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Savannah, Charleston & In Between

stmartinfan

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I'm in charge of planning a week-long trip for friends next September to this area. We won't be time sharing, but renting a house to accommodate 8-10. Any suggestions from all you TUG experts on where to stay, not to miss activities, restaurants, etc?

We're a good of women who enjoy sightseeing, shopping, walking and good restaurants. I was thinking of trying to stay somewhere between the 2 cities, so we could do a day (or more) touring each, visiting a plantation and a garden, and also spend some time doing more relaxing things like visiting the beach. If anyone has had a good experience with a rental this size, I'd love a recommendation.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
 

Helen_Colorado

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I grew up in the south - just south of Savannah on St. Simons Island for quite a while and Macon and Atlanta before and after that. I visited Charleston quite a few times (it's where I met my husband!).

Hands down I'd pick Charleston for a vacation with girlfriends, and I'd try to stay downtown if I could.

On the road between Savannah and Charleston you have ... not a whole lot, really - you'd be out in the sticks unless you were on Hilton Head.

I like the beaches around Charleston better than around Savannah - you'd be on Tybee Island near Savannah, but Tybee doesn't have nearly the selection of restaurants, shopping, and "just walking around town" that Charleston or Savannah have - so don't stay out there.

Charleston has a couple of islands nearby that you can go to for beaches and bars with decks.
I've always said that if I were going to move back to the south, it would be Charleston or nothing!
 

Deb from NC

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I would rent a house on Hilton Head. You can do easy day trips to Savannah ( about 45 minutes away). Charleston is a couple of hours away, you could go for a long day, or better yet spend a night there in one of their great small hotels downtown....
 

buzglyd

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I just returned from Charleston.

I usually go once a year for business.

I always make sure to eat at Magnolia's in Charleston. It has been in business now for 25 year.

Also, head towards Mt Pleasant and Sullivan's Island. Poe's restaurant has good food and a nice beer selection.

There is lots of history in Charleston and there are several walking tours you can take.
 

stmartinfan

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Thanks for sharing comments and ideas. There's so much to see and do in the area! Looking forward to the trip...guess I need to do some searching to see what kind of accommodations I can find in the different locations.
 

pedro47

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In Savannah The Wilkes House for breakfast is a much and the bus tour of the city.
 

pedro47

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I'm in charge of planning a week-long trip for friends next September to this area. We won't be time sharing, but renting a house to accommodate 8-10. Any suggestions from all you TUG experts on where to stay, not to miss activities, restaurants, etc?

We're a good of women who enjoy sightseeing, shopping, walking and good restaurants. I was thinking of trying to stay somewhere between the 2 cities, so we could do a day (or more) touring each, visiting a plantation and a garden, and also spend some time doing more relaxing things like visiting the beach. If anyone has had a good experience with a rental this size, I'd love a recommendation.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

We also looked at HomeAway.com for private homes for families vacations.
 

Paumavista

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Ocean Views

Your group may prefer to be close in to town.....for shopping and walking to restaurants - but if you are looking for ocean views, walks on the beach, and bike riding I'd pick one of the near by barrier islands.

Very close to Charleston is the Isle of Palms....I would look for somewhere in the gated community of Wild Dunes for a rental (similar to the gated communities on Hilton Head)....fun for bike riding, close to the beach, rent kayaks - 15 minutes to downtown dining.

A little further (30 minutes) and you can stay in Kiawah or Seabrook Island - both are beautiful gated coastal communities with great beaches, biking, hiking, deer and other wildlife. Seabrook has a nice indoor pool and recreation center (that's nice for the winter). But Kiawah has a great hotel on the beach with dining.....so if you stay at Seabrook...drive to Kiawah and tell them at the gate you're going to the hotel (then visit the nature center on the way and walk around.

We have stayed at all 3 and LOVE them all (but there are no time shares on any of them). We are beach lovers and I Love riding my bike in the communities!........we love Hilton head too....but it's much further - so you need to decide what your group wants.

Judy
 

pedro47

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Your group may prefer to be close in to town.....for shopping and walking to restaurants - but if you are looking for ocean views, walks on the beach, and bike riding I'd pick one of the near by barrier islands.

Very close to Charleston is the Isle of Palms....I would look for somewhere in the gated community of Wild Dunes for a rental (similar to the gated communities on Hilton Head)....fun for bike riding, close to the beach, rent kayaks - 15 minutes to downtown dining.

A little further (30 minutes) and you can stay in Kiawah or Seabrook Island - both are beautiful gated coastal communities with great beaches, biking, hiking, deer and other wildlife. Seabrook has a nice indoor pool and recreation center (that's nice for the winter). But Kiawah has a great hotel on the beach with dining.....so if you stay at Seabrook...drive to Kiawah and tell them at the gate you're going to the hotel (then visit the nature center on the way and walk around.

