6 Azalea Gardens To Visit For The South's Signature Bloom This Spring

azalea gardens
Photo: Courtesy of Gibbs Gardens

While the South adores many flowers in the spring, there's no flower quite like the azalea. With hundreds of species available for planting, you'll find azaleas blooming in gardens and yards across the region. Native azaleas also bloom in woodland areas, so you'll likely find them while hiking in many parts of the South during the spring and summer.

We've rounded up a handful of azalea gardens for you to visit to see these flaming beauties at their peak. From Washington, D.C., all the way to Florida, there's an impressive azalea garden in practically every Southern state. After one step in any garden, these azalea blooms will have you saying "Hold on, I need to snap a picture for Mama."

01 of 06

Ravine Gardens State Park

azalea gardens
Linda Glisson

Palatka, Florida

Stroll along a winding walkway and enjoy a variety of azalea blooms at Ravine Gardens State Park. The park's two 120-feet deep ravines feature Whitewater Branch, a spring-fed creek that runs through their base. Their azalea bloom period runs from January to March each year. Their garden is currently at 35% sporadic bloom, and blooms typically peak in February.

02 of 06

The United States National Arboretum

azalea gardens
Getty Images

Washington, D.C.

Each year thousands of azaleas bloom along the banks of Mount Hamilton. The Glenn Dale Hillside is typically the area with the most blooms and variety of azaleas. The best way to see the azaleas is by walking on the trails that meander to the top of Mount Hamilton. The peak blooming time for the azaleas at the National Arboretum occurs sometime between mid-April and early May.

03 of 06

Norfolk Botanical Garden

azalea gardens
Courtesy of Norfolk Botanical Garden

Norfolk, Virginia

The azalea collection at Norfolk Botanical Garden has 558 different species under the genus Rhododendron, commonly called azaleas, which makes it the largest collection at the garden. April is usually peak season for Norfolk's azaleas, which can be found in many places around the garden including the Rhododendron Glade, Mirror Lake, and Enchanted Forest.

04 of 06

Gibbs Gardens

azalea gardens
Courtesy of Gibbs Gardens

Ball Ground, Georgia

At Gibbs Gardens, you'll see azaleas blooming beginning in April and until November. The garden has early, mid, and late-blooming Native azaleas that can be found throughout the garden's grounds. Swamp azaleas fill the garden's 70-acre native fernery in June along with several other azalea species throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

05 of 06

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

azalea gardens
Courtesy of Bellingrath Gardens

Theodore, Alabama

Bellingrath Gardens' azalea collection sparked the beginning of Mobile, Alabama's famous Azalea Trail 89 years ago, and the blooms have been a part of the garden since its founding. Each March, guests can enjoy blooms from over 250,000 azaleas across the garden's grounds.

06 of 06

Andrews Bald in the Great Smoky Mountains

azalea gardens
Rhonda Wise

Bryson City, North Carolina

If you're up for a moderate hike on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, you can visit the azaleas on Andrews Bald. Azaleas are typically seen blooming in the Smoky Mountains in April and May at lower elevations and will bloom in June and July at higher elevations like Gregory Bald and Andrews Bald, says Rhonda Wise, the lead park ranger for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The azaleas' bloom time can also vary depending on the weather conditions.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles