The Ultimate Charleston and Savannah Itinerary for Trips of All Lengths

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Heading on a road trip to Charleston and Savannah? Here’s the ultimate Charleston and Savannah itinerary so you don’t miss out on the best of both places!

When planning your Charleston and Savannah itinerary, there are several stops you should make near each town. Since you’ll be driving, you’ll have a car which will make visiting the surrounding areas much easier.

I’ve broken up the itinerary by days, with each day highlighting specific area attractions. You’ll find plantations, gardens, wildlife viewing, beaches, and more.

Within each day, I do my best to include information regarding both cost and opening hours. These are accurate at the time of writing, but please double-check before visiting in case fees/hours have changed.

I also include a little description so you have a good idea of what each highlight has to offer.

This main itinerary is for a 7-day trip, but at the very end of this post, I’ve modified it for everything from one day to 2-week options.

Before I dive into the details below, you can get a sense for both cities from the videos I made from my trips to each location.

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Here’s my Charleston video:

And here is my Savannah video:

Here are some logistics to note about the itinerary:

  • Day 1 covers downtown Charleston, and I’ve intentionally stocked it full of things to do. So much so, that you won’t be able to do everything on that list in one day.
    • If you have more than a week, you can spend multiple days simply going through that list and leisurely exploring downtown Charleston.
    • If you have less time, you can choose whichever items seem most appealing to you, and go back to your list anytime you see “explore downtown Charleston” on any of the other days.
  • Same goes for the restaurant options. At the end of the article, I’ve included a list of the most famous and popular places to eat and suggestions on where to stay in each city. Unless there is a specific dining spot near the attraction for that day, you can consult these lists to fill in meals.
  • Planning your Charleston and Savannah itinerary ahead of time? Once you have chosen which meal spots you want to visit and on which day, make a reservation!
    • If you don’t have a reservation, you risk long wait times or no availability.
    • If you don’t have a reservation, you can also try eating at odd times to increase your chances of dining at popular spots.
  • You can do this trip forward or backward, but when it comes to mixing up days, keep in mind that days 1-4 are all in the Charleston area, and the remaining are in the Savannah area, so you can only really mix them up within cities.

Let’s get to it! Here is the ultimate Charleston and Savannah itinerary!

Day 1: Downtown Charleston

Today you’ll be exploring downtown Charleston. Instead of giving you an hour-by-hour schedule, I’ve listed the main points of interest that you should cover. But, as I explained earlier, don’t worry if you run out of time! You can do whatever you don’t do today during your free time on the next few days!

The Battery

Cost: free

Hours: open 24 hours

The Battery is a highlight of downtown Charleston. It was an artillery battery during the US Civil War, and today it is lined by grand stately homes, making it a wonderful place for a morning or sunset walk!

Ravenel Waterfront Park

Cost: free

Hours: 6 am – 11 pm

Also known as Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park, this area overlooks the Cooper River and is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the views. You’ll get a real sense of Charleston life here! It’s located right by the Battery and features Charleston’s iconic Pineapple Fountain (in the photo above).

South of Broad

Also in this area, South of Broad is a vibrant neighborhood that is worth taking some time to walk around. Famous for Rainbow Row, a 19th-century row of pastel-colored townhouses, South of Broad is the ideal spot to enjoy Charleston’s history and charming houses.

Charleston City Market

Cost: it’s free to enter, but take some spending money – you’ll likely buy something!

Hours: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm

Charleston City Market is a historical enterprise that is well worth stopping at while you are in the city. Home to a day market and a night market, countless fascinating stalls here are perfect for buying food, souvenirs, and clothes.

It is famous for its sweetgrass baskets, which are a type of baskets created by the local Gullah people.

King Street

King Street, which was named after Britain’s King Charles, is one of the most historically significant roads in all of Charleston. It was founded over 300 years ago when the city was in its infancy.

