Day Trips from Charleston, SC: Tea, Plantations and Slave History

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.

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.

Did you know the US has a tea plantation? Read on for all the details about visiting the Charleston Tea Company. #Bigelow #Tea #thesouth #USroadtrips #daytripsfromCharleston #TBIN
A relaxing day on Charleston Tea Plantation. This picture makes me want to curl up on a blanket in the shade of this tree right now.

The Angel Tree

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The Angel Oak, John’s Island, South Carolina

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.

Magnolia Plantation

Read on for days trip from Charleston, South Carolina including the largest tree in North America and plantations. #CharlestonSC #SouthCarolina #SCRoadTrips
The award-winning gardens at Magnolia Plantation

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.

South Carolina road trip
The peaceful low country beauty in Magnolia Plantation’s Rice Field Boat Tour.

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.

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The slave quarters at Magnolia Plantations

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

south carolina road trip
Middleton Place, South Carolina

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.

The highlights from our Middlgeton Place dinner eaten on our Charleston road trip.
The highlights from our Middleton Place dinner. Scrumptious fried pheasant,  macaroni and cheese and something you must have when you visit the south, a mint julep.

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?


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24 thoughts on “Day Trips from Charleston, SC: Tea, Plantations and Slave History”

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

    • 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!

    • Rebecca, I love tea and am drawn to it everywhere! I’m headed to England next week. Can’t wait to experience it there.

  6. 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!


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