South Carolina is home to a multitude of historic homes and plantation sites. They were called home to individuals who influenced the course of history – for our state and our nation. The following homes are open and available for you to take a tour of the inside. Some of them also have beautiful gardens that you can walk through and small restaurants that serve delicious southern delicacies and dishes.
1. Drayton Hall
Located on the Ashley River just 15 miles outside of Charleston, Drayton Hall is an 18th century Palladian-style mansion. It has the distinction of being the only home to survive both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
2. Woodrow Wilson House
The home was built in 1872 and is one of the childhood homes of the 28th President of the United States. It underwent complete renovation and is now open again to the public.
3. Frampton Plantation/Hill House
This beautiful home and land has the distinction of being gifted to the Frampton's by the King in the 1700's. The first home was called "The Hill" as it was built on the highest elevation on the land however, it was burned by General Sherman's troops. In 1993, the home and land was donated to the Lowcountry Tourism Commision for creation of the Lowcountry Visitor's Center and Museum.
4. Charleston Tea Plantation
Sitting on 127 acres, Charleston Tea Plantation was built on the historic and beautiful Wadmalaw Island that was claimed by the English in 1666. There are tours, a gift shop, and as much tea then you could ever drink. Oh, did I tell you that this is the ONLY place in North America that grows tea? And, they grow 320 varieties!
5. Heyward-Washington House
This is a Georgian-style home that was built in 1772 for Thomas Heyward, Jr, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This home also features the only open kitchen to the public and beautiful gardens (that hold plants that were original to the state of SC) on our list.
6. Ashtabula Plantation
Located just 3 miles outside of Pendleton, SC, this beautiful example of a lowcountry plantation-style home was built for a family from Charleston. Sadly, the couple didn't live to see its completion. The Mead Paper Company bought the home in 1961 and today it serves as a museum for the public.
7. Kaminski House
Built in 1769 by a wealthy man, Paul Trapier, this beautiful home is located in the historic district of Georgetown. The home was gifted to the town in remembrance by the wife of its last owner, Harold Kaminski. Today, it is a museum with amazing art, antiques, and furnishings of the period.
8. Nathaniel Russell House
Located on a large lot in Charleston, sits this magnificent house that has 9,600 sq. feet of living space! In 1808, Nathaniel hired an architect that no one knew to build this house and now it's known as the most important Neoclassical home in America. If you think the outside is mesmerizing...you haven't seen anything until you step inside! Wow.
9. Aiken-Rhett House Museum
Located in Charleston and built in 1820, this house is a mash of styles, but it seems to work out well. It was the home of the owner of the railroad, William Aiken, and then passed to his son who became governor. Today, this house is a museum for the public to enjoy!
10. Fort Hill or John C. Calhoun Museum
This is a home that grew from 4 rooms to 14 and has had many owners. It was originally built on the beautiful land upstate in 1803 and was expanded in 1825 by another owner. The family generously left the home and 814 acres to SC for the formation of an agricultural college which is known today as Clemson University. This gift was contingent on the promise that the house would be kept in its full glory and opened to visitors. Today, they still keep their promise.
11. South Carolina State House and The Governor's Mansion
It took approx. 56 years and 2 architects to complete the State House. It survived Sherman's troops and holds markers for the places where the artillery shells landed. The Governor's Mansion holds the distinction of being the only building that survived Sherman's troops after they burned the entire city of Columbia. Tours are held at both buildings and they are quite memorable experiences.
12. Oconee Station State Historic Site including the William Richards House
The Oconee Station was built in 1792 as a blockhouse for troops, but was decommissioned in 1799. The William Richards House was built near the first one in the 19th century and served as a home and trading post. There's is a small hiking trail from this site to the Station Cove Falls, which is extremely beautiful to behold!
13. Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens
This house, which is located in Columbia, SC, has more history that most! It was built in 1818 by Ainsley Hall and then sold it to Wade Hampton in 1823. He then renovated the house to its current Greek Revival style. The gardens were landscaped by the mother and daughter in the 1830's and hold plants and flowers from around the world!
14. Joseph Manigualt Home
Built in 1803 by Gabriel for his brother, this house has some of the most amazing architecture I've ever seen. The details in the home are amazing. It's located in Charleston, SC and was built in the Adam style.
15. Verdier House
French Huguenot, John Mark Verdier, built this home in beautiful Beaufort, SC, in the antebellum style.
16. Woodburn Plantation
A home with a secret. When was it built? There is some confusion on this fact, however, it was built by Charles Pinckney as a summer home. The architecture alone is worth going to see, but the inside is amazing. It was built in the Charleston-style to take full advantage of the soothing summer breeze.
17. Hopsewee Plantation
Built in 1735 near Georgetown, SC, this home was the birthplace and residence of Thomas Lynch, Jr, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house is open for tours, but is still a privately owned home.
Some of these amazing houses are also available for weddings and other events. Photographs of these celebrations are absolutely gorgeous! Note that some of these properties require tours be scheduled in advance, so please call ahead to make sure they’re open before you make the trip.