Charleston Sights

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

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

Published 07/23/2015

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.

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

Published 07/23/2015


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