Savannah + ???
January 23, 2023 3:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm planning a 10-day trip to Savannah in April (probably Charleston too) and I'm trying to figure out where else I should go, and if I should make it a full road trip or add a quick flight. I like antiquing & homewares shopping, pottery/art, easy-ish hikes with beautiful views where I can read & contemplate, good casual local food/booze. Not a civil war buff. I was thinking Asheville (I guess fall would be a better time, but I assume spring is still nice?) and Seagrove for pottery, but am open to other route suggestions.

I'd be renting a car, so the charge to drop off in another location would possibly be a wash with the cost of a short flight.
posted by acidic to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you love the outdoors and are planning on making this a road trip, Cumberland Island is about two hours drive south and is available by ferry at St. Mary's for a day trip. It's a beautiful spot with lots of lovely scenery and interesting history. I haven't been and thus know less about Sapelo Island or Jekyll Island, but I think all of these are worth a google to see if they appeal to you!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 4:18 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]

Hilton Head is between Savannah and Charleston. It’s expensive and April probably isn’t the best time to visit, but you can always pop in and get a shirt from the Salty Dog. Fun fact: you don’t even have to go on the island to do that anymore. They have a standalone shop in Bluffton, which is nice because you have to pay a toll to get that far onto the island. But you kind of lose some of the experience.

Further north, Myrtle Beach is the mini golf capital of the world. I don’t know if I’d recommend spending too much time there, but if you like mini golf, it’d be fun to play a round.

North of that, Wilmington is nice. Actually, most of North Carolina is nice; I’ve liked everywhere I’ve been there. But Asheville will be a pretty significant drive inland. Probably better to stay coastal.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:56 PM on January 23

There are some “glamping” domes in the Asheville area (owned by various people, often found on Airbnb or via Instagram) and I thought it was a fun way to explore more of the area. I wouldn’t both doing Asheville without a car. I guess Asheville itself is nice (I mean, it is!) but what I find more fun is to take hikes in the area or rent a cabin with beautiful views and a hot tub.

If you are headed towards Asheville, Highlands/Cashiers/Sapphire, NC is a little out of the way but all have quite a few waterfall hikes in the area that are either moderate to pull off the road easy. I went with a friend and I think we did 5 different waterfall hikes in one day. Dry Falls is fun one because you can walk behind it.

Chimney rock is fine, but it’s in/next to Lake Lure which is just a beautiful place to be.

You’ll probably be too early, I think the timing is more mid May, but if the timing is right, definitely stop at Congaree National Park to see the synchronous fireflies. There are fireflies for a longer time, but they are only synchronous for about 2 weeks during mating season, one of the few places in the world where it happens, and the easiest to see it! (Other places require a permit system).
posted by raccoon409 at 5:13 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]

And I would skip Myrtle Beach for sure (unless you REALLY love mini golf I guess)
posted by raccoon409 at 5:14 PM on January 23

I LOVE Savannah. Can't recommend this guy's tours of Bonaventure Cemetery enough. I would also definitely do Charleston; they're not that far relatively and the coastal drive is pretty.

Then, I would say on the coast, Wilmington is fine. Some ghost tours and some Hollywood tours if you're into that. I like New Bern better: lots of cute Victorian houses right on the water, the old Governor's house, and a closed-off pedestrian street downtown. Probably only worth 2 relaxed days or so max.

Asheville is gorgeous and there's not a bad restaurant in the city, AND the drive once you get to Hickory on is beautiful, but it's long drive. You could always stop in the Triangle on the way, lots of good food here and some antique shops. Cheshire Cat in Village District of Raleigh is nice and big. (Don't go out of your way unless you're headed to Asheville, but you could make it a nice stop). If you do get to Asheville, check out Biscuit Head :)
posted by clarinet at 5:17 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]

Best answer: +1 for Jekyll Island. I never made it to the other islands, but the drift wood there is very dramatic.

Western Carolina is beautiful, but I agree, that would be a lot of driving. Northern Florida would actually be closer - St. Augustine is nice, and there are some pretty natural springs in northern Florida as well.
posted by coffeecat at 7:03 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]

Best answer: From Savannah it's an easy drive over to Beaufort, SC - lovely, walkable town with great local restaurants (I would recommend Old Bull Tavern for dinner and Blackstone's for breakfast).

Between Savannah and Charleston you'll find Edisto Island - not as commercialized as other island communities. This could provide the kind of relaxation you seek.

Another idea would be to drive down to Amelia Island in Northeast Florida - Fernandina Beach has a quaint downtown with great local restaurants (Timoti's Seafood Shack, Tasty Burger, España). There are plenty of rental options that would provide beachfront peace.

Asheville is incredible. Here are restaurant suggestions if you make it up there: Cúrate, Limones, Bull and Beggar, Baby Bull, Biscuithead.
posted by tmharris65 at 2:34 AM on January 24

Definitely head South to Jekyll and the surrounding islands. The millionaire’s village on Jekyll and the history that happened there (the Federal Reserve was founded) is amazing! Enjoy!
posted by pearlybob at 3:17 AM on January 24

Seconding all the Jekyll and Sapelo island recommendations:

Sapelo Island - you need to book a tour to be able to access the island and remember to pack your lunch as whether or not the one restaurant will be open is a mystery (there are no stores), but it's well worth it. Beautiful scenery and a very interesting history (not civil war focused).

Jekyll Island is much more touristy but has a ton of very pretty walking trails, really lovely beaches (driftwood beach), and the Jekyll Island Club is worth seeing if you like the live oak/spanish moss vibes of the southeast (and it's where the Fed was conceived, as pearlybob notes!). If you're a birder, pop back in and mention that because there are some amazing birding spots to check out. St Simons Island is an option too, but I've found it much less compelling than Jekyll.

If you're a Star Trek buff, Kingsland is a super fun couple of hours if the Neutral Zone is open for tours.

Plus the Okefenokee for amazing nature if you're up for a little bit of driving inland. Go to the Folkson entrance even though it's further away, it's much better than the Waycross entrance.

There's also Cumberland Island for the wild horses and St Augustine if you want to venture to Florida.
posted by snaw at 3:22 AM on January 24

OK, I'm from Charleston, I lived in Asheville for 20 years and I have been to Savannah multiple times. I would say you need to figure out what you want from this trip, because, yes, you could do three days in each city and have a great time although maybe a slightly hurried one, or you could do five days in Charleston and five in Savannah and have a great, somewhat more relaxing, time. And a lot of other iterations have been suggested that are also great! All three cities tick all your boxes. It's about 4 hours drive from Charleston to Asheville, more lately because of all the construction on I-26. It's 6 or thereabouts from Savannah to Asheville and it's two hours from Savannah to Charleston. Spring is lovely in Asheville and April is not at all too early to experience it. If you do all three cities, I'd start in Savannah, go to Charleston and then go to Asheville.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:28 PM on January 24

Two really specific recs for your shopping/antiques/housewares thing - I would make a trip towards Charleston SPECIFICALLY to go here . We've traveled to Sullivan's Island a ton (we have family there) and I never knew this place was there until the last trip - it's...amazing. Huge. Full of goodness. We're taking a van next time we visit.

There's also Amidst the Alders in Beaufort, SC, which I'm told is a charming town - the shop is days away from a grand opening into a big new space. I've shopped them online and would love to go in person.
posted by ersatzkat at 2:43 PM on January 24

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