If you aren’t aware, the largest public display of bamboo in Florida and the largest herb garden in the Southeast are just a hop, skip, and jump away from Jacksonville. The 68-acre Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville routinely wows visitors with its 24 major collections of plants, among them a stand of Chinese royal bamboo (Wong Chuk) and, during the warm months, giant Victoria water lilies and Asian snake arums.
A one-and-a-half-mile loop of paved walkways passes through the gardens and its six gazebos and two boardwalks that overlook large sinkholes. “On the eastern loop, space is maximized with a winding, circular trail that encompasses the outskirts of the property,” Alexis Caffrey, the gardens’ current director, notes. “The western side is primarily dominated by water gardens and, as such, the sidewalks follow along the water edge forming a ‘T’ shape.”