Charleston, SC + Savannah, GA Travel Diary
Gone With The Wind is my favorite movie of all time, and if you’ve watched it, you know that it takes place in Georgia and they go up to Charleston, South Carolina as well. So when Trav and I were planning a trip for his 30th Birthday/our 1st Wedding Anniversary to Washington, D.C. I thought why not rent a car and travel down to Charleston & Savannah where my favorite movie took place? And I’m so glad we did! I absolutely loved it there. Now one of my life goals is to own a vacation home there (check in on that in 30 years or so haha). Also, did you know Charleston was ranked the #1 city by Conde Nast for the fifth year in a row? And Savannah was ranked #5 on that same list.
Now that I’ve inserted a GIF of Scarlett to set the mood, let’s get to the pictures!
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
I think it is safe to say that I wayyy over filtered this photo of pious lady statue.
Magnolia Plantations was honestly my favorite part of this portion of our trip. It comes up in “Top Things to Do in Charleston” online but not as high as I would rank it. It’s such a gorgeous place with lots to do/look at and so much history. I highly recommend the boat tour if you decide to go (informative and fun) but you could probably pass on the swamp access. We were only planning on spending the morning here and then it ended up being an all day event for us.
The best part about the famous pineapple fountain in waterfront park is you actually get to go IN it. Yay! Luckily we made it there before it started to rain.
Once the rain started to pour down (see Trav’s post for a view of the storm) we found a pub called The Griffon (see picture two down // btw they had amazing chicken strips – this was before we started eating a vegan diet).
Okay, so Middleton Place was actually ranked higher for top plantations to visit in Charleston but we did Magnolia first and I was pretty underwhelmed by Middleton Place. Yes, it was beautiful and I am glad we went but there just wasn’t much to do. Plus, it was extremely expensive IMO in comparison to Magnolia. So basically my thoughts on the two are this: If you have kids, enjoy history or just like to explore nature – do Magnolia. If you want to have a picnic, relax, enjoy a nice view and prefer your nature landscaped – Middleton Place is for you. Or if you are there for a longer trip just do both! I’m glad we did both of them once but the only one I would return to would be Magnolia.
Angel Oak is probably the most incredible tree I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend checking it out if you go to Charleston. It’s a quick stop but worth stopping for a photo.
Our final stop on our way out of Charleston was to Folly Beach. This was my first time on an East Coast beach and it’s strange to go to a beach that is so flat and kind of …grey? I’m accustomed to the West Coast beaches. It was very pretty but not the kind of beach I would lay out and read a book on… but maybe have a coffee at a cafe with a view of it?
Our first stop in Savannah was River Street and having dinner and drinks on the Georgia Queen river boat. The sunset was particularly pretty that night. River Street has a really cool vibe and is a fun area. Definitely a must-do in Savannah.
Going to the cemetery was completely different from what I had imagined. Bonaventure is massive – and I mean MASSIVE. I don’t know why but I just imagined it to be one square plot with some beautiful headstones but it’s a maze that goes on forever (…and now I’ve probably made it sound so big if you ever go there you will think it’s tiny). It was haunting and very beautiful. Before you go though, one thing I would recommend is downloading the app. It is basically a self guided tour and will give you information about various people and sites.
One of our favorite meals on our trip was dinner in downtown Savannah at Bella’s Napoli Italian Bistro. The food was delicious and the weather was really great that night. To be completely honest the service really wasn’t that great but the other aspects of this restaurant made up for it and it’s exactly what we were looking for. Also, another place to stop is the Paris Market. I didn’t take a picture of it myself but you will see a photo of it at the end of this post.
So we both definitely recommend doing the hop on hop off Trolley tour. It’s a great way to get around Savannah and the various drivers (aka tour guides) were super nice, all really well-informed on the area and gave a lot of great historical information. I wish I had gotten more pictures the day we did this but both of our phones were pretty low on battery. Forsyth Park Fountain was amazing. My favorite fun fact was that it was 1 of 4 ordered our of a catalogue. Also, they offer night tours that show various buildings that are allegedly haunted and have ghosts – not for me but just thought I would mention it!
This is my favorite photo from the whole trip. I LOVED driving down this pathway. I kid you not it had to go on for over a mile. It was such a long, beautiful road. I’m still amazed by it every time I see this photo. It actually really reminded me of a street we drove through multiple times on our honeymoon in Kauai.
By the way, Savannah has the cutest airport ever. Charlotte, NC on the other hand… has the actual WORST airport I’ve been in.
Day Trip to Rifle Paper Co & Disney World Magic Kingdom
While we were in Georgia we decided to drive down to Florida for the day to go to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando and also stopped by Rifle Paper Co in Winter Park. We only spent a day there so I didn’t want to break it out into its own post, however, I think I might eventually write a post that is basically comparing it to our home park, Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.
I also wanted to share some photos of Charleston & Savannah that I didn’t take myself but will give you a better idea of the cities.
There were some places we weren’t able to make it to because we just didn’t have enough time. Plus, it was raining the day we had planned on doing the downtown area of Charleston so I didn’t get great photos of it. Another bummer was that due to the stormy weather this past winter Cypress Gardens (where The Patriot, Notebook & a lot of other movies were filmed) is shut down indefinitely.
We really like Hyatt Place and this one didn’t fail us. We always stay at Hyatt Place when we are up in Sacramento so we are really familiar with the chain and like staying there if/when its available whenever we Travel. It’s always very clean and the rooms have a lot of space and we are reward members (we got a free night on our honeymoon – never pass up on free reward programs, my friend!).
The Marriott was priced more competitively than the other hotels near River Street, which I realized once we got there, that it was because of remodel construction. The room was fine and the location worked great for us. The construction led to there being an emergency alarm going off once in the middle of the night, which was pretty frightening, but other than that the hotel was fine. I got the impression that it will be pretty nice once it’s remodeled.
We flew American Airlines (Trav is an American Airlines Advantage card member) and we rented a car at Hertz in Washington D.C. through AAA and dropped it off at the Savannah, GA airport on our way home.
Frankly, my dear, that’s all for today but I will be posting my Washington DC travel diary later this week. I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you did, stay tuned for Part 2. Have a great day!