Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Charleston SC is one of the Lowcountry’s must-see sites. With a basic admission ticket, you can wander the historic gardens at your own pace, or choose to take guided tours and activities.
Garden admission includes access to the Main House, a tour of the slave cabins, the Audubon Swamp Garden, and the From Slavery to Freedom tour. The gardens are open daily. Read this first!
The lush landscape of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is one of the South’s most spellbinding sites. The historic mansion and acres of wildly growing gardens in the Romantic style make this a destination that is unique among Charleston attractions.
It’s said to be the oldest public garden and boasts the largest collection of azaleas and camellias in the country. A stroll through the grounds takes you over bridges, past ponds, cypress oaks draped with Spanish moss, and soaring birds.
Like many of the South’s plantations, Magnolia has a long history tied to the slave trade. The management at Magnolia does an excellent job of not glossing over this aspect of their 350-year history. For example, the house tour includes a discussion of enslaved people and their role at the property. In addition, the “Slavery to Freedom” tour gives visitors a chance to walk through some of the cabins where enslaved people lived during their time on the plantation.
Stunning gardens envelop Magnolia Plantation, offering mile-long walks to admire the southern landscapes that made Charleston famous. The paths aren’t paved with concrete but instead covered with fine gravel that crunchs under your feet as you walk past blooming flowers and groves of palm trees. Massive oaks cast a blanket of shade over the ponds and lakes that crisscross the property.
Magnolia’s first garden was added by Thomas and Ann Drayton in the 1680s, but it was Reverend John Grimke-Drayton who developed this lush estate into what is now the centerpiece of the plantation. He introduced azaleas and camellias and worked to emphasize the beauty of natural woodlands on the property.
Explore the gardens on your own with a regular ticket, or take a guided tour that includes a house tour and walking through the 1850s slave cabins. The gardens also feature a nature tram ride through the Audubon swamp gardens where you can spot alligators and other wildlife. Check it out here.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is one of the oldest public gardens in America. Its lush grounds, towering Cypress oaks draped with Spanish moss, and ponds teeming with wildlife attract visitors from around the world. But not everyone who visits this venerable site—or any other plantation in the South—understands the role that enslaved people played, or still play, throughout the region’s history.
That’s why Magnolia offers a variety of tours that touch on its tumultuous past, including a house tour that showcases Boehm porcelain and prints by Catesby and Audubon. There’s also a nature boat cruise, a tram ride around the nature preserves, and an award-winning “Slavery to Freedom” presentation on African-American history.
McGill and his wife take their family to the slave cabins every spring and summer to learn about enslavement, which was so integral to this place’s 350-year history that he wants it to be remembered. The experience is painful, but he says it’s important for them to understand the truth of what happened here and all places like it.
The Gilliard Garden Center
Magnolia is one of the oldest public gardens in America, and the Lowcountry’s oldest plantation. Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, it’s still run by their descendants.
For one fee, guests can explore the 66 acres of gardens at their own pace. Guided tours, including a house tour and the “From Slavery to Freedom” tour of slave cabins, are available for an additional charge.
Also included in the basic admission price is a ride on the Nature Tram. This is a tractor-pulled carriage that winds around the gardens and swamp. The driver provides running commentary and keeps an eye out for alligators along the way! The conservatory is a popular venue for weddings and other events throughout the year. The cafe looks like an ordinary place from the outside, but the peacocks inside are a big draw.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is more than just a tourist destination. As one of the most popular attractions in Charleston, it’s also a place to learn about the Lowcountry’s complicated history and the enslaved people who helped conceive and tend these gardens, bridges, houses, and rice fields.
The enslaved at Magnolia Plantation helped cultivate and harvest the crop that gave the Drayton family wealth during the Colonial Era. They developed a creolized Gullah language and a vibrant culture that drew heavily from West African traditions.
While there is no doubt that a visit to Magnolia Plantation will be enjoyable, it’s also a good time to learn about the harsh realities of slavery on a tour like the From Slavery to Freedom tour. This award-winning experience takes visitors through different iterations of slave cabins, learning about the evolution of the conditions that enslaved people were forced to endure. Refer to This Web Page.
Driving directions from Curb Appeal Pressure Washing to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Driving directions from Magnolia Plantation and Gardens to Frankies Fun Park