Nowadays, it’s a wonderful place for a stroll and it houses some of Charleston’s best boutique stores, fancy restaurants, and cocktail bars. It’s the ideal place for lunch or to grab some local souvenirs!

Drayton Hall

Cost: $22 for adults, $10 for children aged 7-15, free for under 7s.

Hours: 9 am – 2:30 pm Wednesday to Sunday

Drayton is one of the most famous plantations near Charleston. This estate dates all the way back to the 18th century and is an important spot where you can learn about America’s past, especially the harrowing history of slavery.

Charleston Museum

One of the oldest museums in South Carolina (and the whole USA!), the Charleston Museum dates back all the way to 1773! There are loads of things that you can learn about the city’s history here – it’s perfect for rainy days or if you just want to know more about the city around you. Don’t miss the Bunting Natural History Gallery and the Lowcountry History Hall.

Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry

Cost: $10 for South Carolina residents and $12 for non-South Carolina residents.

Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm Tuesday to Sunday.

Perfect if you are in Charleston with kids, this museum has lots of exhibits just for children, encouraging them to learn through interactive playing.

South Carolina Aquarium

Cost: It is $29.95 for adults and $22.95 for children age 3-12. Under 3s go free.

Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily

The South Carolina Aquarium is a popular place to learn about marine life around Charleston and South Carolina. It looks over the stunning Charleston harbor and prides itself on educating children and adults about conserving marine creatures.

Day 2: Cypress Gardens, Folly Beach & Morris Island Lighthouse

Today you’ll be doing some of my favorite Charleston nature activities: rowing through stunning cypress trees and heading to the beach! You can easily add some time in downtown Charleston with your extra time in the day.

Cypress Gardens

Cost: $10

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily

Cypress Gardens is a wonderful place to enjoy nature – it’s featured in the romantic boat scene from The Notebook (sans swans… those were added just for the movie). So if you fancy going somewhere for a morning stroll, or better yet, canoeing through cypress trees, definitely visit this spot! The boat rental is included with your admission ticket but is first-come-first-serve. I recommend going right when they open to make sure you get a boat- it’s also dreamier in the morning light!

Folly Beach

Folly Beach is an iconic beach in Charleston. Known by some as the edge of America, it is a huge expanse of sand with some of the best waves in the area. You can easily drive to Folly Beach from the mainland, as it is connected by a bridge. It’s around a 45-minute drive to Folly Beach from the Cypress Gardens, so make sure that you are prepared for the journey if you plan to come straight from Cypress Gardens. There are plenty of activities to do here, including watersports, restaurants, and just enjoying the sand and water.

Morris Island Lighthouse

Morris Island Lighthouse is a historic building 150 feet in height. It was constructed in 1876 to show sailors the way to the harbor. Unfortunately, you can only see it in the distance from the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve at the end of Folly Beach, but kayak tours offer a chance to get a closer view. These tours are private and run at sporadic times. For information about them, call (843) 588-0019.

Day 3: Boone Hall Plantation, Sullivan Island & Isle of Palms

Today, you’ll head to Boone Hall Plantation, one of the best places to learn about history and plantation life in Charleston’s past. On your way to Boone Hall or back from it, you’ll explore Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms- both have beaches and a small town feel. I’ve included restaurant recommendations for Sullivan’s Island, but you can also easily head back into the city for meals, too.

Shem Creek Park

If you are an early riser and have time to kill before Boone Hall opens at 9am, I highly recommend stopping at Shem Creek Park. There you’ll find a series of boardwalks that navigate the marshes. The light is especially incredible in the morning, and it’s a great place to spot wildlife.

Boone Hall Plantation

Cost: $26 for adult admission, $12 for children aged 6-12

Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Saturday, 12pm to 5pm Sunday

Boone Hall is a great place to visit near Charleston. Founded after John Boone, an English Major, arrived in Charleston in 1681, it contains centuries of history as well as an iconic tree-lined entrance. There’s a lot of history to learn about here – much of it is harrowing, but it’s important to know. It’s about a half-hour drive from Charleston to Boone Hall.

Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island is a popular place for watersports or for people who just want to walk around and enjoy the beach! It is a barrier island two and a half miles in length, located at Charleston Harbour’s entrance. You can reach it by car; it is around 20 minutes from either Boone Hall Plantation or downtown Charleston.

Two great places to eat on Sullivan’s Island include:

  • The Post House (located in a charming inn… the cord bread was some of the best I’ve ever had)
  • High Thyme is a casual fine-dining restaurant that is only open for dinner
  • The Obstinate Daughter is another popular spot on Sullivan’s
  • Located right next to the Obstiante Daughter, definitely stop at Beardcat’s Sweet Shop for some ice cream!

Isle of Palms

The Isle of Palms is an amazing place to kick back and relax in the summer! It is a community and resort with lots of activities, including golf, beach volleyball, fishing, and surfing. It’s also a spectacular place to watch the sunset! You can easily drive here from Sullivan’s Island.

Day 4: Magnolia Plantation & Middleton Place

On today’s agenda, you’ll be viewing some of my favorite plantations! Beyond being places to learn about the area’s history, these two spots have spectacular gardens, which make for great photo spots! (Check out my full list of Charleston photo spots here!)

Magnolia Plantation

Cost: $20

Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Another popular plantation to visit is Magnolia Plantation. This is famous as it is the oldest public tourist site in the area and has America’s oldest public gardens.

Like other plantations in South Carolina, it has a very harrowing past, and there are reminders of this everywhere – but it is essential history to try to understand.

I recommend visiting right when they open to avoid crowds and long lines.

Middleton Place

Cost: $26 for adults (when booked online), $15 for students and $10 for children. Children under 5 are free.

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm

Middleton Place is another spot that is full of history. Learn about the horrific times of slavery at Eliza’s house or visit the house museum. There are guided tours every hour on the hour, which will give you a thorough idea of what the plantation was like.

You can have lunch at Middleton if the timing works out right- their restaurant is open from 11 am to 3 pm, and reservations are not required for lunch.

Continue exploring downtown Charleston

With the rest of your free time today, head back to Charleston and explore the parts of downtown you haven’t had time to see yet.

Day 5: Wadmalaw Island

Yve Assad via Charleston Tea Garden

Today you have the opportunity to visit a less-explored area around Charleston: Wadmalaw Island. It’s about 30 minutes to an hour south of Charleston. Even though it is due south, unfortunately it is not quite on the way to Savannah. You can also skip this day if you want an extra day exploring downtown Savannah or Hilton Head.

Angel Oak Park

Cost: free, donations encouraged

Hours: open daily except for Wednesdays (at the time of writing) and holidays

On your way to Wadmalaw Island, visit the famous Angel Oak tree. It’s considered to be the largest live oak tree east of the Mississippi, and is between 300 to 400 years old!

Charleston Tea Plantation

Cost: free, although there is a charge for the trolley tour.

Hours: 9 am – 4 pm

The Charleston Tea Plantation is the only one of its kind in the US – so it’s a great place to visit when you’re in Charleston! You can see the factory or do a trolley tour of the plantation – and of course, try lots of tea.

Here’s the catch: it’s about 40 minutes away from Charleston. But if you already planned to visit the famous Angel Oak, this spot is not much further. And since the Tea Plantation and the next stop on this list are close in proximity, you can knock out two birds with one stone!

Deep Water Vineyard

Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Cost: $10 for a self-guided tour

Deep Water is the only vineyard in South Carolina. They make lots of different wines here – from Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay! You can go on a self-guided tour (where you get to choose six samples to try!) or do a private guided tour and tasting.

Explore Charleston or head to Savannah

Once you’re done on Wadmalaw Island, you can choose to either go back to Charleston for one more night, or move on to Savannah.

