Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium has been a Palm Springs tradition since 1939. This one acre garden packs in 3,000 desert cacti from around the globe including North American Deserts: Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, Great Basin & Colorado Plateau as well as Mexico, Africa and South America. Enjoy the wonderful mirage of cacti along its stunning trails.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens has been a World Famous California Landmark since 1919. Railroad and real estate tycoon Henry E. Huntington loved art, books and gardens so created The Huntington to house his collection. British, French and American Art of the 18th, 19th & 20th Centuries stand alongside an extensive library with more than 6 million rare books and manuscripts. Highlights to the 120 acres of gorgeous landscaped gardens include the Cactus Garden, Rose Garden and Palm Garden.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park preserves 29 acres of the first European settlement on the West Coast. It was the main city center and witnessed three major eras: Spanish rule from 1769-1821, Mexican Independence from 1821-1850 and later admittance to the United States from 1850-1872. Life here remained slow-paced with a population never reaching over 700. Old Town is the most visited State Park in California with 5 original adobes, museums, shops, restaurants and gardens.
The Queen Anne Cottage is the crown jewel of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. The Cottage was built in 1885 using the Queen Anne Victorian Architectural Style by Elias Jackson 'Lucky' Baldwin. Lucky was a very fortunate California pioneer, investor and real estate tycoon. He moved to San Francisco in 1853 during the Gold Rush and decided the real money was not in gold itself but in food, supplies and lodging for gold diggers.
Lucky used his fortune to purchase a tract of land outside of Los Angeles he divided into lots in the 1880's for the towns of Arcadia and Monrovia. He was considered one of the first equal employers hiring African-American, Native American, Mexican and Chinese workers when most were jobless: though, he paid them considerably less. Lucky built this cottage for entertaining purposes only and can be enjoyed today with a visit to the Arboretum.
Mission San Buenaventura or 'Mission by the Sea' is the 9th California Mission founded on Easter Sunday: March 31, 1782. It was the last Mission under the vision of Padre Serra. The current church was built between 1792 and 1809 making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in California. Native Chumash created an aqueduct with a steady water supply allowing the mission to flourish and create beautiful gardens which can still be enjoyed to this day.
Built on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, The Getty Center is a grand collection of art, architecture and gardens overlooking the Los Angeles Metropolis. It opened in 1997 at a cost of $1.3 billion dollars and was designed by famed architect Richard Meier. More than 1.3 million visitors come each year to enjoy famed European paintings, sculptures, photography and skyline views.
Treasure Island in Laguna Beach is the perfect place to experience the California coast. With its white sandy beaches, rocky tidepools, hidden coves and perfectly landscaped bluff-top gardens, it is certainly a treasure. Bring your camera and stay for the sunsets.
South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes Hills contains 87 landscaped acres of 150,000 plants and trees from all around the world. With its arid desert cacti, palm groves, fruit orchard and fuchsia gardens, the collection has something everyone will love. The garden also shows our ability to change the past. It is built upon an open mine pit which turned into a landfill for eight years from 1957-65. Today, the gardens cover 3.5 million tons of garbage but is a great example of land recycling.
The Descanso Gardens are a 150 acre botanical garden in La Cañada Flintridge. Its beautiful natural oak forest with its rolling green hills are a must see as are the world famous camellia gardens. Each Spring, tulips are planted and compliment the colorful rose, lilac and California native garden.
The San Diego Botanic Garden showcases beautifully landscaped gardens and trails by the sea. California natives, desert gardens, lush tropical rainforests and the largest bamboo collection in the country are among the 3,000 varieties from Africa and South America to Asia and beyond. Stop and smell the flowers along four miles of trails.