this one. The crown jewel of the Winter Park, you’ll find dozens of rose bushes, the iconic peacock fountain and plenty of comfortable benches scattered across 11 acres (4ha) of green space – popular with both locals and tourists alike. The garden can even be rented for small weddings, should your big day be calling.

Discovery Gardens

Botanical Garden
Map View

Featuring some of Florida’s most famed plants and trees (including varieties bearing both fruit and vegetables), Discovery Gardens is perfect for those interested in learning more about the business of horticulture, offering numerous programs for homeowners, garden enthusiasts, educators and children. Made up of 20 major theme gardens, each designed to show a different gardening aspect of Central Florida, it’s open Monday to Friday, plus the third Saturday of each month, with visitors welcome to explore through every season of the year.

Harry P Leu Gardens

Park, Botanical Garden
Map View
USA, Florida. Harry P. Leu Gardens Orlando, Florida.
© Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
With over 50 acres (20ha) of gardens to explore comprising everything from azaleas, camellias, bromeliads and philodendrons to palms, cycads, 200-year-old oak trees and a butterfly garden. If that wasn’t enough, Harry P Leu Gardens also claims to have one of America’s largest camellia collections, brought back from the travels of founders Mr. and Mrs. Harry P Leu, who deeded Leu House and its gardens to the city of Orlando back in 1961. Guided tours of the house are regularly available, while canopies of tall trees make exploring enjoyable on even the hottest of days.

Lake Eola Park

Park
Map View
Orlando, Florida, USA downtown cityscape from Eola Lake.
© Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
Whether you’re heading out for a run around its sidewalk, relaxing amid beautiful flower beds or enjoying a concert in the Walt Disney Amphitheatre, there’s something for all ages at this urban oasis. Its pedal-powered swan boats prove popular in the hot summer months as visitors explore the historic Lake Eola and gaze at its fountain close up, while there’s even a weekly farmer’s market offering seasonal fresh produce plus locally made arts and crafts every Sunday between 10am and 3pm.

Kraft Azalea Garden

Botanical Garden, Park
Map View
Florida, FL, South, Winter Park, Orlando, Kraft Azalea Garden, public park, cypress trees, moss, bench, path, sightseeing visitors travel traveling to
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 9+ / Alamy Stock Photo

Just moments from downtown Orlando in the corner of Winter Park, this public lakefront park is one of the city’s most popular for very good reason. Curl up with a good book under its 200-year-old Cypress trees, take a meander along its relaxing trails or try your luck at catching some fresh bass, carp, bluegill or gar from the dock at Lake Maitland, where there’s also the opportunity to paddleboard or kayak along its tranquil waters. It’s a magnet for keen photographers too, so be sure to take your camera along for some Insta-worthy snaps.

Mead Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden
Map View
Garden and landscape. Image shot 06/2017. Exact date unknown.
© Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Open daily from sunrise to sunset with free entry all year round, this 48-acre (19ha) haven features flowering gardens, serene pavilions, wildlife habitats and some of the best bird watching in the city. Experts are on hand to offer a number of programs including both horticulture and gardening classes in addition to herb walks, while fitness fanatics gather on its lush lawns each Saturday and Wednesday for ‘Yoga in the Garden’. Picnic tables are also available on-site, so grab your friends and some sandwiches for a peaceful afternoon feast.

Lake Lotus Park

Botanical Garden, Park
Map View

Comprising a huge 150 acres (61ha) including 120 acres (49ha) of woods and wetlands, a stroll along Lake Lotus Park’s 1.7mi (2.7km) trail system leaves you gazing up at gigantic cypresses, surrounding marshes and a vibrant wildlife community that calls this place home. The perfect spot to reconnect with Mother Nature, bring the kids along for family picnics or simply relax along the boardwalk with only the sounds of gently running water to keep you company. There’s a spot for fishing too, whilst everything here is free of charge.

Arid Garden

Botanical Garden, Park
Map View
Agaves, close-up,
© mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Nestled among Harry P Leu Gardens, Arid Garden displays a wide variety of plants that are drought-tolerant, such as acacias, agaves, aloes, bromeliads, cacti, flowering trees, palms, succulents and yuccas from dry and desert regions. One of many different gardens in the 50-acre (20ha) expanse of land, if you’re traveling through central Florida between late October and March, be sure to check out the collection of over 200 different types of camellias – the largest collection in the eastern United States.

Orlando Memorial Gardens

Botanical Garden
Map View

A combination of natural beauty, ancient trees and ornate tombstones make Orlando Memorial Gardens both serene, graceful and entirely worth a visit. Occupying approximately 35 acres (14ha), take a wander among the immaculate gardens whilst paying your respects to those who rest there. A place for some spiritual solace, its vivid history can make for an uplifting experience.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Melissa Sherrard.

Looking for more recommendations? There’s plenty of things to keep you busy, from exploring natural wonders such as the best springs and the best beaches in Orlando to getting lost and stumbling upon the best restaurants around. Make a weekend of it and bring the whole family along; the kids will enjoy swimming with dolphins while these unusual things to do will keep everyone else entertained.

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