Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charleston

One of the country's oldest plantations, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens dates back to 1676, when locals Thomas and Ann Drayton built a house and a small formal garden on this site. The family owned the rice plantation for the next 15 generations, utilizing slave labor to build a network of irrigation dams and dikes. Today, the estate operates as a museum, offering an interpretive program designed to teach visitors about the history of both slave and free black workers at this site. Explore the plantation's natural setting by taking a marsh boat tour or strolling through the gardens, where you can see centenarian cypress trees and camellias dating from the 1840s. Work out when and for how long to visit Magnolia Plantation & Gardens and other Charleston attractions using our handy Charleston attractions planner .
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Magnolia Plantation & Gardens Reviews
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5,185 reviews
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  • Visiting the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was a delightful way to get exercise and see a variety of plants and animals. The Audubon swamp trail yielded alligators and turtles sunning and a variety ...  more »
  • Enjoyed our visit very much. Grounds were beautiful. We spoke with some workers doing some trimming and planting. You could tell maintaining the grounds is a labor of love. We were fortunate enough to...  more »
  • There are lots of things to do here. The tram gives you a nice tour of the property. Lots of birds throughout the swamp. I can imagine this place is really colorful when the azaleas are in bloom.  more »
Google
  • Beautiful and well kept old plantation! Petting zoo is a nice touch that my kids loved! A must ---- do the guided tours whether it's the house tour, the ride on tour, the slave homes walking tour, the boardwalk walking tour etc. Beautifully maintained and groomed gardens are everywhere. Perfect venue for weddings or large parties. Be prepared for important historical information and ask many questions. Such an important part of American history...kids and adults alike need to know and understand what happened, why slave plantations existed and what that means both then and now. Alligators are sometimes seen on the tours which is always cool! Prepare to spend a day here...a full day. Quick tip: if you bring your receipt the next day, you can get back in for free!!
  • What a beautiful place! We were lucky enough to visit when the azaleas and wisteria were blooming, and it was a wonderful visit! We took the boat tour which was very informative and tranquil. Our tour guide (forgot his name, but his wife came from the Chicago area) really held our interest, and knew so much about the flora and fauna of the area. We really enjoyed the ride! We also took the tram tour, and had a very interesting character for our guide. He had lots to say about the area, and you could tell he really loved what he did! He had a whole binder of photos that he passed around, showing photos from his nature experiences. We enjoyed his "show"! We are so glad we came here - it was a most enjoyable afternoon in such a tranquil setting!
  • The grounds and house are stunning, but the plantation house tour is a white-washed history. The tour guide there will briefly tell you that the gift shop downstairs is the old slave kitchen... The Slavery to Freedom tour (only an additional $8) was the BEST part of my experience in SC. Our tour guide John was a passionate, truthful, and articulate guide. If you are looking to learn about the true roots and foundation of our country, you will definitely want to see this. Some people say Magnolia isn't worth the money, but in my opinion, if you're coming to visit Charleston, you might as well spend a little money to learn about one of the most historic cities in the US!
  • Had a such a good time that we went back twice in same week. Admission includes second day free within seven days. Would recommend boat ride, tram ride and swamp walk. House tour was disappointing because you didn't really see much of the house, only first floor. It was all history of dwelling and owners. Swamp tour was worth the whole visit. We saw lots of Gators (up close) and large nesting birds. If you like to walk it's worth it. Trails are paved or gravel.
  • Magnolia Plantation is one of the greatest gems of Charleston. It was where the Audobon Society was founded and where you learn history and the life of the South on a plantation from hundreds of years ago. Many movies have been made at Magnolia and there's so much wildlife to see on the 500+ acres of protected land. From the prettiest of flowers to the 14 ft alligator in the swamp. It's a great place to take the family for an outing as there's a petting zoo for kids and the tram rides around the plantation were so informative about the wildlife to the Slave Cabin tour. This is a must see if you come to Charleston.

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