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The Beautiful Botanical Gardens of Oahu

Yes, we get it! When anyone hears Oahu or Hawaii, most people will think of stunning beaches and majestic mountains.

But wait, Oahu is also home to several exquisite botanical gardens that showcase the rich tapestry of tropical plants, flowers, and trees.

In this article, we will explore some of the most enchanting botanical gardens on the island that beckon with open arms, inviting you to immerse yourself in the lush beauty of Hawaii’s botanical treasures.

Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden

Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden

Situated in Kāneʻohe, on Oʻahu’s Windwardside, the Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Garden is a beautiful place with tall, pointy Koʻolau Mountains and a big lake in the middle. They have plants based in places like the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tropical America, Melanesia, Africa, Hawaii, and Polynesia.

The garden was built by the U.S. Army in 1982 for flood protection in Kaneohe. It is spread over 400 acres, which you can cover by walking or driving.

To learn more about the garden’s history, you can visit their Visitor Center. It’s a peaceful escape from the busy parts of the island, with great photogenic beauties all around.

What We Loved The Most: The place isn’t very crowded and is best for having a peaceful time. If you have kids, you can try bamboo pole fishing and spend the night at their campground.

Location: 45-680 Luluku Rd. Kāne’ohe, HI 96744

Timing: 9 AM- 4 PM (Closed on Christmas day and New year)

Entry Fee: Free

Foster Botanical Garden

Foster Botanical Garden

In the middle of the busy Honolulu, you’ll find this beautiful and oldest garden, Foster Botanical Garden. It’s a perfect place to take a break from the hectic atmosphere of the South Shore.

If you are visiting Oahu in summer and looking for a fun experience amidst nature, you can expect to enjoy a variety of live music performances here.

Guided tours are available, for which you need to make prior reservations. We suggest checking out the conservatory or the outdoor butterfly garden—something unique from all the Oahu botanical gardens.

Foster has some of the biggest trees from the mid-1800s, some of which were planted by Dr. William Hillebrand, the land’s original owner. While the large trees are impressive, make sure not to overlook other unique plants like the Pitcher Plant, Cannonball trees, Orchids, and Sausage trees.

What We Loved The Most: The butterfly garden encompasses various colors and species of butterflies. The garden has a unique corpse flower that emits a pungent odor. Also, the rich collection of trees is truly amazing.

Location: 180 North Vineyard Boulevard, HI 96817

Timing: 9 AM- 4 PM ( Closed on Christmas day and New year)

Entry Fee: $5 (Adults), $1 (Children 6-12), Free (<6 years)

Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Wahiawa Botanical Garden

Nestled between the Wai’anae and Ko’olau mountain ranges, Wahiawa Botanical Garden is home to many native Hawaiian plants and ferns. The garden is also known as the “tropical jewel” among the whole of Honolulu botanical gardens.

This famous garden is spread across a 27-acre ravine in central Oahu. The climate here is perfect for tropical plants that prefer cooler weather. You might witness summer performances organized by The Department of Parks and Recreation if you are lucky enough.

The place provides plenty of shade and cultivates trees and plants that thrive in the cooler upland environment of Central Oahu, creating a tropical rainforest with a shady and humid habitat.

What We Loved The Most: Trees planted on both sides of the path provided cool shade during the one-hour walk.

Location: 1396 California Ave. Wahiawa, HI 96786

Timing: 9 AM- 4 PM ( Closed on Christmas day and New year)

Entry Fee: Free

Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Koko Crater Botanical Garden

This garden is not only our favorite but also the entire Oahu. Koko Crater Botanical Garden is one of Oahu’s unique and best botanical gardens!

The reason for its uniqueness not only lies in its location (because it is in a crater) but also because it features plants of dryland that thrive in desert-like conditions.

This botanical garden preserves rare and endangered dryland plants, covering 60 acres of the crater. You can explore plants from major tropical regions like Hawaii, Africa, and Madagascar.

What We Loved The Most: We spent time exploring the cactus garden and plumeria grove, which explodes with a riot of color in summer. The 2-mile trail offers a scenic journey around the garden.

Location: 7491 Kokonani St., Honolulu, HI 96825

Timing: Sunrise-sunset ( Closed on Christmas day and New year)

Entry Fee: Free

Waimea Valley Botanical Garden

Waimea Valley

Aside from hosting over 5,000 types of tropical and subtropical botanical collections, Waimea Valley Botanical Garden is also home to its very own 45-foot waterfall, making it the only botanical garden on Oahu to have one.

The garden is spread over 300-plus acres of Waimea Valley, where you can explore over 40 themed gardens, such as the vibrant Lei Garden and the fragrant Hibiscus Gardens.

