Coasts and Mountains of the South: Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Charleston & More
- 8 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 1,399
MODERATE | SELF-DRIVE: The American South is rich in mesmerizing scenery, history and graceful, often enthralling, architecture. The Great Smoky Mountains rising along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina are simply stunning and the beaches between Charleston and Savannah are delightful. Both cities also offer dazzling samples of antebellum architecture and plenty of history to go with it. Atlanta and Charlotte add the bigger city glamour, but Asheville might be the surprise of the trip.
Along mountain ridges and pristine coastlines, through vibrant southern towns and antebellum houses from another time, this 8-day exploration to the Southern United States has it all going on. Begin in the capital of Georgia, influential Atlanta where your rental car gives you the freedom to traverse the city’s rich history. Get introspective at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights or get a bird’s eye view of your surroundings 20 stories above Centennial Park on the SkyView Ferris wheel. Sample an Old Fashioned, the granddaddy of southern cocktails before tucking into a heaping plate of fried catfish, cornbread and turnip greens at the local favourite, The Beautiful Restaurant. The next morning you travel north into Tennessee and North Carolina to discover the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Waterfalls abound in this expansive wonderland of beautiful caverns, craggy mountain peaks, old log cabins and barns tucked into the wilderness. The Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the USA’s most picturesque drives leads you to Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is a mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical styles and the perfect retro-urban backdrop of locally owned-shops, art galleries, distinctive restaurants nestled by the Appalachian Mountains. Pose in the gardens or over a glass of vino at the winery at Biltmore Estate, a French Renaissance-style chateau or tuck into Euro-Appalachian cuisine Bull and Beggar in the River Arts District for some pig-snout pie.
Drive a race car at Charlotte’s Motor Speedway or take your sweet time at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, pick up treasures at The Sleepy Poet Antiques Mall and cozy up to a fire before tucking into a Copper beer at the Old Mecklenburg Brewery to end your day. The buzzing beach town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina beckons. At Myrtle Beach State Park along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean there are more than 300 acres of maritime forest and sandy beaches to discover. Change course and head for a mile of excitement along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade along the Atlantic Ocean. Zip line across a lake, get lost in a maze made of mirrors, see sharks at Ripley’s Aquarium; Broadway at the Beach is the hub for shopping and entertainment. The morning drive leads to sugar white beaches, hammock shops and chill locals who will help get you set up to fish, kayak or search for sharks teeth along the dreamy beach of serene Pawley’s Island, the oldest beach resort town in America. Follow the coastline south through Francis Marion National Forest to Charleston and slow down past the rainbow antebellum mansions of elaborate ironwork and history. The plantation at Middleton Place grounds you in the regions past and one can understand why the American Civil War began here at the Fort Sumter National Monument. Wander Charleston’s cobblestone streets or escape to Morris Island, an uninhabited island accessible only by boat and head back to watch the sunset over a fresh fish dinner along Folly Beach.
South to Savannah, golf lovers can add a night or two to experience Kiawah Island or Hilton Head Island where championship courses await golfers. Quaint town squares and well-maintained landmarks like Forsyth Park and its spectacular fountain lend itself to a self-guided walking tour of Savannah along historic River Street. Climb the towers of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and hop aboard a trolley with Old Town Trolley Tours to photograph the red brick along River Street. Peek into boutiques, galleries, artists’ studios, before settling on a restaurant or pub for a memorable southern evening along the Savanah River.
Macon, Georgia is east and is a collection of classic Victorian, antebellum and Greek Revival homes. For a more rustic adventure, the Ocmulgee Outdoor Expeditions is an experience for all level of paddler. Check out the continent’s only reconstructed Earth Lodge and early Mississippian temple mounds at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, a prehistoric American Indian site with 8 miles of trails. Dinner at Atlanta’s trendy Garden Room where spring is said to always in bloom is an Instagram hit or get classic and chow down on fried green tomatoes at H&H Soul Food before departing the next morning from Atlanta.
- 8 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 1,399
Itinerary View Trip Map
Arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and transfer independently to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you might be able to explore a little bit of the city. Maybe the impressive Georgia Aquarium or the World of Coca-Cola (be sure to enjoy free samples of Coke's beverages from around the world) or the lush Atlanta Botanical Garden, a sprawling oasis of smaller gardens. Alternatively, discover the city's rich history at places such as the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, filled with artefacts from the Civil Rights movement. Looking for a relaxing evening, check out a concert at one of the city's many live music venues, from major concert halls to intimate clubs. Refuel with 'hash brown' potatoes, and waffles at the iconic Atlanta-based diner chain Waffle House.
