These are the oldest public gardens in the United States—they were founded in 1676 and have been open to the public since the 1870s. Filled with camellias or azaleas, depending on the season, they’re a pretty stunning backdrop for walking and exploring. They’re also a surprisingly great family outing: Kids can check out the petting zoo, and a peacock café that features mini horses alongside the colorful birds. The original plantation home is open for tours, and unlike Drayton plantation (the gorgeously preserved house that belonged to founders Thomas and Ann’s son John), it’s furnished with family heirlooms in an effort to give visitors an idea of what life was like in the house in the 19th-century. If there’s one must-do, though, it’s the property’s award-winning “From Slavery to Freedom” tour, which explores Gullah culture in South Carolina from slavery through segregation all the way to the Civil Rights movement.

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