Charleston to Savannah: The Antebellum South

7 days
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About This Experience

Slow your pace, sip a mint julep and feel yourself inadvertently slip into a drawl. The antebellum South will entice you with its elegant architecture, its lush scenery and—especially—its effortless hospitality. From luxurious plantations and Civil War forts to Lowcountry landmarks and waterfront cities, you’ll discover the unique culture and indisputable charm of the South.

Your Tour Includes

  • Round-trip airfare & transfers

  • 6 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 2 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Select entrance fees

How's the weather?

  • Charleston, South Carolina, United States
  • Savannah, Georgia, United States
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Charleston, South Carolina3 nights - hotel info

Day1

Fly over steeples and spires into the Holy City—Charleston

Dinner

Arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or begin acquainting yourself with the city of Charleston. Meet your fellow travelers at this evening’s welcome dinner.

Day2

Wander from mansions to museums, from Rainbow Row to the Battery

Breakfast

An expert local guide leads this morning’s sightseeing tour of Charleston, known as the Holy City for its history of religious tolerance. Today, the city is an exuberant blend of Spanish, British, French and Gullah influences, and on your tour you’ll see many landmarks, including the Old Citadel, the College of Charleston, the Four Corners of Law, the Battery, Rainbow Row, the Charleston Museum, the Old Exchange Building and City Market, where you can buy sweetgrass baskets to take home.

Day3

Sip a Charleston cocktail and soak up the city’s southern charm

Optional Excursion - Southern Plantations & Dinner

Breakfast

Today is yours to explore Charleston on your own. Give in to the antebellum allure of this charming Southern gem: stroll along the quaint streets, past stately, multicolored mansions that stand as they have for centuries. Perhaps hop on a cruise to Fort Sumter—site of the first shot fired in the Civil War. Or simply sit and sip iced tea at a local cafe. You’ll see pineapples—a symbol of hospitality—etched on everything from mailboxes to flags, reminding you that you’re very welcome here. This afternoon, opt to travel outside the city on an optional excursion to Drayton Hall Plantation, one of the oldest working plantations in the South. As you drive down its oak-lined lane, take in the picturesque branches laden with Spanish moss overhead. On your tour through the plantation, you’ll learn about the day-to-day life of those who ran the plantation as well as their history. This excursion also includes dinner at nearby Middleton Place.

Must be booked 30 days before departure

Optional Excursions

Southern Plantations & Dinner $125* pp

Venture to Drayton Hall, where you'll explore the only Antebellum mansion on the Ashley River that survived the Civil War, remaining true to its original colonial heritage today. Tour the home and its grounds and gardens, before traveling to Middleton Place Plantation to observe the day-to-day duties of the country's oldest operational plantation. At this carefully preserved 18th-century landmark, you’ll meet some of the workers that keep the plantation alive today. After exploring the historic grounds, settle in for a formal dinner of traditional southern food served at the plantation.

Jekyll Island, Georgia1 night - hotel info

Day4

Discover the antebellum charm and Gullah culture of the Lowcountry

Breakfast

The Penn Center

Say goodbye to Charleston this morning as you travel to the charming city of Beaufort on Port Royal Island. Your Tour Director will introduce you to the scenic waterfront, historic homes and quaint shops of this National Historic Landmark. Enjoy free time for lunch before continuing on to St. Helena Island. Here, you’ll visit the Penn Center, one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves, and learn about the sea islands’ Gullah-Geechee culture. Arrive on Jekyll Island later this afternoon.

Savannah, Georgia2 nights - hotel info

Day5

Experience the luxury and history of the Georgia Sea Islands

Optional Excursion - Southern Dinner & Music

Breakfast

This morning, enjoy free time to explore Jekyll Island, one of Georgia’s Golden Isles. Along with its white sand beaches and pleasant climate, the island is famous for its Jekyll Island Club, a place where some of America’s elite families, tycoons, politicians and socialites—such as the Morgans, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts—vacationed. This afternoon, continue on to the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles, St. Simons Island. Your Tour Director will lead you on a tour of the island, including the lighthouse, Fort Frederica National Monument and Christ Episcopal Church, built in 1820 and nearly destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. During your tour, you might even hear a ghost story or two based on the island’s many documented hauntings, such as the doomed ghost pirates that sail the creeks and inlets of St. Simons Island on their ghost ships. Arrive in Savannah this evening and consider joining our optional excursion for a night of Southern cuisine accompanied by live music.

