Explore the best botanical gardens and arboretums in Oahu

These Oahu botanical gardens all around the island are fantastic to explore and see the gorgeous tropical plants, trees and flowers grown on the island. Open year round, the botanical gardens around Oahu are a slice of paradise some that are right in the heart of Honolulu, an easy fun day trip or even tucked into unexpected places like the cavity of a sunken cinder cone for you to explore.

You’ll love visiting all of these gorgeous public gardens of Oahu even if your not a plant freak. Many of the gardens are located in fantastic locations where you can drop by along the way from your main destination.

Hopefully these images of the following botanical gardens in Oahu will inspire you to visit these gardens for spring time in Oahu.

Why visit a botanical garden in Oahu

Why visit a botanical garden in Oahu

Even if you’re not a fan of visiting gardens, some of these places have fantastic views, opportunities to hike to waterfalls and even take a dip on some of these fantastic places. if you’re into tropical plants and flowers, indigenous or from all the exotic places around the world wrapped up into a gorgeous garden to explore then check out these amazing botanical gardens of Oahu.

Most of these gardens are free with the exception to a few of them that require entry fees to visit the garden area.

Explore these 8 gorgeous botanical gardens of Oahu

Be inspired to see lush gardens, beautiful tropical plants and flowers, flowering tropical trees and beautiful mountain and valley views to many of these botanical gardens of Oahu.

Waimea Valley and Botanical Garden

Waimea Valley and Botanical Garden

One of the best botanical gardens in Oahu is located on the North Shore at Waimea Valley, the Waimea Valley Botanical garden is a wonderful day trip to explore the gardens, historic and cultural villages and a fun hike and swim to Waimea falls. You can sign up for a docent tour of the gardens, mock village and ancient peoples that lived in the area or do your own DIY tour of the various gardens which hosts a variety of native plants, orchids species, heliconia and a host of beautiful tropical plants and flowers. Check out my post to visiting Waimea Valley Botanical garden for more images and details.

Why visit Waimea Valley Botanical Garden

It is beautiful with many individual gardens, a mock ancient Hawaiian village to tour and even a waterfall that you can swim in with a lifeguard present. The trail to the waterfalls is paved and easy to walk the less than a mile distance through the valley floor.

59-864 Kamehameha Highway, Haleʻiwa, (808) 638-7766, Check their website at Waimea Valley.net

Best 8 botanical gardens in Oahu Waimea Valley

Lyon Arboretum

Lyon Arboretum

Located in Manoa valley and next to the popular Manoa Falls, Lyon Arboretum is lush and dense even though it is not to far from the commercial and business center of Honolulu. One of the best botanical gardens in Oahu that is a short and easy drive from Honolulu, Lyon Arboretum is urban and also very tropical with views of the mountains, lush and mature trees and plants that makes this a wonderful urban garden to visit on the outskirts of the city.

Why visit the Lyon Arboretum

Located in Honolulu area and close to Manoa Falls (a propular waterfall attraction), the Lyon Artboretum is a short drive from downtown and you are transported into a lush tropical jungle with stunning views of the pali mountains and surrounding areas.

Lyon Arboretum views

Within the two hundred acres of the arboretum, you can find over 5,000 tropical plant species. Within the arboretum, you can explore the various gardens to include a native garden, an herb and spice garden, The Betty Ho Memorial garden and even a sweet waterfall setting at Aihualama Falls on the property.

3860 Manoa Road, Honolulu, website at Lyon Arboretum | A University of Hawaii Research Unit

Colorful tropical plants at Lyon Arboretum

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden 

One of the oldest botanical gardens in Hawaii is Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. One of the most popular botanical gardens in Oahu mostly with visitors that have made the garden famous by taking selfies on the palm tree lined streets with the gorgeous pali mountains in the background. The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is also popular to visit the many gardens, fish ponds and lush green mountain backdrop of the dramatic Ko’olau mountains. Kids love to visit the water ponds and enjoy feeding the ducks and other birds and wildlife in the gardens.

Why Visit Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

One of the largest and most expansive places to visit with several gardens, large pond areas and views to enjoy and capture in photographs, the garden is also free to enter. The road entryway with lined palms is famous and a popular place to capture an Instagram shot.

