Where to plan a picnic in America’s Garden Capital.
The Philadelphia suburbs are home to more than 30 jaw-dropping gardens, so it’s no surprise the area has earned the nickname “America’s Garden Capital.” But the stunning scenery doesn’t stop when you leave the city. We’ve rounded up some local faves in the Philadelphia suburbs.
#1. Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square)
With over 1,000 acres and dozens of uniquely designed gardens, this space is a wonderland for nature lovers. Here you’ll find the beautiful Italian Water Garden, Orchid House, Rose Garden, and Topiary Garden, among others. Wander along the woodland paths for a change of scenery from the traditional botanic garden.
Longwood Gardens is also known for its connection to the arts. A variety of events and performances, including live music, fountain shows, and art installations, are often held on the grounds. If you need a bite to eat, there’s an on-site cafe, elevated restaurant, and a beer garden. Pack a picnic if you’d rather enjoy a meal surrounded by leafy trees. #2. Chanticleer (Wayne)
If you’re exploring the Main Line towns, don’t miss a chance to catch your breath in Chanticleer. Known as “a pleasure garden” this serene space was a private home before opening for the public to enjoy. As you explore the grounds you’ll pass through the Tennis Court Garden, the Orchard, Asian Woods, and the Vegetable Garden.
If you move to town and want to expand your gardening knowledge, sign up for one of the many workshops and classes offered at Chanticleer.
#3. Stoneleigh (Villanova)
Stoneleigh sits just outside the Villanova campus and welcomes locals and visitors to explore the grounds for free. This natural garden was once part of the Haas family estate and the incredible mansion makes for a great photo backdrop today. Bring a book, pack a picnic or take a leisurely stroll along the miles of trails.
If you’re looking to get involved in the town post-move, consider volunteering at the garden. You don’t have to have any prior gardening knowledge to help. This is a fun way to get your hands dirty while connecting with the community.
#4. Morris Arboretum (Chestnut Hill)
Located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philly, Morris Arboretum is one of our favorite gardens around because it offers an easy escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a popular spot for both weddings and casual picnics. Local birders love to meet up here to explore the woodlands and meadows in search of wildlife. Families can also take advantage of all of the kid-approved events and camps held here. This summer you’ll find swings across the 92-acre garden for people of all ages to enjoy.
#5. Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens (Devon)
This Devon hidden gem invites visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature year-round. Wander along the woodland trails and enjoy the colorful rhododendrons and azaleas along the way. During the winter, don’t miss the Luminary Nights where you can explore the illuminated trails with a hot beverage in hand.
#6. The Scott Arboretum (Swarthmore)
Located on the grounds of Swarthmore College, this botanic garden is home to an impressive collection of plants known to thrive in the local climate. Pack a lunch to enjoy in the outdoor amphitheater before taking a self-guided tour through the Pollinator Garden or Hydrangea Collection.
There are tons of ways to get involved at the arboretum. If you settle in Swarthmore, consider becoming an arboretum volunteer, joining a tour, or signing up for a workshop.
#7. Tyler Arboretum (Media)
With ties to William Penn, this 650-acre arboretum connects locals to both nature and history. It’s one of America’s oldest public gardens and is home to a collection of native trees that were planted almost 200 years ago. Take a hike along the 17 miles of trails and keep an eye out for the preserved buildings scattered throughout the arboretum.
There’s so much to do at the arboretum but don’t miss the Fragrant Garden. Here you can enjoy the aromas of some different plants and herbs – make sure you find the one that smells like pizza.
#8. Bowman’s Hill Wildlife Preserve (New Hope)
New Hope residents have access to over four miles of trails and 700 native plant species right in their own backyard. Bowman’s Hill Wildlife Preserve is a beloved garden filled with colorful wildflowers, peaceful ponds, and huge trees. Locals can also landscape their yards with native plants purchased at the preserve. Community events, like yoga, evening nature walks, and kids’ programs are also offered.
#9. Ambler Arboretum (Ambler)
The 187-acre garden on the Temple University campus is a spot for all Ambler residents to enjoy. Take a guided or self-guided tour to explore the Herb Garden, Conifer Garden, or Wetland Garden. The Green Roof Garden is studied by students and faculty from the university who are interested in environmentally-friendly construction options.
Summer camps, classes (both for credit and for continuing education), and community events take place at the arboretum throughout the year.
#10. Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve (Medford, NJ)
Considering a South Jersey suburb? Explore this nature preserve while you’re checking out the area. With 200 acres of preserved wildflower meadows, woodlands, and landscaped gardens, the Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve is a great spot to go for some fresh air or a sunset stroll. It’s also a hub for local birders and you can even launch a kayak or canoe nearby.
Want to start exploring the Philadelphia suburbs? Let’s connect! We’re here to make your journey to the ‘burbs as simple (and fun!) as possible.