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Charleston to Savannah: The Antebellum South

7 days
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 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.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with few hills.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 6 nights in handpicked hotels

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

  • Expert Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Map of Tour of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida

Charleston, South Carolina 3 nights Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in Charleston

Welcome to South Carolina! Arrive in Charleston and settle into your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or explore the city.

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Charleston

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the city’s landmarks and surrounding plantations.

• Pass by the Old Citadel, the College of Charleston and the Four Corners of Law

• View the Battery, Rainbow Row and the Charleston Museum

• Admire the Old Exchange Building and City Market 

• Visit Drayton Hall Plantation, one of the oldest working plantations in the South

• Stop at the nearby Middleton Place Plantation and Gardens

Later, gather with your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Free day in Charleston

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Charleston or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Charleston Harbor Cruise & Lunch $99pp* Details

Take a carriage ride through Charleston's historic neighborhoods before embarking on a guided tour of the harbor. See the sights of the city from the water as you cruise Charleston harbor—you'll view legendary docks and pass Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. After your cruise, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Please note: This excursion is seasonal and runs February through November.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Jekyll Island, Georgia 1 night Hotel info

Day 4: Beaufort & St. Helena Island

Included meals: Breakfast

Travel to the charming city of Beaufort on Port Royal Island, then continue on to St. Helena Island. 

• View the scenic waterfront and historic homes of Beaufort 

• Enjoy free time for lunch in Beaufort’s Historic District, a neighborhood considered a National Historic Landmark 

• Visit Penn Center to learn about the sea islands’ Gullah-Geechee culture

Later this afternoon, arrive on Jekyll Island.

Savannah, Georgia 2 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Jekyll & St. Simons Islands

Included meals: Breakfast

Explore Jekyll Island on your own this morning before traveling to St. Simons Island for a guided tour.

• Visit the lighthouse and Christ Episcopal Church

• Enter Fort Frederica National Monument

• Hear a ghost story or two based on the island’s many documented hauntings

Later this afternoon, arrive in Savannah and enjoy a free evening in the city or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Southern Dinner & Music $89pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of Savannah

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

A local guide leads today’s sightseeing tour of Savannah and its storied past. 

• Highlights include such landmarks as Forsyth Park and River Street

• View the Waving Girl statue, the Cotton Exchange and Colonial Park Cemetery

This afternoon, enjoy free time before joining your group for a farewell dinner.

Day 7: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore the city of St. Augustine.

Add St. Augustine $499 pp

Please note: Extension is not available on all departure dates.

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

St. Augustine, Florida 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Transfer to St. Augustine

Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement and port in the continental U.S. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the town.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of St. Augustine

Included meals: Breakfast

Today, set out on a guided sightseeing tour, making stops at some of the city’s most historic sites.  

• Visit the Fountain of Youth and enter the Castillo de San Marcos

• Pass by Flagler College and the towering city gates

Enjoy a free afternoon in the colonial Spanish Quarter or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - St. Augustine Scenic Cruise & Lunch $55pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $65)

Day 9: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 6 nights in handpicked hotels

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

  • Expert Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Charleston, South Carolina 3 nights Hotel info

Day 1: Arrival in Charleston

Welcome to South Carolina! Arrive in Charleston and settle in to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or explore the city.

Day 2: Sightseeing tour of Charleston

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the city’s landmarks and surrounding plantations.

• Pass by the Old Citadel, the College of Charleston and the Four Corners of Law

• View the Battery, Rainbow Row and the Charleston Museum

• Admire the Old Exchange Building and City Market 

• Visit Drayton Hall Plantation, one of the oldest working plantations in the South

• Stop at the nearby Middleton Place Plantation and Gardens

Later, gather with your Tour Director and fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Free day in Charleston

Included meals: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Charleston or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Charleston Harbor Cruise & Lunch $99pp* Details

Take a carriage ride through Charleston's historic neighborhoods before embarking on a guided tour of the harbor. See the sights of the city from the water as you cruise Charleston harbor—you'll view legendary docks and pass Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. After your cruise, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Please note: This excursion is seasonal and runs February through November.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Savannah, Georgia 3 nights Hotel info

Day 4: Beaufort & St. Helena Island

Included meals: Breakfast

Travel to the charming city of Beaufort on Port Royal Island, then continue on to St. Helena Island. 

