Angel Oak Tree is 65 feet high, with thick branches protruding outwards, giving it an impressive circumference of 25.5 feet. In fact, it offers shade covering 17,000 square feet. Southern Live Oaks, which are native to the area, usually grow in circumference however the Angel Oak tree has defied all odds and grew outstandingly tall too.
The evergreen tree gets its name from an estate owned by the Angel family, however, some rumors also say that ghosts of previous slaves circle the tree as angels. The Angel family were not the first owners, the history of the tree dates back to 1717 when the land was passed from one generation to another. Nowadays the tree is owned by the City of Charleston and is the main attraction of the park bearing the same name at St. John’s Island.
The area is open to visitors from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm and is only open on afternoons from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. The entrance is free and there is ample parking at the parking lot close by. Visitors can also visit the nearby gift shop for Souvenirs and information. There is a picnic area but food and drinks are not allowed near the tree. In fact, there are strict rules as to what can be done around the tree, including the prohibition of climbing to protect it. In 2012, there were high concerns for the safety of the tree after a plan to build 500 unit apartments close by was being discussed, with organizations being set up to protect this natural heritage. The tree has survived natural disasters, including earthquakes and floods, it was damaged in 1989 by Hurricane Hugo but it recovered since then
The Angel Oak park also hosts many outdoor events, particularly in the summer season. This includes local festivals like “Evening Under the Angel Oak” which offer a spectacle of music, arts, and drama among others. Similarly, the Spoleto Festival is held towards the end of May. The area can also be rented out for private events.
Throughout the years the Angel Oak Tree has defied nature and time, growing to the staggering size it is today. Visitors don’t have to be interested in nature and botanical studies to appreciate the natural grandeur of the tree, not to mention that the park itself is equally stunning.