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Rocky Mar 29th, 2005 08:39 AM

Need help with itinerary... Jacksonville to Charleston
We are in desperate need of a vacation and we've never been to Charleston/Savannah, so why not go the end of April. We found a cheap flight into Jacksonville from Chicago and a great car deal, so all we need is a driving plan. We will probably head to Savannah for a few days and then Charleston for a few more before heading back to Jacksonville. Will the weather be nice enough to go to the beach for the day? Which beach? What route is most picturesque? Should we return a different route. Also, any good regional travel guides that might help with the planning? Sorry... I'll stop rambling. Thanks in advance for your help!

z Mar 29th, 2005 02:10 PM


Scarlett Mar 29th, 2005 02:18 PM

Today in Jacksonville is about 80 and blue skies, sunshine. I think by the end of April, it will be perfect for you.
Which beach, Ponte Vedra is pretty and there are some good restaurants.
Jacksonville Beach has some funky diners and places to eat and a nice hotel or two.

We drove to Savannah from Jax last June, it was quite hot in June , but we enjoyed every minute of it.
We took I-95-not a pretty route but it got us there fast. Don't know about Charleston, that is where I want to go next too :)
I would imagine you will want the fastest route rather than prettiest to get back and forth, but if you want really pretty while you are in Jax, stay on Amelia Island. Charming and pretty and 30 minutes from downtown Jax.
Good luck!

miller20621 Mar 29th, 2005 07:32 PM

Rocky- I used to live in Beaufort, SC (halfway btwn Charleston and Savannah). I would recommend spending more time in Charleston if you can budget the drive time. Savannah, to me, is a day trip at most. There is a nice waterfront area, and touring some of the garden squares is fun, but its just a fraction of what Chucktown has to offer. Sorry, Savannah- blame General Sherman for not marching his troops farter to the north.

The best beaches btwn Jax and Savannah are most likely in Florida. Hilton Head would be on the way, but not as warm as FL. Beaufort has its own charms as a small southern town, but I'm not sure you'll have time for it if you spend time at the beach, Savannah and Charleston.

weimer Mar 29th, 2005 08:11 PM

The drive to Charleston and Savannah is nothing spectacular. All the sites are off main route (amelia & cumberland island, etc). Both cities are beautiful so you'll definetly enjoy.

The beach is always an option in April.

gail Mar 30th, 2005 02:47 AM

It is a very short drive - about 2 hours - Jacksonville to Savannah and then less than an hour more to Charleston. I would forget about trying to get a scenic ride along that route, stay on I95 and enjoy yourselves in the 3 cities you mentioned.

leahinsc Mar 30th, 2005 04:43 AM

You can go along a coastal road (17) from Beaufort to Charleston and there are parts that are a bit scenic when it crosses the marshes. It will take you about 1 hr 15 min. THe weather will be nice enough to go to the beach any where along the coast but the water will still be fairly chilly - at least by my standards. Be advised that it is often more difficult to "find" a beach in the South as beach access can be restricted by private developments like Kiawah, Hilton Head etc. You will need to look for parks that have public beach access like Hunting Island outside of Beaufort or large beach communities like Folly Beach outside of Charleston. Another town that I thought was very charming and just off of 95 was St. Mary's in GA.

Rocky Mar 30th, 2005 06:55 AM

Thanks for all your ideas. We didn't think too much about going to the beach, but with all your responses it appears we should. I now have to start reading all the Charleston/Savannah posts to get hotel/restaurant ideas. Do any of you think we could "wing it" when it comes to hotel rooms. I know it's peak season, but we sometimes get the best deals when we stop in a B&B and they have a empty room for the night. Is this too risky?

Scarlett Mar 30th, 2005 07:00 AM

I like to play certain things really Safe when I travel and knowing where I am staying is one of those things I need to be sure of.
Savannah is very busy and even with advance booking, we had a bit of a problem finding a hotel with a room that we wanted.
Look into the main hotels and B&Bs in the Historic area, see what appeals to you and book it. You don't want to ruin a few days holiday trying to find a place to stay and ending up in something you would hate.

*from our visit I would recommend*
we stayed at the Hyatt on the Riverfront.
Olde Pink House
Lady and Sons ( we did not eat there but I wanted to :)
Look up Savannah and Charleston on the search function, you will find my trip report of Savannah and GoTravel wrote on on Charleston (excellent) as well as ellen griswolds recent trip report..have fun!

leahinsc Mar 30th, 2005 07:17 AM

I am also not a big fan of "winging it". CHarleston and Savannah are such popular destinations that time of year that if you find a place with multiple vacancies there could be a very good reason why. TAke a look at for recommendations. For restaurants I always like to look at

Rocky Mar 30th, 2005 08:03 AM

I guess I am not sure how much time I want to spend at each location. The problem is if we get to Savannah and we love it and want to stay another night we can't because we booked a room in Charleston. I would like this to be an exploring trip, not a scheduled one.

karinperaino Mar 30th, 2005 08:22 AM

Although I haven't been to the other destinations, Charleston was great! Here are some other things to consider while you're in the area: Kiawah Island (we found conch shells on one end of the beach and sand dollars on the other; we saw dolphin and a shark in the ocean away from the swimming areas) may need to stay a night there, a plantation tour, and a stop to see the Angel Oak Tree.

leahinsc Mar 30th, 2005 08:23 AM

Rocky - I love your spontaneity but I think I would still have a plan. Maybe even just a list of possibles that you get from Trip advisor...for example a couple of B&B's and a hotel in each location that you might go. Worst thing that happens is that you have to switch spots because they are booked up if you want to stay longer. You might also want to check on the visitor bureaus for those specific towns to see what is going on that time of year - that way you'll have an idea if it is going to be a particularly busy time w/ other tourists and therefore rooms will be in short supply.

Rocky Mar 30th, 2005 10:37 AM

Okay, I just received a Travelzoo updated and reserved Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah for tow nights ($139 plus tax per night). I guess it is a new hotel. Does anyone have any feedback as to location or the price. It is 100% refundable if I cancel. Thanks

Scarlett Mar 30th, 2005 01:58 PM

Rocky, Forsyth Park is beautiful and all the homes around it are too. I do not remember seeing The Mansion but odds are it will be very nice. You can walk everywhere within the Historic Area so I think 2 nights in Savannah will give you a good taste, then on to a longer stay in Charleston is a great idea.

ausc59 Mar 30th, 2005 02:15 PM

You definitely need to make reservations and as soon as possible....I've tried to find some for 2 weekends in April in the last 3 days and have seen very little. There is much going on there this time of year. Good luck!

northeast Mar 30th, 2005 03:04 PM

Rocky, I just got back from Amelia Island. Its beaches are deserted and beautiful.


mms Mar 30th, 2005 03:10 PM

Amelia Island is beautiful. We spent a lot of time there when we lived just over the border in Georgia. Which happened to be St. Marys. After living there I just could not recommend it to anyone. There are too many other great places to visit.

northeast Mar 30th, 2005 03:24 PM

mms: what reason do you have for not recommend Amelia Island, and what other great places are there?

mms Mar 30th, 2005 03:38 PM

No, I meant I could not recommend St. Mary's! Sorry for the confusion. I love Amelia Island. Every chance we could get out of St. Marys we headed there. We also enjoyed St. Simons and Jeckyl islands.

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