Charleston, South Carolina

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Charleston, SC
Points of Interest


Plantations, Gardens and Parks

Audubon Swamp Garden-The unique and lovely Audubon Swamp Garden, located on the grounds of Magnolia Plantation, encompasses 60 acres of black water cypress and tupelo swamp. Accessible by boardwalks and dikes, this wild and natural area has been called the "most important new botanical planting in North America by Derek Fell, America's leading garden critic, photographer and writer. Lowcountry wildlife (herons, egrets, alligators, anhingas, wood ducks, otters) are commonly spotted; binoculars are provided.

Open Daily: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Location: Ten miles from downtown on Hwy 61.

Telephone: (843) 571-1266

Boone Hall Plantation-A magnificent estate of 738 acres. A highlight of the plantation is the majestic avenue of live oaks planted in 1743 by Captain Thomas Boone. The plantation mansion I of Georgian architecture. Original plantation buildings include nine 18th century slave cabins and the gin house used for processing cotton. Used so extensively in motion picture and television filming, as well as in worldwide publications, it has become known as "America's Most Photographed Plantation".

Open Daily: Day after Labor day through march 31st, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Location: 6 Miles north of Charleston on US Hwy. 17 North, Charleston

Telephone: (843) 884-4371

Charles Towne Landing-This is where South Carolina was born. The site of the first permanent English settlement in the state. Today it is preserved as a national treasure. This Is a one of a kind state park filled with history and natural pride. Climb aboard the commemorative sailing ship Adventure, explore eighty acres of lush gardens, or stroll through the winding trails of our Animal Forest, a natural habitat zoo.

Location: 1500 Old Town Road, Hwy. 171 Charleston, SC 29407 (843) 852-4200

Cypress Gardens - Cypress Gardens was created by owner Benjamin R. Kittredge in the late 1920's. Early one spring, as the story goes, Mr. Kittredge saw a red maple reflecting in the black water swamp. From this inspiration, "he created the beauty of this surrounding Cypress Gardens." Since then, the colorful Gardens have thrilled thousands each spring reflecting a profusion of azaleas, dogwoods, daffodils and wisteria in the mirror-like inky waters. Wildlife abounds at Cypress Gardens. Outdoor enthusiasts and birdwatchers as well as hikers will particularly enjoy the two rambling nature trails in isolated areas of the swamp. Here visitors can share the swamp with alligators, pileated woodpeckers, wood ducks, otter, barred owls and the other abundant species that inhabit the swamp year round.

Location: 3030 Cypress Gardens Road, Moncks Corner, SC 29461

Telephone: (843) 553-0515

Drayton Hall - Built between 1738 and 1742, Drayton Hall is one of the finest examples of colonial architecture in America. Through seven generations of Drayton ownership, this National Historic Landmark has remained in nearly original condition and is the only Ashley River plantation house to survive the Civil War intact. Its unique state of preservation and rich, hand-crafted detail offer visitors a rare glimpse of a bygone Southern way of life.

Location: 3880 Ashley River Road, 9 miles northwest of downtown Charleston on the historic Ashley River Road (S.C. Route 61.)

Open to the public daily: Tours on the hour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., March through October; 10 a.m. to 3 p/m/, November through February.

Magnolia Plantation and Garden-A 300 year old ancestral home of South Carolina's illustrious Drayton family, ten generations utilizing it since the 1670's. Internationally famous, and open to the public for over a century, it is credited as America's oldest man-made attraction. Begun in the 1680's as a plantation estate garden, it is also America's oldest major garden. Scores of experts have described its 50 acres of lawn and gardens as the world's most beautiful.

Location: 10 miles from downtown Charleston, SC on Hwy 61.

Telephone: (843) 571-1266

Middleton Place - America's oldest landscaped gardens, celebrating 250 years. Middleton Place is a carefully preserved 18th century plantation that encompasses America's oldest landscaped gardens, the Middleton Place House, and the Plantation Stableyards.

Location: Ashley River Road (Hwy. 61), 14 miles northwest of Charleston.

Open Daily: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.


The Charleston Museum - The Charleston Museum, founded in 1773, is the first and oldest museum in America. The museum's collections preserve and interpret the social and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina coastal region. Objects from natural history science, cultural history, historical archaeology, ornithology and ethnology departments are presented to illustrate the important contribution each had to the history of this area.

Location: 360 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC

Telephone: (843) 722-2996

Museum Hours: Open Daily Mon-Sat 9-5, Sunday 1-5

Civil War Museum - See Charleston's largest collection of civil war long arms, cavalry saddles, and excavated Confederate artifacts. Other exhibits include Civil War uniforms, swords, pistols, artillery projectile, and flags. The museum also includes Charleston's largest gallery of authentic Civil War antiques offered for sale.

Open: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Location: Sumter Military Museum Antiques and Museum, 54 Broad Street, Charleston

Telephone: (843) 577-7766

Gibbes Museum of Art - One of the finest collections of American art in the Southeast. The collection is comprised of views of Charleston, portraits of notable South Carolinians, paintings, prints and drawings from the 18th century to the present.

