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Charleston, Savannah & Beaufort - Itinerary Advice

Hello! I have been scrolling through dozens of websites and forums, and seem to even be dreaming this itinerary I have spent so much time going back and forth on it... I am hoping for affirmation that what (I think) we have decided on, is a reasonable plan given the amount of time we have. We will be spending 2 weeks in the States in total (from South Africa) from 25 April until 7 May and most of that time we will be in Mendham, New Jersey with our friends. We have approximately 5 (possibly 6 if needed) nights to spend on a southern jaunt! We would be flying into Charleston and are thinking 2 nights Charleston, 2 nights Savannah and then the last night in Beaufort before flying out from Charleston. Does that sound like a realistic (and good!) itinerary? Look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you!

Posted by
859 posts

I would do an open-jaw itinerary so you don’t have to backtrack. Either fly into Savannah and out of Charleston, or fly into Charleston out of Savannah. Put Beaufort in the middle because it is on the way between the two cities. I would add your extra night to Charleston, it is one of the most beautiful cities with tons of stuff to do. I don’t know where you’re from, but be advised that it can be very hot that time of year so make sure you bring at least a couple of pairs of shorts and short sleeve shirts for your southern jaunt. Have fun!

Posted by
2675 posts

I checked, but unfortunately, the Historic Open Gardens event for Charleston and Savannah is early April, but if gardens are of interest, you may want to look at what is on during your relevant dates. I have only been to Savannah, but they have hidden gardens tucked away behind the old classic homes. You can often peak into them through the well maintained and old wrought iron fences. I agree that if you can fly into one and out the other, it may be more time efficient.

Posted by
951 posts

Personally, I would skip Beaufort and just do Charleston and Savannah. Beaufort pales in comparison to Charleston and Savannah.

Posted by
6144 posts

I respectfully disagree about Beaufort. It's a great little town and on the way to Savannah so it will be a shame to skip it - and it will round out your trip and make it nice to compare all 3 places. I would spend the most time in Charleston because there is a lot to do there, especially if you see the plantations outside the city. One night in Savannah is adequate, I did it as a full day trip from Charleston one time (and as part of a three day weekend at another time) and was able to see almost everything in 1-2 full days. I wouldn't skip any three of these places personally, they're all worth seeing and comparing.

Posted by
2360 posts

i have spent a good bit of time in that area and would skip Savannah and maybe spend all 5 days in Charleston. i do like Beaufort much better than Savannah

Posted by
16757 posts

If you haven't already done so, I recommend reading "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" before you trip. It is set in Savannah.

Posted by
4124 posts

I would rate the three cities in this order:

  1. Charleston
  2. Savannah
  3. Beaufort

I would spend at least three nights in Charleston and two in Savannah, and pass through Beaufort on your way back to Charleston.

Too bad you can't do Spoleto Festival in Charleston:
https://spoletousa.org

Posted by
16757 posts

There is potential for confusion here. I believe the Beaufort being discussed is the one in South Carolina. The town's name is pronounced "Bew fert". There's also a Beaufort in North Carolina; that one is called "Bow fert" ("bow" as in archery).

I am a native North Carolinian. I want Brownie points for not making a cutting comment about how the folks to the south pronounce the name of their town. I suspect, though, that the SC Beaufort is a prettier place.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you all for your replies and feedback! We have managed to find a connecting flight from JFK to Charleston on the day we arrive from South Africa, which helps at least with the back and forth of heading to the airport (although I can imagine we will be shattered after that much travelling!). Then 3 nights Charleston, 1 night Beaufort (Bew-fort in SC not NC) and finally 2 nights Savannah. I am crossing fingers the weather will be fine, and that we will have at least some sunshine and warmth in the south! (we live in sub-tropical Durban so if the temperature gets below 18 degrees (65 farenheit) we start to get nervous...) We then fly from Savannah to Newark and spend the rest of the trip with our friends in Mendham, NJ. Now for the fun and games of the accommodation planning!

Posted by
4124 posts

Laurenfvallee,
We wish you a wonderful trip to our coastal southern cities. We live about 80 miles south of Savannah, at Saint Simons Island.

