Outstanding San Diego Gardens
Discover 3 highly recommended gardens in this self-guided day trip for San Diego
Located on the coast of Southern California, San Diego is famous for its miles of pristine, sandy beaches and amazing weather. Indeed, it’s thanks to the region’s climate that our local garden expert, Debra Lee Baldwin, says it’s possible to cultivate just about anything here—which means there is a wealth of great gardens to explore.
Yet, having grown up in the San Diego area, Debra had no hesitation in selecting her three favorite gardens. “These are the places I’ve loved my whole life.” And although she is best known for her love and knowledge of succulents, Debra assures you that within these gardens, you’ll discover natives, tropicals, and exotics—as well as amazing succulents.
She suggests you begin your day at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. Four miles of trails wind through its 29 uniquely themed gardens, among them a tropical rain forest, a bamboo garden, and regional desert landscapes. Then, head south toward downtown San Diego and park your car by the carousel in Balboa Park. This park has many unique gardens to explore when you have additional time. But, for this day trip, Debra suggests focusing on the Botanical Building and adjacent Lily Pond before strolling to the San Diego Zoo. This world-famous zoo may be best known for its animals, but the plant collections are no less impressive with self-guided botanical tours available to help you get the most of your visit.