Optional Day 5: Hilton Head

Michael Stokes via Flickr

On your way to Savannah, you can choose to stop at Hilton Head for a day. Here you can explore the beach and visit a handful of the following places:

Coastal Discovery Museum

Cost: free

Hours: 9 am – 4:30 pm Monday to Saturday, 11 am to 3 pm Sunday.

You’ll learn all about the rich coastline of the area at this popular museum! There’s so much to discover here, including how sweetgrass baskets are made, local geology, animal life, and more.

Harbour Town Lighthouse

Cost: $4.50

Hours: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm daily

You can walk the 104 steps to the top here to catch an amazing view of the surroundings. If you don’t want to hike up to the top, just admire it from the bottom or visit its attached museum.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Cost: $8 for the day

Hours: 8 am to 7 pm

The Sea Pines Forest Preserve is a great place to visit in Hilton Head with kids – enjoy its paths and boardwalks while learning about local flora and fauna. You can only enter Sea Pines if you have a car.

Stoney-Baynard Plantation

Cost: $8 fee (cash only)

Hours: 6 am to 8 pm

This plantation dates back to the 1790s – it was built by Captain Jack Stoney. It was an antebellum plantation house, and is a historical place that is well worth visiting.

Ferry to Daufuskie Island

Cost: $45 for a same-day round trip or $30 for a one-way service

Hours: ferries depart at 7 am, 10 am, 1 pm and 4 pm, and there is an extra one at 9 pm on Fridays.

You can take a ferry from Hilton Head to Daufuskie Island (you will need to leave your car at Hilton Head). This island is famous for having few paved roads, beautiful beaches, and historic and enigmatic trees.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Cost: Free

Hours: 6 am – 9 pm

This island has 14 miles of hiking and biking trails. Explore salt marshes, forests, and ponds and see the fantastic wildlife that comes with it.

Day 6: Downtown Savannah

drone shot of downtown Savannah
Forsyth Park fountain Savannah

Spend your first day in Savannah exploring its charming downtown. Savannah is incredibly walkable with a 1-square-mile downtown and 22 squares (aka little parks/gardens). Here are a bunch of options for your day exploring downtwon Savannah. Just like with Charleston, you’ll find a list of where to eat and stay in Savanah at the end of this article!

River Street

As the name suggests, River Street is the perfect place to enjoy a view of the river! This historic cobblestone road is lined with fun shops and restaurants. Make sure that you walk down this iconic road at least once while you are in Savannah.

Broughton Street

Broughton Street is another great road to walk down – a popular shopping street full of stores selling vintage clothes as well as some more well-known high street brands.

The Paris Market

One store in particular that is worth visiting on Broughton Street is The Paris Market. You can stop in for some baked goods and exciting installments while browsing or shopping for intriguing Parisian decor.

Cathedral Basilica of St John the Baptist

Cost: donation basis ($3 per adult is recommended)

Hours: 9 am – 5 pm, closed on Sundays.

This is one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in all of America. It has a stunning exterior with looming steeples and an intricate interior with lots of detail in the ceiling and stained-glass windows.

Forsyth Park

Forsyth Park is conveniently located in the middle of Savannah. It’s a great place to enjoy nature within the city! Spanning over 30 acres, it’s a popular spot with locals and is on most tourist’s Savannah itineraries, mainly because of the beautiful tree canopies and peaceful atmosphere.

Davenport House Museum

Cost: $9 for adults and $5 for children (purchase online for the cheapest rates)

Hours: 10 am to 4 pm

The Davenport House Museum dates back all the way to 1820. It nowadays functions as a historic house museum, giving a snapshot of what Savannah was like during this era.

Do a Trolley Tour

Cost: variable, but generally around $35 for children and $15 for adults.

Hours: every 20 minutes between 9 am and 5 pm.

The best way to see downtown Savannah is on a trolley tour. These tours stop at all of the best attractions in the city, helping you avoid traffic and see everything in comfort and style! Stops include Davenport House, Pirates House, Ellis Square, and River Street.

