Hampton Plantation is one of the most authentic and original plantation homes in South Carolina and it’s just a few bucks to take a guided tour. The plantation is the heart, and basically only attraction, at Hampton Plantation State Historic Park in McClellanville, South Carolina. About halfway between Myrtle Beach and Charleston it’s a short one-hour day trip from either destination.
It took me a few tries before I was finally able to explore the plantation home. The hidden state historic park is just a few miles off the main drag along Highway 17, but that’s not the problem. The problem is mosquitoes. The little suckers surge in the wet summer months and swarm any would-be visitors. My first trip I only made it about ten feet from the car before my ankles were so covered with mosquitoes I couldn’t even see my own skin. By the time I got back to the car and swatted them off I felt woozy and sick at my stomach. My second trip I came prepared with bug spray but even that wasn’t enough to keep them from biting my eyelids, lips, and ears, resulting in another miserable experience.
I finally managed to take a tour in late May. The mosquitoes hadn’t quite swarmed yet, despite the fact it had been raining off and on for days at this point. Armed with a new electronic bug repellent I visited the park office and secured my ticket for a guided tour (my ticket was free because I had the Park Passport Plus).
I met the ranger at the plantation house and enjoyed a nice 45-minute guided tour through the first floor of the historic building. One thing that really stood out to me was just how much of the home was original. No outlets screwed into the baseboards, those wavy-looking original glass panels in the windows, and even a lot of the door hardware. With the exception of one small room that had served as the park’s office for a few years and the remnants of a kitchen installed by a previous owner the home had been kept pretty much the same as it was when originally built.
The short tour inside the plantation home is, admittedly, the only real attraction to the park. Visitors are allowed to walk the grounds for free, including exploring the outside of the plantation house and gorgeous front portico. The remnants of a servant’s house stand near the park office: a small brick fireplace propped up with a wooden frame.
Hampton Plantation State Historic Park will be a short stop and is best reserved for a winter month to avoid the irritating mosquito population. It’s a great day trip from nearby Myrtle Beach and Charleston, and Georgetown has a lot of great local eateries and scenic views along the Harborwalk for your evening. The history of the plantation, including some of the notable guests (you’ll have to visit yourself to learn about them) make it worth the effort to stop by some day.
1950 Rutledge Rd, McClellanville, SC | (843) 546-9361 | http://southcarolinaparks.com/hampton/introduction.aspx