4 Days Charleston or Savannah

Jun 4th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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4 Days Charleston or Savannah

Planning another quick family vacation (2 adults and 3 kids 11,10 and 9) in July and need advice. We will be driving from the Philadelphia area to either Charleston SC or Savannah GA possibly straight down 95 or down 81 so we can go through the Great Smoky Mountians N P and maybe add a visit to Dollywood.
We do understand the time and distance involved but do enjoy driving.
The main question I have is which town we might prefer Savannah or Charleston especially if we want to add some beach time during the trip close to either town.
We love quaint, charming, animated towns with history, good restaurants, nice scenery. We do not like contrived or planned communities. We do not like too quiet or remote type atmosphere. We love European villages (especially France), Carmel CA, Laguna CA and others to give you a sense of our preferences.
We have Marriott points so are looking at the Courtyard Savannah or the Springhill Suites Charleston.
Ideally I'd love to see both so I thought maybe we'd stay in Charleston with a day visit to Savannah? We don't mind driving.
Thanks for your thoughts.
lemidi is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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Any ideas on comparing Charleston and Savannah with kids? Thanks so much.
lemidi is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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July??? It's going to be HOT and humid. If I were traveling with children that age, I would just stay in the Mountains longer.

Would Savannah be good for the kids? It's hard to say. There's the beach and Fort Pulaski is just about always a winner for that age.

Would they enjoy driving around town and looking at the old homes and the parks????? you know your kids....would they?
aileen679 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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Thanks, I didn't put too much thought to the weather cause it's so hot and humid in Philly in summer. I didn't think we'd be able to escape the heat. That's why we wanted to be close enough to water for some beach time. I'd hate to rule out the area just for heat.

As I was looking for a stopover point in the Smokey Mountains it does seem very appealing and we may stay longer there than we expected.
lemidi is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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On the flip side, I'd head to the beach with kids instead of the mountains.

Kids LOVE the beach and there will be tons of other kids there to play with.

My favorite beach area is Wild Dunes and it is only 15 minutes from downtown Charleston.

You could hang out on the beach by day and tour the city at night.

Charleston is one of the loveliest towns in the United States. While I also love Savannah and Tybee Island, Charleston has better shopping, dining, and attractions.

Don't miss the Boat Tours of Ft. Sumter, SC Aquarium, The Hunley.
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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Just to offer my two cents. I do not know about the beach scene in Savanah. I do know there are some great beaches in the Charleston area. Charleston offers plenty of fun stuff to do with plenty of rich history that can be quickly absorbed via carriage rides, ghost walks, and plantation tours. Kids actually enjoy some of these tours. The beach we usually visit is on Kiawah Island which is a half hour away. The island is private gate access but there is public access right before the gate. Kiawah offers 10 miles of beautiful clean beaches. We go there every year and have a good time. Enjoy your summer trip.


BradleyK is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:22 AM
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There are several discussions on here regarding the merits of both Charleston/Savannah. Take a look, but I would bet the majority (probably like 4-1) choose Charleston. Personally, we've been to Savannah twice, Charleston probably 10Xs & both are roughly the same distance for us.
SAnParis is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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Thank you, thank you. This is the kind of info I need. Charleston may be the best bet also because it seems a shorter drive by almost 2 hours from the Smoky Mountains. Then if we make Charleston our base with the nearby beaches we can visit Savannah if we so desire. We do love to explore and pack it all in.

And yes, our kids would love ghost tours, carriage rides etc...
lemidi is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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I LOVED Savannah. It is definitely gorgeous with its many squares that boast moss-covered oaks and gorgeous architecture. Savannah also boasts of many homes with intricate wrought iron work and they seemed to have preserved many of the old-time movie theatres.

Charleston is a bit more contrived. You are more likely to find upscale designer stores and the city just a little too yuppy for my taste.

Just note that both Savannah and Charleston are walking cities with compact downtown areas and will swelteringly hot in July. If you like European elegance, you are going to love Savannah's downtown.

Charleston has beautiful plantations that you could visit. We visited Magnolia Plantation near Charleston last April. The Plantation is a also a wildlife preserve where alligators rule. There alligators as big as 1,500 that roam free, but they mainly stay in freshwater areas.

Tybee Island is a beach community near Savannah, and I hear that it is quite lovely.

From your travel planning, the Smoky Mountains are west of Philly, while Charleston and Savannah are obviously east.

For a beach community near Philly, have you considered Cape May. It is really pretty with tons of Victorian architecture and great restaurants. They also have a great beach, a nice lighthouse, and plenty of amusement rides across the bridge in Wildwood.
FlyingMaltese is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:42 AM
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I love both places. But, as you say, Charleston would mean four hours less driving overall, and it is FABULOUS!!! It will be hot and humid as the devil, but if you can live with that (stay in a place with a pool and go to the beach some!!!), you'll be fine. Have a wonderful trip!
elsiemoo is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 10:58 AM
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lemi, make the beaches your base and then drive around.

You'll be in the Low Country in July. The heat index can easily hit 120 degrees inland (Charleston and Savannah) every day.

Do the cities in the evening.
Jun 5th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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I love Savannah (son goes to college there) but kids the ages of yours will likely proclaim it boring after a short time.

And with all due respect to your comments of humidity and heat in Phila., it is nothing to compare to Savannah in July. Think swamp - and that is the air, not the landscape. I took a brief walk thru Historic District late August one year and when I returned to hotel, housekeeping staff asked me if it had started raining outside as I was soaked - it was not raining, that was just the effects of the humidity after about 45 minutes.

gail is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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FlyingMaltese, Being in the Philly area Cape Cod is nice but it is a day trip for us. Not a vacation to see something new. We are looking for a new adventure.

Gail, if the humidity is worse than here I guess we'll deal with it. Ugh. My in-laws from SO CA say that getting off the plane in Philly in the summer is like walking into a dishwasher.

Are there any beaches in the area that are calmer than others for swimming (less under tow and waves) perhaps on a bay or cove? One reason I don't love the Jersey shore beaches is that they are long streches of open ocean (so rough water) rather than coves and bays with calmer water and scenic views.

Great help so far.
lemidi is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 11:43 AM
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Flying Maltese, I meant to say Cape May is a day trip for us.
lemidi is offline  
Jun 5th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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The beaches along the Charleston and Savannah Coast are both shallow sloped with little surf except in stormy weather. Sometimes, there will be rip tides, but the main beach at Savannah is usually posted when that happens and I assume those around Charleston do the same.
aileen679 is offline  
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