I love exploring the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area gardens in spring. Springtime in California is the best time to explore the beautiful state both far and near. The weather gets warmer, and the signs of the season pop up everywhere. All the places with vibrant new green leaves on the trees look prettier every day. Spring blooms are ephemeral yet perennially beautiful. Therefore, if you want to know where to see the best of the Bay Area gardens, today I bring you my top picks. Read along!San Francisco Bay Area Gardens to Visit in Spring #Travel #California #Spring Click To Tweet Spring blooms are ephemeral yet perennially beautiful. Therefore, if you want to know where to see the best of the Bay Area gardens, today I bring you my top picks. Read along! #Travel #California #Spring Click To Tweet
Spring in San Francisco Bay area
The vibrant golden orange California poppies are the star of the spring in California. They bloom almost everywhere and one can see them while driving, running errands, or while taking a morning walk or an evening stroll. They beckon the spring in us and are simple yet beautiful. They’re often surrounded by a colorful ensemble of purple lupin, yellow fiddlenecks, and pink filaree. Scarlet Pimpernel, California buttercups, and red maids also whisper the arrival of spring. Flowers everywhere inspire me to spend some more time amidst them and I choose to go to gardens, to experience the extravaganza of brightly colored flowers from tulips beds to other bulbs and blooms. Whether you like tulips, cherry blossoms or rhododendrons, formal or secret gardens, there’s a perfect spring garden in the San Francisco Bay Area for you.Whether you like tulips, cherry blossoms or rhododendrons, formal or secret gardens, there’s a perfect spring garden in the San Francisco Bay Area for you. #Travel #VisitCalifornia #Spring Click To Tweet
Map of San Francisco Bay Area Gardens to Visit in Spring
When to visit spring gardens in Bay Area
Spring flowers are fleeting and bloom in stages, so make sure to time your visits so you see the spring gardens in the Bay Area at their peak. Some flowers start blooming around mid-February, and some later during March, April, and May. It’s a good idea to check the website of the specific garden before you visit if there are specific flowers you want to see. Instagram can help, as lots of people post photos and videos of spring and wildflowers in California there.
1. Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Inhale spring’s breathtaking perfume in this Zen garden, designed in 1953 by Nagao Sakurai, a leading landscape architect of Japan. You can see two beautiful blooming cherry blossoms from the entrance of the Japanese Tea Garden, located in the Golden Gate State Park in San Francisco. Delicate in nature and color, cherry blossoms, or sakura, mirror human life—beautiful, cherished, but brief. I would highly recommend visiting this garden till the blooms last. A few spectacular structures like a five-story-tall pagoda, the Half-Moon Bridge, the 9,000-pound bronze Lantern of Peace, and the Buddha statue inside the garden are some of my favorites. I float in serenity, tranquility, and harmony for some time whenever I enter this garden. The multi-hued tapestry of this garden is spectacular. Plan your visit during March or April and enjoy sakura!
2. Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Wander through the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden – a micro version of Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden in Lisse, Netherlands. This tulip garden in the Golden State Park in San Francisco centers around the historic Dutch windmill. In 1902, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands gave the Dutch windmill tulip garden to the city of San Francisco. The multicolored flowerbeds formed by the tulips, in this peaceful garden are a sight to savor. From March 15th-April 15th, this garden is in full bloom.
3. UC Berkeley Botanical Garden in Berkeley
The 34-acre UC Botanical Garden is one of the most diverse landscapes in the world, with over 10,000 types of plants including many rare and endangered species. I have seen flowers not just from California but from different parts of the world. This is an ideal place to spend some time alone or with kids. There are ample learning opportunities. Enjoy seeing the beautiful Magnolias, Camellias, and Rhododendrons in early spring.
4. Hakone Estate and Gardens in Saratoga
Hakone Estate and Gardens in Saratoga is a beautiful place for a weekend day trip all year round. Every corner in the garden seems new with the arrival of the new green leaves. During the spring, Hanami or the evening cherry blossom viewing takes place and is a unique experience. Seeing a spring garden at night is different yet beautiful; the sun vanishes; the pearl of a moon rises; magic happens. The best time to visit this garden during the spring is from the end of March to late April.
5. Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose
Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose, named, “America’s Best Rose Garden”, is one of my favorites and truly an urban refuge. Lush green rolling lawns, a variety of roses in different colors, and a beautiful fountain at the center of the garden enhance the mood almost instantly. There is nothing like strolling the garden while smelling sweet and majestic roses. This is an oasis in the heart of silicon valley. The best time to visit this garden is from the end of April to early May.
6. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg
Find bliss in the stunning Mendocino coast botanical gardens by the sea, located in the town of Fort Bragg, California, about a 10-minute drive north of Mendocino. I was blown away by their floral, cactus and conifer collection. While strolling in the garden, I loved seeing all the beautiful sculptures and my daughter got an opportunity to dance on a small stage surrounded by flowers. Also, don’t miss their dahlia collection. The highlight of the trip was the coastal bluff and marine zone. Along the edges of the coastal bluff are plants adapted to poor, rocky soils and salt-laden winds. They are tough, often low-growing plants that have adapted to the windswept, sometimes fog-bound climate. California poppy, angelica, seaside wooly sunflower, seaside daisy, and sea thrift look beautiful. This botanical garden by the sea is a must-see, especially in springtime. The best time to visit this garden is from early April till June.
