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Hampton Park

Fountain at Hampton Park

Park Details:

  • Location: 30 Mary Murray Drive, Charleston, South Carolina 29403
  • Size: 63.9 Acres
  • Directions

Hampton Park is one of the City of Charleston's largest parks. It boasts the most extensive floral displays of any park in the city. An old rose collection and seasonal displays are planted by the staff and volunteers caring for the park. This neighborhood park has a rich history recently documented through a project of the Charleston Horticultural Society, an audio walking tour called Layers of the Landscape. This park is home to many activities year round. Weddings, family reunions and many Frisbee games are but a few of the diverse activites seen in this park. The physical fitness trail is a popular spot for The Citadel students who live next door to the park. The park is an arboretum of sorts with many interesting species of trees and shrubs that grow in the Lowcountry. It is one of the few City of Charleston parks with restrooms and on-site parking.

Spring/Summer Winter Walk, Run or Roll is on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon and Tuesdays and Thursdays 6-8 p.m. The park is closed to all traffic, which provides a safe haven for our less adventurous participants. This is an excellent way to unwind and release stress from the previous week while you enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Hampton Park. Call 843-724-7327 for more information. The park's main water pond feature has a bridge and decorative water fountains.

This park's other amenities include:

  • Public restrooms
  • Drinking water
  • Picnic tables
  • Playground
  • Historic features
  • Gardens
  • Baseball/softball fields
  • Water features: ponds
  • Free Wi-Fi Internet access

Help be a part of the park's care and up keep through the City of Charleston's Hampton Park volunteer program called Stewards of Hampton Park.

This park has free Wi-Fi Internet access thanks to a generous donation from The Speedwell Foundation.

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Amenities

TrailsWater AccessRestrooms
PlaygroundBaseball or SoftballDog Run
Picnic TablesDrinking FountainPark Benches
Floral Garden DisplaysWi-Fi Access

Activities

WalkingBikingFlower Watching
Bird WatchingRunningSunning
Rollerblading

The City of Charleston acquired a part of the exposition land for a park. The park was named in honor of Confederate General Wade Hampton III who, after the Civil War, had become governor of South Carolina. The bandstand from the trade exposition, once located in the center of the park, was saved and moved to its present location at the east edge of the park at the foot of Cleveland Street.[8] In addition, the building at 30 Mary Murray Drive, which is currently used as the city's Parks Department offices, was retained from the exposition, where it served as a tea house.

The city retained the services of Olmsted, Olmsted & Elliott, a landscaping firm from Boston. John Charles Olmsted, the adopted son of Frederick Law Olmsted, designed a plan for a park following his first visit to Charleston in 1906.[9] No copies of his plan survive and it is unclear how much of his plan was incorporated into the final park design. At least part of his plans for long parkways along the Ashley River were disrupted when the city sold the approximately 200 acres along the Ashley River, the Rhett Farm tract, to The Citadel for the relocation and expansion of its campus. [10]

During the mid-20th century, the park included a zoo. It was opened in 1932, and an aviary was added about six years later.[11] By the mid-1960s, the zoo had become rundown.[12] The zoo closed in 1975, and its contents were largely transferred to Charles Towne Landing, a new state park.[13][14]

The city began a redvelopment of the park starting in the early 1980s. Following several years of decline in the park's condition, the city refocused landscaping efforts on the park, reduced crime and installed a small snack stand designed by Sandy Logan. Today, the park is popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists who use the one-mile perimeter road for exercise. Each year, the park is the location for the finale of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and the MOJA Festival in addition to many weddings and other special events.

 

  1. ^ Judith A. Hines, Layers of the Landscape at Hampton Park 2-5 (2006).
  2. ^ Judith A. Hines, Layers of the Landscape at Hampton Park 5 (2006).
  3. ^ Harper's Weekly, May 18, 1865.
  4. ^ Charleston (S.C.) Courier, May 21, 1865.
  5. ^ Judith A. Hines, Layers of the Landscape at Hampton Park 5 (2006).
  6. ^ http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9B0DE3DF1F30E733A25753C2A9629C946297D6CF New York Times, April 20, 1903 (retrieved May 27, 2009).
  7. ^ J.C. Hemphill, A Short Story on the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, reprinted in City of Charleston, South Carolina, Year Book appx. at 163 (1902).
  8. ^ Robert N. Rosen, A Short History of Charleston (1982).
  9. ^ Judith A. Hines, Layers of the Landscape at Hampton Park 10 (2006).
  10. ^ 1919 S.C. Acts No. 216 (approval of transfer).
  11. ^ Charleston (S.C.) News & Courier, Dec. 1, 1938 at 16.
  12. ^ Charleston (S.C.) News & Courier, Dec. 4, 1965 at 1-B.
  13. ^ Charles Towne Landing
  14. ^ Charleston (S.C.) News & Courier, Apr. 29, 1975, at 1-A.

It is one of the few parks where one can see really good floral displays. I look forward to the day when more parks in the city have this kind of effort going to them horticulturally.

Jim's Avatar By Jim on Oct 7th, 2009

We had a blast at the Teddy Bear Picnic this past weekend. What a great turn out and venue for the event.

bgalmar's Avatar By Bob Galmarini on Oct 12th, 2009

Tracie, whatever man!

Tania

By direct flad insurance on Dec 10th, 2010

Had our family photos done here. Our first time to the park and we WILL be back… I think I just found our wedding location!!

By Beth Bento-Dalton on Dec 29th, 2011

Could someone add at least a mention in the “History” section of the fact that what is today Hampton Park had served as a cemetery for 200+ Union prisoners of war near the close of the Civil War?

By Daniel on Mar 31st, 2014

In addition to previous comment, it should be added that this was also the location of a mass grave of Union soldiers that were reburied by former slaves, creating, perhaps, the first Memorial Day.

By Brad Whitten on May 19th, 2014

Thanks for the extra history info. We’ll look for some documentation and get that updated. Thanks!

holly's Avatar By Holly on May 29th, 2014

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CPC ProgramsCharleston Parks Conservancy has put together an online directory of all of our great Charleston Parks. You can browse parks, learn about their history, find out what amenities they offer and much more.

Some city parks are available for event permits. If you are interested in having an event or large gathering (wedding, festival, fundraiser, etc.) in a park, please contact the City of Charleston's permitting office to determine if the park is available for permitting and, if so, how to submit a permit. Call 843-724-7327.

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