I love the southern United States— its beautiful landscapes, weeping southern moss, wonderfully bad-for-me shrimp & grits, and super-friendly people. To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, my husband and I headed to a southern state and city that was new to me, but which I heard had tons of southern charm. We took a Charleston weekend getaway in the spring, my favorite season. I was very sick for my trip. I ended up being diagnosed with pneumonia on my arrival home, so maybe that is why Charleston didn’t become one of my favorite new southern cities. That love still belongs to New Orleans, LA, and Savannah, GA. What I did love was the history and our road trip outside of the city.
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Day Trips to Take from Charleston, South Carolina
A Tea Plantation Right Outside of Charleston
We spent two days road tripping around the area surrounding Charleston, and this was my favorite time of the trip. I am a tea lover– I drink it daily. So, it was a no-brainer to visit the Charleston Tea Plantation. The plantation offers a trolley tour through the tea fields and a tour through the plant. Both of which were informative and interesting. I love that I now know what tea looks like growing. Do you know the difference between white, green, and black teas? I didn’t before this tour. After the tours, we sampled all the wonderful varieties. I loved the tea so much, I have continued to order their peach tea by mail.
The Angel Tree
A road trip through South Carolina is not complete without a visit to the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River, the Angel Oak. I am a lover of trees (check out my Pinterest board Trees). This tree is majestic and peaceful, with its 17,000 square feet of shade cover.
Next, we drove to Magnolia Plantation to immerse ourselves in the area’s history. Magnolia Plantation is a pre-Civil War rice plantation settled on the Ashley River. We were drawn to it for its beautiful gardens, rice fields, and intact slave houses.
We had planned to kayak the Ashley River, but due to my pneumonia, we decided that seeing the marshes with someone else propelling the boat was a better idea. Magnolia’s Plantation’s Rice Field Boat Tour was perfect. The boat captain was full of information about how rice was grown on the plantation. He was also very knowledgeable about all the wildlife he was able to show us. And maybe it was less scary to see alligators from a couple of feet above the water.
As Americans, we should realize the tragic parts of our nation’s history. I was inspired by my reading to take the From Slavery to Freedom Tour that the plantation offered.
Middleton Place was my favorite place in South Carolina. We came at supper time, so the grounds were pretty empty. I was enamored by the formal gardens set among the wild Spanish Moss and the river. The meal was the best I had on my trip. It was served in a beautiful old building with a window view of the swamps. The menu offers fancy low-country southern food without trying too hard.
Where to Stay in Charleston, SC
Our base in the city was the Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District. I chose this hotel because I know I can’t go wrong, choosing an Embassy Suites. It is located right next to a large park. The room price included breakfast and had a cute bird in the lobby that we always stopped to say, “hi” to. But best of all is the building- the hotel was the historic Citadel Military College. Super cool!
Visiting Charleston with Kids
I didn’t take my kids along on this trip– Good thing since I felt so bad I could barely take care of myself. Discover the top five things to do in Charleston with kids, according to DQ Family Travel Blog.
Book to Read to Inspire Your Trip to Charleston
My historical fiction novel that accompanied this trip was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It especially piqued my interest to see more of the slavery experience on my trip. Explore more stories that have inspired my travel.
This was a great US road trip filled with unique scenery and history. Where are your favorite spots in the South?
24 thoughts on “Day Trips from Charleston, SC: Tea, Plantations and Slave History”
Stunning pictures, you’ve really brought out the essence of the South
Thank you, Keri.
Thank you, Keri!
I have only travelled the east and west coast of USA, bit of Florida, but never these southern parts. Pictures look lovely, would love to visit when we head to USA next year!
Samiya, Where are you planning to visit?
The South is so pretty and green. We flew into Charleston a few months ago. The airport is so small, but we were glad to see that it is undergoing an expansion. The people were so nice and friendly! Glad you enjoyed yourself.
I didn’t even know they grew tea in the south! These pictures have me a little homesick. It looks a lot like south Georgia and we’ve been in Asia for nearly a year.
I love Georgia!
We are talking about adding SC to our next family trip to the SE. I’m heading to ATL with the boys in two weeks but we’re talking about visiting Chattanooga… maybe we head east instead…
What a beautiful tree! I had no idea they grew tea in the south either.
Guess what… this is a hop skip and jump place from Atlanta… we are surely going to make a trip soon.
The pictures are amazing and you have covered every detail. Cheers 🙂
Beautiful pictures. The tea gardens look a lot different from the ones that I have seen in Asia. Pretty nonetheless.
I would love to check out the ones in Asia!
Looks like a really beautiful, serene area! I really love those big, beautiful trees and I agree that they’d be a great day to spend with a good book or maybe gossiping with some friends.
Beautiful pictures! Totally remember me of when I went there last year 🙂
I’ve been in and around Charleston for almost 45 years. You’ve captured it well.
I loved the images! They make this trip really desirable!
Thank you, Ajay!
It looks like a nature lover’s dream and the Angel Oak is absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing and I hope you recovered quickly!
I think the south is one of the prettiest parts of this country. The positive of the illness was losing 10 pounds! I recovered well enough by the summer to help my tennis team come in 3rd place in New England, so I’m back to normal! Thank you!
Wow, Charleston is gorgeous! Love your photos. Hadn’t associated Charleston with tea! Need to make a trip down south. Thanks for all the info!
Rebecca, I love tea and am drawn to it everywhere! I’m headed to England next week. Can’t wait to experience it there.
I’ve lived in South Carolina for most of my life and I’ve been to Charleston countless times, but I’ve never heard of this tour before! It sounds great and I bet I’ll get hooked on their tea as well. I’ll have to check out that hotel since I’m also a bird fanatic! Great post!
As a tea drinker, I really loved it. Hope you love it as well!