7. Cherry blossom at Wat Dhammararam – A Buddhist Temple
Located in Stockton California, Wat Dhammararam is a Cambodian Buddhist temple. It has many sculptures depicting different stories from the life of Gautama Buddha. This sculpture garden is an off-beat destination and if you love exploring different cultures, this is a gem. I love seeing a postcard row of Buddha sculptures and cherry blossom trees. It’s a unique way to greet spring amidst sculptures and flowers. The best time to visit this place is from early March to mid April.
8. Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto
“Life is simply better in a garden” – this sentence at the entrance of the Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto made me stop and ponder. The astounding beauty inside can put a restless mind to rest almost instantly. This free garden is open to the public every day during daylight hours. Ditch the tech (for a while), relax, and take a breath of fresh air amidst the roses, wisteria, camellia, and cherry blossoms. The best time to visit this place is in March and April.
9. Carmel Mission Garden in Carmel
How about greeting spring with a dash of colors amidst a slice of history? The beautiful Carmel Mission, one of my favorite Spanish missions in California is exactly the combination of history, a carefully manicured garden behind the church, and peace. Outside, the lush gardens of bougainvillea which frame pretty views of the buildings will brighten your spring day. The beautiful old-style architecture takes one back in time. Visit Carmel Mission and enjoy the beautiful garden inside during the spring.
10. Bouquet to art – A floral exhibition
Bouquet to art – a unique floral exhibition takes place every year in the de Young Museum, one of the best fine arts museums in San Francisco around the end of spring or early summer. Florists, designers, and garden clubs are invited to present floral interpretations of works in the museums’ permanent collections, and the floral displays are presented in juxtaposition with the works that inspired them. During my visit, I saw how the vibrant and radiant flower bouquets breathed new life into the paintings inside the museum and transformed the whole ambiance into an art piece. When two forms of art juxtapose, the result is nothing but beauty and wonder. This is one of the most unique exhibitions I have ever seen. If you live in the Bay Area or are visiting San Francisco during late spring, add this event to your bucket-list.
11. Magic Carpet at Perkins Park
The magic carpet or the blooming ice plant that graces Pacific Grove’s shoreline at Perkins Park during the spring is a spectacular phenomenon. Perkins Park is a part of Shoreline Park, being the section of the shoreline between Lovers Point and the Esplanade at Pacific Grove. Named after Hayes Perkins, a local resident, who planted the first pink ice plant along this section of the waterfront, Perkins Park looks vibrant when thousands of ice plant blooms altogether; a magic carpet indeed! April is the best time to visit here. I remember sitting on a bench by the ocean for a long time when I visited. The beauty of the blue ocean in front and the purple ground commingled and a gorgeous landscape emerged. I wish I was a painter!
12. Almond Blossom Bloom at Modesto
As winter fades away and the days grow warmer, the almond trees in Modesto come alive with vibrant white blooms. The branches are covered in delicate white blossoms, which create a stunning contrast against the blue sky. This is definitely a sight worth seeing. Take a drive out to Modesto to see the almond blossoms in bloom! Best time to visit – Mid Feb to Mid March.
13. Morcom Rose Garden
The Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike. Opened in the late 1920s, this eight-acre municipal rose garden features more than 6,000 rose bushes of all varieties. It has thousands of exotic roses that are in bloom from Mother’s Day in May through October 31st. The fragrant blooms are a welcome sight after a long winter. In addition to the roses, the garden features a variety of other flowers, trees, and shrubs. Visitors can stroll along the winding paths, relax on the benches, and take in the stunning views. The Morcom Rose Garden is a hidden gem in the Bay Area, and it’s a great place to enjoy a sunny day. Best time to visit – Early May!
Gardens embody serenity and inspire reflection. Whenever I walk through any gardens my pace slows, my heart quietens and my mind freshens. I breathe in more deeply, focus more clearly and my senses become acutely attuned to the crunch of my soles. The sweet scent of flowers and the rustle of breeze-blown leaves are my all-time favorites. Read one of these articles and get lost in a garden with me. Come and enjoy the virtual stroll!
Spring is always special for me. Having been born in India, I have always greeted spring with the celebration of Holi – the festival of colors. Perhaps subconsciously, I still search for that explosion of color on the street, in the air with gulal (color powder), and gulal on hundreds of people playing Holi. On this day, the economic and social differences, disappear and all revel in happiness. Now that I live far away from my home country, colors in nature are my solace. Vibrant flowers, new leaves, and colorful meadows instill unbound joy in me. While exploring different Bay Area gardens in spring, I came across many people, especially from Japan and other East Asian countries, dressed beautifully in their traditional attire. They all were celebrating the cherry blossoms and blooming flowers. I enjoyed witnessing how people from different cultures greet spring, a perk of living in the Bay Area which embraces people from all over the world equally. Travel is truly about expanding the horizon of our knowledge, recognizing the diversity of this world, and realizing that celebration is universal, albeit with differences in methods and forms!Travel is truly about expanding the horizon of our knowledge, recognizing the diversity of this world, and realizing that celebration is universal, albeit with differences in methods and forms! #Travel Click To Tweet