Atlanta - Asheville
Prepare for an amazing array of sights and activities today as you travel north across the state line into Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park before venturing into North Carolina. The ‘Smokies’ are the most visited national park in the USA, known world-wide for rich Southern Appalachian culture and the magnificent beauty of the mountains in every season. Scenic drives abound, such as the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where you can see waterfalls from your car or gorgeous Little River Road, featuring many riveting stops, including the Sinks waterfall, which is an easy hike from the main road. Later, head to Asheville, North Carolina, which is an ideal place to access the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the USA's most captivating drives. Delight in beautiful mountain views, as well as outdoor activities amidst such lovely scenery. The Parkway connects several Asheville-area attractions, including the Biltmore Estate, a French Renaissance-style chateau with dazzling gardens and a winery. Asheville itself boasts a vibrant food and beverage culture, with locally owned cafes, many emphasizing organic ingredients, tucked in between galleries and craft breweries.
Asheville - Charlotte
Today, Charlotte is on your road map. Get ready to experience a pit stop simulation at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, then watch a race, or drive a race car, at nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway. If you are a sports fan, a menu of professional teams depending on the season is on offer. Carolina Panthers football, Charlotte Hornets basketball and Charlotte Knight’s baseball. If you are still seeking more adventure, visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center, and select your choice of activities from white-water rafting, zip-lining, and rock climbing. Charlotte also offers cultural opportunities such as the international Craft + Design collection at the Mint Museum Uptown, or the oral histories and other thought-provoking exhibits at the Levine Museum of the New South.
Charlotte - Myrtle Beach
Your destination today offers a chance for a change of pace. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, beckons you to enjoy the simple pleasures of the golden sands of the Atlantic coast looking for seashells, then visit Broadway at the Beach, a diverse selection of open-air shops and restaurants specializing in local flavours. There are plenty of activities should you want them, including a water park, helicopter tours and Ripley's Aquarium, where you can glide through a tank filled with stingrays and sharks. Alternatively, consider a tour to experience wildlife in a spectacular natural setting, such as dolphin watching cruise or a wetland tour offering the possibility of alligator and bird sightings.
Overnight Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach - Charleston
Leaving Myrtle Beach, a 30-minute drive south along the coast takes you to the southern end of the Grand Strand and friendly, tranquil Pawley's Island. Famous for its cypress wood cottages, and home to large expanses of marshland, rivers, and oceanfront state parks, this is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. When you are ready continue south along the pristine coastline through Francis Marion National Forest until you arrive in Charleston, with its signature antebellum mansions painted in a rainbow of colours and featuring elaborate ironwork. Our recommendation here is to join a walking tour for the best view of these homes, their gardens and the Battery, Charleston's historic waterfront promenade. The ‘shopping fraternity’ can enjoy a visit to City Market for souvenirs, including sweetgrass baskets, an essential tool on former rice plantations. Another option is to tour a plantation at Middleton Place, featuring the 18th century House Museum and Stable yards. History also comes alive at Fort Sumter National Monument, where the American Civil War began. The site looks over Folly Beach and Sullivan's Island with wide beaches, interesting local restaurants, and activities such as surfing and kayaking.
Charleston - Savannah
Today’s travel further south towards Savannah takes you through Kiawah Island and Hilton Head Island, both a golfer’s paradise, the former boasting five championship courses while the latter can claim more than twenty world class golf courses. Add tranquility and natural beauty along with pretty beaches and you might find it difficult to leave. Once you arrive in Savannah, enjoy the historic district, a collection of pretty town squares and preserved architecture. A history or ghost tour might be perfect to acquaint yourself or simply linger at landmarks such as Forsyth Park, where residents and visitors have gathered for generations around a spectacular fountain. At the Savannah River, you can pause for a self-guided tour of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist; its towering twin steeples are a fixture on the Savannah skyline. Continue to City Market's, courtyards and squares with restaurants, shops, and galleries. If time permits after a busy day take a side trip, visit Tybee Island for a lighthouse tour, paddling excursion or charter cruise.
Savannah - Atlanta
Before driving back to Atlanta, we suggest an enroute stop in Macon, Georgia to visit the Tubman Museum, named for Harriet Tubman, one of the USA's most famous abolitionists and a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves find freedom in the pre-Civil War era. Here, visitors can learn about African American life during this time. Later, explore Macon's art galleries and boutiques, and try some of the city's signature dishes. After lunch head back to Atlanta.
Return to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to check in for your return flight, or your hotel if you plan to extend your stay.
Daily departures: November 1, 2023 - March 31, 2025
- 8 days Intermediate Car Rental with unlimited mileage (Mazda 3 or similar)
- Detailed day by day itinerary
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Atlanta
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Asheville
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Charlotte
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Myrtle Beach
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Charleston
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Savannah
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Atlanta
- Car rental insurance
- Travel insurance
- International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
- Entrances fees to sites not explicitly listed as included
- Meals and beverages not mentioned
- Road tolls
- Items of a personal nature
- Visa fees if applicable
- The impressive Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola make excellent optional visits
- Discover scenic Little River Road, with its many worthwhile stops, including the Sinks waterfall, which is an easy hike from the main road
- Explore the golden sands of the Atlantic coast for seashells, then visit Broadway at the Beach.
- Join a history or ghost tour to acquaint yourself in Savannah
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request. Additional terms and conditions apply for car rental - please inquire.
1 Oct 2024