Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation And Gardens: A Tranquil Retreat in Charleston, South Carolina

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has been open to the public since 1870, making it the oldest public gardens in the US. People from all over the world have visited the gardens to admire and marvel at their beauty.


Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was originally established in 1676 by the Drayton family. The property is still owned by the Drayton family, and the plantation has survived many conflicts, including the Revolutionary War and Civil War. Its main focus has always been to provide a kind of Eden for the family, and later on to its visitors. Below you’ll see why it’s one of the best plantations in Charleston to visit.


Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens


During our visit, we spent about an hour walking around the gardens. It was very peaceful and we took our time wandering along the different paths and walking beside the river. Eventually we made our way to the Magnolia Plantation House which was nicely decorated for the holidays. We didn’t go inside, however we did stop into the gift shop which was in the basement. There were lots of cute antiques and decorations.


Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens


Basic admission is $15 and includes the gardens, the petting zoo, the conservatory, a small theater (which continuously plays a 30 minute video about the history of the plantation), and an old African American cabin.


Magnolia Plantation Tours

There are 5 additional tours that you can purchase at $8 each, or you can get an all-inclusive pass for $47 which would save you $8. It all depends on how much time you want to spend on the property.

  • Plantation House Tour – Visitors are guided through ten rooms of the Drayton family home and learn the history of the family and the previous two family homes.
  • Nature Train Tour – Visitors ride a tram through acres of amazing landscapes and have the opportunity to see local wildlife, including alligators, turtles, and heron.
  • Field Boat Tour – Visitors glide along the Ashley River and learn about the wetlands and former rice fields of the area.
  • From Slavery to Freedom – Visitors can explore five cabins that document African American life on the plantation, from slavery to the Civil Rights Era.
  • The Audubon Swamp Garden – Visitors can traverse over 60 acres of black water cypress by crossing boardwalks and bridges, and will likely see lots of local animals.


I would have loved to have spent more time at the plantation. Sadly, this was a morning trip I was able to squeeze in before I had to head to the airport. But even though I only had time for the basic tour, I really was quiet impressed with the layout of the gardens and the variety of flowers. I would recommend that anyone visiting Charleston stop by and spend a few hours at the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.


Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Buddy The Traveling Monkey Magnolia Plantation and Gardens


Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

3550 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414

(843) 571-1266


Have you ever visited Magnolia Plantation and Gardens? Do you like visiting gardens when you travel? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂


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  1. Seems like a really cool place. We’re in North Carolina right now, we might just have to swing by!

  2. This is a part of our history many of us don’t get to see. What an interesting tour, great photos, and informative post! Thanks for taking the time to share your quick experience with those of us who may never get to visit.

    1. Thank you Tami, I’m glad you found it informative. I hope that you are able to visit one day!

  3. Even though slavery was an awful time it’s nice to see that beautiful places like this can exist afterwards. It’s great that they have the cabin’s from “From Slavery to Freedom” with some documents from the past so visitors can be reminded of the history that once existed.

    1. I agree Christopher! I love that they didn’t try to hide the past and instead offer tours that remind visitors of some of the unfortunate things that occurred, so that it may never happen again.

  4. I feel relaxed just looking at your pictures. Would be a great place for a Sunday stroll. Think I’d be tempted to do the boat tour if I went

  5. I lived in Charleston for a few months and sadly I never made it out to Magnolia Plantation. I’ll definitely make a stop here the next time I’m in town!

    1. Sounds great Brianna! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

  6. I had no idea that the Magnolia Plantation is the US’s oldest public garden! I’ve been before, and the grounds are really beautiful, and the history around the property makes the trip totally worthwhile. Great post.

  7. So pretty! I bet the garden was so peaceful strolling through! A memorable garden I visited was in the UK called Hidecote Manor. It was in the Cotswolds. I never knew much about garden layout or design and my visit was very educational. Did Magnolia Plantation and gardens have a particular style?

    1. Hi Jackie! Yes, it was created in a “Romantic Style.”

  8. The Magnolia Plantation And Gardens looks so tranquil and peaceful. I have been thru Charleston a few times and have not been to this plantation. Adding to the itinerary for my next visit. I’d be very interested in learning a bit about the history too.

    1. It really is so peaceful. I hope you’re able to go next time you’re in Charleston.

  9. Joe Ankenbauer says:

    I’ve heard about this place, but I’ve never been. I need to go visit, it looks incredible!

  10. I love going out of my way to visit parks and gardens available. I’ve never been to an old plantation and this might just be the place where I can start. I can just imagine spending the day with a good book at this place. I’ve never been to South Carolina and I’m a little apprehensive because I wouldn’t know what to do there! Is there a great abundance of outdoor activities there?

    1. Hi Trisha! I would imagine there are. However, I only spent time in Charleston which is a pretty big city. Lot’s to do there though! 🙂

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