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Savannah, Charleston and Raleigh help with itinerary

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Mar 16th, 2012, 08:54 AM
  #1
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Savannah, Charleston and Raleigh help with itinerary

My husband and I would like to go visit our son in Raleigh, NC at the end of September. We thought of having a side trip to Savannah and Charleston. We would probably fly into Savannah, rent a car, drive to Charleston and then drive to Raleigh and fly out of Raleigh.

Question is how many days do we need to visit Savannah and Charleston. Would 2 days in Savannah and 3 days in Charleston be enough time. Also, if we pick up the car in Savannah and drop it in Raleigh there will be big time drop off fees, is there one car rental better than another on drop off fees. Thought of taking the train from Charleston to Raleigh but that's an 9 hour travel time.

Also, driving from Charleston to Raleigh is there any sights worth visiting.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 09:08 AM
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You might want to take a look at my trip report on Charleston and Savannah; click on my name to find it.

We rented a car in Charleston, drove to Savannah and returned the car in Charleston. The reason was two fold--no potential one-way fees on the car rental and flights in and out of Charleston were much cheaper than flying either in or out of Savannah.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 09:48 AM
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Since you have a place to stay in Raleigh, I might suggest just flying in and out of there, renting the car, and driving to Charleston and Savannah and back. I'm sure you'd like to have a car in Raleigh for those days, and the drive isn't all that much.
You could go to Wilmington and down the coast. Then just return to the airport for your departure.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Yes, I can say from experience that 3 days in Charleston and 2 days in Savannah would be a good amount of time to spend in each place. Research I've done regarding Raleigh suggests 2 days would be about right there as well. Here's the itinerary I did for the first two cities in detail, copied from a thread from last year:

================================================== ==

I spent two full days in Savannah as follows:

-Day 1. (morning) Savannah History Museum, Telfair Mansion and Museum, Juliet Gordon Low's Birthplace tour, (afternoon) Davenport House tour, Owen-Thomas House tour. Explored the River Street/Factor's Walk area in the evening. All done on foot.

-Day 2. (morning) Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, Andrew Low House tour, Green-Meldrim House tour, (afternoon) First African Baptist Church tour, Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, Forsythe Park walk-through. All done on foot.

While walking between the various sights, I also got to see nearly all the squares in the historic area.

Had I had a car, I would have considered spending a third day seeing Old Fort Jackson, Fort Pulaski, and Fort McAlister, all located a short distance away but definitely not within walking distance.

"Garden of Good and Evil" based sights are on some folks's must-see list here, but I had different priorities.

One thing that helps keep things to two days in the historic district is that the Telfair and Ships-of-the-Sea museums are not large. The house and church tours took about an hour. The civil rights and history museums were a little larger.

For Charleston, I did the following:

-Day 1. (morning) Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Nathaniel Russell House, Heyward-Washington House, (afternoon) Edmonston-Alston House, walk around The Battery, Gibbes Museum of Art, Old City Market, city bus to and from campus of The Citadel. Otherwise all on foot.

-Day 2. (morning) Drayton Hall, Middleton Place, (afternoon) continued Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation. Done using shuttle service via Charleston Chauffeur Company.

-Day 3. (morning) South Carolina Aquarium, Ft. Sumter, (afternoon), Aiken-Rhett House, Joseph Manigault House, Charleston Museum. All done on foot except water shuttle to and from Ft. Sumter.

The Charleston Museum is large and can easily take a few hours to experience. The three Ashley River Road plantations definitely take a day. The house tours took about an hour each. The Gibbes Museum is not that large, but has a much better collection than the Telfair.

I did not get to explore some of the other outlying attractions, such as Boone Hall, Cypress Gardens, Charles Towne Landing, the H.L. Hunley Submarine, or Ft. Moultrie.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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I'm using frequent flyer mileage so the cost of the flight is not an issue.

Looks like 5 days will be plenty of time.

We do not need a car in Raleigh, we stay with my son and family and they drive us.

When I look up car rentals the fees almost double to rent a car in either Savannah or Charleston and to drop it off in Raleigh. We could return the car to the original location but that's a lot of driving. Over 200 from Charleston to Raleigh and then another 200 miles back to return the car.

I was really hoping there was a car company out there that did not charge drop off fees.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 01:06 PM
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The most direct route between Raleigh and Charleston is about 4.5 hours. (And no, there really isn't anything to see on that direct route! If you really want to sightsee en route, Gretchen's suggestion of Wilmington is about all I can think of.) Depending on how much the dropoff fees are, a 4.5-hour drive might be worth it, especially since you could stay with your son that night and not pay for a hotel. RDU does seem to have better flight connections generally.

Your time in Savannah and Charleston sounds about right for me as well.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 11:59 AM
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Think about seeing the Hunley exhibit in Charleston.
You'll just have to check every company and see if they have drop off charges, but it would be unusual not too except maybe for a high traffic resort area like Florida and Vegas.
Personally I like to drive so that would not be difficult for me to just rent and drive. It is possible that if you just rent the car at RDU when you arrive, and use it in Raleigh, the weekly rental could even be less than the 5 day rental.
In Charleston, I would see one plantation--and Middleton is my fave. Not all of them. BUT they are "there" for your choice.
I would imagine that flying to RDU would be more direct (maybe even non-stop) than Savannah (in particular) or Charleston.
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Mar 18th, 2012, 08:24 AM
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We'll be coming from LAX so there's usually no direct flights into Raleigh or Charleston.

Since we're short on time I'm wondering if Savannah is worth a visit or should we spend our time in Charleston.
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Mar 18th, 2012, 01:28 PM
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Just depends on your travel preferences, I think. You could see the highlights of both cities in your five days. But if you typically prefer to stay in one place awhile rather than splitting up your trip, you could stay in Charleston the whole time, though five days just in the city itself would be a little long for me. You could look into some time on one of the beach islands near Charleston if that interests you - this thread has been discussing several options.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...wild-dunes.cfm
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