Visiting Cypress Gardens

Cypress Gardens is a must see if you are visiting the Charleston, South Carolina area. A truly unique, relaxing swamp boat tour is the ideal setting to relax and enjoy some wildlife.

Cypress Gardens is like floating through a lake of trees and it truly is gorgeous and truly worth a visit. When I began researching things to do in and around Charleston this popped up and I no idea this was in and around the Charleston area. This activity was immediately added to our three day Charleston, SC itinerary.

boat in water at bridge at Cypress Gardens

Check out my post on our 3-Day Itinerary inCharleston, South Carolina

Charleston SC three day itinerary

What is Cypress Gardens?

Cypress Gardens is a 175-acre swamp garden. The gardens were originally a freshwater reserve for the nearby rice plantation, Dean Hall. The gardens were created by Benjamin Rufus Kitteredge back in 1909 and became open to the public in 1932.

To me, the best part is the swamp boat tour. Paddle along a marked trail for a 45-minute tour of the swamp seeing lily pads, tall cypress trees and tupelo trees that are mirrored in the dark, black water of the swamp. These amazing gardens were used in several movies, including scenes from The Notebook, Cold Mountain and The Patriot. 

Cypress Gardens

Where is Cypress Gardens Located?

Cypress Gardens is in Moncks Corner, South Carolina about thirty minutes from downtown Charleston. It’s a great half day outing if you are tiered of the beach or exploring downtown. With a quick trip from downtown Charleston, it is an outing not to be missed.

Cypress Gardens Hours & Cost

The Garden is open seven days a week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with the last admission being at 4:00 pm. General adult admission is $10 with youth being $5 and children under five are free. You can take a self guided boat tour of the swamp with the cost of your admission and it is worth it. If you would like a guided boat tour the cost is $5.

Cypress Gardens is Closed:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • New Years Day
dock at Cypress Gardens

Things to do at Cypress Gardens

There are a few things to do while you are at the Gardens and each activity will not disappoint. With your admission covering parking and all the gardens has to offer why not come and make a day of it or a half day at least.

Boat Tour

The boat tour is easy and super relaxing and enjoyable. You MUST do the boat tour. The flat bottom boats are easy for all ages to enjoy and can sit 6-8 people with two people paddling. There is one person paddling in the front and one in the back. Everyone else can just sit back, relax and enjoy.

boat in water at Cypress Gardens
boat in water at Cypress Gardens

Butterfly Garden

The small Butterfly garden is sweet and enjoyable for young and old. The greenhouse includes butterflies, birds, and fish ponds.


See wildlife up close and personal in their natural habitat. On our short walk, we saw one aligator peeking it’s eyes above the water but that’s the only one we saw. The guide said that because of the heat that the aligators tend to stay close to the bottom of the water to stay cool. Animals on site include fish, amphibians, and snakes and there are also have a South American anaconda and African crocodiles.

Walking Trail

The 3.5 mile walking trail winds through the gardens crossing bridges and getting up close and personal with wildlife. Since we have two teenagers they were not too interested in taking the trail; we took a short portion but wish we could have done more so we could see things we didn’t see on the boat tour.

couple on trail in woods
Cypress Gardens Trail map

Scenery at Cypress Gardens

On the 45-minute marked boat tour you will see gorgeous Cypress trees, lily pads and three bridges along the way. The boat tour through the trees is easily marked and a soft, slow paddle through all the gorgeous scenery.

White bridge on lake at Cypress Gardens
stone bridge in water

Final Thoughts on Cypress Gardens

I hope I have convinced you to visit this lovely place if you are in the Charleston area. It truly is not to be missed. Come for the day; pack a lunch, tour the butterfly garden, enjoy a stroll on the trail, take the boat tour and get away from the hustle of the city. You will truly leave Cypress Gardens relaxed and refreshed and maybe even ready for a return trip.

lady in boat wearing a hat

Visiting Cypress Gardens

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