McBryde Garden

McBryde Garden — Experience All the Wonders of Endangered Tropical Flora
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If you absolutely adore tropical plants, McBryde Garden in Kauai awaits the chance to blow you away. You can get your fill of imperiled Hawaiian flora by simply signing up for one of their many guided tours. If you can break your gaze away from all the orchids, palms, and everything in between, then you might even see amazing wildlife as well.

- The Local Expert Team

Set in the heart of the Lawai Valley, McBryde Garden serves as a botanical wonderland filled with tropical Hawaiian plants of all kinds. From orchids and wild ginger to flowering trees and palms, there are endless plants to admire in their natural outdoor arrangements and tucked away safe in greenhouses. You can even see Moreton Bay fig trees, the beautiful giants featured in Jurassic Park.

In order to see their huge collection of tropical flora, you must sign up for one of their many self-guided or guided tours. Upon making your appointment, you’ll need to come to the South Shore Visitor Center to catch the shuttle. They will then transport your group to the gardens as your tour guide gets started in telling you all about the island’s history, culture, and vegetation.

You will then walk through the gardens featured in your selected tour. The self-guided tours are a fun way to get away from it all and simply explore the gardens at your own pace. Although you won’t have a guide to rely on, the provided booklet does offer a ton of helpful info you can use on your explorations.

If you’re on the guided McBryde Garden tour, your docent will tell you about each plant you encounter. As you encounter edible plants, like turmeric and passionfruit, they may even offer tasty samples to try. And if you’re lucky, you’ll also get to see birds and other wildlife in their natural habitats.

Be sure to listen closely to your guide’s tales since many of the plants lack clear signage and wildlife sightings are often split-second encounters. All along the way, feel free to ask questions as needed to improve your understanding and make the most of your garden tour experience.

Their most popular garden activities include:

Best of Both Worlds Tour
On the Best of Both Worlds Tour, you can explore the highlights of both McBryde Garden and Allerton Garden. Lasting just under three hours, this guided tour will let you see all the best native Hawaiian flora plus plenty of wildlife as well. Bring your camera along so you can get pictures of the Jurassic Park trees and other fantastic flora you find.

Twilight Tour
The garden aesthetic changes considerably as the sun starts to go down, so be sure to take the Twilight Tour at least once. During that tour, you’ll get to hear the evening birdsongs and see many of the night-blooming flowers open up. You’ll also get to see many off-limit areas, including the secret garden tunnels, which are closed off to all the other tours. 

Aloha Market
Each week, you can drop by the Aloha Market to buy local produce plus artwork, jewelry, and other gifts made by local artisans. The market runs from 10 am to 2 pm each Thursday right inside the South Shore Visitor Center. Although you’re welcome to drop by anytime the market is open, plan to get here early to avoid missing out on the most popular gifts and produce.

All through the summer, McBryde Garden hosts movie nights for tourists and locals alike. They set up a screen right under the stars and often show movies filmed right on the island, like Jurassic Park. Whether you choose to stargaze instead or watch the movie from beginning to end, you can count on the intoxicating scent of the nearby flowers to waft your way and delight your senses.

Insider Tips:
-You must book your spot well ahead of time to take any of their guided tours.
-Accessibility is limited in this garden space, so it’s not an ideal tour for people with limited mobility.
-Gear up for your selected tour by bringing your own water, locally-made insect repellant, poncho, and flashlight if you’re taking the twilight tour. Also, remember to wear closed-toe shoes, or you won’t be allowed to walk through the gardens.