Botanical gardens are always enjoyable spots to visit. Filled with a variety of native plants and other garden elements, they allow visitors the opportunity to stroll the grounds in serenity. These peaceful places often lead to relaxation while taking in the colors, smells, and surrounding beauty. But, not all botanical gardens are the same. The rugged natural landscape of the Southwest United States lends itself to a different type of experience. If you’re not sure what to expect, here are simple tips for visiting the Desert Botanical Garden just outside Phoenix, Arizona.

Shortly after arriving on the grounds, visitors easily forget they are in the middle of a major metropolitan city. The hustle and bustle of the city streets quickly fade away as you work your way deeper into the quiet stillness of this chunk of the Sonoran Desert. Paved parking lots turn into gravel trails. Cacti and lizards replace the throngs of people. This is the Desert Botanical Garden!

Getting There

The Desert Botanical Garden is actually located in Tempe, which is a suburb of Phoenix. This area is very popular as it is home to Arizona State University (where I received my master’s degree). Phoenix’s airport, Sky Harbor, is approximately 20 minutes away. Tempe is also located near Scottsdale, a very high-end neighboring town.

From this vicinity, it is a short drive to the Desert Botanical Gardens. We took an Uber to the gardens and used Lyft for the return. Be sure to do some price comparisons though. There were significant price differences between the two car ride services.

While there are plenty of accommodations in the area, ranging from economy hotels to high-end resorts, we recommend the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Our stay there was great!

Tips For Visiting

The Desert Botanical Garden hosted our visit, and we thank them for their generosity! Visiting the Desert Botanical Garden can be easy and enjoyable if you follow a few simple tips!

Arrive Early

It goes without saying that this spot is hot! The first tip we offer is to plan your visit in the early part of the day if possible. Not only does this help beat the desert heat, but you will likely encounter fewer crowds if you go early in the day.

Avoid The Crowds

Speaking of crowds, visiting during the week is another great way to avoid crowds. You’ll also want to try to avoid busy holiday weekends. Check the Desert Botanical Garden’s website to see if there are other special events being hosted as you may want to avoid those times as well.

Dress Accordingly

Since this botanical garden is hot and can be crowded, it is best to properly prepare. Be sure to avoid big, bulky clothing and bags. Not only does this stuff take up space, but it also is just more stuff to wear or lug around. We recommend taking a small bag and appropriate attire to protect from the sun. You also might want to consider sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Bring water too!

Wear Appropriate Shoes

Shoes are another item to consider. Keep in mind that most of this area is comprised of dirt and gravel trails. While many areas are flat, we encountered a few inclines during our visit. On top of that, you must remember this is a natural area in the Sonoran Desert. You will want to protect your feet from bugs, spiders, snakes, cacti, or whatever else you might encounter along the way.

Bring Your Camera

Don’t forget your camera! There are so many things to take pictures of here. The muted colors of the surrounding desert landscape are always beautiful in my opinion. On top of that, there is a wonderful variety of flora and fauna in the gardens. They also have lovely installations, sculptures, and more.

Respect The Rules

When you’re on the grounds, there are just a few simple rules to follow. So, it is important to respect them. In places like this, you should never remove things from their habitat. Don’t pick flowers or try to take home a piece of the desert. Be sure to properly discard any trash you might have. And, stay on designated trails.

By just following these few simple tips for visiting the Desert Botanical Garden, you can have a great time and learn about the desert environment along the way. Plan you visit right, and you just might get to enjoy a special exhibit or event too. We hope you have a great time! Let us know what you think?

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  1. I haven’t been to the Desert Botanical Garden in years – I think I went for a field trip when I was a kid 🙂 These are some great suggestions for when I go back. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the American Southwest, but I’ve yet to visit Phoenix. I always enjoy being out in nature, and a visit to the local botanical gardens is always a favorite activity of mine when exploring new places. I’ll definitely have to add the Desert Botanical Garden to my itinerary whenever I’m in this area again. Thanks for sharing! Xx Sara

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