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Charms of the South: Savannah & Charleston

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Two enchanting cities, Savannah and Charleston, wrap you in their warm embrace on this rail journey that traverses the centuries via the architecture, stories, and endless charms of the South.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20232024
7 days From $2,399 per person
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
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2023 Tour code: EC-HSGA-23

About the tour

Cobbled streets lined with live oaks and gorgeous old buildings welcome you to the South, a place where history runs deep, and beauty lies around every corner. We explore these elements fully as we venture through two historical gems of the South; cities as alike as they are unique: Savannah and Charleston. The week-long trip begins in Savannah on the eastern coast of Georgia. With a thoughtful combination of guided touring and independent exploration, this tour allows you to experience the best of Savannah. Our time in Georgia also brings the opportunity to explore the luxurious surroundings of Jekyll Island, home to numerous historic buildings and some of the most impressive beaches in this part of the country. We depart Savannah aboard Amtrak's Palmetto on a northern journey to Charleston, South Carolina, for an encore presentation of the delights of the South. The city has an incredible past and is punctuated by colorful homes, beautiful fountains, and a nearly tangible ambiance. Look upon Charleston's most notable sights on a guided sightseeing tour of the city by day and the harbor by night. In between these tours, we visit Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark, to walk amongst some of the oldest and best-preserved gardens in America. Peel back layers of history one experience at a time on this charming adventure. 

Highlights

Activity level Light and Easy

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You enjoy a perfect harmony between light and no activity. You’re okay with some walking and don’t mind strolls through cities or being on your feet for a few hours, perhaps on uneven pavement or cobblestones.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Savannah

Southern charm and live oaks dripping in Spanish moss greet you as you arrive in Savannah, Georgia. Transfer on your own to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to get acquainted with this jewel of the South. The city is exceptionally walkable, with unique art galleries, diverse eateries, antique shops, and boutiques intermingled amongst the historic homes and buildings. The evening is free to explore Savannah on your own.  You may wish to immerse yourself in Savannah's spooky side by joining a ghost tour at night.  Overnight Savannah. 

Day 2 - Savannah Sightseeing

Soak in the old-world grandeur of Savannah on this morning's trolley tour of the city. Live commentary guides the way as we explore the city's elegant neighborhoods and landmark sites. Look upon famous squares, including Chippewa, Lafayette, and Calhoun, amongst others, while learning about the rich history surrounding each. Monuments, fountains, historic mansions, and gorgeous old cathedrals are also highlighted.

This afternoon is yours to continue your explorations. Perhaps stroll through Forsyth Park and enjoy its tree-lined paths or head down to East River Street, accessible by original cobblestone stairs, to watch as riverboats and barges pass on the river below. This evening enjoy dinner with your traveling companions at Lady & Sons, a world-renowned restaurant founded by Paula Deen. Overnight Savannah.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Jekyll Island

After breakfast at the hotel, we venture south along the Atlantic coastline to beautiful Jekyll Island. This Golden Isle, located about 95 miles south of the city, boasts 10 miles of pristine coastline and an incredible historic district. We arrive later this morning and set our sights on the island's very best as we join a guided tram tour. Originally, Jekyll Island was purchased to become a winter retreat for the elite and was soon filled with gorgeous homes and buildings. Admire over 30 of them in the 240-acre historic district while our guide drives through the quiet streets. Lush trees veiled in moss and sparkling water views complement the spectacular surroundings. The tram tour also includes admission to one of Jekyll's most notable cottages.

Following the tour, we head to the Jekyll Island Club Resort for a fantastic lunch that epitomizes the island's luxury. We return to Savannah this afternoon with the rest of the day for you to explore independently. Overnight Savannah.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 4 - Savannah to Charleston by Train

Yet another of the South's impressive cities beckons today as we depart Savannah aboard Amtrak's Palmetto train for the relaxing daytime journey to Charleston, the Holy City. Founded over 350 years ago, Charleston is beloved for its seaside location, colorful historic houses, and endless charm. The train journey takes approximately two hours to complete, and on arrival, we take our first looks at the city on a guided tour. A step-on guide joins us for this excursion and offers insider knowledge of the city's history and stories as we make our way through the cobbled streets. You can look forward to glimpses at Charleston's City Market, Rainbow Row, numerous historic homes, and other fascinating sights that retell this Southern beauty's long and colorful history. After our tour, we are transferred to our hotel, located in the heart of the Historic District. The rest of the day is free to enjoy the city independently. Perhaps venture to Market Street or Upper King Street, where great restaurants, lovely boutiques, and nightlife opportunities abound. Overnight Charleston. 

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Middleton Place

Antebellum ambiance fills the grounds of Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark and our destination for today. This incredible plantation is built upon the stories of the Middletons and the enslaved persons who lived on the grounds and made the estate the absolute treasure it is today. Middleton Place was initially constructed in 1705 and has been expanded, burned, destroyed, restored, and expanded throughout the years. We venture here this morning to tour the plantation itself and its immaculate grounds, which are known to be America's oldest landscaped gardens. We begin our tour in the House Museum, also known as the South Flanker, constructed in 1755. Period decor and lavish furnishings fill the historic building. While you meander from room to room, you can look at portraits of the family, original silver and china collections, artifacts the family left behind, and more. Look out the windows onto the more than 65 acres of perfectly kept gardens. Throughout the centuries, enslaved persons and freedmen alike who worked for the Middletons created a living masterpiece, including over 100,000 azaleas, colorful camellias, crepe myrtles, and greenery. Beautifully maintained walking paths lead the way through the lush surroundings. We dine in the onsite restaurant following the tour, savoring various upscale versions of low country favorites.

This afternoon, the group returns to Charleston with the rest of the day at leisure. Perhaps visit Fort Sumter National Monument to learn its role in Civil War history. You could also relive the city's history in one of the interesting neighborhoods. Overnight Charleston.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6 – Charleston at Leisure

The day is yours to explore Charleston however you see fit. Charleston's surrounding beaches are lovely and a perfect place to relax. For another dose of old-world elegance, the city is home to several beloved homes and estates to explore. Learn about Confederate and Civil War history at the Confederate Museum at Market Hall or wander along the streets seeking out fountains and lovely homes. There are a great variety of breweries and restaurants serving traditional Southern cuisine. Imagine the possibilities.

Tonight, marvel at the city's lights from the calm waters of Charleston's harbor. Our dinner cruise sails under Ravenel Bridge, past Fort Sumter, and along the Battery while we savor course after course of outstanding cuisine. This is the perfect conclusion to our journey. Overnight Charleston.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Tour Conclusion

Your trip through the South's most charming destinations concludes this morning after we check out of the hotel. An included transfer to the airport is available for flights departing after 10:00 a.m. 

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

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