Filed Under: CharlestonPlantations were a staple of the economy, culture and lifestyle of the pre-Civil War South. Experience both natural beauty and history when you visit these 5 plantation destinations in Charleston.
Tour the Manor House and gardens, listen to traditional African tales from a Gullah storyteller, and visit 9 original slave cabins, some of the few still standing in the Southeast. Crops have grown continually here for more than 300 years. Today, visitors can pick strawberries in spring and pumpkins in fall, as well as buy seasonal produce at the plantation’s farm stand.
Or opt for a “nature train” that winds past slave cabins, 19th-century rice ponds and an ancient Native American ceremonial mound, while providing glimpses of rare wildlife. Encounter rarely seen animals and plants as you walk the network of wooden boardwalks and bridges that crisscross the haunting Audobon Swamp Garden, or get up-close-and-personal with furry, feathered and scaly friends in the Petting Zoo and Nature Center. Something is in bloom at Magnolia year-round, making any season perfect for a visit.
Enjoy a guided tour of the historic home, explore the nearby river and marshland, and visit A Sacred Place, the oldest documented African-American cemetery in America still in use. Interactive programs take visitors on a journey from Africa to America and from slavery to emancipation, and explore the 7 generations of the Drayton family who lived here.
Since the house and grounds remained under the stewardship of the Middleton family for more than 300 years, visitors get a first-hand look at the lives of one historic family (including a signer of the Declaration of Independence) as well as the chance to learn about plantation life. In the stable yards, costumed historic interpreters bring to life the skill and artisanship necessary to run a Lowcountry rice plantation.
Plus, fill your glass with a true Southern delicacy, American Classic Tea on ice. Charleston Tea Plantation is a bit off the beaten path, so plan to spend the day at this one-of-a-kind attraction, and experience the true, unspoiled beauty of Charleston’s surroundings and heritage.