Must be booked 30 days before departure

Optional Excursions

Southern Dinner & Music $79* pp

Start your evening with some authentic southern cooking, from fried chicken to fresh seafood to low country boil. Then, head to the historic Savannah Theatre for an evening of theatrics. Having opened its doors in 1818, the theatre has hosted many famous players through the years, including Sarah Bernhardt and Oscar Wilde.

Day6

Explore Savannah’s Victorian architecture and Civil War forts

Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, set out on a guided tour of Savannah. On February 12, 1733, when James Oglethorpe and 114 colonists from Gravesend, England, arrived at Yamacraw Bluff on the Savannah River to found the 13th colony, Georgia, Oglethorpe laid down only four rules: no slaves, no Roman Catholics, no strong drink and no lawyers. The city of Savannah also became America’s first “planned city,” designed by Oglethorpe into blocks of lots centered around a grid of 24 public squares, 21 of which still exist today. Over the centuries, Savannah found prosperity in the form of rice and cotton (Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin effectively reversed the ruling on slave ownership), and faced hardship during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Today, you’ll experience the city’s storied past as you enjoy a guided tour through the city. Highlights include such landmarks as Forsyth Park, River Street, the Waving Girl statue, the Cotton Exchange and Colonial Park Cemetery. The afternoon is free for you to explore the city on your own, perhaps visiting the locations described in the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Tonight, join your group for a fond farewell dinner, where you can reminisce about your trip.

Day7

Get your last fix of comfort food before flying on home

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Begin your return journey home.

Extend Your Stay

Add Savannah City Stay $299*

Savannah—sometimes called the “Hostess City of the South”—is the embodiment of Southern hospitality. The city's leafy parks, antebellum architecture and leisurely way of life have captivated visitors since the city's founding in 1733. With two additional nights in this quaint town, you’ll have time to explore the city’s historic squares and take in its alluring southern atmosphere.

Savannah, Georgia2 nights - hotel info

Day7

Stroll through 22 historic squares in Savannah

Breakfast

Enjoy a full day at leisure in Savannah.

Day8

Wander the shores where history and sea collide

Optional Excursion - Georgia's Historic Tybee Island

Breakfast

Enjoy today at your leisure. Alternatively, you may choose to join our optional excursion to Georgia’s historic Tybee Island, during which you’ll explore the island’s Civil War fort and lighthouse before lunch at a local restaurant.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Optional Excursions

Georgia's Historic Tybee Island $99* pp

History and the sea collide on the shores of Tybee Island, located just outside Savannah at Georgia’s easternmost point. Explore the famous Tybee Island Light Station, known for being the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Georgia, as well as one of the most complete lighthouses in the U.S. Afterward, visit Fort Pulaski, the historic Civil War site constructed to defend Savannah. From there, glimpse the Cockspur Lighthouse, which appears as if it’s floating upon the waves when the tide rolls out. Finally, wrap up your afternoon with lunch at a local seafood restaurant.

Day9

Take leave of the Hostess City of the South

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative escorts you to the airport to assist with check-in for your return flight home.

Print This Page

About This Experience

Slow your pace, sip a mint julep and feel yourself inadvertently slip into a drawl. The antebellum South will entice you with its elegant architecture, its lush scenery and—especially—its effortless hospitality. From luxurious plantations and Civil War forts to Lowcountry landmarks and waterfront cities, you’ll discover the unique culture and indisputable charm of the South.

Your Tour Includes

  • Round-trip airfare & transfers

  • 6 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 2 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Guided sightseeing

  • Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Select entrance fees

How's the weather?

