15 Important Southern Plantation Tours

The Southern Plantations are of great attractions in the United States of America. History enthusiasts are fascinated by the grand historical architectures and buildings, and the sprawling, well-maintained gardens in these plantation homes. Most of these areas are steeped in rich history. Exploring these places via plantation tours helps visitors in getting deep insight into the history of slave labor and how the south side of the country flourished.  

Read on to know more.  

Belle Meade Plantation 

The grand Greek Revival mansion is the specialty of Belle Meade Plantation, which is now a museum. The land where the plantation has developed was originally bought by John Harding. Cotton was the main crop grown here. With time, Harding had enslaved innumerable people from American colonies to work on the vast lands, a part of the property. Initially, the was spread over 250-acres, but gradually the property spread to 5,300 acres, where thoroughbred horses were raised.  

The plantation was inherited by the members of the Harding family, but gradually they ran into serious debt. Belle Meade was finally sold and then was transformed into an educational non-profit organization. Visitors can explore the mansion, the pool and the sprawling gardens and open spaces in the plantation.  

Belle Meade Plantation, Belle Meade, TN. "The queen of Tennessee plantations.".jpg
By Douglas Allan Dunn, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 5025 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN 37205 United States | Timing: Sunday to Saturday: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/BelleMeadeHistoricSite?share | Phone Number: +16153560501 

Oak Alley Plantation  

A historic property, the Oak Alley Plantation, is renowned for its alley or canopied path. There are rows of southern live oak trees stretching to a length of almost 800 feet. The landscape of the place is amazing with 28 oak trees and vast open spaces. On exploring the area, you will be able to understand the evolution of this property and how men, women, and children were enslaved to build a sugar plantation. There are wide pastures and formal gardens in the manor. Architects might find a great semblance with the Greek Revival Architecture when it comes to the architecture of the mansion. The rooms in Oak Alley have large windows and high ceilings.  

Other attractions of the place that you can checkout are the Blacksmith Shop, the Slavery Exhibit, and the Sugarcane Theater. The various artifacts belonging to those times are displayed in the Slavery Exhibit and the Blacksmith Shop. Going through them is almost like watching a movie on the lives of enslaved people who lived in Oak Alley.  

Oak Alley Plantation (7570433730).jpg
By Francisco Anzola, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 3645 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090, United States | Timing: Sunday to Monday: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm| Google Map Location: https://g.page/oak_alley?share| Phone Number: +12252652151 

Pebble Hill Plantation  

Pebble Hill Plantation was founded in the mid-1820s by Thomas Jefferson Johnson in the form of agricultural property. Many slaves worked on the farm growing sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, and corn. After the death of Thomas Jefferson Johnson, his daughter inherited the Pebble Hill property, and a new house was designed. However, in course of time, the mansion and the plantation changed many hands. Self-guided tours of the property are available for visitors, where you can explore each part of the property taking your own sweet time.  

Excellent artworks are on display in the various rooms of the mansion. The exterior landscape of Pebble Hill is also breathtaking with abundant greenery all around in the form of trees, shrubs, and other kinds of vegetation.  

Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomas County, GA, US (60).jpg
By Judson McCranie, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 1251 US-319 S, Thomasville, GA 31792, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 05:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 noon to 05:00 pm, Monday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UqXcXwPbsJkKuFXV6 | Phone Number: +12292262344 

Nottoway Plantation 

The grandeur of Nottoway Plantation needs special mention. The main attraction of the Louisiana plantation is its Italian-styled and Greek-revival themed grand mansion and associated buildings. The grounds on which Nottoway Plantation rests are well-tended, significantly adding to appeal of the structure greatly. The original owner of the property, John Randolph, was one of the biggest slaveholders in the Louisiana area, but the slavery topic is rarely mentioned here. The antebellum homes have a grand structure, worth seeing.  

Presently, the Nottoway plantation has been turned into an upscale hotel offering varieties of amenities and facilities including an outdoor pool, tennis courts and a restaurant serving Louisiana cuisine. The magnificent rooms are straight out of periodic drama and are exquisite beyond imagination. You can always choose the place you want to stay in – in the cottages, in the main mansion or in the Garden House.  

Nottoway Plantation.JPG
By Elisa Rolle, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 31025 LA-1, White Castle, LA 70788, United States | Timing: Check in time: 02:30 pm, Check-out time: 11:00 am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Qp3wPpqCCtkY135n7 | Phone Number: +12255452730 

Magnolia Plantation 

The Magnolia Plantation was established in South Carolina along the Ashley River by Thomas Drayton and his wife in 1676. The Magnolia Family ownership started with this couple and the legacy continued for more than 300 years. There was immense growth in the plantation during the colonial era because of rice cultivation. However, during the American Revolution, the plantation was acquired, and Drayton and his sons joined as soldiers against the British.  

