McLeod Plantation Historic Site

McLeod Plantation Historic Site

McLeod Plantation Historic Site
4.5
Historic SitesPoints of Interest & Landmarks
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Established in 1851, McLeod Plantation has borne witness to some of the most significant periods of Charleston's - and our nations - history. Today McLeod Plantation is an important 37-acre Gullah/Geechee heritage site that has been carefully preserved in recognition of its cultural and historical significance. The grounds include a riverside outdoor pavilion, a sweeping oak allée, and the McLeod Oak, which is thought to be more than 600 years old. It is a place like no other, not frozen in time but vibrant, dynamic, and constantly evolving, where the winds of change whisper through the oak trees and voices from the past speak to all who pause to listen. McLeod Plantation was built on the riches of sea island cotton - and on the backs of enslaved people whose work and culture are embedded in the Lowcountry's very foundation. It is a living tribute to the men and women and their descendants that persevered in their efforts to achieve freedom, equality, and justice. All of their stories - black and white, enslaved and free - are given their due. After years of careful research and restoration, McLeod Plantation Historic Site invites visitors to embark upon an in-depth exploration of the lives of those people whose stories are essential to understanding Charleston's complex past and helped shape who we, as a nation, are today.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • Meander533938
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Thought Provoking
    Noah was an incredible source of both history and perspective. He focused on the multi-generational families working on the plantation and shared poignant stories of survival and triumph despite the circumstances. He even offered a suggested reading list for further knowledge. Fascinating and haunting, don't miss this opportunity.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 24, 2023
  • Passport26775560806
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great tour
    The McLeod Plantation was recommended to us by a staff member at the hotel we were staying in and I'm so happy he did. This tour provided a more in-depth backstory from the enslaved perspective vs. some of the plantation tours we visited, which I greatly appreciated. The young woman that presented the tour was amazing and very knowledgeable.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 8, 2023
  • Shelley R
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must see and amazing experience in Charleston
    This is an absolute must see if you are visiting Charleston. This is an excellently preserved historic site that highlights the stories of the enslaved people. It also tells about the Gullah/Geechee culture that has helped make the culture of Charleston and the sea islands what they are today. Our guide Alan was amazing. He told the stories so well and provided an excellent historical education about the plantation and the people who lived there and built it. It is a must see experience if you are in Charleston or James Island.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 13, 2023
  • Tijuana
    9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must see tour on your trip to Charleston
    This was an excellent tour and Paul was an excellent guide. I toured with a group of friends and we found the interpretation of the plantation experience reflected both the realities of life from the perspective of the enslaved as well as the enslavers. Paul was very knowledgable and comfortable with the truth. I would defintely visit again and highly recommend this tour for others.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 23, 2023
  • Jack C
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Every US citizen should tour this site
    We were visiting family nearby in Charleston and took half a day to visit the McLeod Plantation Historic Site. In addition to spending part of our time at the site doing a self-guided tour, we spent a few hours on a guided tour. Our guide was wonderful; he was a history major in college and he really knew all about the site, and the history that surrounded so much that had gone on there. We are grateful for all the extra things he shared, like turning on to 'Stony the Road', a wonderful and mind-opening book by Henry Louis Gates Jr. written about the Reconstruction Period and its impact on our nation. Worth your time. Worth a visit.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 30, 2023
  • Barb A
    Winston Salem, North Carolina45 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Educational and very interesting
    A history lesson made personal in a small group tour. So much information I had never heard before with explanations on topics I hadn't even considered before. An exciting that had stayed with me long after my visit.
    Visited October 2022
    Traveled with friends
    Written July 23, 2023
  • resat
    Knoxville, Tennessee6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great tour featuring the unvarnished history of the plantation and the area.
    Wonderful, unusual tour. Led by an excellent guide, Alan, the tour focused on the history of the area, including Native Americans, and the lives and the roles enslaved workers played in the history of the development and maintenance of the plantation. The one hour tour was entirely outside but not much walking was involved, though several guests were driven from spot to spot on a golf cart. We were invited to tour the first floor of the plantation house on our own at the end of the tour. We took the last guided tour of the day, at 2:30, which left little time to visit the welcome center. I’d suggest an earlier tour or arriving early to spend time in the welcome center/gift shop, which includes an interesting history of the area from different perspectives.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 4, 2023
  • Alexandra H
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Best historically accurate plantation tour around Charleston
    If you want to learn the true history about Southern plantations, this is the one to visit. I am well read in history and how the US was built on the backs of the enslaved people. My family and I have been to other plantations in the Charleston area and always left with a bitter taste in our mouth due to history being whitewashed. This is not the case at McLeod place. The focus here is the enslaved people, their lives and how profitable they made this plantation and suffering while forced doing so. Our tour guide Ista was amazing! There is a reason the main house is not furnished. The owners are not the focus. They did not work the land. It was the people they treated and traded like cattle and who made them richer. It was also interesting to learn how the plantation changed during the Jim Crow era to make it more presentable and romanticized it by building on a majestic porch to the back and planting more trees to show that shade was provided. If you want to learn the true history not told by the "ruling class" but the real lived experience, take the time to visit McLeod plantation. There are some 1 star reviews and they are quite frankly hilarious, especially if you are familiar with the true history of the South.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 14, 2023
  • Don M
    18 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Unfiltered Description of what transpires on a Plantation
    Alan the tour guide was extremely informative and was very impressive in how he conveyed not only the history of the plantation itself but also the lands that surround it in general. This information is not sugar coated and I appreciated that it focused on the people of the plantation and not on the lush gardens or landscapes of the larger plantations in the area. Would be nice to do a little more walking to get a better feel for the stories and where they took place but overall worth the trip.
    Visited August 2023
    Written August 14, 2023
  • Ella U
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly recommend visiting
    Alan ran our tour and was amazing. Very informative and respectful. The staff running the plantation make sure the history is not whitewashed and are in touch with descendants of the enslaved families to inform decisions about the plantation and how it’s looked after and ran. Highly recommend
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written August 30, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,377 reviews
Excellent
1,032
Very good
218
Average
65
Poor
33
Terrible
29

