Hampton Plantation State Historic Site

Hampton Plantation State Historic Site
1950 Rutledge Rd., McClellanville • 843.546.9361 • SouthCarolinaParks.com

A Georgian-style mansion stands as the centerpiece of this 322-acre property positioned on a tributary – a lovely creek on the Santee River in Charleston County about twenty miles south of Georgetown. The two-and-a-half story structure – with a dormered hip roof, clapboard siding, raised brick foundation and two-story ballroom – was begun in 1735 but not completed until 1790-91. Its most prominent exterior feature is a projecting temple front, with eight Doric columns (six across and two additional on the sides) supporting a decoratively carved Adamesque frieze and pedimented gable, a feature believed to be the first of its type in the US.

Once a flourishing rice plantation, the property is now a National Historic Landmark that has returned mostly to naturally wooded Lowcountry conditions. Following a succession of politically and economically prominent SC families, the state’s first Poet Laureate Archibald Rutledge lived here. In 1971, he gave the property that inspired his writing to the state. The mansion’s purposefully unfurnished interior showcases noteworthy architectural details. Cutaway sections reveal the building’s evolution from farmhouse to mansion.

Outside, a historic kitchen, enormous live oaks, camellia gardens and archaeological sites record the story of the rise and decline of the rice culture. Visitors can explore the mansion and wander the grounds on the banks of Wambaw Creek (sometimes called Hampton Creek) to see centuries-old rice fields. An easy, two-mile loop trail begins in the parking area; a map and information about the trail are available on kiosks at the parking area – in the event the park office is not open. Plaques along the way offer historically significant background, as well as information on local plants and animals.  Also, at 1 PM on the first Saturday of each month, a Cultural Landscape Tour is led by a ranger and includes lots of fascinating commentary about the plantation’s history, flora and fauna and rice cultivation.

Additionally, guests with a valid SC fishing license can enjoy fishing for catfish, bream and bass in Wambaw Creek. Hampton is also ideal for birders; it is home to the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and swallow-tail kites. The park gift shop offers numerous books, gifts and art.  Park hours: Apr.-Oct. 9 AM - 6 PM, daily. Grounds admission is free. Mansion hours (guided tours only): Friday, Monday and Tuesday at noon and 2 PM and on Saturday and Sunday at 10 AM, noon and 2 PM. House admission: Adults, $7.50; Seniors (with SC driver’s license), $3.75; Ages 6-15, $3.50;

Ages 5 and younger, free. For current programming, please contact the park directly.

Kimberly Duncan