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Magnolia Cemetery

South Carolina’s planters, authors, politicians and rich merchants lie in stately graves between ancient oaks at this cemetery north of downtown.

Magnolia Cemetery is full of history, ancient oak trees, ornate statues and mausoleums. The headstones, ironwork fences and mausoleums mirror the rich architectural history of the city. The graves are a fascinating chronicle of the lives and times of Charleston’s citizens. More than 35,000 people are buried here. Prior to 1849, the cemetery was a rice plantation.

The cemetery’s winding paths, landscaping, and centuries-old oaks were all part of a plan laid out by architects Edward Jones and Francis Lee in 1850. Walk between the graves to admire intricate headstones and eloquent inscriptions. “One who never turned his back but marched breast forward” is inscribed over the resting place of prominent 19th-century attorney and author Theodore Jervey.

Several other well-known South Carolinian authors and poets are buried at the site. Visit the grave of Southern historian William Gilmore Simms, whom Edgar Allan Poe called “immeasurably the greatest writer of fiction in America.”

More than 1,700 Confederate soldiers and sailors are buried in the cemetery, including generals and unidentified soldiers. The commander and crew of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, which sunk after attacking an enemy ship, were buried here after the submarine was raised and the remains identified.

Keep an eye out for the cemetery’s living inhabitants. The trees, marshlands and lake are home to some 50 species of birds. Signs on the fence warn visitors not to feed the alligators that live in the lake.

Come at Halloween, when the Confederate Heritage Trust conducts an annual ghost walk. Costumed actors play out historic scenes by candlelight.

Magnolia Cemetery is two miles (three kilometers) north of downtown Charleston on the banks of the Cooper River. Some areas of the cemetery are accessible by car. The cemetery is free to enter and open daily. Be sure to check the cemetery’s closing time on your way in.


Guide to Exploring around Magnolia Cemetery


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Lodging Near Magnolia Cemetery

See all 456 Hotels near Magnolia Cemetery
$165
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

560 King Street, Charleston
4.5
of 5, from 201 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Woolfe Street Playhouse and College of Charleston. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and PURE Theatre are also within 10 minutes.

$561
Downtown Charleston Vacation Rentals

Downtown Charleston Vacation Rentals

259 Coming Street, Charleston
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Charleston, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and College of Charleston. Woolfe Street Playhouse and PURE Theatre are also within 15 minutes.

$101
Comfort Inn Downtown Charleston

Comfort Inn Downtown Charleston

144 Bee St, Charleston
3.5
of 5, from 386 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Hotel is located in Charleston's Historic Charleston neighborhood, close to The Citadel, South Carolina Aquarium, and Charleston's Open Air Market. Area attractions also include USS Yorktown and Marion Square.

$199
The Francis Marion Hotel

The Francis Marion Hotel

387 King St, Charleston
4.1
of 5, from 991 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

The Francis Marion Hotel sits across from Marion Square in Charleston’s historic downtown. Guests are just a block away from the King Street shopping district with its boutiques, antiques stores, and restaurants, and can reach Charleston Harbor on foot in 15 minutes.

$149
Bluegreen Vacations King St. Resort, Ascend Hotel Collection

Bluegreen Vacations King St. Resort, Ascend Hotel Collection

583 King Street, Charleston
3.0
of 5, from 2 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Woolfe Street Playhouse and College of Charleston. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and PURE Theatre are also within 10 minutes.

$299
The Dewberry Charleston

The Dewberry Charleston

334 Meeting Street, Charleston
4.6
of 5, from 42 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Joseph Manigault House and College of Charleston. Charleston Museum and Second Presbyterian Church are also within 5 minutes.