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Charleston Sights

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

  • 3550 Ashley River Rd. Map It
  • West Ashley
  • Garden/Arboretum
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 10/03/2014

Fodor's Review

Pick and choose from a variety of entertainments at Magnolia Plantation, established in the 1670s by Thomas Drayton after he moved from Barbados. The extensive garden—the oldest public one in the country—was begun in the late 17th century and has evolved into a Romantic-style green space overflowing with 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, or

traverse more than 500 acres of trails by foot or bike (bring your own). The 60-acre Audubon Swamp Garden invites a good, long stroll on its network of boardwalks and bridges. Also here are a petting zoo, a nature center, and a reptile house. Five pre- and post-Emancipation cabins have been restored and serve as the focal point of an interpreter-led tour called From Slavery to Freedom. And be sure to visit the 19th-century plantation house, which originally stood near Summerville. The home was taken apart, floated down the Ashley River, and reassembled here.

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Sight Information


3550 Ashley River Rd., Charleston, South Carolina, 29417, United States

Map It


800-367–3517; 843-571–1266

Sight Details:

  • Grounds $15; house tour $8; tram $8; boat $8; From Slavery to Freedom exhibit $8
  • Apr.–Oct., daily 8–5:30; Nov.–Mar., daily 9–5

Updated 10/03/2014


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Fodorite Reviews

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Mar 31, 2009

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."

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