Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina are two of the most popular travel destinations in the southeastern United States, and they just so happen to be neighbors! In this post, I’ll walk you through an amazing Savannah to Charleston road trip itinerary packed with interesting stops and sights!
About Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is one of the oldest cities in the southern USA and the fifth largest city in Georgia. With famous historic squares, delicious southern cuisine, and a lively waterfront, it’s no wonder Savannah, Georgia attracts nearly 15 million visitors every year.
Savannah is a popular weekend getaway destination and it even hosts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the USA. It also makes an amazing jumping-off point for exploring attractions along the Georgia and South Carolina coast.
About Charleston, South Carolina
Head north from Savannah and you’ll soon hit Charleston, South Carolina, another historical city where you can dine, shop, and take in the fresh sea air. After walking around the colorful, cobblestone streets of Charleston, it isn’t hard to understand why this city frequently earns a spot as one of the best places to visit in the USA.
How Far Is Savannah From Charleston
Savannah and Charleston are just over 100 miles apart. The Savannah to Charleston drive time takes about two hours if you drive straight through with no detours.
Because these two cities are fairly close, they make a great one-day road trip since you’ll have plenty of time to explore attractions along the way.
Related Post: 10 Day Road Trip From Florida to Georgia
Savannah To Charleston Road Trip Itinerary
Driving from Savannah to Charleston is pretty straightforward. If you’re starting in Savannah, you’ll take I-95 North to US-17 North. But along the way, there are some interesting stops that are worth a visit.
If you make all the stops on the list below, your drive time works out to be around five hours in total. Of course, you’ll want to allot more time to get out and walk around at each destination, and you can always remove stops if needed.
Need to make this a Charleston To Savannah Road Trip? No problem, just stop by each attraction in reverse order!
This Savannah to Charleston road trip itinerary has a pretty spectacular starting point, so you should spend time exploring Savannah before you hit the road.
I’d recommend at least a day in Savannah before beginning the drive to visit attractions like Forsyth Park, the Bonaventure Cemetery, and the River Street waterfront area.
If you’re looking for a memorable place to stay the night before your Savannah to Charleston road trip, check out The Marshall House, a boutique hotel in the historic district that’s rumored to be haunted!
Related Post: 14 Best Places To Stay In Savannah, Georgia
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
Even though the drive from Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC is only a few hours, you’ll want to get an early start to the day so you have plenty of time to see sights along the way.
Just a 15-minute drive north of Savannah, you’ll find the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. This 30,000-acre wildlife refuge is home to birds, alligators, and other marsh-dwelling flora and fauna.
You could easily spend an entire day hiking, biking, and kayaking at this nature-lovers paradise, but for this itinerary, we’re just going to visit Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive.
The Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive is a scenic four-mile road through the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. Along this road, you can spot wildlife from your car or one of many lookout points.
UPDATE: As of September 2020, the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive and many other areas around the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge are closed for maintenance. Please check their website before visiting for the latest information.
St. Helena Island, South Carolina
Next, we’ll head about an hour northeast to St. Helena Island, South Carolina. St. Helena Island is the perfect place to immerse yourself in natural beauty and learn about Gullah culture.
In the center of the island, surrounded by Spanish moss-draped oak trees, you’ll find the Penn Center. The Penn Center was one of the first schools in the country where formerly enslaved individuals could receive an education.
The center was visited by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s and continues to work toward preserving and celebrating Gullah culture to this day. Visitors can learn about African American history, art, and culture on self-guided tours and group tours.
Another way you can experience this important island is through a guided tour by Gullah-n-Geechie Mahn tours. On your two-hour St. Helena tour, your guide will take you to several historical sites around the island including The Penn Center and The Chapel of Ease while teaching you all about Gullah culture.
Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina
From St. Helena, continue driving one island further and you’ll arrive at Hunting Island State Park. This State Park is known for having five miles of amazing beaches and a lighthouse that dates back to the 19th century.
You can even climb the lighthouse stairs for a panoramic view of the surrounding islands and wetlands, just make sure to book an appointment and bring $2 per person for your admission fee!
