During our travels to Charleston, SC we decided that we had to visit a few plantations. One of the most beautiful ones we traipsed to was Magnolia Plantation. While some plantations can take a few hours to tour and get a sense of the history, Magnolia commands an entire day of attention. We spent roughly 6 hours at the plantation and below is a list of attractions we traipsed through.
This was our first tour of the day, where you tour the entire property and learn about the wildlife that calls Magnolia home. A few interesting facts we learned on this tour are one, the property has many alligators and you can tell how many feet an alligator is by measuring the inches between their nose and eyes. For example, if there is 8 inches between their nose and eyes than the gator is 8 feet. Two, Magnolia has wild pigs that dig up the ground overnight. Three, Magnolia is home to many different types of birds, most notable the Blue Heron. After a 45 minute property tour the Nature Train drops you in front of the plantation house.
The house is gorgeous and the Docents have a level of knowledge that surpasses other establishments of it’s kind (Almost all docents in Charleston know the history of their city so well, which provides continuity throughout Charleston and makes going on these tours really beneficial). Unlike most plantation homes, Magnolia’s Avenue of Oak Trees don’t line up with the center of the home, which is one of the first areas the Docents address at the beginning of the tour. Like many homes Magnolia is still owned and operated by relatives of the Drayton Family, which means you cannot take pictures inside the house or go into all the rooms. If you want to know more about the home, why it’s not centered with the driveway or peak inside, you’re going to have to plan a visit!
After we toured the house we then began roaming the gardens. Magnolia is known for it’s large scale Romantic style gardens, specifically their azaleas. Traipsing through the hundreds of acres, we could get a sense of how beautiful the property would look in full bloom. The height of the floral season for Magnolia is in Spring and we recommend visiting the plantation during that time period because who really likes to imagine what things should look like?! Late August was still a beautiful time to go, but you miss seeing all the azaleas, which again is a large part of Magnolia’s attraction and history.
We made our way to the Peacock Cafe and had lunch here. The food was fair, so we recommend bringing your own lunch to enjoy. Also, be on the look out for Peacocks as they will come over to your table and peak around your food, which can be a little intimidating.
-Rice Field Boat Tour
Once lunch was over we were on to the next and final guided tour of the day, the Rice Field Boat Tour. This tour gives you a sense of how the plantation was originally making a profit off of the rice crop and how this changed after the Civil War. Now the rice fields have become home to wildlife, in particular alligators and birds.
Wrapping up our day with the self guided Swamp Garden tour, which was fascinating due to the wildlife and foliage. If you don’t like alligators than this might not be the best tour for you to take, however if you love them than this is your chance to try and snap a close up of one.
Tips for your Magnolia Trip:
-Bring a water bottle
-Bring your lunch
-Bring Trail mix or a snack for later in the day
-Make sure your phone is fully charged because you will take a ton of pictures