Open: Tues. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sun. & Mon. 1 - 5 p.m.

Location: 135 Meeting Street, Charleston

Telephone: (843) 722-2706

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum - Visit the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown, World War II's Famous "Fighting Lady", submarine Clamagore, destroyer Laffey, coast guard cutter Ingham, and 20 Vintage military aircraft.

Open Daily

Location: Charleston Harbor, Mt. Pleasant side of Cooper River Bridge

Telephone: (843) 884-2727

Berkeley Museum

From the Cherokee Path, to the nation's first true canal, Berkeley County has long been a crossroads in American history.

Historic Houses and Buildings

Calhoun Mansion-This Victorian Baronial Manor House was built by George Walton Williams, a wealthy merchant and banker., following the Civil War. (circa 1876). The mansion is 24,000 square feet and has 14-foot ceilings, ornate plaster, wood mouldings, elaborate chandeliers, a stairwell that reaches to a 75-foot domed ceiling, as well as a ballroom with a coved glass skylight that is 45 feet high. Used as the "Hazard" house in the mini-series "North and South."

Open: Thurs.-Sun. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed in January.

Location: 16 Meeting Street in Downtown Charleston

Telephone: (843) 722-8205

The Charleston Museum Houses

Edmondston-Alston House - The stately Edmondston-Alston House on Charleston's High Battery is one of the city's most splendid dwellings, a gracious example of early nineteenth century commitment to elegance, style and comfort.

Open: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4:40 p.m., Sunday and Monday , 1:30 p.m. - 4:40 p.m.

Location:21 East Battery in Downtown Charleston

Telephone: (843) 556-6020

Nathaniel Russell House-Since the early 1800's, visitors have admired the townhouse of Nathaniel and Sarah Russell, completed in 1808. Set amid spacious gardens, the "mansion-house" is recognized as one of America's most important neoclassical dwellings. The graceful interiors with elaborate plasterwork ornamentation geometrically shaped rooms and a magnificent free-flying staircase are about the most exuberant ever created in early America. Furnished with period antiques and works of art, many of Charleston origin, the house evokes the gracious life-style of the city's merchant elite.

Admission Tickets: Available at the site, and the Edmunds Preservation Center at 108 Meeting Street. Combination ticket available with the Edmondston-Alston House Museum Located at: 21 East Battery, Charleston Pre-school children free. Group Discounts available for groups of 12 or more. Guided Tours Daily:Monday-Saturday from 10-5 P.M.: Sunday from 2-5 P.M.

For more information contact: Nathaniel Russell House, 51 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Telephone: (843) 724-8481

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - Over 300 years of pirates, presidents, patriots and preservation make the Olde Exchange and Provost Dungeon one of the most historic places you'll see on your visit to Charleston. Charleston's first customs house and exchange was built by the British in 1771.

Open: Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Location: 122 East Bay Street at Broad Street, Charleston

Telephone: (843) 727-2165


Fort Sumter Tours-This is the only tour stopping at Fort Sumter for visitation. You'll enjoy a relaxing boar ride through Charleston harbor on your way to the fort. Once there, National Park Service Rangers will answer your questions. Tour lasts 2 1/4 hours. Boats leave daily from the City marina and Patriots.

For more information call (843) 722-1691.

Greyline Water Tour-Harbor of History Tour- Aboard the Charles Towne Princess, enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner and experience the charm and excitement of old Charleston and her historic harbor while touring the 85 points of interest. The Harborlites Cruise offers a full dinner buffet and reservations are required. All tours depart at the City Marina

Departures: Daily 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., & 3:00 p.m.(No Reservations Required)

Evening Harborlites Cruise - 7:00 p.m. (Reservations Required)

Location: 17 Lockwood Drive, Charleston, SC

Telephone: 800/344-4483

Harbor and Naval Base Tour- This relaxing and informative nonstop tour provides you with a waterside view of Charleston. You'll cruise by historic battery homes, the Ports terminals, and Fort Sumter; under the Cooper River Bridges; and up to the huge U.S. Naval Base. The lasts 2 hours.

Open: Daily

Location: Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant

Telephone: (843) 722-1691

The Schooner Pride-The PRIDE is an 84-foot, true three-masted topsail schooner. Passengers are encouraged to help out with the sailing or just sit back and enjoy the historic harbor and wildlife as she silently slips through the waters. Patrons agree that the two-hour afternoon or sunset cruise is the most exciting, yet relaxing experience in Charleston.

Open: Daily, Please call for weekly schedule and reservations.

Location: Ripley Light Marina at Ashley Pointe Drive (next to California Dreaming)

Telephone: (843) 795-1180

Charleston Carriage Tours-Several companies in the area provide horse drawn carriage tours of historic Charleston. All carriages leave from the Market in the area bordered by Anson and Church Streets.
See our Tours Page

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