Whether or not you agree with visiting a plantation, you can’t ignore the fact that they are a part of history. Some of these plantation owners had slaves while others didn’t. Visiting a plantation while in Charleston is a way of understanding how the South functioned prior to the Civil War. I’ve developed this guide to Charleston plantations so that travelers know what to expect from their trip.
Boone Hall Plantation
Visitors to Mount Pleasant’s Boone Hall Plantation may recognize the home and majestic Avenue of the Oaks as Ashley’s estate in Gone with the Wind. It was also a filming location for countless other movies, including The Notebook and North and South. The property hosts dozens of festivals throughout the year, including the Oyster Festival, Strawberry Festival, and Corn Maize. Be sure to visit their U-Pick fields and farmer’s market for fresh local produce.
Tickets are $24 for adults, $12 for children ages 6-12, free for children under 5 and $21 for seniors, military, and AAA.
1235 Long Point Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
Drayton Hall is one of the most well-known of the Charleston plantations and is one of the last remaining examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture in the United States. It has survived wars, earthquakes, and hurricanes. The family home was sold to the National Trust as recently as 1974. While the home is no longer furnished, it allows visitors to take in the architecture even more. The grounds include lots of marshlands where you can spot all sorts of creatures.
Tickets are $22 for adults, $10 for seniors, $6 for children and free for members and their guests.
3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Middleton Place Plantation
I hate to pick favorites, but Middleton Place is, in my opinion, the most beautiful of the Charleston plantations. The gardens are stunning and a great place to spot sunbathing alligators. The property also has an award-winning inn and restaurant. Part of the main house was destroyed in the 1886 earthquake, but much of the house still stands. Also, the house was the birthplace of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Tickets are $28 for adults over 14, $15 for students 14+ with ID, $10 for children 6-13 and free for children under 5.
4300 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was founded by the same Drayton family of Drayton Hall fame. The Camellia Gardens have brought in visitors for the last 200 years. Magnolia Plantation has well-preserved slaves quarters and freedmen’s homes. Nature tours of the surrounding swamps are fascinating for all ages. There is also a zoo and nature center on the grounds.
Tickets cost $15 for adults, $10 for children under 12 and free for children under 6. This includes a tour of the home and gardens.
3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414