The plants here are brought from distant places like Japan’s Ogasawara Islands and the Mascarene Islands of Mauritius, adding to the diversity of the garden.

Waimea Valley also includes a cultural exhibit that displays sites and traditional living on the Hawaiian island.

What We Loved The Most: There’s an extensive collection of flowers to explore. Apart from that, you can swim in the fall for free. Changing rooms and cafes are available in the park to relax and spend time after the trail.

Location: 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Timing: 9 AM- 4 PM ( Closed on every Monday). You can book for guided tours starting from 12:30 PM.

Entry Fee: $20 (Adult), $16 (Senior 62+), $12 (Children between 4-12)

Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden

Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden

Spanning 7.5 acres, this botanical garden is nestled alongside the Nuʻuanu Stream, offering a serene environment with peaceful running water and small waterfalls.

Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden got its name from its original owner, Queen Liliʻuokalani, the last monarch of Hawaii.

She generously gave her garden to the people of Honolulu to enjoy. Although the garden is small and still under development, its primary focus is cultivating native Hawaiian plants.

What We Loved The Most: Spend time peacefully by the running water. You can also visit the Foster Botanical Garden that’s nearby.

Location: 123 N. Kuakini St. Honolulu, HI 96817

Timing: 7 AM- 5 PM ( Closed on Christmas day and New year)

Entry Fee: Free

Moanalua Gardens

Moanalua Gardens

Moanalua Gardens holds a rich historical narrative that traces back to the Hawaiian monarchy. It is adorned with magnificent umbrella-like Monkeypod trees that captivate attention. This enormous monkeypod tree has sprawling branches that are over a century old.

The garden also boasts a significant cultural aspect, featuring not only native plants but also historic structures, including Kamehameha V’s summer cottage built by Prince Lot Kapuāiwa, who later became King Kamehameha V.

What We Loved The Most: The Hitachi tree and Monkeypod trees are something very unique to experience once in a lifetime.

Location: 2850-A Moanalua Road, Honolulu, HI 96819

Timing: 9 AM – 5 PM

Entry Fee: $10 (Adults), $7 (Children between 6-12), Free (Children under 6). For special Kama’aina discounts, please carry your local ID proof.

Lyon Arboretum

tropical plant species

Located in Manoa Valley, the Lyon Arboretum is a stunning garden affiliated with the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The garden covers nearly 200 acres; Lyon Arboretum is home to over 5,000 tropical plant species and Hawaii’s Research Unit. The gardens offer various themed sections that you can explore, and different tours are available, including self-guided ones led by Arboretum Docents.

Renowned for its breathtaking mountain views and lush tropical greenery, Lyon Arboretum shares similarities with Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden.

What We Loved The Most: Several events keep on happening. You can visit their website to learn more about their events in detail.

Location: 2850-A Moanalua Road, Honolulu, HI 96819

Timing: 9 AM – 3 PM (Closed on Saturday & Sunday and other State & Federal holidays)

Entry Fee: Registration is required. This can be done for free by following this link. Entry to the garden is free, but a $10 donation per person is suggested.


Can visitors bring food and have a picnic in these gardens?

Some gardens may have designated picnic areas, while others may have restrictions. Therefore, it’s recommended to check each garden’s rules and regulations regarding picnics and outside food.

How much time should visitors allocate to explore these botanical gardens?

The time needed to explore each botanical garden varies based on its size and the visitor’s preferences. However, on an average, it is recommended to spend 2-3 hours in each garden.

Are these botanical gardens open throughout the year?

Most are open throughout the year, with regular hours of operation. However, visitors are advised to check the official websites or contact the gardens directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information on operating hours and closures.

Treat Your Eyes And Minds With The Best Botanical Gardens Oahu!

Oahu’s botanical gardens offer a captivating journey through the diverse and enchanting world of tropical flora. These botanical wonders not only showcase the breathtaking variety of plant life but also contribute to the preservation of Hawaii’s rich biodiversity. Each garden is sure to connect you with nature and to gain a deeper appreciation for the delicate balance between humanity and the environment.


  • Elizabeth L

    Aloha! I’m Elizabeth L. At LiveYourAloha, I am responsible for writing about sightseeing tours and Hawaiian culture. For the last 12 years, I’ve been working as a tour guide in Hawaii. It’s been a great way to see the world and learn about new cultures. I love nature and the outdoors, and have even climbed two of the world’s highest peaks! Making connections and showing my visitors the incredible beauty of these beautiful islands is a passion of mine. When I’m not out giving tours, you’ll likely find me on an invigorating hike or enjoying local cuisine on the beach.