Because of its prominent place in Southern history both before and after the Civil War, Charleston SC is filled with numerous Plantations and Gardens, most of which are open today for Plantations Tours. Charleston enjoyed a long and grand history as one of the wealthiest Low Country cities at the time, and today you can see the period elegance captured perfectly in the Plantations that you can tour and learn about. Read on to find out more about the Plantations that we recommend checking out. These stately locations are one-of-a-kind and will leave you dreaming of what life must have been like for the prominent families and planters that lived in them.
Myrtle Beach Hall Plantation – Mt. Pleasant SC
Myrtle Beach Hall Plantation in Mt Pleasant South Carolina is probably a place that you have seen perhaps in a picture as it is often called “America’s Most Photographed Plantation” as its characteristics are in line with what one pictures when one thinks of a large, grand plantation mansion. Myrtle Beach Hall’s Avenue of Oaks is quite magnificent and well worth the trip; their moss-covered branches were the dream of the son of Major John, who set them out in 1743. Today you can explore the world’s oldest working plantation and see the main house, slave quarters, and other farm buildings. Every year, this Plantation hosts the Low Country Strawberry Festival in April, summer concerts, a BBQ and Bluegrass Festival during Labor Day Weekend, the annual gathering of the clans at the Scottish Games and Highland Gathering, Wine Under the Oaks, the re-enactment of the Battle of Secessionville, the World’s Largest Oyster Roast in January, and a lovely Christmas at the Mansion during the holidays.
Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is the oldest Low Country historic place and the oldest historic site, as it opened for tours in 1870. The Charleston Plantation was founded in 1676 by the Drayton Family. Today, you can tour the family’s third Main Home, the spectacular gardens that that date back 325 years, the Magnolia Cabins former slave quarters, and a petting zoo and nature center. Thirteen generations of Draytons have owned this historic estate located on the Ashley River and, today, they welcome you to tour their grand historic home and learn of its unique history.
Charleston Tea Plantation – Wadmalaw Island – Bigelow’s Tea Garden – American Tea Plantation
Bigelow’s Tea Garden is a Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island that is the only North American tea plantation in existence. You can tour the Tea Plantation, which was purchased in 2003 by the Bigelow Family from William Barclay Hall. Hall partnered with the family and decided that the plantation, which is located in a lovely, picturesque setting, must be preserved. Today, the Charleston Tea Plantation produces American Classic Teas and can be toured.
Cypress Gardens – Moncks Corner South Carolina
The Cypress Gardens are not technically the home of a Charleston Plantation; however, they are still very much worth visiting. This 170-acre preserve and garden area is filled with unique areas. Historically, the area used to be a part of a large rice plantation and, today, it contains about 80 acres of blackwater and cypress swamp. Tours of the Cypress Gardens are taken by flat bottom boat, and other foot paths. You can tour the Swamparium and the Aviary and Butterfly House which is a 2,500-square-foot indoor exhibit that houses butterflies, birds, koi, goldfish, and turtles.
Historic and beautiful Drayton Hall is the only Charleston Plantation located along the Ashley River to survive both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars completely intact. It remained in the Drayton family for seven generations until 1974, when it was sold to the National Trust for Historic Preservation; today, the Main House is a National Historic Landmark and remains in almost original condition. It is an example of Georgian Palladian architecture, and is open to the public to ensure that future generations can see this near perfect example of the American Colonial period. Visitors can tour the former rice plantation and learn of how it survived all of the near catastrophes that seemed always to surround it.
Middleton Place Plantation
Visitors can tour the perfectly manicured grounds, gardens, and former estate of Henry Middleton (1741) who was President of the First Continental Congress. The grounds and home served as a base of operation for the Carolina colony during the early period of its founding. Many often remark of the well thought out gardens and estate layout. The gardens were cared for during the early period by Arthur Middleton, Henry’s son, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later in secession by Arthur’s son, Henry who was later a Governor of South Carolina and U.S. Minister of Russia. Today, Middleton Place Plantation, the House Museum, Gardens, Outdoor Center, Equestrian Center, and Edmondston-Alston House can all be enjoyed and explored. Also, on the grounds are an inn, stable yards, and a restaurant.