While they don’t always feature roses, this itinerary describes places to relax and enjoy the some of the finest publicly accessible gardens in Northern California. It features gardens from Monterey north to Mendocino County.
Be sure to plan your itinerary to allow for dense traffic conditions in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Click on the red POI (point of interest) links for more information on each location.
Gardens along the coast enjoy an almost frost-free temperate climate. This allows the U.C. Santa Cruz Arboretum to focus on Mediterranean climate plants with a strong orientation to Antipodean species.
Historic hillside Hakone Gardens, Saratoga is one of several Japanese-style settings in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Municipal and Heritage Rose Gardens in San Jose are two of the largest devoted to roses in the region.
With one of America’s finest private estate gardens the Filoli Center is located on a 654-acre estate at the foot of the western slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Silicon Valley.
Popular rose gardens in the East Bay include the Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland and the Berkeley Rose Garden. The U.C. Berkeley Botanical Garden holds one of the most diverse horticultural collections in the country.
North of the Bay, early plant breeder Luther Burbank’s Santa Rosa home lies at the center of the agricultural counties of Napa and Sonoma where many wineries are noted for their lush garden settings.
Quarryhill Garden in Glen Ellen provides sanctuary for rare Asian plants.
Many drought tolerant species from Australia and southern Europe were introduced by the founders of Western Hills Nursery near Occidental. Mendocino Coast Botanic Garden displays varieties that flourish on a cool oceanfront setting.
With temperatures ranging from the low teens to the low hundreds, McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding features plants suited to these extremes of the inland climate.
Epic Northern California Vacation … “Simply the best, better than all the rest” — Northern California
Northern California Coast … The best road trip stops along the Pacific shore, north of San Francisco
Northern California for Families … hiking, beachcombing and gold panning through the wilds of NorCal
Northern California Off the Beaten Path … Epic nature meets quirky small towns in Northern California