We have stayed at all 3 and LOVE them all (but there are no time shares on any of them). We are beach lovers and I Love riding my bike in the communities!........we love Hilton head too....but it's much further - so you need to decide what your group wants.

Judy

We liked Kiawah & Seabrook Island because they are gated communities.
 

LisaRex

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We're a good of women who enjoy sightseeing, shopping, walking and good restaurants. I was thinking of trying to stay somewhere between the 2 cities, so we could do a day (or more) touring each, visiting a plantation and a garden, and also spend some time doing more relaxing things like visiting the beach. If anyone has had a good experience with a rental this size, I'd love a recommendation.

FYI, I am the unpaid, unofficial "Travel Agent" for my group of friends and family. I've planned a half dozen girls trips and tons of other trips for couples (including our famous 25th wedding anniversary trip to St. Martin with 3 other couples). One great thing about traveling with a party that size is that you can exploit economies of scale. For the same cost that you'd each pay for a regular hotel room, you can put that money towards renting a fabulous place that you couldn't have afforded on your own.

I strongly second Helen Colorado's advice. There's no place in between Savannah/HHI and Charleston worth staying. Even if you there was, you'd never be able to find a 5 bdrm rental in Podunktown, SC that would remotely compare to what you could rent in one of those tourist towns. We're talking multi-million dollar homes with million dollar views, and great restaurants and beaches just a short walk or drive away.

IMO, it makes much more sense to stay in either of these fabulous places, and just focus on all that town has to offer, instead of spending hours in a car each day?

Personally, I'd either pick Hilton Head Island or Charleston as my "primary residence." Savannah is too small, IMO. Charleston has all the amenities of a medium sized town (movie theatres, shopping malls), plus some great historical sites, such as Ft. Sumter and USS Yorktown. And, of course, there are tons of tours (walking or carriage). There's a famous open air shopping bazaar called the City Market. Nearby are a few plantations that you can tour (Magnolia is my favorite). And, of course, you have great beaches and restaurants. It's an ideal place for a girls' trip IMO, especially if you have varying degrees of fitness and energy.

Kiaweh and Seabrook Island are both great options.

HHI is just as awesome, but it's focus is more on nature. It has its incredible white sand beaches (one long beach, really) that's great for running or strolling or lounging, golf courses galore, bike trails, tennis courts, etc. You have an outstanding nature preserve just off island (Pinckney Island) or on-island (Sea Pines). If you like history, you can visit a few historical ruins, the Rose Hill Plantation just off island, or take a Gullah history tour on Dafuskie Island. You can drive (~1 hour) or take a ferry over to Savannah (in season) and either stroll around, take a trolley tour, and enjoy lunch on the wharf or Mrs. Wilkes. The Coastal Discover museum has some nice nature tours. And then there's kayaking trip through the marshes, a sunset sail, Dolphin tour on Commander Zodiac is a must (assuming you can all ride in a zodiac).

If I stayed on HHI, I'd target the Atlantic side of the island. The sound side is beautiful, but the sandy beaches are found on the Atlantic side. If budget is a concern, then forego the ocean view, no matter what place you choose.

Also, if I went to HHI, I'd only go off-season (April, May or Oct, Nov). The summer is waaaay too crowded, and the winter can be cold. Given that its biggest draw is outside activities, if it rains a ton or is cold, it can put a damper on activities.
 
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Pat H

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HHI would be my choice also. You are between Savannah & Charleston plus Beaufort is also a nice town to visit. HHI has a ton of restaurants. There is a big thread with a lot of recommendations. It gets hot in HH by the middle of May. Definitely stay away from Memorial Day - Labor Day. If you don't want to swim in the ocean, I'd suggest Mar/Apr/late Sept/Oct/early Nov.
 

x3 skier

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We owned a condo on Seabrook Island for many years. I still return every summer for a week or so with my kids and grandkids. Seabrook is a quieter and more residential island than Kiawah but both are very relaxing. With the addition of Freshfields Village for shopping right between the two islands, it's almost perfect now. I prefer the islands to Charleston proper and both to Savanah but YMMV. Magnolia's is an excellent choice for dinning.

Lots of choices for rentals thru property management companies but I've used VBRO with great success since the condo was sold. Charleston downtown is about 45 minutes away.

Cheers
 

stmartinfan

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More great feedback. I enjoy doing the research and planning for a trip like this, so that's why I volunteered. Guess I need to see if I can get some consensus about whether the group wants more time by the beach or sightseeing, because that would help narrow my focus. Since we're going in September it should still be nice by the water. We've rented some great houses in the past, and from what I've seen in a quick online search, we will have some great and reasonably priced choices here.
 

Deb from NC

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http://www.beach-property.com/

If you decide on HH, we have rented from Beach Properties of HH numerous times when we needed a big house. (See link above). # 6 Juniper is our house of choice for family reunions !

I've also stayed on Isle of Palms and enjoyed that as well, but I LOVE Hilton Head.

Have fun, whatever you decide to do !

Deb
 
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