  • Charleston, South Carolina, United States
  • Savannah, Georgia, United States
Temperature Precipitation
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Charleston, South Carolina3 nights - hotel info

Day1

Fly over steeples and spires into the Holy City—Charleston

Dinner

Arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, and check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or begin acquainting yourself with the city of Charleston. Meet your fellow travelers at this evening’s Welcome Dinner.

Day2

Wander from mansions to museums, from Rainbow Row to the Battery

Breakfast

An expert local guide leads this morning’s sightseeing tour of Charleston, known as the Holy City for its history of religious tolerance. Today, the city is an exuberant blend of Spanish, British, French and Gullah influences, and on your tour you’ll see many landmarks, including the Old Citadel, the College of Charleston, the Four Corners of Law, the Battery, Rainbow Row, the Charleston Museum, the Old Exchange Building and City Market, where you can buy sweetgrass baskets to take home.

Day3

Sip a Charleston cocktail and soak up the city’s southern charm

Optional Excursion - Southern Plantations & Dinner

Breakfast

Today is yours to explore Charleston on your own. Give in to the antebellum allure of this charming Southern gem: stroll along the quaint streets, past stately, multicolored mansions that stand as they have for centuries. Perhaps hop on a cruise to Fort Sumter—site of the first shot fired in the Civil War. Or simply sit and sip iced tea at a local cafe. You’ll see pineapples—a symbol of hospitality—etched on everything from mailboxes to flags, reminding you that you’re very welcome here. This afternoon, opt to travel outside the city on an optional excursion to Drayton Hall Plantation, one of the oldest working plantations in the South. As you drive down its oak-lined lane, take in the picturesque branches laden with Spanish moss overhead. On your tour through the plantation, you’ll learn about the day-to-day life of those who ran the plantation as well as their history. This excursion also includes dinner at nearby Middleton Place.

Must be booked 30 days before departure

Optional Excursions

Southern Plantations & Dinner $125* pp

Venture to Drayton Hall, where you'll explore the only Antebellum mansion on the Ashley River that survived the Civil War, remaining true to its original colonial heritage today. Tour the home and its grounds and gardens, before traveling to Middleton Place Plantation to observe the day-to-day duties of the country's oldest operational plantation. At this carefully preserved 18th-century landmark, you’ll meet some of the workers that keep the plantation alive today. After exploring the historic grounds, settle in for a formal dinner of traditional southern food served at the plantation.

Jekyll Island, Georgia1 night - hotel info

Day4

Discover the antebellum charm and Gullah culture of the Lowcountry

Breakfast

The Penn Center

Say goodbye to Charleston this morning as you travel to the charming city of Beaufort on Port Royal Island. Your Tour Director will introduce you to the scenic waterfront, historic homes and quaint shops of this National Historic Land­mark. Enjoy free time for lunch before continuing on to St. Helena Island. Here, you’ll visit the Penn Center, one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves, and learn about the sea islands’ Gullah-Geechee culture. Arrive on Jekyll Island later this afternoon.

Savannah, Georgia2 nights - hotel info

Day5

Experience the luxury and history of the Georgia Sea Islands

Optional Excursion - Southern Dinner & Music

Breakfast

Fort Frederica

This morning, enjoy free time to explore Jekyll Island, one of Georgia’s Golden Isles. Along with its white sand beaches and pleasant climate, the island is famous for its Jekyll Island Club, a place where some of America’s elite families, tycoons, politicians and socialites—such as the Morgans, Rockefellers and Vanderbilts—vacationed. This afternoon, continue on to the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles, St. Simons Island. Your Tour Director will lead you on a tour of the island, including the lighthouse, Fort Frederica National Monument and Christ Episcopal Church, built in 1820 and nearly destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. During your tour, you might even hear a ghost story or two based on the island’s many documented hauntings, such as the doomed ghost pirates that sail the creeks and inlets of St. Simons Island on their ghost ships. Arrive in Savannah this evening and consider joining our optional excursion for a night of Southern cuisine accompanied by live music.

Must be booked 30 days before departure

Optional Excursions

Southern Dinner & Music $79* pp

Start your evening with some authentic southern cooking, from fried chicken to fresh seafood to low country boil. Then, head to the historic Savannah Theatre for an evening of theatrics. Having opened its doors in 1818, the theatre has hosted many famous players through the years, including Sarah Bernhardt and Oscar Wilde.

