Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charleston

4.1
#2 of 83 in Historic Sites in Coastal South Carolina
Must see · Garden · Historic Site
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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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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
6,989 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Nice place to visit to roam endless gardens and walking paths. Need to improve the cafe as the lines were so long we chose not to wait. Mansion and grounds were very nice. 
    Nice place to visit to roam endless gardens and walking paths. Need to improve the cafe as the lines were so long we chose not to wait. Mansion and grounds were very nice.  more »
  • My husband and I just visited the gardens 4/27/22. Vanessa (I think that was her name) lead the "From Slave to Freedom" tour. Using the slave quarters as her guide, she did an amazing job of taking... 
    My husband and I just visited the gardens 4/27/22. Vanessa (I think that was her name) lead the "From Slave to Freedom" tour. Using the slave quarters as her guide, she did an amazing job of taking...  more »
Google
  • Went for Easter 2021. Was recommended to us by a friend, and we’re so glad we came when we did. Early April seems to be a wonderful time of year to come as all of the azaleas (which are abundant on the property) are in season. The parking was easy and close to the site. Bathrooms are very nice (at least the women’s bathrooms) and relatively easily accessible. There is a lot of walking involved, although we also paid for a tram tour that was absolutely worth $8 per person. The guide was very informative- covering a variety of topics about the property including the wildlife, history of the plantation, the contribution of slave labor to the plantation and the modern workings of the site. Although I do very much appreciate how they attempt to highlight the important contribution of slave labor to the plantation, it does make contributing money to the site via entrance fee feel a little uncomfortable (especially as the property is still owned by the same family through 12 generations.) I really wish this were run by a non-profit history organization or something- I think I would feel more comfortable visiting / paying an entrance fee if this were case. However, I do appreciate the effort they are making by not hiding the dark history of plantation life/economy. Overall, it is worth it to experience the fantastic native wildlife and the flora that is on display at the property. It is a stunning, yet also sobering experience.
  • What an incredible place to visit! I definitely recommend the house tour. Sheryl was a wealth of information and stories! She made the tour fun and engaging! The grounds are absolutely beautiful, and we went before most plants are blooming! I can only imagine the beauty it holds come spring and summer. This place is well worth the entrance fee. We stayed four hours and only left because my son was hungry!

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