Finish the evening with a ghost tour

Cost: between $9 and $40

Hours: varying, but all in the evening.

Savannah is famous for being one of the most haunted places in the country, and the locals know it – so much so that they have devised a few ghost tours to show you around all of the creepiest places! There are a few different ghost tours that you can do, depending on where in the city you are based, your budget, and whether you are traveling with children.

Day 7: Bonaventure Cemetery, Wormsloe Plantation & Tybee Island

Wormsloe State Historic Site Driveway Live Oak Tree Tunnel Savannah
Tybee Island Pier

On your last day in Savannah, you’ll get back into your car to explore some of Savannah’s best surrounding gems. These gems include a gorgeous cemetery, a historic plantation, and the beach!

Bonaventure Cemetery

Cost: free of charge

Hours: 8 am to 5 pm

To experience even more of the creepy side of Savannah, head to Bonaventure Cemetery. While this is a place of rest, it has also gained popularity as a visitor spot in the city due to the gothic statues and elaborate headstones. Sitting on the site of an old plantation, it is a beautiful but haunting spot.

Wormsloe Plantation

Cost: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $4.50 for children

Hours: 9 am to 4:45 pm

Wormsloe is set a little out of downtown Savannah, but it is worth the 15-minute drive. You can either do a guided tour through the site’s trails or walk around on your own – trails extend for 2.3 miles. The site is an old plantation, and there is also a museum which details the early history of the state. While you’re here, don’t forget to capture a photo at it’s entrance! It’s one of the most beautiful places in Savannah to me! (Check out more great Savannah photo spots here!)

Tybee Island

Finish your trip with a relaxing day at the beach! Just 30ish minutes away from Savannah, Tybee Island is a beautiful place to step out of the city. The island features a beach with the same name, which has a lighthouse and a beautiful pier.

Tybee Beach is the perfect place to end your trip, watching the gorgeous Atlantic ocean lap at the beautiful sandy shores. Tybee Island is connected to the mainland by a bridge, so it is easy to access from either downtown Savannah or Wormsloe.

There you have it: your Charleston and Savannah itinerary!

Next, I’ll cover where to eat and stay in both Charleston and Savannah, so that you can add meals and lodgings into your itinerary as you see fit. Keep in mind that you’ll want to make reservations as soon as you can since these popular restaurants fill up fast!

Where to Eat & Stay in Charleston

Charleston dining recommendations:

  • Butcher & Bee ($$)
  • Darling Oyster Bar ($$)
  • Felix Cocktails et Cuisine (pictured above) ($$)
  • FIG ($$$)
  • Husk ($$$)
  • Leon’s ($$)
  • Lewis Barbecue ($$)
  • Maison ($$$)
  • Xiao Bao Biscuit ($$)
  • Apps and cocktails at the Citrus Club (pictured above) ($$)
  • Afternoon tea or cocktails at Camellias ($$$)

Where to Stay in Charleston:

Where to Eat & Stay in Savannah

Savannah dining recommendations:

The Old Pink House Savannah
Husk Savannah
  • The Collin’s Quarter ($$)
  • Cotton & Rye ($$)
  • Fox & Fig Cafe ($$)
  • The Grey ($$$)
  • Husk ($$$)
  • Leopold’s for ice cream ($$)
  • Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room ($$)
  • Olde Pink House ($$$)
  • River Street Sweets for sweets/dessert ($$)
  • Vic’s on the River ($$$)

Where to Stay in Savannah:

The Mansion at Forsyth Park Savannah
river street Savannah

Additional Charleston and Savannah Itinerary Ideas

Bonaventure Cemetery photo spots

1 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

I recommend more than one day to explore both cities. Or, if you only have one day, stick with one city (you can see which city is best for you in my Charleston vs. Savannah article here).