Day6

Explore Savannah’s Victorian architecture and Civil War forts

Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, set out on a guided tour of Savannah. On February 12, 1733, when James Oglethorpe and 114 colonists from Gravesend, England, arrived at Yamacraw Bluff on the Savannah River to found the 13th colony, Georgia, Oglethorpe laid down only four rules: no slaves, no Roman Catholics, no strong drinks and no lawyers. The city of Savannah became America’s first “planned city,” designed by Oglethorpe into blocks of lots centered around a grid of 24 public squares, 21 of which still exist today. Over the centuries, Savannah found prosperity in the form of rice and cotton (Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin effectively reversed the ruling on slave ownership), and faced hardship during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Today, you’ll experience the city’s storied past as you enjoy a guided tour through the city. Highlights include such landmarks as Forsyth Park, River Street, the Waving Girl statue, the Cotton Exchange and Colonial Park Cemetery. The afternoon is free for you to explore the city on your own, perhaps strolling through the charming city squares or visiting the locations described in the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Tonight, join your group for a fond farewell dinner, where you can reminisce about your trip.

Day7

Get your last fix of comfort food before flying on home

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Begin your return journey home.

Extend Your Stay

Add St. Augustine $399*

Travel down the coast to Florida and soak in the charming British and Spanish roots of historic St. Augustine, Florida.

St. Augustine, Florida2 nights - hotel info

Day7

Welcome to the sunny coastal city of St. Augustine

Breakfast

Transfer to St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement and port in the continental U.S. In the afternoon, you are free to explore the town.

Day8

Trace the English and Spanish roots as you wander through the city

Optional Excursion - St. Augustine Scenic Cruise & Lunch

Breakfast

Your Tour Director leads a sightseeing tour of St. Augustine, featuring the Castillo de San Marcos and the Fountain of Youth. The tour concludes in the Spanish Quarter, with free time for shopping. This afternoon, opt for a scenic cruise featuring views of the city’s most impressive historic landmarks.

Optional Excursions

St. Augustine Scenic Cruise & Lunch $55* pp

Traverse the crystal clear waters of the Floridian coast during this scenic cruise from St. Augustine. You’ll see many historical landmarks along the way, as well as the local wildlife that make the marshes their home. Afterward, head to a local restaurant for an included lunch. Please note: If you take any medicine for seasickness, it is recommended that you bring it with you.

Day9

Bid farewell to Florida

Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

A Go Ahead representative escorts you to the airport to assist with check-in for your return flight home.

Passport & Visa Requirements

Valid government-issued identification is required for air travel within the United States. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please be sure to have your required identification with you as well. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please be sure to have your required identification with you as well.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Be advised that most domestic airlines impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage, and that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

Clothing & Packing Tips

To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling to the Southern U.S. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and travel requirements.

Cuisine

The United States contains some of the most varied food in the world. Most of the cuisine on this tour is well-known to Americans, but look out for delicious Southern delicacies, such as true Southern fried chicken, okra and collard greens, as well as refreshing sweet tea.

Transportation

All included transportation on your tour is by private motor coach.

Time Zones

Your tour will fall on Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.

"Average" tour director

Tour director got off message too often and fellow travelers were often confused or did not comprehend times to meet etc. because of Her digressing and rumblings. At Holiday Inn in Charleston there was only one hotel bus running into the city and it was not large enough to transport enough fellow travelers. The hotel should furnish travelers about the availability and cheap cost per person of Taxies. ($4 per person) Our going home meal in Savannah was at Uncle Bubbas! Service was horrible! Food was horrendous! I was informed that the Tour Director was advised on several occasions to NOT GO To BUBBAS but She always takes tourists there! Makes one wonder why? Everything else was Great!

