South Carolina’s haunt scene is wide and varied, from the popular ghost stories that swarm frequented travel destination Charleston (resulting in numerous ghost tours) to the less popular spectral tales that focus on Southern gothic-style spots long abandoned by time and overgrown with the south’s murky swamps.

    South Carolina has a rich history that stretches back centuries and boasts the culture and architecture to match – as well as the ghosts. If you’re looking to get your spook on, where can you start? Check out these top haunted places to visit in The Palmetto State.


    Rose Hill Plantation

    Visit one of the most haunted plantations in the American South

    • History
    • Photo

    The Rose Hill Plantation was constructed in the mid-1800s, near Hilton Head Island. It was built off the back of the enslaved, until the owners fled in the Civil War, during which Union troops camped on the grounds, leaving behind eerie messages scrawled onto the house such as, “Hell is here.”

    The owners moved back to the plantation after the war but were economically ruined. They were buried in a family plot, and the house was left abandoned for a while. Today, you can catch a tour at the property and take part in “haunted” events.

    Location: 1 Rose Hill Way, Bluffton, SC 29910, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm, Friday from 8 am to 1 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +1 843-757-2450


    photo by Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, SC,7-BLUFF.V,1-19 (CC0 1.0) modified


    Stoney-Baynard Plantation Ruins

    See one of Hilton Head’s most fascinating historic landmarks

    • History
    • Budget
    • Photo

    The Stoney-Baynard Plantation Ruins, listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, includes the remains of an antebellum plantation that housed a Revolutionary War hero, merchant ship captain, Union forces and more. 

    You can see the ruins of both the plantation house and slave quarters, as well as outbuilding foundations. If you’re lucky, you’ll also see some of the resident ghosts, including that of one of the plantation’s early owners, William Baynard. He is sometimes spotted along with an entire funeral procession.

    Location: Plantation Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, USA

    Open: Daily from 6 am to 8 pm


    photo by DDima (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Battery & White Point Gardens

    Explore a beautiful green space and its ghosts

    • Couples
    • History
    • Budget
    • Photo

    The Battery and White Point Gardens in Charleston’s historic district offers amazing views of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. The green space has been a public park since 1837, before becoming part of a fortification during the Civil War.

    Before this, White Point Gardens had a far grislier past. Its location by the entrance to the Ashley River was deemed to be a suitable spot for public hangings. The most notable of these was the hanging of pirate Stede Bonnet and 50 of his compatriots in the early 1720s.

    Location: 2 Murray Boulevard, Charleston, SC 29401, USA


    Pawleys Island

    Take a short day trip to an island filled with history and haunts

    • History
    • Budget
    • Photo

    Pawleys Island is a prominent day-trip destination in South Carolina. While many come here to see the 18th-century architecture, beaches and wetlands, do keep an eye out for the island’s most famous ghost, the Gray Man.

    The Gray Man walks along the beaches of the island wearing all grey, with all the appearance of an actual person, sometimes speaking and sometimes not. His appearance is told to be a harbinger of devastating hurricanes to come in the near future.


    South Carolina State Museum

    Educate yourself in this fascinating 4-floor museum

    • History

    The South Carolina State Museum offers plenty to learn and lots of history, but the building itself offers a historic past littered with ghosts. Before becoming the museum, it was occupied by Columbia Mills Co., which was notably the first textile mill ever to be powered by only electricity.

    A 14-year-old boy was crushed and decapitated at the mill in a horrific accident. He’s now known as Bubba the Ghost. Watch out for him when the elevator doors open on the 4th floor.

    Location: 301 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +1 803-898-4921


    photo by Abductive (CC0 1.0) modified


    Old Charleston City Jail

    See this notable by-tour-only spot for plenty of spooks

    • History
    • Photo

    The Old Charleston Jail operated for more than a century, mostly in the 1800s. It held a wide variety of criminals, from pirates to Civil War officers to the first female serial killer in the USA. The popular tourist destination is open for tours only – if you pick the right time, you might just see a ghost.

    Reported ghosts include former prison guards and inmates. Past visitors claimed to have captured ghostly images on their camera. Some even claimed that mischievous spirits stole their belongings. 

    Location: 21 Magazine Street, Charleston, SC 29401, USA

    Phone: +1 843-722-8687


    photo by ProfReader (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Dock Street Theater

    Take in the sights of the stage (and maybe a spirit, too)

    Dock Street Theater was previously a hotel and is considered one of the last remaining antebellum hotels. Later, the structure became Charleston’s very first theatre. It would change purposes several times over its life, but it currently serves as a historic theatre for the Charleston Stage Company.

    You can catch a show and even a ghost while visiting. Reported spirits include that of Junius Brutus Booth (father of the same Booth who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln), former actors, theatregoers and even prostitutes.

    Location: 135 Church Street, Charleston, SC 29401, USA

    Phone: +1 843-577-7183


    photo by Ellen Stipo (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Cypress Gardens

    Few landscapes quite as creepy as a southern swamp

    • Families
    • History
    • Adventure

    Cypress Gardens is a large nature preserve deep within the swamps of South Carolina. There’s plenty of good-natured, family-friendly fun to be had in the gardens, from hiking to boating. But if you want to give yourself a fright, go out to the ruins hidden in the swamps.

    The ruins aren’t authentic – they were left there by filmmakers after filming The Patriot – but visitors claimed that ghostly figures have taken up residence among the stone columns in the swamp water and shrouded by shadows.

    Location: 3030 Cypress Gardens Road, Moncks Corner, SC 29461, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 843-553-0515


    Magnolia Cemetery

    View ornate burial plots stretching across a former plantation

    • History

    The Magnolia Cemetery was once a plantation in Charleston but is now home to Civil War graves and many mausoleums, all designed with flair. It backs up to several other cemeteries, but Magnolia offers some of the more riveting historical facts. The land was a rice plantation during the 1700s but became a cemetery in 1850 as a result of a Yellow Fever outbreak in Charleston that left many dead with nowhere to be buried.

    Now, you can explore around 150 acres of 19th-century gravestones and famous burials at your leisure. Many guests say they feel watching eyes throughout the entire experience.

    Location: 70 Cunnington Avenue, Charleston, SC 29405, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 843-722-8638


    photo by Upstateherd (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Hampton Plantation

    A living history site surrounded by picturesque oak trees

    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo

    Surrounded by oak trees and Spanish moss, Hampton Plantation certainly looks peaceful, but its haunted history is less so. A slave graveyard and suicides mar the plantation’s past. 

    The stories say that if you visit the slave graveyard – now a still-used Gullah cemetery – and step on the graves, the spirit of the deceased will follow you home. Also, if you so much as point at one of the graves, your finger will fall off in the near future.

    Location: 1950 Rutledge Road, McClellanville, SC 29458, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 843-546-9361


    photo by Brian Stansberry (CC BY 3.0) modified

    Holly Riddle | Contributing Writer

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