C is for Charles Towne Landing
Last week we had another doctor appointment in Charleston. Since we were in the area, we decided to take a field trip as well. One of our favorite places to visit is Charles Towne Landing, a South Carolina State Park.
Viewing and listening to the first exhibit in the park museum.
My first visit to Charles Towne Landing was in 4th grade with my public school class. That one visit stuck with me for my entire life, so when my children were born, I knew Charles Towne Landing would be one place that I wanted my children to see with me. Charles Towne is also a childhood favorite of Josh’s, so it’s a place he enjoys visiting as well.
Charles Towne Landing is located in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina right on a marsh off the Ashley River. This park represents the establishment of the birthplace of the first Carolina Colony at Charleston, where a group of English Settlers first landed in 1670. The park is filled with historical representations of the original Carolina Colony.
This was Jackson’s very first field trip!
You begin your visit to Charles Towne Landing with a stop at the Visitor’s Center, where you can pay for entrance to the park. The fees are low at $10 per adult, $6.50 per Senior Citizen, $6 for Youth ages 6-15 and children under 5 get in free. If you purchase a South Carolina State Park Passport Plus, then who ever is in your vehicle while you visit gets in free of charge. The park is open daily from 9am-5pm, closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Audio tours are also available for $5 a person.
At the Visitor’s Center, you can pick up a paper map of the park. The map shows every wonderful place to visit in the park and is free to visitors. It helps you to not get lost and not miss a single fun part of the park. To view a map of the park click here!
While you are at the visitor’s center, you can take a look around at the wonderful trinkets, stuffed animals, books and more related to the early days of South Carolina’s settlement. There are tons of replica pieces of the past available for purchase that help support South Carolina’s State Parks. We recently picked up some beautiful natural stone bracelets, Indian drum toys, and a set of stones to sort and learn more about.
Colonial man trading with a local American Indian.
In the back of the Visitor’s Center, is a small museum filled with so much interesting information about the early English settlers and the first Carolina Colony. There are examples of the ships’ storage, the early Indians found here in SC, portraits of early founders and specific people who were important to early SC history. This entire section of the building is filled with beautiful examples of our state’s history.
There are two paths into the park: one leads to the gardens through the back of the Visitor’s center and the other leads to the Animal park and main center of Charles Towne Landing. We usually go through the park gardens first.
These gardens are absolutely gorgeous, especially in the spring when they are in bloom. In the gardens, you will find a picnic area, as well as a picnic area outside the main entrance to the park. You will also find Christopher’s Garden which states Christopher’s age as 10. It is a small area intended for prayer.
The paths of the garden cross over the many beautiful ponds throughout the property where you can view turtles, Egret, Blue Herring, large fish and even alligator. There are many other beautiful, wild animals found within the park as well. Benches are appropriately placed throughout to stop and view the wildlife and flowers.
A white Egret and a Blue Herring in one of the many ponds at Charles Towne Landing.
Also in the gardens, you will find the Wedding Garden. This beautiful space is perfectly designed to celebrate your wonderful day, if you choose. It also makes a great backdrop for photographs. There are small benches and a large white arbor in the garden in front of the beautiful ponds.
The gardens lead to the Legare-Waring House. The home was built in the 1840’s for the Waring family. The house is in the same pristine style and condition as when built and is a wonderful representation of life and style in the 1800’s. The home can also be rented for weddings.
Facing the Legare – Waring House is the beautiful Avenue of Oaks. The beauty of this particular sector of the park is indescribable. It is set exactly as you see on those old southern plantation style movies. The trees themselves are steeped in Spanish Moss. Walking across this beautifully designed path, beneath the gorgeous oak trees is liking taking a step back into the past. This is one of my favorites in the park.
Past the Avenue of Oaks, you will find a replication of the original excavation of the Charles Towne Landing site, as well as a small cabin, complete with a small garden that shows how the Colonists lived upon first settling the area. The building’s roof is thatched and the timbers are tarred to keep them long lasting. The garden is just enough to support a family coming to America for the first time.
Further down the path is a bridge to view the beautiful natural marsh that surrounds Charles Towne Landing. There we see small crabs, the footprints of deer, raccoon, and many other wild animals. It’s truly a gorgeous thing to see and a great way to compare various natural habits for animals.
As you continue on this path, you come to my children’s favorite part of the park: The Adventure. The Adventure is a 17th Century replica trading vessel from Colonial times. It is water-worthy and has been out to Sea to test it’s accuracy.
We always spend time exploring the Adventure. My children love to climb down the steps into the ships hull and view the captains quarters, as well as into the beds to see what it was like to sleep in such a tiny space. They help pump water from the ship and to lower the anchor using the old-fashioned mechanisms found on the Adventure. It’s truly a lot of fun to see.
Outside the ship during low tide, you can see minnow, oyster beds laying against the sides of the dock and shore, turtles, and so much more. There is also a replica of a ship being built to view and a rope tying area to practice your roping skills.
Further down this path is another replica building that is much larger than the previous tiny cabin. This represents the servants quarters and includes a wooden broom, a large working fire pit, examples of furniture and other things used in Colonial times. There is even a bowling pit outside of this building to play, just like children would have who lived in the 1700’s.
Across from this building is the Gun platform. Here you can find large mounds with various Cannon in place, ready to protect the fort of Charles Towne Landing. You can also see a replica tent that early soldiers would have used to sleep and stay in.
A bit further down the path are the Stocks, where thieves and prisoners were kept. This is another favorite of our family. We love to lock each other up (there aren’t locks, just replicas). The kids always get a good laugh out of this part of the park.
Through the Palisades, you come to the Horry-Lucas site. This is a excavation of a home that once stood on this site in the park. There you will find a brick chimney remnant, a stone bathtub that was built into the home and other interesting tidbits.
Further up the paths, you will find large, beautifully erected statues representing the American Indians that once lived in this area. The ceremonial center showcases the history of these tribes and helps to bring America’s heritage to life. This area also contains a true African-American cemetery where generations of slaves were laid to rest.
Our final favorite place in the park is the Animal Zoo. This 22 acre natural habitat is home to black bear, bison, raccoon, local birds, otter, and many other beautiful creatures who were natural to the area at the time of settlement. It always amazes us to see these beautiful animals and think they once roamed freely throughout our home.
Charles Towne Landing is a true sight to see and a wonderful field trip for anyone in the Charleston area. If you are visiting or planing a visit to South Carolina, add this state park to your must visit list! If you’re a local, invest in a state park pass and start visiting today. With South Carolina’s State Park Passport Plus, you can visit this park as many times a year as you wish.
We hope you have enjoyed this tour of one of our favorite places to visit. Where is your favorite place to go for local field trips?