Every spring, parks and gardens experience a rebirth, brightening up the season with freshly bloomed bulbs, budding woodlands, and fragrant orchards. The scenery, however, is only part of the appeal. History, botany, and art all collide in the world’s top parks and gardens to make for a truly enriching experience.
Springtime is not the only time of year to see these beautiful works of nature. Travel + Leisure seeks out the best parks for off-season exploring throughout the year, where active travelers have plenty of terrain to tackle—be it for bringing along the whole family or discovering areas of truly remote wilderness, such as Washington State’s Olympic National Park. From challenging hikes to jaw-dropping lookout points, let Travel + Leisure be your ultimate guide to navigating the world’s most scenic parks.
When planning a trip to one of America’s 59 national parks, travelers are confronted with hundreds of options—from marveling at active geysers in Yellowstone to roaming the sands and spotting lush desert blooms in Arizona’s Saguaro National Park. The wide, unspoiled panoramas of national parks offer solace from city life and recall the rich, varied history of America. When it comes to our country’s great parklands, Travel + Leisure brings you incisive commentary on when to visit, how to score free admission, and where to glimpse the best wildlife. Want to join a full moon snowshoe hike in Bryce Canyon, or watch the first rays of sunlight hit the east coast in Acadia, Maine? Nature lovers, get ready to be dazzled. Travel + Leisure shows you exactly where to go.
Exquisitely landscaped gardens are a refined art, often the result of decades of tireless planting, layout design, and keeping up the grounds. Many of the world’s most beautiful gardens are akin to living museums, elevating horticulture to a high art form while remaining accessible to travelers from all walks of life. And each garden tells a unique story: from the medieval paradise of Italy’s Villa d’Este to the austere beauty of a Japanese Zen garden, each is a self-contained world, pure in form, in which travelers can spend the afternoon strolling at their leisure. Breathe in the fresh scent of flowers, daydream by a trickling fountain, or simply take in centuries-old stone sculptures. Wherever your itinerary takes you, make time to stop and smell the roses.