Charleston Plantations & Gardens

In discussing Charleston, you can't not discuss the beautiful plantations and gardens that you will find in the outskirts of the city. In today's post, I will be sharing seven of them, only one of which I have actually ever been to. All seem like beautiful places, but the cost, in the past, has kept me away. Well…, that and the scorching hot summers that we tend to visit during. Nevertheless, after going through and sharing all of these places, perhaps I will have to reconsider my view on the hot weather and actually make an attempt to visit some of these beautiful plantations and gardens! What do you think? :)

Photo credit: wallyg via / CC BY-NC-ND

Magnolia Plantation:

Open to the public in 1870, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens' claim to fame is that their gardens are some of the oldest unrestored gardens in America (or so they say). The plantation has been owned by the same family for many generations, and each generation has added their own special touch to the beautiful land that they occupy. Tours of the gardens, petting zoo, conservatory, and slave cabin are free with admission (so, not free: $15/person), and you can pay for many other optional tours as well including: the plantation house tour, the nature train, the nature boat, and a tour of the audubon swamp garden.

All in all, the gardens are absolutely gorgeous without the need for extra purchases, unless you simply want to make them. You can easily spend a few hours just exploring the gardens, and who knows what you will see during your visit! Being the only plantation on the list that I have actually visited, my family spotted an alligator, peacocks, roosters, and so much more! It was a fun day to say the least and our only regret was that we didn't bring a picnic lunch!

Photo credit: mkvofby via / CC BY-NC-SA

Boone Hall Plantations & Gardens:

The Boone Hall Plantation is what NBC Daytime calls "a must see stop on any trip to Charleston, S.C.", and the owners of Boone Hall say it is because of the massive oaks Major John Boone planted almost 300 years ago. The McRae family purchased the property in the mid 1950s and turned it into a public plantation with gardens. The property is more than 738 acres and actively produces strawberries, tomatoes, and pumpkins. Entry is $24 and includes access to the gardens, the house, the butterfly pavilion, and a variety of plantation tours. Boone Hall also offers numerous events on location throughout the year!

Photo credit: hdes.copeland via / CC BY-NC

McLeod Plantation & Historic Site:

A 37 acre heritage site that has been preserved for it's cultural and historical significance, the McLeod plantation has recently been opened to the public for exploration of the properties built as far back as 1851. The property is currently owned by the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission and costs $10 to enter. Inside the park, you will discover a variety of oak trees and learn more about the sordid past of the south through tours of the house and the many other buildings contained within the estate. You can even download the McLeod Plantation Historic Site app to help aid in your understanding of those who lived and worked here! Truly a fantastic learning experience for adults and kids alike!

Photo credit: Kay Gaensler via / CC BY-NC-SA

Drayton Hall

Shortly before the 1730s, Mr. John Drayton bought the land that eventually became Drayton Hall. His family was heavy into ranching, but Mr. Drayton had plans for rice farming. Around the time of the Revolutionary War, John Drayton and his family packed up their things and left, leaving the property for the British war troops, who promptly took it and laid siege on Charleston. From that point forward, the property was passed down from Drayton to Drayton until the 1930s when it was bought by the National Trust Foundation in Washington DC. It is currently owned by both the National Trust and ;the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.

Tickets for Drayton Hall cost $22 per person and are for the house tour and self-tour around the gardens. They welcome pets on the estate grounds but not inside the house, and also encourage you to take pictures and record videos.

Photo credit: Matt N Charlotte via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Cypress Gardens

One of the beautiful locations where The Notebook was filmed, I've been wanting to visit Cypress Gardens for years! However, one thing after another always came up: it was too hot, there might be snakes, we weren't in the area, we didn't have time, so on and so forth… But after torrential rains and flooding to the area, however, it seems I now don't have a choice in the matter. :( The gardens are closed … possibly forever. However, since it's only been a few months, I'm holding out hope that one day they will reopen and I will be able to visit…

Photo credit: damiandude via / CC BY-NC

Middleton Place:

A national historic landmark and home to America's oldest landscaped gardens, the 65 acres of landscaped and designed gardens reflecting mid-1700s European style share property with the Middleton House, a home built in 1755. In the gardens, you can find sculptures, partitions, arbors, bowling greens, and galleries, along with a beautiful view of the river. Neglected for more than 60 years during the Civil War the property was restored to its original glory during a 15 year restoration project that was completed in 1941. The gardens and stable houses can be explored at a cost of $28/person or, for an additional $15 you can explore Middleton house too. :)

Photo credit: mogollon_1 via / CC BY

Hampton Plantation & Historic Site

Built in 1735 and expanded after 1757, notable people such as Pinckneys, the Rutledges, and even President George Washington, lived at the Hampton Plantation at one time or another! Owned by South Carolina State Parks, at $7.50 per person, the plantation is one of the cheapest in the area and yet provides beautiful acres worthy of exploration.

Definitely one of the more awesome things about living in the south are the beautiful plantation homes and gardens. We may not have castles like European countries, but we definitely have unique ways of showcasing living during the early years of US settlement.

What are some of your favorite ways to explore American history? If you don't live near plantations, are there other types of property that used to be owned by the wealthy that are now used for something else? Like how the Louvre used to be a château?

What are some of your favorite green spaces near where you live? … Don't you love how America's landscape changes so much from region to region?! :)

** Linking up to City Trippers and

***Linking up with Lauren on Location, Marcella from What a Wonderful World, and The Sunny Side of This


  1. I love the idea of plantations as the castles of America's south - you're absolutely right, like stepping into history and getting a taste of a life that no longer exists. I'd love to discover some of them for myself one day. Thanks for linking up to #citytripping

  2. I absolutely love Charleston! One of my favorite towns in the U.S. This is a great guide to the plantations - earmarking it for my next visit. #citytripping

    1. Me too (using this post for future travels)! Writing this post made me realize just how many places I haven't been to in Charleston. Now I can't wait to return! :)

  3. So many beautiful places! I would like to visit them all.

    1. The plantations are definitely gorgeous and a great way to learn about the history of the American southeast. Hopefully you'll get a chance to visit some of them in the future! :)

  4. I so wanna visit the southern states. It looks so beautiful!

    1. There are definitely pretty places in the southern states … and ugly places. If you look up a city (like Atlanta) and it doesn't look all that appealing, just move on. The coastal cities, like Charleston, can have a lot of natural beauty to them. :)

  5. Gorgeous! What lovely places :) How do you pick from this wonderful list? Maybe by going to them all ;)

  6. I currently want to visit the USA's natural parks, but these destinations look great as well!

    1. National parks like Yellowstone or Yosemite? … I'd love to visit them as well! :) Coastal cities are pretty on a completely different scale though. It just depends on what kind of "pretty" you want to see. :)


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