After visiting the lighthouse, you can spend time exploring the beach or head down to Hunting Island State Park Nature Center where you can learn about local wildlife.
Lunch in Beauford South Carolina
By now, you’ve probably worked up an appetite! Backtrack through Hunting Island and St. Helena Island to the coastal town of Beauford, South Carolina. Here, there are tons of restaurants where you can try the Lowcountry cuisine this area is famous for.
- Check out Plums for fresh local cuisine in a casual waterfront setting.
- For authentic Southern BBQ on the water, visit Q on Bay.
- Head to the Lowcountry Produce Market and Cafe to grab a quick bite on the road.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins
Next, we’re heading inland to the Old Sheldon Church Ruins. Sheldon Church dates back to the mid-1700s. It was burned down during the Revolutionary War and rebuilt many years later. It’s believed that the church was burned again during the Civil War but this time, it wasn’t rebuilt.
Today, the ruins are hauntingly beautiful and surrounded by a lush landscape. The property is located right off Old Sheldon Church Road and has informational markers as well as shaded seating areas to enjoy the view.
You can read more about the history of the Sheldon Church Ruins here.
Edisto Beach, South Carolina
From the Old Sheldon Church Ruins, head northeast to Edisto Island. Edisto is a peaceful vacation island south of Charleston that’s perfect for a bit of relaxation. Head to Edisto Beach State Park to stretch your legs on one of the many hiking paths or visit the environmental education center to learn more about the island.
If you happen to be in town during one of the local fishing tournaments, make sure to pass by the Edisto Marina to see the catch of the day.
Folly Beach, South Carolina
The last stop on this Savannah to Charleston road trip is Folly Beach, South Carolina. Folly Beach is just outside of Charleston and is one of the most popular Charleston day trip destinations for locals and visitors alike.
Take a stroll along the Folly Beach fishing pier or spend some time meandering through the beachy downtown neighborhoods. If you have time, rent a paddleboard or a kayak for a chance to see ocean life like turtles and dolphins.
For a nice dinner with a sunset view, head to Blu. This oceanfront restaurant is just a few steps from the Folly Beach fishing pier and serves fresh seafood and other local specialties.
After you’ve had your fun in the sun, head north about 20 minutes and you’ll be in the heart of Charleston.
Charleston, South Carolina
You may have reached your destination, but the adventure isn’t over! Charleston has tons of things to see and it’s a great destination to explore for a few days.
You won’t want to miss walking along the waterfront park (see if you can find the pineapple fountain!) or strolling past one of Charleston’s most colorful streets, Rainbow Row.
After dark, head to Stars Rooftop Bar for 360-degree views of the Charleston city skyline.
Need a place to stay after a long day of sightseeing? Check out this post with 14 amazing places to stay in Charleston, SC!
Have More Time For Your Savannah GA to Charleston SC Road Trip?
There is so much to see on any Savannah, GA to Charleston, SC road trip! Because the Georgia and South Carolina coastal areas are relatively compact, you’ll be able to experience a lot in just one day.
But if you have more time, it’s definitely worth slowing down and digging deeper into this fascinating region.
If possible, I’d recommend at least one full day in both Savannah and Charleston. This will give you time to see some highlights in both cities without feeling rushed.
If you’d like to break up the road trip, you can stop for the night in Beaufort, SC. Beauford has a quaint downtown area and an incredible waterfront where you enjoy music and sunset views.
You can also add these additional stops if you have more time in the Georgia and South Carolina coastal islands.
- Tybee Island: Beach-lovers paradise just east of Savannah
- Hilton Head Island: Great beaches, golf, and nightlife on the border between Georgia and South Carolina
- Kiawah Island: Visit Beachwalker Park and the Marsh View Tower lookout point just south of Charleston
Final Thoughts: Amazing Savannah To Charleston Road Trip
Without a doubt, there are some beautiful places to see on the drive from Savannah to Charleston. There are endless gems to discover along the way, so pack up your car snacks and turn up the music for a memorable Savannah to Charleston road trip adventure!
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