The Top 5 Botanical Gardens to Visit on Oahu: Plus 4 Additional Gardens

Are you traveling to Oahu and want to see the most beautiful botanical gardens in Hawaii?

There are many beautiful and well-maintained botanical gardens on this island.

We’ve done all the hard work for you and have compiled this list of the top 5 botanical gardens in Oahu that are worth visiting. We’ve also included some bonus options towards the end of the article, so be sure to check that out as well.

Without further ado, here is our list of recommended places to visit when on vacation in Hawaii!

Top Botanicle Gardens in Oahu

Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden

Location: 45-680 Luluku Road, Kaneohe, HI 96744

Admission fee: Free

Hours: 9:00AM – 4:00PM

How much time to spend here: It depends on how much time you have. You can easily do it in an hour, but we spent about 2.5 hours since we stopped a lot to enjoy nature and take photos.

This botanical garden is situated on the windward side of Oahu and provides stunning views of the Koolau Mountains. It’s also home to various tropical plants and flowers, making it a must-see for any nature lover.

Enjoying the view of the  Ko'olau Mountains  at The Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden in Oahu

Located in Kaneohe, the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden spans over 400 acres. It’s one of the largest botanical gardens in Oahu. The US Army Corps of Engineers designed and built this garden in the 1900s, and it was established as a botanical garden in 1982.

This is a great place to spend an afternoon strolling around and taking in all the natural beauty.

The gardens were built in the traditional Japanese garden style, and it’s easy to spend a few hours here just relaxing in the Zen-like atmosphere.

This may be the best botanical garden in Oahu, believe it or not! It’s located within a valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains, so you get a fantastic view of the Ko’olau Mountains while walking through the lush vegetation. The hike within the gardens is also one of the best hikes in Oahu so definitely put this one on your list.

The garden is home to an extensive cactus garden that contains over 150 types of different cacti.

Spectacular view of the  Ko'olau Mountains at The Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Gardens in Oahu
Ko’olau Mountains

Here you will find plants from all over the world, collections from Malaysia, Tropical America, Philippines, India, Shri Lank, Melanesia, and of course Hawaii. 

See also: 12 Easy Hikes in Oahu

You will also see rare and beautiful flowers on display that are endemic only to Hawaii.

This is one of Oahu’s most popular tourist attractions, and for good reason! It’s an impressive botanical garden home to some of the most unique and diverse flora in the state.

Foster Botanical Garden

Location: 180 N. Vineyard Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96817

Admission fee: Adults: $5; Children (Ages 6-12): $1; Children under 5 are free

Hours : 9:00AM – 4:00PM

How much time to spend here: 1-2 hours

The Foster Botanical Garden is a 14-acre botanical garden located in the heart of Honolulu.

It’s home to many different types of plants from all over the world, making it a must-see for any plant lover.

Here, you will find the economic grade, greenhouse, and butterfly gardens. This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a unique and exciting place to explore.

View of green trees at the Foster Botanical Gardens in Oahu

The garden is filled with magnificent trees planted back in the 1850s by Dr. William Hillebrand. The planting of these trees led to the creation of the botanical gardens.

To this day, it’s one of the oldest botanical gardens in Hawaii and is the oldest in Honolulu.

See also: The 12 Best North Shore Oahu Hikes

This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a place to wander around and take in the beauty of nature. It’s also home to some of Honolulu’s most unique and diverse plants, making it a must-see for any botanical enthusiast.

Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden

Location: 123 N. Kuakini St. Honolulu, HI 96817

Hours: 7:00AM – 5:00PM

Admission fee: Free

How much time to spend here: 30 minutes to 1.5 hours

The Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden is located in the heart of Honolulu and features a variety of different plants. The gardens are devoted to native Hawaiian plants, and it’s home to many rare and exotic plants.

Portions of the property once belonged to Queen Lili’uokalani. She later donated parts of her land to the City of Honolulu. 

The gardens are one of the most picturesque gardens on Oahu, with their winding paths and lovely ponds, as well as a waterfall.

It’s a great place to spend an afternoon and great for kids since it’s short and paved most of the way.

The gardens are easy to access since they are located in the heart of Honolulu. Be sure to check it out during your next visit to Oahu.

Also, this park is very close to Foster Botanical Garden, making it easy to visit both gardens on the same day.

Note: Many people have mentioned that this garden is more of a garden park than a botanical garden due to having fewer plants than a typical garden.

Wahiawā Botanical Garden

Location: 1396 California Ave, Wahiawā, HI 96786

Hours: 9:00AM – 4:00PM

Admission fee: Free

How much time to spend here: 1-2 hours

The Wahiawā Botanical Garden is a beautiful 27-acre botanical garden located in Wahiawā. It’s home to several exotic plants, including African desert plants and tropical flowers.

This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a tranquil place to spend an afternoon.

View of indoor plant at the botanical gardens in Oahu

Here, you will get the chance to see native Hawaiian plants, tree ferns, epiphytic plants, and the aroid collection. Many people also come here to see the famous rainbow tree, so if you are into that, be sure to stop by.

See also: Hiking the Scenic Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail in Oahu

Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Location: 7491 Kokonani St, Honolulu, HI 96825

Hours: open daily from sunrise to sunset

Admission fee: Free

How much time to spend here: 2 – 3.5 hours

The Koko Crater Botanical Garden is home to many different types of plants from all over the world, including Africa, Madagascar, and Hawaii. 

This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a garden that has something for everyone. You will find exotic plants and rare plants all around the garden.