• View the scenic waterfront and historic homes of Beaufort 

• Enjoy free time for lunch in Beaufort’s Historic District, a neighborhood considered a National Historic Landmark 

• Visit Penn Center to learn about the sea islands’ Gullah-Geechee culture

Day 5: Sightseeing Tour of Savannah

Included meals: Breakfast

Learn about Savannah’s storied past as you follow a local guide on a sightseeing tour. 

• Pass landmarks such as Forsyth Park and River Street

• View the Waving Girl statue, the Cotton Exchange and Colonial Park Cemetery

• Enter the house where the founder of Girl Scouts of the USA, Juliette Gordon Low, was born in 1860

This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Savannah on your own or add excursions.

Optional Excursion - Southern Dinner & Music $89pp* Details

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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $99)

Optional Excursion - Civil War Walking Tour of Savannah $39pp* Details

Step back in time to the Civil War era on a walking tour of Savannah. This turbulent time in American history comes to life as you learn about the historical figures and pass by the homes and buildings that played significant roles in the conflict’s outcome. Enter the beautifully restored Green-Meldrim House to see where General William T. Sherman sent his famous telegram to President Lincoln offering him the city of Savannah as a Christmas present.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $49)

Day 6: Free day in Savannah

Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy more free time to explore the city or add an excursion.

This evening, join your group for a farewell dinner.

Optional Excursion - Stately Southern Homes & Lowcountry Plantations $65pp* Details

Begin your foray into the antebellum homes of the South in Savannah, where you enter the American Federal-style Isaiah Davenport House and the Mercer-Williams House Museum, a prominent figure in John Berendt’s best-selling novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Then, cross the border into South Carolina for a guided visit to the historic Rose Hill Mansion, widely known for its reputation as the most beautiful plantation house in the Lowcountry. After your tour, you’ll enjoy a sampling of tasty treats before making your way back to Savannah.

Must be booked 20 days before departure

Day 7: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home or extend your stay to explore the city of St. Augustine, Florida.

Add St. Augustine $499 pp

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

St. Augustine, Florida 2 nights Hotel info

Day 7: Transfer to St. Augustine

Included meals: Breakfast

Transfer to St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement and port in the continental U.S. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the city.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of St. Augustine

Included meals: Breakfast

Today, set out on a guided sightseeing tour, making stops at some of the city’s most historic sites.  

• Visit the Fountain of Youth and enter the Castillo de San Marcos

• Pass by Flagler College and the towering city gates

Day 9: Departure

Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

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

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.

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

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.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/15/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

FANASTIC

Our tour director Alan was GREAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His knowledge was way above expectation. The history we learned you can't get it out of a book and to actually see where it happened.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 11/15/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great tour director

Alan, our tour director was GREAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!! He knew the history of where were going and where we were at all the times. Our itinerary was great...We really saw a lot.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/17/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: VT

Tour Director: 3 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Antebellum South

Skip Saint Augustine on a holiday weekend. Otherwise, a fine tour. More time for Jekyll Island would be welcome.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/17/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TX

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

Charleston to Savannah

I had to find my tour director at the airport which was a little strange--why wasn't she by the baggage claim? However, she was very sweet and helpful in other areas. Jekyll Island was a complete waste of time with absolutely nothing to do! That Hampton Inn was horrible! Charleston, Beaufort, St. Simon's and Savannah were great. The Hampton Inn in Charleston was fantastic--Holiday Inn in Savannah was okay. The restaurant chosen to eat at in Charleston was okay but the restaurants in Savannah were great! I would like a more historical tour--our guide to the Citadel was fantastic! I would have liked to go see Magnolia Gardens in Charleston but the ghost tour in Savannah was awesome. The Savannah theater excursion was fantastic all the way around. Mike was a great bus driver and I appreciate his safety concerns. The local guide in Savannah was just okay. I met a lot of nice people on tour which was fun too. Thanks Jennifer for all your help!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/17/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great tour

Wonderful trip!!!

