Want to see the best botanical gardens Kauai offers? This lush island is home to some of the most beautiful plant life in the world. If you want to see it in all its glory, a botanical garden tour will give you a front-row seat to the many flowers, trees, and fruits that make Hawaii such a special place.
Allerton Garden, or Lāwaʻi-kai, tops most Kauai must-see lists. This 80-acre property on the island’s south shore is home to over 850 plants, including colorful ginger and orchids.
The garden dates back to the 1800s, when it was a royal retreat. Today, it is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and celebrating tropical beauty.
Movies like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean have been filmed at Allerton Garden. However, it’s the artfully presented plant life that earned this place a spot on National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Places of a Lifetime” list.
There are a variety of guided tours available at Allerton Garden. Choose a sunset tour, or settle in for one of their regular luaus.
Since all visits to this Kauai botanical garden are guided tours, this can be a pricey place to visit. But these costs help create a unique, awe-inspiring experience for you, so it could certainly be worth it during your Kauai vacation.
McBryde Garden neighbors Allerton Garden in Kauai’s Lawaʻi Valley. The two are essentially sister gardens, both under the National Tropical Botanical Garden organization. You can book a special ticket that grants you tours to both parks – and honestly, that’s the best way to see how distinct yet interwoven these two places are.
McBryde is more dedicated to science and research, making it a fascinating place to visit. Their collections of palms and flowering trees are a sight to see, and you’ll love the many colorful tropical flowers.
You can book a self-guided tour at McBryde Garden, making it a little lower cost than nearby Allerton Garden. But if you’re in the area and want to see the best botanical gardens Kauai offers, you might as well book the “Best of Both Worlds” tour that grants you access to both properties.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve
Limahuli is also under the same organization as McBryde and Allerton gardens, but this one is a unique location in Hanalei, Kauai. Here, Native Hawaiian traditions are paramount. Plants aren’t just ornamental – they’re intrinsic to everyday life.
Limahuli Garden and Preserve has dozens of endangered, endemic, native plants and birds. It’s a great place to learn about Hawaiian traditions and how they’re tied to the land.
The pathway is less than a mile long, and it’s a great chance to see what Hawaii looked like when the first people arrived on the island.
Self-guided tours are available, and you get a discount if you arrive by shuttle.
Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens Kauai
Na Aina Kai, or “lands by the sea,” is a botanical garden and sculpture park on Kauai’s north shore. They offer various walking and golf cart tours and even have a special children’s area complete with a splash pad. This is a 240-acre property that’s situated right on the beach, so it’s a great place to visit.
When we visited Na Aina Kai, we were in awe of the Poinciana Maze and the Kaula lagoon, which boasted colorful koi fish and quaint water lilies.
Na Aina Kai sits on the coast in the town of Kilauea. With numerous meadows and a private beach, it’s a beautiful setting for weddings.
Princeville Botanical Gardens
Princeville Botanical Gardens in Kauai is a north shore treasure that you’ve got to check out. This beautiful place displays and researches a number of food and medicinal plants. You’ll see cacao and coffee plants, learn about honey production, and walk through a tropical garden.
Pathways here can get a little rough and steep, but it’s a family-friendly place that’s full of color. Guided tours are available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and include a chocolate tasting.
Smith’s Tropical Paradise
Smith’s Tropical Paradise is one of the more “touristy” botanical gardens in Kauai, but it could be perfect for your vacation. Its 30-acre grounds feature fruit trees, Polynesian huts, and peacocks. Self-guided tours are available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at a lower cost than other Kauai botanical gardens.
You’ll find Smith’s Tropical Paradise near Wailua. It is also home to a popular luau and offers relaxed cruises down the Wailua River.
Botanical Gardens in Kauai:
You could dedicate your entire Kauai vacation to seeing the island’s many botanical gardens. But with so much to see and do here, you may need to narrow down your tours to one or two. Our experts at Hawaii Aloha Travel can create a custom itinerary for your Kauai vacation that includes the island’s best botanical gardens.