September 2016 – After traveling north to Savannah and Congaree National Park, we spent a night in Charleston before starting the trip back home.  After walking along the waterfront, we paid a visit to the cemetery beside the Unitarian Church.  Nature has been allowed to reclaim some of this cemetery, and the result is pretty awesome.  Vines and Spanish moss drape over most of the graves.  Many of the graves are very old.  This cemetery definitely deserves a walkthrough if you are in the area.
Our favorite place in Charleston ended up being the Magnolia Plantation.  Unfortunately, we did not plan enough time to spend here and will have to revisit it at a later date.  We spent several hours walking the gardens and swamp, but we easily could have spent an entire day.  The entrance fee is a bit steep, at about $15 a person just for basic admission (the swamp add-on is about $8 more, but I highly recommend it).  

The gardens are beautiful and well maintained.  Many of the plants are labeled.  There is a walkway by the waterfront area.  There is also a small cafe with a limited menu, selling items such as hotdogs and sandwiches.  The prices are again pretty high, but it is one of the few places to eat in the area near the plantation.

The gardens have several beautiful bridges setup throughout them.  There is also an overlook tower, from which we could see an alligator resting below us.  Most striking in the plantation was the contrast of vivid colors everywhere we turned.  From the bright green algae to the hot pink flowers, the plantation is a collection of the most intense colors found in nature.

After spending a few hours in the gardens, we drove down the road to the swamp.  We entered onto a long boardwalk, from which we could see several turtles and birds.  Following the boardwalk, we eventually came out onto a trail system.  Each trail took us through a different terrain.  One trail led us to the main area of the swamp, where we saw several alligators basking in the sunshine.

The plantation was definitely one of the highlights of our entire trip.  I will return for a visit someday and plan to spend more time wondering among the many trails.