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Charles Towne Landing, SC: Directions, Attractions and Tips

Updated on August 14, 2012

The Adventure

Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site

South Carolina has some really fine state parks, but Charles Towne Landing is a true gem. It does not have camping sites or swimming holes, but it has very special attractions. This park is an important historic landmark for the first permanent European settlement in South Carolina. Charles Towne Landing hosts a full size replica of a 17th century trading ship, as well as a museum, a natural habitat zoo, a historic home, paved trails and more. If you time your visit wisely, you also will see cannon or musket demonstrations. This state park is a must-see if you are in the Charleston area.

Directions to Charles Towne Landing in Charleston, SC

A markerCharles Towne Landing -
Charles Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Rd, Charleston, SC 29407, USA
get directions

Hours and Admission for Charles Towne Landing

Park hours:

  • 9:00am - 5:00pm daily
  • closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Tickets:

  • Adults - $7.50
  • Kids 6 to 15 - $3.50
  • Kids 5 and younger - Free
  • SC Seniors - $3.75

You can purchase a SC State Park annual pass for $75

Leashed pets are allowed in outdoors exhibits, excluding the Animal Forest

Attractions at Charles Towne Landing

Click thumbnail to view full-size
1670 Carolina flag in the Visitor Center's museumTry on some skinsWorking on the AdventurePalisade wall surrounding colonial encampmentCommon House for indentured servantsInside Common HouseCrop garden and thatch-roof shedLegare-Waring historic homeA popular wedding venue near the Legare-Waring house
1670 Carolina flag in the Visitor Center's museum
1670 Carolina flag in the Visitor Center's museum
Try on some skins
Try on some skins
Working on the Adventure
Working on the Adventure
Palisade wall surrounding colonial encampment
Palisade wall surrounding colonial encampment
Common House for indentured servants
Common House for indentured servants
Inside Common House
Inside Common House
Crop garden and thatch-roof shed
Crop garden and thatch-roof shed
Legare-Waring historic home
Legare-Waring historic home
A popular wedding venue near the Legare-Waring house
A popular wedding venue near the Legare-Waring house

Main Attractions at Charles Towne Landing

  • Visitor Center Museum - these exhibits take you back to the 1670s when the colony was settled. You can view many artifacts and replicas depicting the way of life from this time period. There are lots of hands-on activities for the kids, including faux animal skin clothes to try on.
  • The Adventure - a full-size functioning replica of a 17th century trading ship that you may board. Kids love this exhibit, and a guide will explain all the workings of the boat.
  • History Trail - walk this paved path through gorgeous live oaks and magnolia trees to see the palisade walls, cannons, colonial encampment site, crop garden, indentured servant's house, and Horry-Lucas mansion ruins.
  • Legare-Waring House - Check with the park to find out when the house will be open for a tour. It is only open to the public on certain days during the year and will not be open if it is reserved for private functions.

Animals at Charles Towne Landing

Bison or buffalo no longer roam South Carolina
Bison or buffalo no longer roam South Carolina
Eastern turkey
Eastern turkey
Brown pelican taking in a view
Brown pelican taking in a view

The Animal Forest

The Animal Forest at Charles Towne Landing is a 22-acre home to a collection of animals that would have roamed the area in 1670. Some of the animals still live in the area, but others, such as the bison, no longer thrive here. Since the animals are in their natural habitat, it can be difficult to spot them all. This zoo is very shaded and stroller friendly since the walking path is paved. The animals on exhibit are:

  • river otter
  • puma
  • black bear
  • white-tailed deer
  • elk
  • bison
  • bobcat
  • striped skunk
  • Eastern turkey
  • black vulture
  • turkey vulture
  • brown pelican and other shore birds

Cannon Demonstrations at Charles Towne Landing

Live cannon demonstrations with attendants in full 17th century costume
Live cannon demonstrations with attendants in full 17th century costume

Tips for Visiting Charles Towne Landing

  • In warm weather, visit the outdoor History Trail first, ending with the shaded Animal Forest. Save the cool museum for last.
  • In cooler weather, visit the museum first and save the outdoor exhibits for once the weather warms up.
  • If your biggest interest is visiting the Animal Forest, go ahead and do that in the morning when the animals are most active.
  • There are no restaurants or snack bars at this park, so pack a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the picnic table areas.
  • The musket demonstrations are on the 1st Saturday of each month.
  • The cannon demonstrations are on the 3rd Saturday of each month.
  • The historic Legare (pronounced "luh-gree") Waring House is only open for tours during certain weekends in January, February, July and August, so call ahead to check dates.
  • Bring your bikes! The Charleston Lowcountry is very flat, and this park has miles of paved trails.
  • Bring binoculars for birdwatching. We saw ibis and wood storks on our last visit.
  • For $5, you can rent an audio headset for a self-guided tour of the park.
  • Strollers and wheelchairs are available at no charge.
  • There is shuttle transportation from one end of the park to the other, if you need a break from walking.
  • Before you go, print a park map from the park website, or pay $1 for a map once you get there.

Amenities at Charles Towne Landing

Amenity
Yes
No
Comments
boat rentals
 
X
 
camping
 
X
 
fishing
 
X
 
gift shop
X
 
quaint
historic house tour
X
 
call for dates and times
interpretive trail
X
 
audio self-guided tour for $5
lodging
 
X
 
museum
X
 
12 rooms, hands-on
National Register of Historic Places
X
 
 
picnic area
X
 
in the shade of magnificent trees
playground
 
X
 
restaurant/snack bar
 
X
 
restrooms
X
 
very nice
strollers
X
 
no charge
swimming
 
X
 
wheelchairs
X
 
no charge
zoo
X
 
natural habitat animal forest

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I love that brown pelican on the bench. Great places to visit. Your table helps to make the vacation a reality.

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image
      Author

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Thanks, teaches12345. We had a good laugh at the pelican. He stayed there for a while preening. I had never been so close to one before.

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