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden  front entry

This expansive 400-acre botanical garden is broken up into sections that feature plants of Sri Lanka, India, The Philippines, Africa and Polynesia.

45-680 Luluku Road, Kaneohe, check their website at HBG Ho`omaluhia (honolulu.gov)

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden  red sealing wax palm

Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Wahiawa Botanical Garden

One of the most underated botanical garden in Oahu is the Wahiawa Botanical Garden. Located in the town of Wahiawa, the botanical garden is filled with gorgeous tropical plants to include many orchid flowers blooming in season, Heliconia and ginger flowers and a host of other tropical plants that thrive in this beautiful environment. An intimate garden that is only 27 acres and located in a ravine that is cooler in climate, the garden feels like little jewel and is fun to explore some of the trails and jungle areas of the botanical garden especially on the edges of the ravine and walking down to the bottom section.

Why visit the Wahiawa Botanical Garden

A hidden garden gem, this garden used to be an experimental arboretum for the sugar cane plantation owners since the 1930s. Entrance is free to the 27 acre garden through old growth and lush plantings and flowering trees and tropical flowering plants.

1396 California Ave., Wahiawā, Check updates to visiting on their website at friendsofhonolulubotanicalgardens.com/Wahiawa.htm

Wahiawa Botanical Garden lush trees

Foster Botanical Garden

Foster Botanical Garden

Located in the heart of Honolulu and a convenient drive from the city and Waikiki, Foster Botanical garden hosts mature tropical trees and many specimen plants from the islands and other exotic varieties of tropical plants and flowers in this 14-acre garden. Started in 1853, this garden hosts many of the oldest and tallest tropical trees and canopy plants in all of Hawaii. There are many rare plant collections to explore including the butterfly garden, conservatory and also an extensive orchid zone and collection of flowering orchids that is fantastic to experience on your visit here. The entrance fee to the garden is nominal and helps to support the ongoing care of the gardens.

Why visit the Foster Botanical Garden

Right in Honolulu downtown area, this lush 14 acre garden is mature and fun to explore with easy parking access in the area. Lot’s of mature trees, specialty gardens and an orchid area that is colorful and filled with blooming orchids in season.

180 N. Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu, check the website at  honolulu.gov/cms-dpr-menu/site-dpr-sitearticles/568-foster-botanical-garden.html

Foster Botanical Garden tropical plant blooms

Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Located close to its famous counterpart, the Koko Crater which it is located in (a very popular hiking spot to the top of the crater via some strenuous railroad steps to the top), the gardens specialize in arid, dryland and Mediterranean climate plants but also hosts an international collection of plants from around the world.

Why Visit Koko Crater Botanical Garden

This is a very unique feature in the crafter floor with this garden that features mostly cactus, mediterrannean and arid plants that thrive in the sun and heat of the protected crater area. The entrance is free and the loop trail is easy and a fun exploratory trail to walk through.

Koko Crater Botanical Garden cactus collection

You can explore the two-mile loop trail within the 60 acres of gardens that makes this a fun experience to check out the extensive exhibits of plants and makes this one of the best botanical gardens to visit in Oahu.

7491 Kokonani St., Honolulu, visit their website for details at honolulu.gov/parks/hbg/honolulu-botanical-gardens/182-site-dpr-cat/572-koko-crater-botanical-garden.html

Koko Crater Botanical Garden cactus plants

Liliu'okalani  Botanical Garden

Liliu’okalani Botanical Garden

Located in Honolulu is named for the last queen of Hawaii, Liliu’okalani and hosts a variety of native plant species. This was her garden to the people of Honolulu and Oahu and the garden is free to enjoy and open daily from 7am to 5pm.

Why visit the Liliu’okalani botanical garden

The small garden is small but dedicated to Hawaiian indigenous plants and flowers and entrance is free to visit the garden. Enjoy the Nu’uanu stream and waterfalls to view and meditate and you can also visit the Foster Botanical garden which is very close to this garden.

