Charleston / Savannah    *alt*

8 days, from £2340
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Stories by Ken Burns
Tauck's unforgettable trip through South Carolina and Georgia tours places reminiscent of long-ago days of gracious Southern living... a rarefied world of plantations, 19th-century mansions, magnolias and live oaks hung with Spanish moss. Explore National Historic Landmark Districts in Savannah, Jekyll Island, Charleston and Beaufort... visit Fort Pulaski and a maritime museum in Savannah... stay beachfront at Hilton Head Island... take a privately guided tour of Drayton Hall, and stroll through the gardens of Middleton Place... discover Savannah's beloved Madeira traditions on an exclusive private evening... spend some special time with Aunt Pearlie Sue, master storyteller of Gullah-flavored folktales... take a private cruise in Charleston Harbor... celebrate 300 years of history in Beaufort... and more. Tauck's South Carolina and Georgia tours are as refreshing as a cool glass of sweet tea!


 Day 1 Arrive Jacksonville and transfer to Jekyll Island

Tour begins: 6:00 PM, Jekyll Island Club Hotel. A transfer is included from Jacksonville International Airport to the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in the heart of the island's National Historic Landmark District. Enjoy a welcome cocktail reception at your elegant Victorian hotel, originally founded in the late 19th century as a hunting retreat for some of America's richest and most powerful families including the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts, and dinner at leisure. A week of South Carolina and Georgia tours begins in gracious style!

 Day 2 St. Simons Island and historic Savannah

Tour Jekyll Island's 240-acre historic district, including Faith Chapel and Rockefeller's Indian Mound, and travel to nearby St. Simons Island, hosting expansive marshlands, oaks draped with Spanish moss and glorious beaches. Travel to Savannah for a two-night stay at Hilton Savannah DeSoto. Surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens, magnificent homes, and architectural gems, the hotel - set in the heart of Savannah's Historic District in the heart of Georgia's First City - offers a mix of warm Southern charm and modern style. You'll admire the city's elegant architecture and geometric city design, featuring 24 park squares highlighted by live oaks draped with Spanish moss; it's one of the country's most graceful cities. Tonight, enjoy a Tauck Exclusive when you discover Savannah's Madeira traditions at the Davenport House Museum and dine in the historic district at 45 Bistro in Savannah's oldest hotel, The Marshall House.

 Day 3 Explore landmark sites in historic Savannah

Begin your day with a visit to the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, interpreting the great Atlantic sea trade of centuries past. A local expert provides an insider's view of Savannah's park squares and notable buildings, part of one of the first planned cities in America, on a guided tour; its National Historic Landmark District is the largest in the country, and features more than 1,000 architecturally significant buildings. The remainder of the day is yours to explore more of Savannah on your own, perhaps wandering the city's trendy waterfront district.

 Day 4 Fort Pulaski National Monument / Hilton Head

Bid Savannah farewell and head off to a key site of the Civil War, Fort Pulaski National Monument, an impressive brick fortress captured by Union forces in 1862. It was here that military history was forever changed during a Civil War battle that saw the introduction of "rifled cannons." Continue on to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, boasting one of the most pristine marine estuaries on the east coast, where you'll find miles of barrier beaches outside of your oceanfront resort that are ideal for walking and beachcombing. Take a journey this afternoon through the roots of Gullah culture, from West Africa to the Carolina coast, with master storyteller Aunt Pearlie Sue; her warmth, humour and exuberance will be long remembered.

 Day 5 Step back in time in Beaufort & Charleston

Take time for an early morning walk on Hilton Head's pristine beaches if you wish before journeying north along the coast. Arrive in Beaufort, "Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands," where you'll view the timeless architecture of its National Historic Landmark District. Head to Charleston, the lovely and historic first capital of South Carolina. An exclusively chartered private boat cruise of Charleston Harbor this afternoon imparts a wealth of information about the city's centuries of maritime history. Your home for the next three nights is an elegant 150-year-old hotel, The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel, at the center of Charleston's historic district - and within walking distance of much of Charleston's historic district. Dinner tonight is at your choice of several fine Charleston restaurants.

 Day 6 Charleston... Past and Present

A local guide takes you on a tour of Charleston to see centuries-old cobblestone streets and well-preserved homes representing a range of architectural styles from the Revolutionary War period to Antebellum mansions - classic Georgia, Federal, Adamesque, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian. Many of these homes surround very pretty "secret" walled gardens; additional highlights of the city's 789-acre historic district include The Citadel and the Battery. The rest of the day is free to do as you please; Charleston is a great city to explore by foot, or you might decide to see it by horsedrawn carriage; other ideas are visiting the Gibbes Museum of Art, or Fort Sumter National Monument, where the first shot of the Civil War was fired in 1861. And of course there are many restaurants and cafes to enjoy the easy living this city is so well known for.

 Day 7 Grand plantations and gardens

Visit some of the finest plantations and gardens in America today. A morning trip takes you first to Drayton Hall, a Georgian Palladian mansion built in 1738 that is preserved in original condition, without electricity or plumbing. A privately guided tour takes in Charleston's only surviving 18th-century plantation house that is open to the public. Then it's on to Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark that is home to America's oldest landscaped gardens - a landscaping masterpiece. Tour its mansion built in 1755 and the stableyards - and of course the formal gardens. This evening, relive this most gracious of South Carolina and Georgia tours during the farewell cocktail reception and dinner at your historic Charleston hotel.

 Day 8 Journey home

Your one-week South Carolina and Georgia tours conclude in Charleston. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel to Charleston International Airport. Allow a minimum of two hours for flight check-in.