Does your family love to visit gardens in Greenville or are you looking for an opportunity to introduce your child to the wonders of a magical garden? There are several beautiful gardens in Greenville. Peruse our list and find the perfect garden in Greenville to visit on a sunny afternoon.
Gardens are a wonderful way to spend time outdoors with your family. Kids love gardens–examining leaves and rocks, searching for fairies among the flowers, spotting insects and other wildlife. Local mom, Kristen Alcock shares a list of beautiful and diverse gardens around the Upstate.
Gardens in Downtown Greenville, SC
Pedrick’s Garden & Old Mill Garden
601 S Main Street, Greenville, SC 29601
The most popular garden downtown is at the scenic and award-winning Falls Park on the Reedy. With beautiful flowerbeds, grassy knolls, and waterfalls, who doesn’t enjoy spending time down there? The 32-acre park is actually home to several beautiful public gardens all along the Reedy River and Vardry Creek.
Two of my family’s favorite spots in Falls Park are The Carolina Foothills Garden Club Sanctuary and Pedrick’s Garden at Falls Park.
Pedrick’s Garden is a sunflower-themed garden featuring a fountain and raised flower beds in the shapes of sunflower petals. The two-acre garden can be found behind the West End Market along Vardry Creek, (just behind the parking lot behind Mellow Mushroom). Cross the Botanical Bridge at Pedrick’s Garden and visit the shady and serene Carolina Foothills Garden Club Sanctuary. (This route involves uneven stone steps. If you need a flatter, or stroller-friendly path, the sanctuary can be reached by following a path just behind the amphitheater stage in Falls Park.) This is a quiet, peaceful spot with old stone walls, a narrow waterfall, and a gentle creek.
Just below the Main Street entrance of Falls Park is the Frances Beattie Rockgarden. Downstream of the falls is Old Mill Garden. This lovely, landscaped area with an old stone wall and arbor, is a popular wedding spot.
The Children’s Garden
Reedy View Drive, Greenville, SC 29601
The Children’s Garden at Linky Stone Park is another favorite downtown. My son loves the Storybook Garden featuring a gingerbread house and bear statues, and the Rainbow Garden. There is also an Alphabet Garden, a Five Senses Garden, which includes musical instruments for sound and herbs for the smell, and a History Garden. I love that it’s so shady and there are plenty of places to sit.
There is construction happening around the garden, and often there is no parking right there. However, it is easily walkable from Main Street and there is a parking deck nearby on River Street.
Greenville Rose Society Garden & The Sue Simpson Garden
Two smaller gardens near downtown are located at 200 and 300 East Camperdown Way: The Greenville Rose Society Garden and The Sue Simpson Garden. Peak blooming times can be experienced from May to September. Both are very pretty gardens, and the Sue Simpson has plenty of shade and paths, but they aren’t places I’d take small children. There is not much for them to see or do there and there is no street parking. I could only find parking in the surrounding businesses.
The Children’s Garden and Healing Garden at Cancer Survivors Park
52 Cleveland Street, Greenville, SC
The Children’s Garden and Healing Garden are at Cancer Survivors Park. Both gardens represent those of all ages fighting cancer and inspire courage and serenity. The Children’s Garden showcases walkways lined with flowers, trees, plants, swings, human-made waterfalls, and a powerful bronze statue by Charles Pate Jr entitled “Fear Not”. The Healing Garden is tucked away in a secluded area, designed to invoke a sense of peace. The stone labyrinth within the garden is a gentle guide for those walking its path to explore the inward reflection of themselves.
Rock Quarry Garden
East Washington and Cleveland Park Drive, Greenville, SC
Rock Quarry Garden was built on the site of a pre-Civil War era granite quarry and is a popular area for wedding and family photoshoots. With waterfalls, flower beds, grassy hills, and a stone bridge over a rocky stream, it is a gorgeous place to take family photos or have a picnic. Located in Cleveland Park, at the corner of McDaniel and Sherwood Street, the garden is easily accessible from the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Kilgore-Lewis House Gardens
560 North Academy Street, Greenville, SC 29601
My kids and I love wandering around the gardens at Kilgore-Lewis House. There’s something old fashioned and whimsical about this place–and my son is positive fairies live there. Both natural and landscaped areas, grassy meadows, a pond, a creek and some picturesque bridges make for a beautiful place to walk around and enjoy nature. The gardens are considered a certified backyard habitat and there is plenty of wildlife to be seen, including chipmunks, squirrels and lots of birds. Both the house and garden are free to visit, and docents are available for tours. The Council of Garden Clubs does ask that visitors wear a mask during guided tours of the house due to COVID-19.
Gardens at Roper Mountain Science Center
402 Roper Mountain Road, Greenville, SC 29615
The Butterfly Garden at Roper Mountain Science Center is lush with flowers that attract butterflies. The garden is made up of host plants, such as Echinacea and Aster, and nectar plants like violets, hollyhock, and snapdragons. Several species of butterfly can be spotted in the garden including Monarchs, Tiger Swallowtail, and Red Admirals. Stone and dirt paths, benches, and statues complete this pretty area.
