Arboretums are gardens of trees that can range from local to tropical. Here are some of the best to visit in the Washington, DC area. These arboretums are free and open to the public.
4400 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
American University hosts more than 2,500 trees on its 84-acre campus in the northwest part of Washington, DC. The arboretum is spread among the campus, so you can take a leisurely stroll through the area to explore 130 different species of trees, plants and flowers. The campus was dedicated as an arboretum and public garden in 2004. The grounds use integrated pest management to keep the green campus sustainable.
4915 Greenspring Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21209
Located in Baltimore City, Maryland, the Cylburn Arboretum is a free, 200-acre public arboretum. The Cylburn collection began in the 1800s and some of the original trees can be seen there still today. Some of the not-to-be-missed trees include the Japanese maples, ginkgo and dawn redwood. There are also magnolias, peonies, hollies, beeches and conifers. Cylburn also boasts the city’s largest public garden and offers hiking trails from easy to moderate difficulty.
Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
James Madison University
780 University Blvd.
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia boasts a 125-acre arboretum on its campus. Comprised of both a botanical garden and forest, the arboretum features native plants, trees and shrubs from the Appalachian region, a forest of hickory and oak trees, herbs, roses and wetlands interlaced with pavilions, terraces and other educational enhancements that add to the arboretum’s charm. Free and open to the public every day of the year, JMU’s arboretum is well worth the drive.
Related: Greenest Neighborhoods In The Washington DC Area
State Arboretum Of Virginia
400 Blandy Farm Lane
Boyce, VA 22620
Located in Boyce, the State Arboretum of Virginia began as an experiement at the University of Virginia and now is a comprehensive exhibit of native Virginian plants and boasts the largest collection of boxwood trees in North America. Visitors can explore the grounds through a three-mile trail that circles around the area and is accessible by car or by foot. There’s also a horse trail that is four miles. Be sure to check out the 162 boxwood trees and the ginkgo grove that boasts 300 trees.
US National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Free to the public, the US National Arboretum is home to 446 acres of living trees, shrubs and flowers. The grounds are organized by collections like the azaleas, dogwood, fern, bonsai, boxwood and herbs. You can enjoy the collection leisurely on the tram that weaves through the gardens. Set in the middle of the arboretum, the Capital Columns display the original pillars that were at the Capitol Building.
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Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture
Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isnt enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.