123 N. Kuakini Street, Honolulu, visit their website at HBG Liliuokalani (honolulu.gov)

Moanuloa Gardens

Moanuloa Gardens

Created by King Kamehameha V, the king built the historic Kamehameha V Cottage with the huge Hitachi tree named for the giant Monkeypod tree that is over a hundred years old with huge limbs that spread out over the garden. The gardens are a popular venue for weddings and events that can be held on the property grounds.

Moanalua Road, Honolulu, website at MOANALUA GARDENS

botanical gardens of Oahu
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Tips for visiting the botanical gardens of Oahu

Bring bug repellent – many of the lush gardens are filled with mosquitos that are vicious so plan on bringing spray and protecting yourself while exploring these gardens

Locate the garden on your google app or GPS to locate each garden and parking lot more efficiently

Grab a map of the garden – check out the information center and grab a map layout so you don’t get lost and go around in circles

Support the botanical garden – many of these gardens offer gift shops, café foods or hand made snacks or desserts and operate on shoe string budgets – it would be fantastic to keep them operating for everyone to enjoy and supporting them with a purchase would be easy enough

Sign up for a docent lead tour to get a better idea about the various plantings, local indigenous native plants and other interesting facets about these tropical gardens of Oahu.

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Conclusion to visiting the best botanical gardens in Oahu

Thanks for visiting This Hawaii life and checking out this post on the best 8 Botanical gardens in Oahu. If you enjoyed reading this post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons on the slider.

I’d like to hear from you!

If you found some other cool places to explore from this post, please share your experiences in the comments below for everyone to enjoy. Or even if you have any questions about visiting, I would be more than happy to answer them below.

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14 Comments

  1. Jeff & Crystal Bryant

    What an amazing botanical garden to explore. The amount of beauty that can be maintained when you have constant tropical weather is astounding. We especially enjoyed seeing the colorful culms of the bamboo plants. This isn’t something you see in Kansas.

    Reply
    • emorata

      Yes these botanical gardens in Oahu are all spectacular and different in their own ways, so lush and varied to even arid cactus and succulent environments.

      Reply
  2. Karen Warren

    I love botanical gardens and it looks as if Oahu has a real variety – everything from really lush gardens to more arid landscape!

    Reply
    • emorata

      Yes there’s quite a large variety of botanical gardens to enjoy in Oahu with these amazing gardens,you should come and visit

      Reply
  3. Michele H Peterson

    I could escape to Oahu right now to breathe in some of that refreshing air and soak up some greenery after a grey Canadian winter. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden looks especially inviting.

    Reply
    • emorata

      You definitely would enjoy visiting these botanical gardens in Oahu which has both of what you are looking for, lol.

      Reply
  4. John Williams

    My wife and I have visited most of these gardens, some more than once. Coming from Northern Ireland we have never seen so much beauty as seen in these gardens. Have planned to return in September.

    Reply
    • emorata

      Wonderful, lucky you for having visited most of these beautiful botanical gardens in Oahu, aren’t they fabulous?

      Reply
  5. Bkod

    Loved this., I actually noted to myself that I have “been” to all sites mentioned, but never “seen” or as they say “stop to smell the roses”. Time to revisit and capture some images for myself…
    Thank you for this

    Reply
    • emorata

      Fantastic that you had visited all these botanical gardens in Oahu and yes they are always fun to revisit.

      Reply
  6. Carol Colborn

    OMG, I just love these photos. I am a plant lover and never thought of going to botanical gardens in Oahu! But your compositions are outstanding!

    Reply
    • emorata

      The Botanical gardens in Oahu are fun to explore and the photos practically shoot themselves with such gorgeous scenery

      Reply
  7. Eddie Lopez

    back about 65 years ago most of these places were free to enter. Now?

    Reply
    • emorata

      Some are still free, contribution or a nominal entrance fee to visit the botanical gardens in Oahu and help support operating expenses

      Reply

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  2. Hawaii Kai - This Hawaii Life - […] of the fantastic botanical gardens of Oahu to explore, the Koko Crater botanical garden is over 60 acres of…
  3. Top things to do in Honolulu - This Hawaii Life - […] you love natural gardens then visit the Lyon Arboretum – a beautiful botanical garden located very close to Manoa…

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Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.