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Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

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Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Review

Owner Thomas Drayton came from Barbados in 1671 and created this garden, the oldest public one in the country. The extensive informal garden, established in 1685, has evolved into an overflowing collection of plants, including a vast array of azaleas and camellias, along with some themed areas (a biblical garden, for example). Take a train or boat to tour the grounds, travel through the 125-acre Waterfowl Refuge (originally rice fields), or explore the 30-acre Audubon Swamp Garden by foot, compliments of a network of boardwalks and bridges. You can traverse more than 500 acres of trails, or bring your bike if you're inclined. Also here are a petting zoo, a nature center, and a reptile house. Five pre- and post-Emancipation cabins have been restored, and a new tour by interpreters is called From Slavery to Freedom. And be sure to tour the 19th-century plantation house, which originally stood in Summerville. The home was taken apart, floated down the Ashley River, and reassembled here.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 3550 Ashley River Rd., West Ashley, Charleston, SC 29417 | Map It
  • Phone: 800/367–3517; 843/571–1266
  • Cost: Grounds $15; tram $8; boat $8; house tour $8; Audubon Swamp Garden $8; From Slavery to Freedom $8; combo ticket with Drayton Hall $24
  • Hours: Apr.–Oct., daily 8–5:30; Nov.–Mar., daily 9–5
  • Website:
  • Location: West of the Ashley River
Updated: 11-19-2012

Fodorite Reviews

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    Good plantation and gardens

    Another of the Ashley River plantations. The house here is nice enough, originally located in Summerville and transported to this spot -- has lots of personal items, and the tour is reasonably good. Sizable garden area, a little more free-form and shaggy than at Middleton Place. Nice little conservatory on-site, with lots of tropical plants and orchids. Has a large amount of swampy, fauna-rich areas that can be toured via trackless "train." Less good in value, as you get charged extra for many of the activities. Certainly very good, though Drayton Hall and Middleton Place are more "must sees."

    by bachslunch, 3/31/09

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