The Butterfly Garden is a certified National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat. The garden is only open to the public during special events, including Afternoon Explorations from September-May, and during Summer Adventure from June-August.
RMSC also has a Herb and Heritage Garden at the Living History Farm. Visitors can see vegetables and herbs that were commonly grown in the 1800s, as well as composting bins and plants used in fiber dyeing.
3300 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, SC 29613
The Janie Earle Furman Rose Garden features more than 700 rose bushes, brick pathways, a fountain, and a 19th-century Florentine gazebo. This beautiful spot is a popular place for photos. It can also be rented for small, standing-only weddings. The rose garden is just off the trail that circles the lake and close to the bookstore.
Further along the lake trail is the Furman University Asian Garden and Place of Peace. The garden has a pond with lily pads and koi fish, bamboo, uncut bonsais, Japanese Maple trees, and a Chinese Evergreen Oak. The Place of Peace, a traditional Japanese temple, is across the street from the garden and up a flight of steps.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the Susan Thomson Shi Garden, further around the lake just past the Bell Tower. It’s a sort of wild patch with flowers such as coneflowers and goldenrod.
Outside of the Townes Science Center, you can find a Rock and Botanical Garden, a greenhouse, and the Fiber/Dye Garden which grows cotton and lax, and 15 plants used to produce dyes. The plants are used in a variety of science courses.
Gardens in Spartanburg
Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve
832 John B White Sr Boulevard, Spartanburg, SC 29306
Hatcher Botanical Garden and Woodland Preserve is free to the public and a wonderful place for families to spend the day. With both paved and unpaved paths, wildflowers, waterfalls, ponds, observation decks, and several lovely places to picnic, Hatcher Gardens has a little bit of everything.
The trails are easy, each being about .25 miles. Within their 10 acres, you can find a butterfly garden, a medicinal garden, a native plant garden, and a hope and healing garden. They also offer group tours and educational programs. Hatcher Garden also has fun activities throughout the year including seasonal plant sales and workshops.
Spartanburg also has several arboretums that are free and open to the public. The spring flowers are stunning and the fall colors are also amazing.
Spartanburg Community College Arboretum
107 Community College Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29303
Spartanburg Community College Arboretum has several unique gardens with trees, shrubs, and perennials. There is also an Outdoor Train Garden with a scale model train. The garden is used as an educational arena for the college’s horticulture students.
Arboretum at USC Upstate
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29301
The Susan Jacobs Arboretum, at the center of the University of South Carolina campus, is 12 acres of walkways and indigenous foliage. There is also a large amphitheater, a creek, and a bog garden.
Wofford College Arboretum & Trails
429 N Church Street, Spartanburg, SC 29303
The entire campus of Wofford College is considered a designated arboretum with more than 4,000 trees over 150 acres. There are three different tours of the arboretum and the college provides guides at the start of each trail.
920 Milliken Rd, Spartanburg, SC 29303
The Milliken Arboretum, located at the headquarters of Milliken & Company, is a nationally recognized arboretum. Within the 600 acres are more than 3,000 trees, many of them rare to South Carolina. There are several ponds, decorative fountains, trails, and open green spaces.
Intersection of W. Main and N. Church Street in downtown Spartanburg
Not really a garden, but a lovely outdoor space, Morgan Square in downtown Spartanburg has several grassy areas, a bell tower, fountains, statues and brick pathways lined with a variety of plants and flowers. The square hosts several community events including Music on Main in the summer months, Jazz on the Square every Friday in April, May, September, and October, and Skating on the Square November through January.
Gardens Near Anderson
South Carolina Botanical Gardens
150 Discovery Ln, Clemson, SC 29634
The South Carolina Botanical Gardens in Clemson makes for a great little day trip. While the main exhibits are the Heritage Garden and the Children’s Garden, there are 295 acres of natural landscapes, nature trails, ponds, and even a red caboose.
My kids love it there, and I see something new every time. This is a wonderful place to visit again and again. There are also educational programs and events for kids and adults all year long.
Gardens in Western North Carolina
North Carolina Arboretum
100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806
The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville has garden exhibits, hiking, and biking trails, educational programs, and a cafe and gift shop. Some notable exhibits are the garden-scale model train that runs Saturdays and Sundays, a Stream Garden, a Quilt Garden, and a Bonsai Exhibit.
Asheville Botanical Gardens
151 W .T. Weaver Boulevard, Asheville, NC 28804
Asheville Botanical Gardens are free, public gardens with a focus on plants native to Southern Appalachia. The garden’s 10 acres includes walking trails, streams, bridges, meadows, and woodland areas.
1 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC
You won’t find a more beautiful garden than the ones at the Biltmore Estate. They change out seasonally. The tulips and azaleas bloom in the spring, roses in late spring/early summer, sunflowers in late summer, and mums all throughout the fall. Tickets are either for just the gardens and grounds or both the grounds and the House. If you really love gardens, consider getting becoming a passholder so you can see the gardens in all their splendor all year.
408 Pearson Drive, Asheville, NC 28801
If you’re looking for a garden that’s a little different, check out Bountiful Cities in Asheville. This group maintains three edible gardens, as well as two more partner gardens around town.
Do you know of a garden that we should add to our list? Share it in the comments!