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 5/17/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: NY

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

My First Tour

This was my first tour ever. I really did not have any idea what to expect. What a pleasant surprise! The other ladies and gentlemen on the tour were friendly and I had tons of fun with them all. The food at the restaurants on the itinerary was terrific and the individual guides made the history of the antebellum south interesting I was never a history enthusiast but even I was engaged in the history and impressed by the love for their cities expressed by the guides. Jennifer was an impressive guide herself. We ran into a small issue almost immediately upon our arrival in Charleston, but Jennifer handled it professionally and with care and consideration for the people involved. I had a great time and will definitely look into other Go Ahead Tours. There were one or two small suggestions I would make. One - Jekyll Island was a nice rest stop - pretty, nice beach - but we really didn't have very much time in Savannah because of the stop in Jekyll. I think that we all would have liked to have at least 2 full days in Savannah to be able to stroll the squares and see what was there. We really only had an hour or two on Friday evening before the optional dinner and show, and just Saturday to get in a lot of sightseeing in a city that has tons to see before our fair well dinner. We did have lots of fun on the bonus ghosts and graveyards tour on Saturday night! My other comment may not be shared by others, but I was not impressed with the guide in Savannah Saturday morning (Mary Jane). After all of the other excellent guides like Mary in Charleston, The carriage tour with Mike, the river cruise with Captain Dave, and the Beaufort carriage tour with Jennifer, May Jane just didn't measure up. So all in all this trip went very smoothly and everything was top shelf. Thank you Jennifer our Tour Director and Go Ahead Tours for a great week. I look forward to travelling with you again.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 4/12/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: CA

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Hotels

The Hampton Inns were excellent as were the breakfast buffets. The Historic B Hotel in Savannah was a sorry excuse after the Hampton Inns and the breakfasts at the Historic B were lacking. In the Historic B the shower in the first room we were in was broken and the room was changed since they could not fix it. In the next room the hair dryer unit had come out of the wall and was on the counter. The carpets were stained and the was a odd smell about it.

 

Dear Carol, Thank you for your review. We will be having our operations team investigate these issues with our suppliers to be sure that all of our hotels are up to the quality and service standards that we strive for. We're glad to hear you had a good time overall on tour, and we hope to welcome you back soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | April 27, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 4/12/2015

Number of Past Tours: 11

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Easy, Comfortable, Wonderful!

This tour was nearly perfect! The weather, the hotels, the food, our TD ("CJ") could not have been more perfect nor more accommodating. Charleston was classic elegance, Savannah was Old South and everyone was enraptured with both of these fine cities. Both were walking cities, easy to navigatate and the carriage rides were fabulous! I wondered why Jekyll Island was thrown in the mix; but, after talking to others on the tour, I realized that not everyone lives near the coast and folks from SLC & Kansas City were anxious & excited to see the Atlantic and the beach. It was fun to watch them. Everyone wished they had another day in Savannah (this is what warranted a 4 rating on "itinerary"). The noseeums (look that one up) just about ate us alive in Beaufort (another gorgeous little town) and during the plantation visits. Take fabric softener sheets or DEET to combat this! The Middleton Place gardens were simply stunning! TD CJ was so witty, so engaging, very organized! The bus driver can make or break a tour & we lucked up on that, too, because our driver Mike was awesome! The hotel in Charleston was perfect, absolutely perfect ... couldn't have been better! We wished the hotel in Savannah was closer to the river. Some were not happy with their flights: the California group had to get up at 2:30 am to get to LAX. We spent the night at our airport to make our 6:20 flight. When I talked to a GAT Customer Rep about the flights, she was short, curt, unapologetic. She could have easily said "I'll relay your concerns so it will be considered in the future" instead of saying "there's nothing that can be done about it." People skills are important in this business ... maybe Patty just had a bad day! One final request: More diversified trips in North America/US, please!! New England is popular, but are 4 itineraries covering many of the same places essential? Not just my sentiment, but the thoughts of others. Travel to Europe can be somewhat frightening during this uneasy time, but people love to travel. We are still interested in the Maritimes & hope that GAT finalizes that tour! All in all, an excellent 5 STAR tour and I do highly recommend it.

review photo review photo review photo review photo review photo
1 / 5

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 4/12/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: KS

Tour Director: 4 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

General Info

The only issues I have with the tour is that we felt rushed, would rather it be more leisurely. We didn't enter Christ's church. Otherwise the tour was just fine.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 5/25/2014

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 2 / 5

Tour Value: 3 / 5

history

This tour was very historical. I enjoyed the tour but wish i had more time at certain stops. My tour director seemed to wander off on her own to much. I will more than likely travel with Go Ahead tours in the future. The pre-tour staff did a super job arraigning flights and etc

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