Be sure to try some of our great seafood when dining in our area. Our wild shrimp (no farm raised), crab, oysters and fish (especially Red Snapper) is special down here.

There are several restaurants along the wharf area of Savannah and the old favorite is the Pirates House. Recommend the Trolley ride around the city.

One thing, coming in the Spring, you may encounter many of our local bugs (mosquitos, gnats, etc.). If that is the case, recommend some bug spray.

Posted by
350 posts

I just added a kind of long, detailed set of recommendations on the other Charleston to Savannah Road trip thread on this particular forum and you may also think some of those are useful recommendations. Your dates should be fantastic here - a little beyond the peak of the Azalea blossoms - but very fine weather-wise.. Let us know what kind of hotels you prefer and I am sure we can help suggests some places.

Posted by
3925 posts

There are several restaurants along the wharf area of Savannah and the old favorite is the Pirates House.

We were hugely disappointed with the Pirate's House but then we should have known better than to choose to eat at such a touristy place.

I found Savannah a bit "meh". Did the trolley ride, it didn't help that it was mid August though! Found a day trip to be sufficient. We drove from Hilton Head Island where we were staying for a week at one of the beach resorts. I found Savannah to resemble the quintessential Southern plantation town that one thinks of, particularly the Live Oaks with the hanging Spanish Moss however I can't think of any reason that would leave me wanting to return. The best thing about the area was my discovery of Snow Crab legs! Now they are something worth visiting the US for!

Posted by
3355 posts

This is an area where it's wonderful to stay in some Bed & Breakfasts to experience the whole southern hospitality. We stayed at Forsyth Park Inn at Savannah as our first stay in a southern B&B - wonderful staff, special treats left in the parlor in the evening, a nice front porch to enjoy a Southern Ice Tea, etc. It's across the street from the Forsyth Park.

We found both Savannah & Charleston to be very charming and enjoyed staying overnight at both of them. We also went to Myrtle Beach; didn't stop at Beaufort.

Posted by
2360 posts

JC, you didn't have She Crab soup? That's the quintessential Low Country dish, but maybe it's more of a Charleston thing.

Posted by
3925 posts

No I didn't have the She Crab soup, I just looked it up and it appears I missed out! There were a number of times in the US where I'd ordered a chowder imagining it to be like the chowders we're used to, or a typical New England chowder only tobe presented with a tomato based one. She Crab soup looks like it would have been a good alternative to a creamy chowder.

Posted by
4124 posts

I visit New England every year, since my Daughter and her family live there.

I like the Clam Chowder and Lobster in New England as well as some fish like Cod.

However, we live on the Georgia coast and the local shrimp is fantastic as well as the Red Snapper and crab.
If you like oysters, they are good here, but I am not a big oyster fan.

Sorry about the Pirates House, we haven't been there is a few years, it once was a great place to eat.

Posted by
3925 posts

Sorry about the Pirates House, we haven't been there is a few years, it once was a great place to eat.

It's horses for courses, some people like it others don't. I suspect a lot of its appeal is that it's been there for so long (for American standards). We were there 7 years ago so I'd imagine the menu has changed but it still has the theme park feel about it which was something I didn't enjoy, characters dressing up in pirate outfits and ooh-arrghing isn't for me. I don't recall much of what I ate although I do recall it was the first (and last) time I tried hush puppies served with maple butter. Just tasted like a bland cake with overly sweet butter, not pleasant at all. However, as with most restaurants, it's all subjective so it may still be a great place to eat for some people but for others, not so great.

Posted by
235 posts

I would rate the cities in this way:

Savannah
Beaufort
Charleston

Beaufort is more quaint and there are some beautiful B and B's there. If you go to Savannah, take an umbrella and schedule a tour of the Bonaventure Cemetery.

Posted by
837 posts

This has been years ago, but I did one of the evening pub history walking tours in Savannah and found it enjoyable. Sure, the ghost stories are a tad cheesy, but it’s something to do at night and a good way to step inside some of the historic buildings. I would not skip Savannah. Go even if just for a day and a night. Have a great trip!