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: PA

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Suggestion for a Better Tour

I thought there were too many people in the group (37). It slowed our bus tours because we had to wait for 37 people to get on and off. I thought the Holiday Inn in Charleston was very inconveniently located, and the rooms were old looking and not as clean as I look for In my accommodations. I thought that the choice of restaurant on our first night was poor. I also think Go Ahead should not include any restaurants at all. Both Charleston and Savannah are areas known for their choices of gourmet Southern restaurants.I knew better than to attend the farewell dinner. Instead, I suggest a welcome meeting with the guide and group members on the first day; perhaps with drinks and details of our activities. Since everyone has access to the internet, we can find our own restaurants!

3 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Lots of history

Our city tour guides at each of our stops ,Charleston, Beaufort , Jekyll island and Savannah, provided wonderful lessons in history and culture. It was nice to have extra time in Charleston and Savannah to explore these cities on our own. We took the optional tour to Middleton plantation which I would recommend. Due to the government shutdown we were unable to go to Fort Fredrika, which allowed us to arrive in Savannah several hours earlier than planned. Savannah is a beautiful city and I appreciated the extra time. Great food and beautiful squares!

review photo

4 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2013

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: OH

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Beautiful, historical fun tour

Everything was good except--the hotels were not in the center of the historical areas and transportation was difficult and some of the restaurants, like Bubba's in Savannah, were very poor. The tour guide was very caring, conscientious and personable. The Charleston tour guide was outstanding.

3 / 5

Traveled On: 10/12/2013

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: CA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

CA. GIRLS GO SOUTH

WE ENJOYED THE TRIP VERY MUCH. YOU DID LET US DOWN BY OFFERING TO ASSIST IN EXTENDING OUR STAY AT THE SAVANNAH HOTLEL FOR ONE NIGHT. AFTER THE TOUR WE CHECKED AT THE DESK AND THAT WAS NOT DONE. FORTUNATELY, THEY WERE ABLE TO ACCOMODATE US!!

5 / 5

Traveled On: 9/10/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Title of tour was right on!

Do feel there was to much free time at Charleston and Savannah. Should have had a tour guide for Jykell Island. Needed more background on island and it's lovely grounds.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/11/2013

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CT

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Charlston to Savannah

The origional price of the tour was good BUT my sis and I spent a lot of extra money for side tours because we had so much time on our own. I feel more should have been included with the tour price. Jennifer, our tour guide, is a very nice lady but I feel she is very inexperienced as most questions we had were answered by our bus driver. Our bus driver was very good, an excellent driver, very knowledgeable regarding the area and extremely helpful. Was very suprised that we had to handle our own luggage. I have been going on escorted tours for several years and this is the first time that has happened. All hotels were excellent, very nice and clean. I certainly did appreciate that.

3 / 5

Traveled On: 5/11/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MO

Tour Director: 1 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Charleston to Savannah

This tours did not have the personal feel our other GA tours had. We went to beautiful places, but did not get the context of how it was a highlight, why it was chosen to see. I did not feel the guide was very personal with the group, as she did not take the time to either introduce herself at the airport, or ask our name, let alone introduce each other at the first dinner. Don't get me wrong, she talked a lot about herself, just did not involve the group. The experience is much richer when you know ones home town, their circumstances, etc etc. the tour seemed a bit disorganized, and while there were a lot of excuses from the guide for the problems, it was clear problems could have been avoided with a little more preparation and attention to detail.

3 / 5

Traveled On: 5/11/2013

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: MD

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

The Antebellum South

I have never felt so relaxed as I did while on this tour. The charm and hospitality of the south is true southern comfort. Flower fragrance in the air with warm sea/river breeze. Our Tour Director made each day even more special. This is the tour to take to sit back and enjoy.

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/6/2013

Number of Past Tours: 4

From: CO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

The Antebellum South Rocks

This is a little gem of a trip to some of the loveliest and most historically intersting sites in the US. The beauty and charm of Charleston, Savannah, Beaufort, and Jekyll Isand can't be underestimated when planning a trip to the South. Charming architecture, friendly people, superb cusine are a small part of the beauty of these sites. Don't miss this tour, and be sure to ask for super-knowledgable Tour Guide Yvette Kaplan, who will provide you with even more tasty tidbits to explore.

review photo review photo review photo review photo

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/8/2012

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

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