The property was passed on from one Drayton generation to the other till the time the American Civil War took place, impacting the property including the gardens and estate. However, with time the plantation was recovered, and more gardens were added which is now the major attraction of the place. Tours of the plantation cover the rooms of the mansion with exhibits of antiques and other old items belonging to the Drayton family.  Along with the other buildings and structures, exploring the gardens is an experience. The plantation is an important part of African American history.  

House at Magnolia Plantation.JPG
By I, Maveric149, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 3550 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/sjcqc9QCTdoq4VHQA | Phone Number: +18435711266 

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage 

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is located east of downtown Nashville. The plantation was the residence of President Andrew Jackson along with his wife for many years in the late 1700s. The Hermitage was a self-sustained property, which depended on slave labor for cotton production. When the property was bought initially, there were just nine slaves of African American origin. However, within 40-50 years, there were 150 slaves working on the plantation.  

Legal weddings were not allowed for the slaves, but Jackson permitted forming family units so that the slaves don’t flee. There are self-guided and guided tours of the Hermitage, where almost the whole of the farmland is explored. The exhibit gallery, the mansion, and the grounds, and a slew of events hosted on the property helps you soak into the history, sights, and sounds of the place.  

Andrew Jackson's Hermitage - Nashville, Tennessee

Address: 4580 Rachels Lane, Hermitage, TN 37076, United States | Timing: Thursday to Monday: 09:00 am to 06:00 pm, Tuesday & Wednesday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/7thpresident?share | Phone Number: +16158892941  

Laura Plantation 

Your Laura plantation visit will give you a fair idea regarding the lives of plantation owners. Established in 1804, the property was owned by the Duparcs, a French-Creole family. Situated amidst sugarcane fields, the main mansion is built in the typical Creole style. There is a long balcony that runs across the whole width of the manor. The house is colored in varying shades including green, red, grey and ochre.  

On taking a tour of the property, you will get a vivid and distinct image of plantation life. There are innumerable slavery exhibits, including personal biographies, photographs, and documents that were integrally connected to the enslaved people. The gardens, historic outhouses, the main mansion, and the slave cabins are important places that you must explore. 

Laura Plantation House Front.JPG
By ZeWrestler, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 2247 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090, United States | Timing: Wednesday to Monday: 09:30 am to 05:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/lauraplantation?share| Phone Number: +12252657690 

Destrehan Plantation 

Established in 1787, Destrehan Plantation is almost 25 miles away from downtown New Orleans. The plantation was home to the Jean-Noel Destrehan family and his wife Marie Celeste Robin de Logny, who were highly successful sugar producers. Almost 59 slaves and workers stayed in the property by 1804 and 203,000 pounds of sugar were produced. This plantation is the place where the 1811 Slave Revolt took place.  

The property has now been restored and there is lush greenery all around. During the guided tours, visitors will get detailed information on the Destrehan family and on the slaves who stayed and worked there. Historical exhibits testify to the incidents and events of the past.  

Destrehan Plantation.jpg
By OzarksRazorback>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 13034 River Road, Destrehan, LA 70047, United States | Timing: Monday to Thursday: 09:00 am to 04:30 pm, Friday to Sunday: 09:00 am to 05:30 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/destrehanplantation?share | Phone Number: +19857649315 

Evergreen Plantation 

Evergreen Plantation is one of the most well-known plantations in the United States. It is considered as one of the most intact plantations in the area, producing sugarcane even now. Many families still live and work here. There are 37 buildings including 22 slave cabins on the property and this can be found on the National Register of Historic Places. The agricultural acreage is what has made the plantation so popular.  

Tours are conducted by the plantation, where the whole history of the place is revealed. Family ownership, slave labor and later freedom of the slaves – all aspects are covered in the tour. There is a professional guide, who explains the architectural significance of the property and the mansion and talks about agriculture, which is the main occupation for survival here.  

Evergreen Plantation.jpg
By Clément Bardot, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 4677 LA-18, Edgard, LA 70049, United States | Timing: Temporarily closed due to Covid-19, Please Refer to https://www.evergreenplantation.org/ for updates | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/6q2QGYrpT6zmdFzd6 | Phone Number: +19854973837 

James Madison Montpelier  

Ambrose Madison was a slaveholder and planter in Virginia, who came to a plantation known as Mount Pleasant in 1732. Later construction began on some Georgian brick house, which became James Madison’s Montpelier. It was right here that Madison had ideas of shaping the USA as the fourth president of the nation. James Madison’s Montpelier has beautiful natural settings with rolling hills, 2650 acres of expansive horse pastures and amazing spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  

On visiting James Madison’s Montpelier, you will get to know of the family history of the Madison and know about their presidency. The Madison Family Cemetery is also on the premises of the plantation. There are many exhibits on display in the mansion of James Madison’s Montpelier for visitors. The legacy of slavery can also be understood at the place via the guided tours.  

