6 of The Best Botanical Gardens to Visit on Oahu

Hawaii’s jaw-dropping landscape is characterized as much by its colorful and tropical flora as it is by its pristine beaches. And a great way to appreciate and learn about the many indigenous and introduced plant species that thrive throughout the islands is to visit one of Oahu's botanical gardens. These six are all within about an hour’s drive from the Waikiki Resort Hotel and promise an immersive and educational experience.


Foster Botanical Garden 

  • About: When you need a break from the bustle of Honolulu, Foster Botanical Garden comes calling. Hawaii’s oldest botanical garden, it spreads over 14 acres and features some trees that were planted when created in the 1850s. 
  • What to See: Admire orchids, prehistoric cycads, and intriguing cannonball and sausage trees. There’s a butterfly garden and a pungent and rare corpse flower. 
  • Location: 180 North Vineyard Boulevard, Honolulu (a 20-minute drive from the hotel)
  • Opening hours: Daily from 9 am to 4 pm, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Guided tours at 10.30 am
  • Admission fee: Adults $5 / Children 6-12, $1 / Children 6 and under, free. 

Note. The gardens are currently undergoing maintenance and are scheduled to reopen at the end of summer 2023.


Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden 

  • About: On the windward side of the island, Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden sprawls across 400 acres of tranquil greenery in the shadow of Koolau Mountains. Created as flood protection for the town of Kaneohe, it features plants from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Polynesia. 
  • What to See: Follow trails that meander around the themed areas and to five scenic viewpoints. Relax by the manmade lake, bring a picnic for a picturesque lunch, or take a tent and camp overnight inside the garden. 
  • Location: 45-680 Luluku Road, Kaneohe (about a 45-minute drive from the hotel)
  • Opening hours: Daily from 9 am to 4 pm, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
  • Admission fee: Free.


Koko Crater Botanical Garden 

  • About: Koko Crater Botanical Garden is among the best botanical gardens in Oahu for its unique setting inside a volcano crater. It has an emphasis on the preservation of rare and endangered dryland plants, which occupy 60 acres of the crater. 
  • What to See: Spot plants from Hawaii, Africa, and Madagascar. Don’t miss the cactus garden and plumeria grove, which explodes with a riot of color in summer. A 2-mile (1.5-hour) trail weaves around the garden and its displays. 
  • Location: 7491 Kokonani Street, Honolulu (30 minutes by car or an hour via TheBus line 23)
  • Opening hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
  • Admission fee: Free


Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden 

  • About: Another botanical garden in the heart of Honolulu, Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden occupies parts of what was once the picnic grounds of Queen Lili’uokalani. Its peaceful 7.5 acres are dedicated to the cultivation of native Hawaiian plants. 
  • What to See: Everything from banyan, monkeypod, and tamarind trees to bromeliads and fiddle leaf ficus. The garden’s enchanting waterfall is the ultimate in serenity amid an area encompassed by trafficked streets. 
  • Location: 123 N Kuakini Street, Honolulu (20 minutes by car or 50 minutes via TheBus lines 2 and 13)
  • Opening hours: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • Admission fee: Free


Wahiawā  Botanical Garden 

  • About: Wahiawā  Botanical Garden is a hidden oasis nestled in the cool upland environment of central Oahu’s rainforests and between the Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau mountain ranges. Sugar planters once used the 27-acre area as an experimental arboretum. 
  • What to See: Native and non-native species, including collections of aroid and epiphytic plants plus the unusual beehive ginger and snake fruit. A twilight concert series takes place in summer.
  • Location: 1396 California Avenue, Wahiawa (about a 45-minute drive from the resort)
  • Opening hours: Daily from 9 am to 4 pm, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day
  • Admission fee: Free


Waimea Valley Botanical Garden 

  • About: Part of the Waimea Valley attraction on the North Shore, Waimea Valley Botanical Garden boasts 52 themed gardens and 5,000 tropical and subtropical plant species. Plants have been brought from as far as Japan’s Ogasawara Islands and the remote Mascarene Islands of Mauritius. 
  • What to See: Appreciate the dedicated bamboo, begonia, and hibiscus gardens. Tour displays of lei, whose flowers, leaves, and seeds are used to create lei flower garlands. A short trail passes through the garden and cultural sites to the picturesque Waimea Falls. 
  • Location: 59-864 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa (just over an hour’s drive from the Waikiki Resort Hotel)
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm. Guided tours daily at 12.30 pm
  • Admission fee: Adult $25 / Senior $18 / Child 4-12 $14