Location: Encinitas (26 Miles / 30 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)
Open Daily: 9AM – 5PM (8PM on Summer Thursdays)
Cost: $12 ($8 for Seniors, Students, & Military and $6 for Kids 3 – 12)
Features: Most Diverse Plant Collection in the World; Meandering Trails; Ocean Views; Children’s Garden; Special Events
Highlights for the San Diego Botanic Garden: (Formerly known as the Quail Botanical Gardens.) San Diego’s Mediterranean Climate allows the San Diego Botanical Gardens to be home to one of the most diverse plant collections in the world. There are two dozen gardens spread over 35 acres. You will find gardens representing plants found in the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Mexico, South Africa, South America, Australia, and more. The more notable gardens include the country’s largest collection of Bamboo, a Fruit Garden full of bananas, an Undersea Garden and a Tropical Rain Forest.
The Botanical Gardens provide a relaxing environment with meandering trails, views of the Pacific Ocean from an overlook, a calming waterfall, and other treasures that delight its visitors. There are a number of benches throughout the floral gardens for visitors to sit back, soak in the scenery, and listen to the birds.
What to Expect
- Tours of the flower gardens are generally provided free of charge on Saturdays at 10AM.
- The area is hilly so wear appropriate walking shoes and be prepared for some exercise.
- Plan on spending two hours or more.
San Diego Botanic Gardens Map – To get an idea of what to expect, view the visitors map.
Children’s Garden – An small area of the Gardens are dedicated to children. Help your kids appreciate plants and gardens by exploring the ‘Seeds of Wonder’ where you will find a number of interactive exhibits and play areas for children. Each week, there are events where children can learn to pot plants, discover bugs, and more.
Gift Shop – Books, shirts, plants, and garden novelty items for sale at the Botanic Gardens.
Special Events – The San Diego Botanic Garden offers numerous events and classes just about every week of the year. During the summer, they offer a nighttime concert series with recognized artists. For the holidays, they host a Garden of Lights festival where a section of the Gardens are decorated with lights and patrons get to sing Christmas Carols. There is a Fairy Festival, Orchid Fair, and much more. As for classes, you can learn such things as how to make baskets, create holiday wreaths, or improve your floral design skills. There is also a weekly birdwatching event. (Note: Some events, such as concerts, may cost extra.)
Food – Very limited refreshments are available at the Gardens during the late morning and early afternoon. You will find a number of restaurants along Encinitas Boulevard near highway I-5.
Information on Visiting the Botanical Gardens in San Diego
Admission Costs: (Costs are Approximate)
- Parking is $2. It is free if you carpool with 4 or more people.
- Admission is $12 for Adults.
- $8 for Seniors, Students, and Active Military.
- $6 for Kids Ages 3 – 12.
- Free on the First Tuesday of each Month.
Traffic – Traffic is relatively light during the Botanical Garden’s normal hours. Those leaving around 5PM may run into sections of long traffic delays on highway I-5 heading in both directions. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)
Transit - Buses leaving the Coaster train station in Encinitas go within a one-third mile walk of the Gardens. You will have an uphill walk. (See San Diego Transit Information for the train and bus schedules and information for the online Transit Planner.)