The 65-acre Middleton Place, a former rice plantation along the Ashley River, has persisted under the guidance of the Middleton family, without changing hands, for more than 320 years. Visitors to this National Historic Landmark home—built in 1755 by the father of Arthur Middleton, who signed the Declaration of Independence—can explore the Middleton Place house, the lavish landscaped gardens (the oldest in the nation), and the stable yards, where staff dressed in period clothing demonstrate weaving, blacksmithing, carpentry, and other trades formerly undertaken by slaves.
A visit to Middleton Place offers insight into what Southern plantation life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries. A general admission ticket includes access to the sprawling landscaped gardens and plantation stable yards, while possible add-on experiences are a 45-minute guided tour of the House Museum and a leisurely 40-minute open-air carriage tour around the plantation grounds. Those with more time can book a room at the Middleton Place Inn, which includes access to all Middleton points of interest.
- This site is a must-see for history buffs.
- Give yourself a minimum of two hours (and as much as a full day) to tour the estate.
- The gardens are mostly wheelchair accessible, and the site offers handicapped parking and restrooms. The House Museum is not handicapped accessible.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and appropriate clothing for outdoor conditions.
How to Get to Middleton Place
Middleton Place is located about 30 to 40 minutes from downtown Charleston along the Ashley River and is best visited by car via Interstate 95. Parking is free of charge. For those without access to a car, it’s also possible to visit on a private tour, which usually includes roundtrip transportation from Charleston.
When to Get There
While Middleton Place is open throughout the year, many visitors plan their trip based on what’s blooming in the gardens. The winter months see centuries-old camellias burst into bloom, while vibrant azaleas put on a show above Rice Mill Pond in spring. In summer, expect roses, crepe myrtles, magnolias, and kalmia—as well as temperatures in the upper 80s.
A Taste of the Low Country
If walking around the grounds works up an appetite, grab a table at the Middleton Place Restaurant, where the menu features Carolina Low Country favorites like she-crab soup, collard greens, shrimp and grits, and Huguenot torte.