But if you really want to see both cities and only have a day, you can get a feel for both by exploring their downtown areas. Pick a couple of activities that interest you most from the downtown Charleston and downtown Savannah lists. I recommend exploring King Street in Charleston and Broughton Street or River Street in Savannah.

2 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

With two days to explore Charleston and Savannah, I recommend one day in downtown Charleston, spending the night in Charleston, then exploring downtown Savannah on day 2.

3 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

With three days, I recommend spending 2 in Charleston and 1 in Savannah:

  • Day 1: Downtown Charleston
  • Day 2: Magnolia Plantation & Middleton Place
  • Day 3: Downtown Savannah

4 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

With four days, I recommend spending 2 in each city:

  • Day 1: Downtown Charleston
  • Day 2: Magnolia Plantation & Middleton Place
  • Day 3: Downtown Savannah
  • Day 4: Bonaventure Cemetery, Wormsloe Plantation, Tybee Island

5 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

I recommend spending 3 days in Charleston and 2 in Savannah:

  • Day 1: Downtown Charleston
  • Day 2: Magnolia Plantation & Middleton Place
  • Day 3: Cypress Gardens & Folly Beach
  • Day 4: Downtown Savannah
  • Day 5: Bonaventure Cemetery, Wormsloe Plantation, Tybee Island

6 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

I recommend spending 3.5 days in Charleston and 2.5 in Savannah:

  • Day 1: Downtown Charleston
  • Day 2: Cypress Gardens & Folly Beach
  • Day 3: Boone Hall Plantation & Sullivan’s Island
  • Day 4: Magnolia Plantation & Middleton Place then head to Savannah
  • Day 5: Downtown Savannah
  • Day 6: Bonaventure Cemetery, Wormsloe Plantation, Tybee Island

8 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

I recommend spending 4.5 days in Charleston and 3.5 in Savannah:

  • Day 1: Downtown Charleston
  • Day 2: Cypress Gardens & Folly Beach
  • Day 3: Boone Hall Plantation & Sullivan’s Island
  • Day 4: Magnolia Plantation & Middleton Place
  • Day 5: Wadmalaw Island then head to Hilton Head or Savannah
  • Day 6: Hilton Head or extra day in Savannah
  • Day 7: Downtown Savannah
  • Day 8: Bonaventure Cemetery, Wormsloe Plantation, Tybee Island

9 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

I recommend spending 5 days in Charleston and 4 in Savannah:

  • Day 1: Downtown Charleston
  • Day 2: Cypress Gardens & Folly Beach
  • Day 3: Boone Hall Plantation & Sullivan’s Island
  • Day 4: Magnolia Plantation & Middleton Place
  • Day 5: Wadmalaw Island then head to Hilton Head
  • Day 6: Hilton Head
  • Day 7: Downtown Savannah
  • Day 8: Downtown Savannah
  • Day 9: Bonaventure Cemetery, Wormsloe Plantation, Tybee Island

10 Day Charleston and Savannah Itinerary

I recommend spending 6 days in Charleston and 4 in Savannah:

  • Day 1: Downtown Charleston
  • Day 2: Cypress Gardens & Folly Beach
  • Day 3: Boone Hall Plantation & Sullivan’s Island
  • Day 4: Magnolia Plantation & Middleton Place
  • Day 5: Wadmalaw Island
  • Day 6: Downtown Charleston
  • Day 7: Hilton Head
  • Day 8: Downtown Savannah
  • Day 9: Downtown Savannah
  • Day 10: Bonaventure Cemetery, Wormsloe Plantation, Tybee Island

11+ Day Itinerary

Fill in the remaining days with extra time exploring the downtown areas of each city.

In conclusion…

There you have it! If you have any questions about a Charleston and Savannah roadtrip or specific questions about the itinerary, let me know in the comments!

And if you know of a place that didn’t make it on my itinerary but you think deserves a spot, also let me know!

Lastly, here are some more articles you might enjoy:

Safe travels!

Jasmine

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