There’s nothing that can restore the mind and awaken the senses quite like a trip to a tranquil botanical garden. Brimming with exotic flowers, plants, trees, and shrubbery, these lush hideaways inspire a sense of peace while uniquely connecting each visitor with natural beauty from around the world.

From colorful blooms hailing from near and far to conservation-minded animal habitats, these seven lovely botanical gardens in the Malibu area offer access to SoCal nature year-round (with a touch of international inspiration and local history).

Conejo Valley Botanic Garden

An array of plants at Conejo Valley Botanic Garden
TOLocal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 33-acre Conejo Valley Botanic Garden was first planted around 1976 and has grown to include 15 unique specialty gardens and a fantastic bird habitat, which attracts local and migratory feathered visitors. Gardens include their Australian Garden, Butterfly Garden, Desert Garden, Rare Fruit Orchard, and Trail of Trees, to name a few. Plus, it’s located near the city of Thousand Oaks and is a beautiful place to spend a day exploring.

Gardens of the World

A pathway and immaculate gardens at Gardens of the World
TOLocal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although many of the plant species in this Conejo Valley-based botanical garden are local to Malibu, Gardens of the World also incorporates plants from around the globe that introduce visitors to a number of different cultures (as its name suggests). There are several gardens, including a Japanese Garden, French Garden, English Rose Garden, Italian Garden, and more, which showcase vivid displays of flowers, trees, and plants that are popular in their namesake regions. Expect to see cypress trees, olive and citrus trees, an authentic Japanese pagoda, a romantic grape arbor, roses, and more.

California State University Northridge Botanic Garden

Founded in 1959, the California State Northridge Botanic Garden spans 1.5 acres and features 1,200 plant species from various regions and climates. Not only are the gardens an academic resource for students, but it’s open to the public, as well. The gardens feature cacti, succulents, tropical plants, native California plants, New Zealand plants, palms, herbs, and butterfly plants. Many critters enjoy the diverse plant species so keep your eyes out for squirrels, birds, insects, and butterflies.

The Japanese Garden

While the Japanese Garden is technically located in Los Angeles, it’s worth every second of the scenic drive from Malibu: This public 6.5-acre garden in the San Fernando Valley is ranked as one of the top 10 best Japanese gardens in North America. It features a Zen meditation garden, tea garden, and other traditional elements that transport you to the heart of Japan. It’s an example of a “chisen” style garden, which means that a lake or pond occupies that majority of the garden. Consequently, there are several meaningful water features located throughout the grounds, including ponds, lakes, waterfall, and streams.

Virginia Robinson Gardens

A statue and Rose Garden at Virginia Robinson Estate in Beverly Hills, California
Zigzig20s, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Built in 1911, the Virginia Robinson mansion was one of the first homes in Beverly Hills. It was once the private residence of department store heir Harry Robinson and his wife, Virginia. While it hosted several prestigious, high-profile parties in its golden age, it’s a more serene setting nowadays. Robinson bequeathed the property to Los Angeles County before her death in 1977. Today, the federal government recognizes the preserved estate as a historical landmark, with the gardens as its centerpiece.

The Virginia Robinson Gardens are frequented by locals and tourists alike, thanks to its diverse array of plant species throughout several gardens on property. Specifically, the Italian Renaissance Mediterranean gardens and Tropical Oceana gardens are crowd favorites. Also, there are citrus terraces, magnolia trees, camellias, gardenias, azaleas, heirloom roses, vegetable and herb gardens, king palms, and more. 

The Getty Villa

A statue, pool, and beautiful botanical gardens at the Getty Villa near Malibu, California
I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of Malibu’s most sought-after attractions, The Getty Villa is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Beyond its fascinating historical exhibits, a major draw to the villa is the ground’s gardens. There are four on the property, each planted with Mediterranean plants in traditional Roman landscape designs. Expect to see plants such as bay laurel, ivy, and acanthus; shrubs such as boxwood; flowers such as oleander, lavender, hellebore, iris, and viburnum; and trees including date palms and pomegranate. There are also Roman bronzes and statues located throughout the gardens. 

Adamson House

The exterior of Adamson House in California, one of the Botanical Gardens in Malibu
Mason550, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located within Malibu Lagoon State Beach park, the Adamson House is a historic, Spanish Colonial-style house and garden collection in Malibu that evokes an old California feel. While the home is the main feature, the immaculate landscaped grounds attract garden lovers year after year. There are garden tours every Friday, inviting visitors to explore its beautifully preserved, unique 1930s garden style.

Finally, it’s time for a refreshment at the beach. After a day spent exploring the Malibu area’s most stunning gardens, continue the relaxation with a fresh cocktail at Malibu Beach Inn’s CBC Restaurant, or unwind with loved ones along Carbon Beach.