At Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina, travel back in time to the oldest public gardens in the country. Conceived in 1676 by husband-and-wife pioneers Thomas and Ann Drayton who originally built a residence and small garden on the site, the grounds later opened to the public in 1870. The idyllic gardens feature the oldest remaining Romantic Gardens in the country (think footbridges, a lake lined with Bald Cypress trees, and 900 varieties of Camellias), and a slew of tours such as a rice field boat tour along the Ashley River, a nature tour, a zoo and nature center, and a swamp garden replete with plant and animal species including turtles, frogs, and egrets.
For a look at life in the 19th century, don’t miss the Drayton house for a half-hour guided tour with ten rooms on display featuring original family items spanning china, furniture, antiques, and quilts. On the way out, bring home a floral-inspired journal or gardening tome from the on-site gift shop.