With the warmer weather and arrival of Spring, we can’t wait to get outside and explore. An activity you should add to your list is exploring the beautiful public gardens and arboretums our beloved state has to offer. Each of these gardens and arboretums has a unique history of its very own, so you’ll be sure to learn something new while exploring. Below I have listed public gardens and arboretums in New Jersey. Some are closer to us while others make for a great day trip where you can explore a nearby town while you are there. So, if you want to elevate your evening stroll or plan a weekend activity, check out these gardens!
Cora Hartshorn Arboretum & Bird Sanctuary – 324 Forest Drive South, Short Hills, NJ
The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum is a historic woodlands garden and educational institution in Short Hills, New Jersey. Its mission is to foster and promote environmental awareness, education, and stewardship within the greater community. Enjoy 16.4 acres of woodlands, three miles of trails, and a diversity of floral and faunal species. The trails are open from dawn to dusk daily.
Greenwood Gardens – 274 Old Short Hills Road, Short Hills, NJ
Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, the Greenwood Gardens is a 28-acre public garden. It was a former private estate that now welcomes people to connect with nature in a historic garden oasis. They will open on May 1st to the public.
Dukes Farm – 1112 Dukes Pkwy. W., Hillsborough Township, NJ
Dukes Farm is the perfect day trip with over 1,000 acres of land to explore native species, sustainability efforts, and the area’s beautiful landscape. You can rent a bicycle, bring your rollerblades, or enjoy a lovely walk. They also have a farm-sourced café to grab breakfast or lunch. And if you’re interested in checking out their farmer’s market, check their website to plan your visit accordingly!
Frelinghuysen Arboretum – 53 East Hanover Ave., Morristown, NJ
Frelinghuysen Arboretum aims to promote public awareness of horticulture, cultural landscapes, and the natural world through stewardship, sponsorship projects and educational opportunities. With 124 acres, there are many places to relax, explore, or enjoy a picnic. The Morris County Park Commission (MCPC) has reopened the Frelinghuysen 7 days a week, from 8 am to dusk.
Laurelwood Arboretum – 725 Pines Lake Dr. W, Wayne, NJ
Located in Wayne Township, Laurelwood Arboretum features 30 acres of woodland trails and gardens, wildlife, two ponds, streams and hundreds of varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas and other unusual species of plants and trees. The grounds are open every day, from 8 a.m. to dusk except in emergency conditions.
New Jersey State Botanical Garden – 2 Morris Road, Ringwood, NJ
Appearing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, The New Jersey State Botanical Garden is a perfect day trip to explore the beautiful gardens and landscape. It is also an excellent spot for easy, child-friendly hikes. Check out the upcoming events if you want to plan your trip accordingly. The garden is open from 8 am to 6 pm daily.
Presby Memorial Iris Gardens – 474 Upper Mountain Ave., Upper Montclair, NJ
Located in Upper Montclair, Presby Memorial Iris Gardens welcomes everyone to visit their unique iris collection during the annual spring bloom Season. The gardens will be open May 12th – June 3rd. A suggested donation of $10.00 per person helps keep this garden beautiful.
Reeves-Reed Arboretum and Gardens – 165 Hobart Ave., Summit, NJ
Open seven days a week, Reeves-Reed Arboretum has something for everyone. Whether you are interested in gardening, art, hiking, bird watching, or simply looking for a quiet place to reflect, this Arboretum is the perfect spot. You can enjoy 13.5 acres of natural beauty, contemporary gardens, and six acres of woodland forest.
Rutgers Gardens – 112 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick, NJ
Rutgers Gardens is a 180-acre botanic garden consisting of designed gardens, plant collections, a student farm, farmers market, and natural habitats. The gardens serve as a living laboratory for faculty and staff, but it is also open to the public to enjoy free of charge.
Van Vleck House & Gardens – 21 Van Vleck St., Montclair, NJ
Van Vleck House & Gardens is truly an oasis in Montclair. The garden is open daily from dawn to dusk unless there is a special event. You are welcome to enjoy the breathtaking 12-acre garden spaces. This garden is surrounded by acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Whether you decide to stop by to enjoy a quiet time reading or exploring as a family, this garden is truly a gem worth visiting. It is also free of charge.