The Deep South is often associated with antebellum homes, distinctive cuisine and classic Southern hospitality. That’s also not to mention effortless grace. But another major reason why the Southern states is an alluring destination for you are the botanical gardens. Possibly the most famous and most photographed example is Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. But there are many other extraordinary places that don’t attract nearly as much attention.  In fact each of these gardens deserve an equal measure of fame.

Beautiful water garden at Bellingrath Gardens near Hot Springs, Arkansas
Bellingrath Gardens (credit: Randy Yagi)

Bellingrath Gardens & Home

12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road
Theodore, AL  36582
(251) 973-2217

Located in Mobile County about 30 miles from the City of Mobile, Bellingrath Gardens and Home was the extraordinary public garden and historical home of successful entrepreneur Walter Bellingrath and his wife Bessie. As one of the earliest franchise owners to sell Coca Cola in the Southeast, Walter Bellingrath attained enough wealth to develop a 10,500 square foot home on his 900-acre property. With a gorgeous view of theFowl River, Bellingrath was completed in 1936. While there, make sure to visit the home and the azaleas in bloom.

Garvan Woodland Gardens

550 Arkridge Road
Hot Springs National Park, AK  71913
(501) 262-9300

Woodland Gardens is the official botanic garden of the University of Arkansas. Furthermore, it’s called the “crown jewel of botanical gardens” in the Razorback state. Located within the Ouachita Mountains and a few miles from historic Hot Springs, this impressive 210-acre botanical garden was bequeathed by longtime resident and businesswoman Verna Cook Garvan after her death in 1939. Moreover, it is just one of only eight public woodland gardens in the country. Another highlight you should see is the beautiful wedding chapel.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

3550 Ashley River Road
Charleston, SC  29414
(843) 571-1266

Unquestionably one of the most beautiful places on Earth, Magnolia Plantation is home to America’s oldest garden. It was founded by Thomas Drayton and his wife Ann in 1680. Elegantly spread across more than 450 acres, the property has been owned by the same Drayton family for 15 generations. By all means, it is a must-see attraction for nature lovers in the Charleston area, despite the fact that it’s 12 miles away. Open year round including on major holidays, Magnolia Plantation is also known for having America’s last large-scale Romantic-style garden.

Related: Biltmore Estate From Greenville

Memphis Botanic Garden

750 Cherry Road
Memphis, TN  38117
(901) 636-4100

In a city that calls itself the Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, Memphis Botanic Garden has to compete with the city’s biggest and most famous attractions. For instance, there are Sun Studio, Stax Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum and Elvis Presley’s Graceland. But this phenomenal attraction bordering Audubon Park and the University of Memphis is consistently mentioned as one of America’s best botanical gardens. That’s not to mention that it’s certified as a Level 4 arboretum, the highest level of accreditation. If you go, make sure to visit the beautiful red bridge in the Japanese garden.

Related: Guide to the Westin Poinsett, Greenville, South Carolina

New Orleans Botanical Garden

1 Palm Drive
New Orleans, LA  70124
(504) 482-4888

Not long after Hurricane Katrina destroyed nearly all the plant life in the New Orleans Botanical Garden in 2005, a “Master Plan 2018” was developed in an effort to restore public parks in time for last year’s 300th anniversary. After replanting the entire botanical garden, visitors are now enjoying the 12 revitalized acres of unique artwork and lush gardens featuring more than 2,000 plant species from all over the world, including colorful varieties like azaleas, summer poinsettias, crepe myrtles and lilies.

Related: Best Creole/Cajun New Orleans Restaurants

About The Author

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget,,, and He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University.

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