Just outside of Charleston, SC, you can find Angel Oak Tree, a true off-the-beaten-path sight to see. Literally, this gem is located down what seems like a one-lane back road. You may start to wonder if you made a wrong turn, but when you see the line of parked cars on the shoulder, you’ll know you’re getting close.
She’s a Southern live oak and roughly 400-500 years old. Yep, that’s older than our country. I know you’re wondering why I’ve decided she’s a she. Well, first, Angel Oak is beautiful and, second, it’s resilient. 400-500 years is a looong time to thrive in the same spot. So, that makes her a she in my book.
When you arrive, you might not grasp the full scope of the tree at first. I think it’s because the limbs hang so low to the ground. You have to walk through, over, and around the enormous branches to stand underneath the tree. At that point, look up. Then you’ll get an idea of what 400-500 years of growing looks like.
I found the best viewpoint to be opposite from the entrance. I took a million pictures as soon as I walked in…THEN walked around and discovered an open expanse that showed off the scale of the canopy. I’d recommend heading to that side first.
Things to remember for next time…
1. We visited in late afternoon and I found that the sun dips behind the tree, creating a shadows on the open expanse side. It made it a little tough to get a good picture w/o it showing up dark. Therefore, I would recommend trying to visit earlier in the day.
2. Angel Oak Tree is located on John’s Island which is about 30 mins from downtown Charleston. It does require getting off the main road but worth the trip. OR, it makes for a nice daytrip from Charleston. If you like the old world charm of Charleston and Savannah, then this side trip complements the experience.
3. It’s free to visit and you can visit every day of the week up until 5pm.