Charleston to Savannah road trip

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Uncover the Lowcountry region as you drive from Charleston to Savannah. Historic attractions framed by an impeccable coastal landscape will make you feel like you’re traveling through time.

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  • Total distance: 172 mi / 278 km
  • Total driving time: 5 h

1. Charleston

While it may be a city, it feels like an enormous open-air museum. Plunge into Charleston, a stunning Lowcountry hub.

Highlights:

  • The Battery – Stroll along the historic promenade with a pleasant harbor breeze in your hair.
  • Fort Sumter – Board a boat to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War kicked off.
  • Magnolia Plantation – Blend colorful gardens with bone-chilling stories about the past.

Stay:

Pick Harbourview Inn for the view or Andrew Pinckney Inn simply for the coziness factor.

Colorful row of Charleston buildings kicking off the road trip from Charleston to Savannah
Colorful Charleston houses.

Want sand under your feet? Consider day tripping to Folly Beach, a 12-mile (19 km) drive from downtown Charleston.

2. Kiawah Island

  • Driving distance: 26 mi / 42 km
  • Driving time: 1 h

Kiawah Island is a Lowcountry gem with maritime forests, marshes and beaches. Most of it is out of reach if you don’t stay at the island’s gated luxury resort, though.

Highlights:

  • Kiawah Island Golf Resort – Check into the luxury resort that occupies most of the island.
  • Beachwalker Park – Access the only public beach, and maybe walk east along the shoreline to see more.

Stay:

Book a unit at Kiawah Island Golf Resort to enjoy the areas the public can’t reach, or stay at nearby Andell Inn.

Empty golf course on Kiawah island, South Carolina
Kiawah Island, SC.

3. Beaufort

  • Driving distance: 81 mi / 130 km
  • Driving time: 2 h

Immerse yourself in both the history and the nature in Beaufort, the Lowcountry’s heart.

Highlights:

  • Downtown Beaufort – Walk or take a carriage ride on streets lined by antebellum homes.
  • Old Sheldon Church Ruins – Witness the magic of old ruins surrounded by live oaks.
  • Hunting Island State Park – Delve into an untouched coastal landscape crowned by a black-and-white lighthouse.

Stay:

You’ll want to be in the heart of Beaufort. Try The Beaufort Inn or BW Sea Islands Inn.

Hunting Island Lighthouse towers up towards the blue South Carolina sky.
Hunting Island Lighthouse, SC.

4. Hilton Head Island

  • Driving distance: 34 mi / 56 km
  • Driving time: 1 h

Slow down a little bit: You don’t want to explore the Lowcountry too quickly. For a relaxing time under the sun, few places compare to the tennis court-dotted Hilton Head Island.

Highlights:

  • Coastal Discovery Museum – Discover an area that, despite the surrounding development, has managed to remain exactly the same.
  • Harbour Town Lighthouse – Climb the landmark red-and-white striped beacon for brilliant views of the sound.
  • Coligny Beach – Appreciate a lively beach with all the essential facilities.

Stay:

Relish beachfront living at Omni Hilton Head or consider beautiful Coral Sands Resort at Coligny Beach.

Boardwalk on Hilton Head Island, SC
The peaceful Hilton Head Island, SC.

5. Savannah

  • Driving distance: 31 mi / 50 km
  • Driving time: 1 h

Finish your Lowcountry road trip in style in Savannah, where history awaits around every corner.

Highlights:

  • Forsyth Park – Snap a photo of the centerpiece fountain in a leafy park as pretty as they come.
  • Fort Pulaski – Uncover a Civil War landmark characterized by the castle-like moat and drawbridge.
  • River Street – Celebrate your Lowcountry road trip along the riverfront, brimming with restaurants and bars.

Stay:

Choose from an array of atmospheric accommodation in downtown Savannah, including Olde Harbor Inn and East Bay Inn.

Sunset by Savannah River, GA
Savannah River.

Charleston to Savannah road trip FAQ

How long is the Charleston to Savannah road trip?

This ultimate Charleston to Savannah road trip is 172 mi (278 km) long, taking roughly 5 hours excluding stops along the way. If you instead take the quickest route, the drive is just 107 miles (172 km) and about 2 hours, but then you miss out on most of the scenery.

Where should I stop between Charleston and Savannah?

The main stops are Charleston, Kiawah Island, Beaufort, Hilton Head Island and Savannah.

Is there a scenic drive from Charleston to Savannah?

There isn’t a scenic drive connecting Charleston and Savannah. Instead, you need to take several in-and-out detours to enjoy the scenery of the Lowcountry’s barrier islands.

How many days do I need for the Charleston to Savannah drive?

For the best experience, we recommend allowing a week or more. Keep in mind that just Charleston and Savannah require a couple of days each, at least.

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