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The Grand Strand on the Silver Screen: 2000 Film ‘The Patriot’

South Carolina has long been popular with travelers as a shining star of their vacations, but that’s not the only place where the state gets high billing — its stunning settings often play starring roles on the silver screen, too.

Consider this case in point. Known as “the Swamp Fox,” native South Carolinian Francis Marion is remembered in the history books as a staunch defender of his home state against the British during the Revolutionary War. He is famed for his use of unconventional military tactics, and many even credit him as one of the originators of modern guerrilla warfare and as an early contributor to the development of the U.S. Army rangers and other U.S. Special Forces.

In popular culture, though, Marion might be best known as one of the top influences on the fictional title character Benjamin Martin in “The Patriot,” a historical fiction war film released in 2000 and starring Mel Gibson. But Marion isn’t the movie’s only South Carolina connection — much of it was set in the Palmetto State, and accordingly, large portions of it were filmed here, too.

The bulk of the film is set in Berkeley County, South Carolina, Marion’s birthplace and his home for much of his life. And parts of the movie were filmed in Georgetown County, which is part of the Grand Strand and within easy driving distance of Myrtle Beach. In particular, exterior shots of the plantation home where Benjamin Martin’s children stay while he is away fighting were filmed at Mansfield Plantation in Georgetown — and the historic site can be visited with just an hour’s drive south of Myrtle Beach and Caribbean Resort & Villas.

Mansfield Plantation and Georgetown

Established in the early 1700s on the banks of the Black River, Mansfield Plantation is known as one of the nation’s most well-preserved antebellum rice plantations. Filled with towering live oaks and abundant wildlife, the grounds’ nearly 1,000 private acres house a popular bed and breakfast and offer a glimpse into what life was like on a pre-Civil War plantation. To learn more about Mansfield Plantation, visit mansfieldplantation.com.

Georgetown, a coastal community on the southern Strand that’s loaded with Lowcountry charm and history, is the third-oldest city in South Carolina. Thanks in large part to the wild success of the area’s indigo and rice planters before the start of the Civil War, Georgetown County at one time even stood as the wealthiest county in the nation. In fact, for parts of the 18th and 19th centuries, Georgetown stood at the epicenter the South’s high society. Reminders of these past riches can still be seen in the dozens of elegant plantation homes and gardens that remain in the area, many still beautifully preserved and furnished with remarkable period pieces. To learn more about all of the sights to see in Georgetown, visit historicgeorgetownsc.com.

When you and your getaway crew are ready to take a big-screen-worthy vacation on the Carolina coast, book your stay at Caribbean Resort & Villas on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront. With our wide range of luxurious accommodations and lengthy list of on-site amenities, we’ve got everything you’ll need to make memories worthy of the history books during your Grand Strand vacation.

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