Yvonne M
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Worst tour ever. An austere young tour guide only told us of the evils of white people and the brutal abuse of slaves (which OF COURSE was terrible and very wrong) over and over and over, along with a very anticlimactic “story” of a former slave. Had some shady facts including telling us that INFANT slaves “were forced to work before they could even walk.” When questioned about this, she said they were forced to “crawl and carry cotton sacks across the field.” Really? Did not cover history of plantation nor occupation during civil war but did tell us the story of a modern day white supremest who visited, took selfies, and then went to a church and shot several people. Not sure why we needed to hear that story; I guess to cap off the LECTURE that white people are evil and racist. We left there feeling gross and angry. Avoid this dinky stupid place. I wouldn’t recommend it if it were free, never mind pay for it. Go to a real plantation that will offer history and enlightenment. This place only offers an angry lecture.
Written July 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TrippleTime
Amelia Island, FL1,369 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
My wife and I took the McLeod Plantation guided tour on 12/8/2022 and were surprised and disappointed in the guide's narration.

The Plantation's online description includes this sentence regarding the inhabitants: “All of their stories - black and white, enslaved and free - are given their due.”.

This was not the case as the guide's personal bias was on full display at the very beginning when he explained that “Plantation” is a euphemism for “Slave Labor Camp” which he subsequently used instead of “Plantation” during the remainder of the walk. He repeated the phrase “White Supremacy” a number of times as well as he applied twenty first century viewpoints on 19th century Southern culture.

There were 16 customers in the group and there was an obvious quiet unease among us.

The guide walked us past several buildings (cotton gin and carriage barn) with little or no description while continuing to lecture the group on the evils of the white landowners.

After about 15 minutes of this we were compelled to leave the group and explored the rest of the Plantation on our own.

The first floor of the “Big House” is open for self-guided touring (included in the $20 entrance fee) and is devoid of any furniture except for an interesting rectangular grand piano in the parlor.
The rooms have lots of interesting placards and displays that give you an understanding of life on the McLeod Plantation in the 1860's. Few of any of the other out buildings include descriptive placards.

A different guide with a more balanced presentation may have made the experience more enjoyable unless of course the goal is to dismantle the “Southern Charm” image and promote a white guilt narrative. We won't be returning nor recommending this tour to others.
Written December 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AAIN
79 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Family
Awful. Go to another plantation. First off —— SKIP THIS PLACE. If your like my family and want to see beautifully preserved plantations then go somewhere else. I should have known after 5 minutes into the guided tour with Paul that this was not a historic tour of a plantation but about how awful certain people are and politics. Listen I paid good money to see this home and to learn the history of what they produced and the struggles and effects of war on it. Not to be told a bunch of garbage to my children and told if I didn’t like it to leave the group. Whoever is over the Friends of the McLeods running this place you better do some house cleaning because your tour guides are just disgruntled politicians. I have visited other historic sites and have never seen a place so pitiful. Despite the guide (which we and other families walked away from after 20 minutes of this nonsense) the houses are empty and closed off. There is nothing to see here. Even walked across the street to see the cemetery and couldn’t find it. Save your money and visit another plantation because after he tells in less than 2 minutes what was produced here nothing else is about the plantation but just how awful certain people are. He even tells that this place wasn’t a plantation but a slave prison. I get it but if your going to be this vocal about the wrongs why don’t you change the name to McLeods slave prison and stop making your own money off this. Wrong is wrong for all
Written May 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CapeCodFrank
Falmouth, MA64 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
We hoped to make the most of our last day in the area by visiting the MacLeod Plantation Historic Site. This was a plantation in the mid-1850s. They grew cotton on the plantation, and, of course, “owned” slaves. This historic site is dedicated to telling the story from the vantage point of the slaves.