Flowers are the botanical gardens in Oahu

It’s also home to various types of gardens, including a cactus & succulent garden. You will also find plumeria grove and dryland palms.

This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a place to wander around and take in the beauty of nature. The gardens are home to some of Honolulu’s most unique and diverse plants, making it a must-see for any botanical enthusiast.

So there you have it, the top five botanical gardens in Oahu! Keep reading below for bonus Oahu garden options.

Bonus Oahu Botanical Gardens

Waimea Valley

Location: 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Hours: 9:00AM – 5:00PM

Admission fee: $15 for adults and $7.50 for children

How much time to spend here: 2 hours+

The Waimea Valley is home to over 5,000 different plants within their 52 themed gardens. It’s also home to some endangered and endemic species.

The valley itself is filled with ponds and streams that feed into a large waterfall. This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a lush garden that has something for everyone. The Waimea Falls are one of the best waterfalls in Oahu, so be sure to check them out while you’re there.

You will find lush landscape beds filled with flowering plants, a lei garden, a bamboo garden, and a variety of different types of trees.

View of tropical plants at the Waimea botanical garden in Oahu

You will find plants from Central and South America, Fiji, Guam, Madagascar, Mascarene Islands, and Seychelles, to name a few.

This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a place to wander around and take in the beauty of nature. The gardens are home to some of Honolulu’s most unique and diverse plants, making it a must-see for any botanical enthusiast.

Mānoa Heritage Center and Garden

Location: 2856 Oahu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96822

Hours: Tours are offered on Wednesdays at 3PM, as well as Thursdays at 9AM. 

Admission fee: $20 per Adult

How much time to spend here: Tours last from 60 to 90 minutes

The Mānoa Heritage Center and Garden is a beautiful garden located in Honolulu. It’s home to various types of plants, including rare and endangered plants.

The Heritage Center offers appointment-only tours with a six-person maximum for each slot.

Here you will get the opportunity to see native Hawaiian and Polynesian plants and a broad view of Manoa Valley. 

If you are interested in learning the Hawaiian history of Manoa Valley, this is the place to go.

Lyon Arboretum

Location: 3860 Manoa Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822

Hours: 9:00AM to 3:00PM, by reservation only. You can make a reservation using Event Brite.

Admission fee: Free, but donations are welcome. The suggested donation amount is $10.00 per person.

How much time to spend here: 1-2 hours

The Lyon Arboretum is a beautiful 200-acre garden located in Honolulu, about 5 minutes from Waikiki.

It’s part of the University of Hawaii and has a garden open to the public. The garden is home to a variety of different types of plants.

It is located on the back of Manoa Valley, and the Arboretum has a long list of plant types with over 6,000 different species.

Here, you will get the chance to see native Hawaiian plants, an extensive collection of fragrant garden trees and shrubs, fruit trees, and a bamboo grove. 

This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a place to wander around and take in the beauty of nature.

Halawa Xeriscape Garden

Location: 99-1268 Iwaena St, Aiea, HI 96701

Hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9:00AM – 3:00PM

Admission fee: Free

How much time to spend here: 1 – 2 hours

The Halawa Xeriscape Garden is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a lush landscape filled with unique and diverse plants.

The garden features an extensive collection of dry plants. The Board of Water Supply designed the garden to demonstrate the possibility of an attractive garden that uses less water.

See also: The Top 7 Spots for Kayaking in Oahu

Here you will find plants from all over the world in their international section. Of course, there is a section for plants native to Hawaii as well.

Oahu Botanical Gardens FAQs

Is Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden free?

Yes, Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is free to visit.

Can you drive through Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens?

Yes, you can drive from one part to another, but you’ll need to walk through the gardens.

What are some free botanical gardens in Oahu?

Some free botanical gardens in Oahu include Ho’omaluhia Gardens, Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden, Wahiawā Botanical Garden, Koko Crater Botanical Garden, and Mānoa Heritage Center and Garden.

What is the best botanical garden for nature lovers in Oahu?

Oahu’s best botanical gardens for nature lovers include Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden, Wahiawā Botanical Garden, Koko Crater Botanical Garden, and Waimea Valley. To be honest, you can’t go wrong with any of the gardens mentioned in this article though!

What is the best botanical garden for couples in Oahu?

In my opinion, all of these gardens are perfect for couples and families. If I had to pick a favorite, I would say the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is one of the top romantic things to do in Hawaii. It literally feels like a movie here. At least that’s how I felt!

What should I wear at the botanical gardens in Oahu?

Be sure to dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather. The gardens are outdoors, so be prepared for sunny or rainy weather.

You will probably want to wear shoes with good traction too, as there may be some steep slopes.

See also: The Best Hiking Shoes for Hawaii in 2021(The Ultimate buying Guide)

How long do I have to spend in a garden?

The time you spend in a garden is entirely up to you! Most gardens are open from sun-up to sun-down, and we recommend that you allow yourself enough time to enjoy all that the garden has to offer.

What type of plants will I see?

The types of plants you will see in a garden vary depending on the garden. Each garden has its specialties.

The Wrap Up: Oahu Botanical Gardens

Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden, Foster Botanical Garden, Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden, Wahiawā Botanical Garden, and Koko Crater Botanical Gardens are the top botanical gardens in Oahu.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful place to enjoy your afternoon or an exotic vacation destination, the botanical gardens on Oahu are sure to please.

Our list of top 5 botanical gardens in Oahu should give you plenty of options when looking for a botanical garden on the island!

Until next time, Aloha, and have fun exploring this island’s paradise!

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