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Fly or drive from Philadelphia to Charleston, SC?

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Jan 28th, 2010, 01:19 PM
  #1
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Fly or drive from Philadelphia to Charleston, SC?

My husband and I are planning a week-long trip to Charleston in late May, early June. We are trying to decide if we should fly or drive from Philadelphia. Flying is such a hassle but the drive is pretty long. I would appreciate comments/suggestions.
ACC16 is offline  
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Jan 28th, 2010, 02:19 PM
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I've done both. If your time is limited, fly. I95 is really busy and boring.
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Jan 28th, 2010, 02:41 PM
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I don't know when you are thinking of going, but maybe Amtrak would be a good option too....
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Jan 28th, 2010, 03:32 PM
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Unless you drive like I do -- something even *I* don't recommend -- it will be two days to get between these cities. This will leave you little more than three days to actually visit Charleston and vicinity.

As noted above, the drive is boring -- except, I should add, when crazy urban drivers cut in front of you to get to their exit two seconds more quickly. It's not a drive I recommend for a week-long trip unless saving costs is absolutely paramount.

I should also note that Charleston is a very walkable city, in that most sights are easy to walk to AND a car is more of a nuisance than a help. One of its main charms is that people are NOT in a hurry to get from point A to point B -- so using a car to do exactly that will defeat one of the purposes of a visit there.

I put in some random dates for a flight between PHL and Charleston in late May, and had no trouble finding flights for about $300 per person round-trip. It's 684 miles each way to drive, so the break-even point would be a per-mile cost of 43 cents. You can put in your own per-mile cost to calculate how much you'd save by driving, and then decide if that money is worth escaping a drive on I-95 and instead being in Charleston.
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Jan 30th, 2010, 04:08 AM
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We drove this last year. I thought this was an easy drive. My thought usually is to drive if it is around 8 hours. This was longer but it really worked out for us. I can't remember the last time we drove that far. We usually fly, but I agree, it's a pain to fly. Philadelphia seems closer than Akron but I guess they are about the same distance.

We left Akron, Ohio, picked my son up in Columbus after work, stopped for dinner and then drove until about 10:00, spent the night somewhere. The next day, we drove into the Charleston airport, 10 minutes before our daughter's flight landed at 2pm and then headed to Kiawah. We had a condo so it was nice to have a car and take some food and supplies for the stay. We drove straight through going home--left in the morning and were home that night. The kids flew home earlier.
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Jan 30th, 2010, 05:03 AM
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I95 is boring, but an option is to head to the coast at the level of Wilmington,NCon I40, and then drive down Route 17 to Charleston--about 3-4 hours at that point.
So, you could have an interesting coast vacation--spend the night in Wilmington, tour its historic district, have a good meal. Go on to Charleston the next day, perhapse even stopping by Brookgreen Gardens at Litchfield, Pawley's Island and its historic district (early 1800's) and Georgetown (Revolutionary War). Have lunch on its waterfront, get to Charleston mid-afternoon.
Just a thought.
Personally I think you would want a car rental in Charleston if you fly so you could go to the plantations and some of the places on the beach for restaurant possibilities. But it is very true about Charleston's walkability.
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Jan 30th, 2010, 06:17 AM
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i quite agree with gretchen. rt 13 through maryland eastern shore, and chesapeake bay bridge tunnels is not to be misssed... once into varginia pick up rt 17 south... lots of small towns, no large trucks passing you at 80 mph.
i especially like to stop in wilmington n.c.. the town is rich in history, and at that time of the year would be a perfect stay over, then a short 4 hours to charleston.
on the return stop over in georgetown. this also has some mighty fine seafood restaurants, and a scenic waterfront... happy driving...
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Jan 30th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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If you had more than a week I would totally concur with Gretchen. But you're talking about driving through Myrtle Beach during high season. It could take hours. So I still say fly down.
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Jan 31st, 2010, 09:13 AM
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Late May is not exactly high season, and I don't think if you are on the 17 BYPASS it will take that long. We have certainly driven north to Wilmington and it was amazingly fast.
Of course, the other thing to do is get an early start from Wilmington--the site/sights I mentioned are all south of MB and even south of Surfside.
Actually they could even take the new road at North MB (at the outlets) that virtually intersects with 17 at Surfside. It is practically empty and would totally bypass MB.
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Feb 1st, 2010, 06:47 AM
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Late May isn't high season but it will include all the kids coming for grad week and possibly some leftover bikers. I still say fly.
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Feb 1st, 2010, 08:36 AM
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Late May/early June is also Spoleto festival in Charleston, which may raise prices on hotels. I'd start planning now.
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Feb 1st, 2010, 09:28 AM
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They aren't going to MB, Sue. You can bypass it. It IS a choice, and it is good to have correct information also.
And the point about Spoleto is really spot on. Could even affect the air fares.
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Feb 1st, 2010, 10:32 AM
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I'll say also about the bikers--they are being made to feel more and more persona non grata by the city fathers and new ordinances, and they may not even have biker week in MB again. THAT is a good thing, as Martha would say!!
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Feb 1st, 2010, 12:32 PM
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I know! They all come through here on their way up and it is NOISY.

I know driving through MB isn't as bad as it used to be. I just think, with only a week, no time should be wasted on in the car.
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