McLeod Plantation

Top choice plantation in Charleston County Sea Islands

Opened to the public in 2015, this James Island plantation offers an honest and frankly devastating account of the lives of the enslaved and later (theoretically) emancipated African Americans who lived and worked here between 1851 and 1990. Yes, you read that right. The last African American resident, who worked as a nurse for the grandson of the man who enslaved her great-great-grandparents, moved out of the former slave quarters only a few decades ago.

The 37-acre property contains a welcome center, the Georgian-style plantation home, a row of former slave houses, a cotton gin house, a Gullah cemetery and several other structures, some dating back to the early 1800s. Over the centuries, occupants have included three generations of McLeods, the Confederate army, the Union army and the Bureau for Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.

The story of this property is, in many ways, the story of the South, and it offers a clear-eyed account of the inhumanity and lasting impacts of slavery. The 45-minute guided tours, offered at 9:30am, 11am, noon, 1pm and 2:30pm, come with your admission ticket and are highly informative.