Walking around this well kept and diversely populated oasis was a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. My mom came to town last week for a short visit, and I was thinking of “off the beaten path” options for us to spend the day. A guest had recently mentioned the South Coast Botanic Gardens, and I thought my mom would enjoy the scenery. The gardens are easy to find, and only a 30 minute drive from our Los Angeles Bed and Breakfast hotel. Parking is free, and admission is $8 (cash only). You are given a map of the gardens and walk through a small courtyard with a gift shop to enter.
The paved path is a one mile loop, with a variety of specialty gardens on the outer loop to explore. You can also go off the paved path and deeper into the interior of the park to see the little lake and other flowers and trees. We stayed about two hours and walked the entire loop. We checked out the peaceful Japanese Garden, the Succulent or Desert Garden and the Garden of the Senses. There were exotic species of trees and familiar, sweet smelling flowers (I love the lilacs!) and even the blossoming Cherry Trees. There are some benches near the lake where we sat and enjoyed watching the ducks swim and play and laughed at the bold squirrels frolicking in the trees.
Afterward, we took a 15 minute ride to the coast and had lunch at Nelson’s at Terranea. Nelson’s is a low-key American bar & grill type of restaurant with a magnificent view of the ocean. If you go in the evening, you can sit outside and enjoy the firepits and watch the sun go down. Terranea has beautifully manicured grounds and paths, so we meandered a little more before heading back to the Inn.
All in all, a day well spent!