James Madison's Montpelier.jpg
By Carole J. Buckwalter, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 11350 Constitution Highway, Montpelier Station, VA 22957, United States | Timing: Thursday to Monday: 09:00 am to 03:00 pm, Tuesday & Wednesday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/pggieb6Z4Ra7feyJ8 | Phone Number: +15406722728 

Whitney Plantation Tour 

If you are interested in knowing about the history of slavery, you must visit Whitney Plantation. Established way back in 1752, the mansion has now been turned into a museum. The exhibits in the museum showcase the lives of 350 slaves, who worked and lived on this land for many years. There are first-hand accounts, photographs and original things previously used by those enslaved. 

Visitors can take self-guided tours of the plantation or even take help from a guide to explore the place. The main house, the historic outbuildings, the slave cabins, the memorial, and the Freedmen’s church are important things to see in the plantation tour. If you are a history enthusiast, here you will find in great details all possible information on the historic Slave Revolt of 1811.  

The Big House - Whitney Plantation Historic District - 2016.jpg
By Bill Leiser, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 5099 LA-18, Edgard, LA 700049, United States | Timing: Thursday to Monday: 09:30 am to 04:30 pm, Tuesday & Wednesday: closed | Google Map Location: https://g.page/whitneyplantation?share | Phone Number: +12252653300 

Shirley Plantation 

Shirley Plantation dates to 1614, standing as the oldest plantation in the United States of America. Situated in Charles City County, the plantation initially had tobacco as its main crop cultivated round the year. This tobacco was sent to the various colonies in the region and finally shipped to England. Though the plantation was built in 1614, some portion of it was given to Edward Hill in 1638.  

It is very interesting to note that the direct descendants of Edward Hill still own the plantation and supervise its workings as much as possible. It is known as the oldest family-owned business in the whole of North America. Book an Enslavement Walking Tour and you will be able to understand the history and pulse of the place. The mansion along with its idyllic stretches of land makes this place perfect for a day’s outing for visitors.   

Shirley Plantation

Address: 501 Shirley Plantation Road, Charles City, VA 23030, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 04:00 pm, Sunday & Monday: closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/1XgkkcNkAdcB8uJr8 | Phone Number: +18048295121 

Double Plantation Tour 

It is evident from the name that this plantation tour covers two or more southern plantations in the United States of America. This expedition commences in New Orleans and continues through the Mississippi, where you can choose from two plantations you want to visit.  

The Double Plantation Tour takes one full day. You can choose two properties from Laura, Oak Alley and Whitney Plantations. After selection, you will be taken to the two properties, which you can explore via guided tours.   

Laura Plantation near New Orleans

Laura Plantation: 

Address: 2247 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090, United States | Timing: Sunday to Monday: 09:30 am to 05:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/lauraplantation?share| Phone Number: +12252657690  

Oak Alley Plantation: 

Address: 3645 LA-18, Vacherie, LA 70090, United States | Timing: Sunday to Monday: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm| Google Map Location: https://g.page/oak_alley?share| Phone Number: +12252652151 

Boone Hall 

Boone Hall is one of the major attractions in Charleston city. Located across the Cooper River, this is the oldest working plantation in America. In fact, it is also the most photographed plantation property in the country. There are many things to see and explore at the place. The most popular thing at the plantation is the Avenue of Oaks.  

The Georgian-style home is worth a visit with the beautiful garden landscape all around. Exploring the whole of the working plantation is also an experience. At the Gullah Theater, you can see a live presentation of Gullah culture. Many American educational tours cover this property. The place is also frequented by millions of visitors.   

By Gvanbriesen, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 1235 Long Point Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464, United States | Timing: Monday to Saturday: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 pm to 05:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/boonehallplantation?share | Phone Number: 18438844371 

Myrtles Plantation Tour 

It is recommended that this plantation tour should not be taken by the weak-hearted. Myrtles Plantation is best visited from New Orleans. You will be able to explore a historic estate and its expansive grounds. If you go back to the history of the property, you will see that it dates back to 1796. Along with rich history, various kinds of strange events have taken place on the plantation over the years. In fact, the mansion on the plantation is said to be haunted. Local guides are available for taking a tour of the whole property including the mansion. The guide will tell visitors stories about the place and about the various spooky incidents that have taken place.   

Myrtles Plantation.jpg
By Bogdan Oporowski, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 7747 US-61, St. Francisville, LA 70775, United States | Timing: Check-in time: 3:00 pm, Check-out time: 11:00 am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NHPb2Sp8D91MeJnk8 | Phone Number: +12256356277 

On visiting these southern plantations, you will have a fair idea regarding the slavery period. Also, most of these plantations are set amidst natural settings, offering spectacular sights. Right from the buildings to the landscape and the ambience of the locale, every single element takes you on a mesmerizing journey into the lost tales surrounding these plantations.