Courtesy ExploreCharleston.com

Key Info

3380 Ashley River Rd.

Price & Hours

$22 for adults; free for kids 5 and younger
Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. | Sun 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.


Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend


  • 4.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Dating back to 1738, Drayton Hall is one of the oldest surviving plantation houses left in the South. Take your time exploring the massive red-brick main house, which hasn't changed all that much from when it was originally built (be aware that there is no air conditioning, electricity or heat). Afterward, you can wander along the walking trails that follow the Ashley River and the marsh, or pay your respects at the on-site African American Cemetery. Archaeological artifacts and objects from the Drayton family are also on display in the on-site Gates Gallery.

Much like the Aiken-Rhett House, Drayton Hall hasn't been structurally renovated. And after surviving the 1886 earthquake and its role as a staging ground for both Colonial and British forces during the Revolution, the house is showing its age. For some visitors, this preservation provided a rare air of authenticity. Travelers also praise the tour guides for their vast knowledge of the house and its history. Though visitors recommended making a stop here, they also warned that admission is pricey.

Drayton Hall, which sits along the Ashley River, is located about 12 miles northwest of downtown Charleston and is best reached by car. The house is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with guided, 45-minute tours offered every half hour (the last tour departs at 3 p.m.). Tickets to tour the grounds and the house cost $32 for adults and $25 for children ages 8 to 14. For more information, check out Drayton Hall's website.

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#1 The Battery

Many visitors say you can't leave Charleston without seeing this stretch along the city's southern tip, which they call beautiful and a must-visit. This row of Southern-style mansions overlooking Charleston Harbor was formerly the heart and soul of the city's maritime activity. Today, the area attracts camera-toting tourists from all over the country.

As you explore this picturesque neighborhood, make sure to also spend some time in the nearby White Point Garden, where several Civil War relics and memorials commemorate the city's role in the battle. Start your tour of the Battery at the 12-acre Waterfront Park (home to the giant pineapple fountain featured on many Charleston postcards), then follow the walking paths on East Battery Street for the nearly mile-long stroll to White Point Garden. If you're staying at one of the hotels or bed-and-breakfasts located downtown, you can easily walk along the Battery from your digs. If you're driving to the Battery, you'll find some limited street parking, and some lots closer to Waterfront Park. Bus route No. 211 provides service to Waterfront Park and East Bay Street. Several of the city's best walking tours make stops along the Battery. If you're interested in the history of the mansions or the promenade's role in the Civil War, consider signing up for a tour.

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