Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Place to See in South Carolina. America’s oldest unrestored plantation c. 1738 open daily for house tours, plantation tours, and museum exhibits.
Built in 1738, Drayton Hall is the oldest unrestored plantation house in America still open to the public and the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture. After seven generations, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and numerous hurricanes and earthquakes, the main house remains in nearly original condition, allowing visitors to see the beauty of the original architectural details. The entire site—including the historic grounds with its ancient live oaks, broad vistas, vanished structures, and rare period features—serves as a testimony to America’s heritage. Admission includes daily tours, access to Drayton Hall’s galleries and garden, and interpretive programs - including a guided house tour on the hour starting at 10:00am Monday through Saturday and 11:00am on Sunday. An interactive presentation “Port to Plantation: Slavery and the Making of the Early Lowcountry Economy” program is offered twice daily and is included with admission. A visit should also include the 18th-century African-American cemetery—the largest documented African-American cemetery in North America, self-guided river and landscape walks, lunch in Rudi’s Café at Drayton Hall and a stop in the beautiful boutique-style Museum Shop for locally curated merchandise inspired by Drayton Hall’s history. Drayton Hall is a National Historic Landmark and a must-see plantation house visit when traveling to Charleston. Drayton Hall is open daily except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Year’s Eve/Day. 3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414. 843-769-2600.