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Top Mansions and Plantations in Charleston

By Viator, November 2017

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Get an idea of what life was like in antebellum South Carolina by visiting one of the historical mansions or plantations just outside Charleston Here are the top 18th- and 19th-century homes where you can learn about pre–Civil War history.
 
Joseph Manigault House
Built in 1803, Charleston’s Joseph Manigault House is a US National Historic Landmark and today part of the Charleston Museum. Visit on your own or as part of a historical Charleston tour to gain insight into the city’s heritage from a guide. Inside, admire American, English, and French furniture, and check out the period garden outside. 

Heyward-Washington House
Also part of the Charleston Museum, the 1772 Heyward-Washington House was built in Georgian style and once played host to George Washington. If you plan to visit both this site and the Joseph Manigault House, purchase a 2-site ticket from the Charleston Museum to save money. Alternatively, some historical and cultural walking tours of the city either pass by or enter the house. Inside, see Charleston-made furniture and the 1740s kitchen building.

Aiken-Rhett House
Listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, the Aiken-Rhett House was built in 1820 and was once the home of the governor of South Carolina. See it from the outside on a walking tour or horse-drawn carriage tour of the city, or visit on your own by purchasing a ticket from the Historic Charleston Foundation, which also operates the Nathaniel Russell House. The well-preserved slave quarters provide insight into how the enslaved once lived here.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Magnolia Plantation dates back to 1676, when the Drayton family first established its property; Drayton family members continue to control the estate today. Located northwest of Charleston on the Ashley River, the plantation can be visited on a tour or independently. Allot plenty of time for both the plantation house tour and a stroll around the gardens, as well as optional activities like the Nature Train or Slavery to Freedom tour.  

Middleton Place
A US National Historic Landmark District on the Ashley River, Middleton Place was built in 1755. The 65-acre property is known as the home of the oldest landscaped gardens in the country. During a visit, you can also see historical family artifacts inside the house and the stable yards, where costumed staff members demonstrate blacksmithing, weaving, and carpentry.
 
Boone Hall Plantation
Northeast of Charleston, Boone Hall Plantation dates back to 1681 and is known for its avenue of live oak trees that line the entrance to the property. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the plantation can be visited on a tour from Charleston. Learn how the plantation evolved over the centuries, and see the slave quarters for a somber look at this part of history.

Tours & Tickets

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Historical Charleston Tour with Optional Joseph Manigault House Visit, Charleston, null
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Historical Charleston Tour with Optional Joseph Manigault House Visit

4 star rating: Recommended 65 Reviews

On this historical Charleston tour, journey back in time as your guide reveals the beauty and charm of one of America's most historic cities. Learn about the ...  Read more

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Duration: Varies

From USD $24.00
Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Tour, Charleston, Historical & Heritage Tours
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Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 225 Reviews

Travel by horse-drawn carriage along the picturesque streets of Charleston and take in the history of this South Carolina city. See highlights such as ...  Read more

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $26.00
Half-Day Magnolia Plantation Tour with Transportation, Charleston, Horse Carriage Rides
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Half-Day Magnolia Plantation Tour with Transportation

4.5 star rating: Recommended 12 Reviews

Enjoy this 4.5-hour tour of Magnolia Plantation and see the plantation has stood the test of time dating back to 1676. One of America's most important ...  Read more

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $56.18
Historic Sea Island Plantation and Lowcountry Life Tour, Hilton Head Island, Plantation Tours
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Historic Sea Island Plantation and Lowcountry Life Tour

Learn about the incredible history of the Sea Islands on this 3-hour tour by van. Visit the Penn Center and plantations while listening to the stories of the ...  Read more

Location: Beaufort, South Carolina
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $60.00
Charleston's Alleys and Hidden Passages, Charleston, Plantation Tours
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Charleston's Alleys and Hidden Passages

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 13 Reviews

Explore some of Charleston's enchanting alleys and hidden passages on this guided, small group, 2-hour walking tour. With our small group tours, you are ...  Read more

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $25.00
Lost Stories of Black Charleston Walking Tour, Charleston, Walking Tours
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Lost Stories of Black Charleston Walking Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

Listen to the lost stories of black Charleston on this 2-hour walking tour. Hear forgotten folktales and learn about the heroes and heroines who were left out ...  Read more

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $28.00

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