We were extremely fortunate to have Tobey as our guide. She was remarkable. She is descended from a slave and told the story of the slaves with passion and pride at what the slaves endured. It was deeply personal to her, and as she told the stories of the people who lived and worked here, it was hard to keep it together.

One of the stories she told was of a young girl named Leaha. She was brought to the plantation at age 4, after she was separated from her parents. She was alone in a strange place, and was expected to work.

One of things that young children had to do was to help out in the process of making bricks. Tobey said that the plantation produced thousands of bricks per day. After the bricks were formed, they were set out to dry. One of the tasks for the young people was to turn the bricks so they could dry evenly. As a result, many of the bricks have fingerprints of the young children. She showed us one that was part of a building.

I highly recommend a visit. I can only sing the praises of Tobey, but I'm sure there other guides are as impressive. This visit was one of the highlights of our trip.
Written March 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ann R
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
The staff especially our guide Paul were amazing. We learned so much about the transition to freedom for the enslaved people at the Plantation. In a short amount of time Paul painted a picture of life at McLeod and the events that took place before, during and after the Civil War. He helped us understand how the policies and practices that were established to enslave black people have been repeated up until the present day.
Written August 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

trav226
New York City, NY655 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
After almost collapsing from fatigue walking around Magnolia this place was a welcome change as it is much more compact with less to see. The grounds are beautiful though you won’t see any gardens here. The house is open on the ground floor only. Another advantage to McLeod is it’s a quick trip from southern Charleston (15 min drive) and you can see it in an hour or less.

I would recommend against the tour though. Our guide was nice but not very informative and he didn’t even mention let alone show us the slave quarters which I would think would be a main thing people want to see. He also didn’t show us inside the house so we did that on our own. There are no snacks or restaurant here unlike magnolia but you can bring a picnic and eat on the grounds.
Written October 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tina Marie
Seneca, SC6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Family
Over the last 25 years visiting the lowcountry we have been on numerous plantation tours. If you are looking for plantation finery, antiques and false historical accounts then McLeod is not the right "plantation" for you. If you want an amazing tour with accurate historical info, definitely go! Paul was phenomenal and even the teenagers asked questions and were captivated. Well worth every penny! Our only concerns were the lack of security for such a beautiful location that the county poured so much into. Cameras with a computer station for the gift shop attendant to watch would be an awesome start. Nice work Charleston County Parks. It's come a long way since our first visit!
Written June 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Margaret S
1 contribution
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Family
I picked this place for a family tour based on reviews that claimed the tour focused on the experiences of the enslaved people who had lived there rather than glorifying the plantation days. It was a complete waste of time. I paid $100 for the five of us to stand in the house and listen to a meandering lecture about very little that had to do with the history of the site or the people who lived there. No narrative, no stories. The docent was pleasant but clearly a volunteer, not using a professional script. Most of the information could have been relayed in a well done exhibit. The exhibited information that is in the house is minimal at best. After 45 minutes we were released to walk the grounds on our own. Do not pay for the tour, download the app and visit the site on your own.
Written August 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anna C
Cleveland, OH24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2021 • Family
Tour was very informative. Jeff led us through history of the site based on what is known of a 4-year old slave girl purchased and brought to the plantation. This approach humanized the experience, and his questions to the group promoted thoughtful introspection, and thus a deeper understanding. His tour was unbiased and provocative.

A tour is highly recommended, as the interpretive signage is limited to the main house and a few outbuildings. It is included in your admission, and during COVID at least, guide had a microphone to ensure he was audible from 6’ distance.

I wish we could capture the feeling of the fresh salty air, the Spanish moss swaying in the breeze. Sit a bit a bench or rocking chair and ponder ways life has changed. And hasn’t.
Written February 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dmitri K
San Antonio, TX855 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This is a fairly large site. The entrance fee is high, but the visit was worth it.The tour was excellent and IMHO is a must: the tour guides are engaging and knowledgeable, you will learn quite a bit. Teens did not seem to be bored and even deigned to get off their phones.
You can visit the site's website and learn about the times of the tour. We had about 45 minutes (before the tour) and this was barely enough time to walk the parts not covered by the tour: the house and the part of the plantation across the road, the latter was less memorable. Just walking through the plantation gives you a great impression of the spirit of this place.
Written January 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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McLeod Plantation Historic Site - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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