Situated on a 300-acre (121-hectare) expanse within a larger South Carolina coastal preserve, Brookgreen Gardens was the nation’s first public sculpture garden when it opened in 1931. Today the National Historic Landmark is an oasis of native flora and fauna, including 250-year-old live oaks, and more than 2,000 sculptures.
Brookgreen Gardens is equal parts botanical garden, American sculpture garden, and zoological park. A general admission ticket gets you into all areas, including the Lowcountry Zoo where native animals of South Carolina’s swamps and woods—alligators, red foxes, river otters, and white-tailed deer—live in enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. With some 2,000 sculptures by 425 artists, the Brookgreen Gardens collection represents the largest and most comprehensive American figurative sculpture collection in the United States.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Brookgreen Gardens is great for couples, families traveling with kids, and nature lovers.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Don’t forget to bring sun protection and insect repellent.
- The garden is wheelchair accessible, but wheelchairs are not available to rent.
How to Get There
The gardens are located off US Highway 17 Bypass between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island. The closest international airport is in Myrtle Beach, 13 miles (21 kilometers) northwest of Murrells Inlet.
When to Get There
The gardens are open daily throughout the year, and there’s always something in bloom no matter the season. Spring is typically the most popular time to visit, when azaleas, daffodils, poppies, and snapdragons are in bloom. If you visit during the summer, plan to arrive early while temperatures are still cool.
Lowcountry History and Wildlife Preserve
The land occupied by Brookgreen Gardens once comprised four Lowcountry rice plantations during the 1800s. These thousands of acres are now part of a history and wildlife preserve overseen by the garden, where visitors can learn about the natural and human history of the area by walking The Lowcountry Trail or taking a boat or vehicle excursion into the park.