Angel Oak Tree Charleston
One of the oldest oaks in the South, the Angel Oak is famous for its beauty and otherworldliness.
Angel Oak Tree
24 min drive
Famously known as a “Lowcountry treasure” and one of the most beautiful trees in the world, Johns Island’s Angel Oak is one of the oldest living oak trees in the South. A mere 12 miles from historic Charleston, Angel Oak is a must-see when visiting the area. Angel Oak feels like something out of a fairytale, with its majestically twisted branches and green canopy. The tree is 65 feet tall and has a circumference of 28 feet; its canopy impressively shades more than 17,000 square feet of land. It is reportedly between 400 and 500 years old, though some believe it is more than 1,000 years of age.
The Angel Oak is a Southern live oak which is native to the coastal Carolinas. Live oaks retain their leaves nearly year-round and boast extensive root systems. The tree derived its name from estate owner Justus Angel and his wife, Martha Waight Tucker Angel. Angel Oak was initially on the property of Martha’s family, but it was given to Justus as part of her marriage settlement.
The Angel Oak and its surrounding park are owned by the City of Charleston; it is subject to many conservation efforts. Hurricane Hugo, a category 4 storm, severely damaged the Angel Oak in 1989; however, it has since recovered. Hugo was the only storm to damage the tree in recent memory. It has been protected from developers by groups such as Save the Angel Oak and the Coastal Conservation League, who fought efforts to build an apartment complex near the oak. In 2013, the Lowcountry land trust purchased the 17 acres adjacent to the Angel Oak park in order to protect it from further development efforts.
Many claim that the Angel Oak is haunted: local stories posit that the ghosts of enslaved people inhabit the tree. Others say that the tree grows on a sacred Native American burial site and that the spirits of the Native Americans protect it. Whatever the truth, the Angel Oak’s rumored otherworldly nature remains a big draw for visitors.
Though not in Charleston, Johns Island, the home of the Angel Oak, is very close by. It is the fourth-largest island on the Eastern seaboard, and one of the fastest-growing communities in South Carolina. It is especially known for its ecological diversity and for its agricultural origins. Visitors can pair a visit to Angel Oak with a tour of the Fenwick Hall plantation or a stop by Eden Wind Farm.
Admission to see the Angel Oak is free, and picnic tables are available around the perimeter of the park. Make the most of a beautiful day with a trip to the beautiful and grand Angel Oak.