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Charleston to Savannah: A Southern Reel

Savor the relaxed charm and unhurried pace of the uniquely American Southern Coast as you cruise past towering oak trees draped with Spanish moss and immerse yourself in the extraordinary Gullah culture. We’ll learn about Victorian influences as we tour the elegant cities of Savannah and Beaufort before dining on fresh local cuisine that draws from rich stocks of seafood.

  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 13 - 28 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 3 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Charleston to Savannah: A Southern Reel​

Bask in the coastal charms of the American South on an active vacation ideal for beginning and casual cyclists. Anchored by the historic cities of Charleston and Savannah, our journey brings us along the scenic Intercoastal Waterway to the idyllic Sea Islands, where we encounter vestiges of a bygone era amidst towering oaks draped with Spanish moss. We’ll also pause from pedaling to immerse ourselves in the region’s fascinating Gullah culture … partake in a proper Beaufort social, where we’ll dance the Virginia Reel …  and luxuriate in elegant, distinctive inns that embody the South’s legendary hospitality.

Cultural Highlights

  • Cycle along the tranquil Intercoastal Waterway and experience the history and beauty of the Sea Islands
  • Marvel at 1,500-year-old Angel Oak, one of the oldest living oak trees in America
  • Tour the Charleston Tea Plantation, purveyors of America’s only domestically-grown tea
  • Dance the Virginia Reel while partaking in a Beaufort social, a time-honored Southern tradition
  • Delve deeply in the region’s fascinating Gullah culture during a visit to historic Penn Center
  • Stroll through the charming streets of Beaufort with a local guide
  • Enjoy a walking tour of Savannah, the celebrated “Hostess City of the South”
  • Behold the haunting beauty of Wormsloe Plantation, among the South’s most photographed sites
  • Savor a festive Farewell Dinner at The Old Pink House, a Savannah institution since 1781

What to Expect

This tour offers options for easy rides throughout the trip. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance. This vacation is ideal for beginning and casual cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 13-28 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2-3 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Beaufort
Apr 76°  May 83°  Jun 88°  Sep 85°  Oct 77°  Nov 69°

Average Rainfall (in.) – Beaufort
Apr 3  May 3  Jun 5.5  Sep 5  Oct 3.1  Nov 2.4

What’s Included:

  • 6 nights in distinctive Southern inns, each in the heart of town
  • 12 meals – 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • Transfers
  • Historic walking tour of Beaufort
  • Beaufort Social
  • Narrated tour of Savannah
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount 
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Land Only Single Supplement: $595

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What's Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Arrive Ansonborough Inn / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception and dinner

Travel to Charleston and gather at the Ansonborough Inn, the first hotel on our Southern Reel itinerary. If you’re flying in, you can arrange to meet VBT’s complimentary shuttle after your arrival at Charleston International Airport. The shuttle leaves the airport at 2:00 pm. Please call Mount Pleasant Shuttle at 843-971-4901 or toll-free 866-223-7226 to make a reservation, clearly stating you are a VBT guest. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance of travel. Mount Pleasant must have your names and the airline and flight number you will be arriving on.

If you are arriving after this shuttle departs, or your flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to reach the inn. For guests who are driving to the tour, parking will be available at the Ansonborough Inn for the week at a charge of $15 plus tax per day. Parking is also available at the Charleston airport for $8 per day.

Please contact the Ansonborough Inn to advise of any travel delays or changes; they will pass your message along to your VBT Trip Leaders.

Meet your VBT Leaders at 3:30 pm for a safety briefing and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride. We’ll wind our way through historic “South of Broad”, taking in wide views of the harbor and Fort Sumter, then continue riding through the historic Market. We will also pass St. Philip's Church, one of Charleston's oldest, located on appropriately named Church Street

Tonight, get to know your fellow travelers during a welcome reception at the inn, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Hotel: Ansonborough Inn
Meals: D
Daily Options: 4 miles

DAY 2: Cooper River / Cycle through Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms

After breakfast, we’ll cycle along a dedicated bike/pedestrian lane on the dramatic Cooper River Bridge. We ride through Sullivan’s Island and over another bridge to the Isle of Palms, passing by some of the area’s most sought-after homes and traveling along the Intracoastal Waterway, where we’ll be treated to views of the beach and access ways.

After lunch at a local restaurant on the Isle of Palms, we continue cycling to Fort Moultrie. Edgar Allen Poe was stationed here from 1827 to 1828, while serving in the U.S. Army. The fortress played a key role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. After our visit, we return to the Ansonborough Inn, where you’ll have time at leisure to explore Charleston on your own. Perhaps you’ll enjoy a stroll along the Battery, the promenade flanking the city’s scenic harbor.

Dinner is on your own tonight.

Hotel: Ansonborough Inn
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 19 or 30 miles

DAY 3: Shuttle to Wadmalaw Island / Charleston Tea Plantation / Experience a Beaufort social

Today, shuttle south to Angel Oak, a Southern live oak tree located on Johns

Today, we shuttle south to Johns Island to see the famous Angel Oak. Estimated to be more than 1,500 years old, this beloved, ancient tree is one of the oldest oaks in the country. It stands 65 feet tall and measures 28 feet in circumference. Its widest crown is 180 feet, point to point, and it shades 17,000 square feet.

After marveling at this natural wonder, we shuttle to Wadmalaw Island. Wadmalaw Island is home to the Charleston Tea Plantation, makers of American Classic Tea, the only tea grown in America. Here, we’ll enjoy a tour of the working tea factory, visit the tasting room, and enjoy a trolley tour of the fields. Your leaders will provide a picnic lunch on the grounds after your exploration.

Then we cycle to Irvin House Vineyard and Firefly Distillery. Choose to visit the tasting room (at your own expense), meander through the rows of grapes, or visit the farm. Afterwards, we'll shuttle on to Beaufort (approximately 90 minutes), where you can make yourself at home at the Beaufort Inn. The inn is conveniently located to give you easy access to the city’s waterfront and beyond.

Enjoy dinner at the inn before partaking in a famous Southern tradition: a Beaufort social. We’ll have the opportunity to dance the exuberant yet dignified Virginia Reel, a Colonial folk dance.

Hotel: The Beaufort Inn
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 12 or 16 miles

DAY 4: St. Helena Island / Walking Tour of Beaufort

After breakfast, we ride through beautiful farmland to St. Helena Island, passing the historic Chapel of Ease along our way. During the Colonial period, rice and cotton planters who found themselves too far away from the churches of Beaufort constructed informal houses of worship—which came to be known as “chapels of ease”—on their plantations. Built in the mid-18th century, St. Helena’s Chapel of Ease was largely destroyed by a fire more than one hundred years later. Its four original walls remain, making it an evocative historic landmark.

After our ride, we enjoy a visit to the Penn Center. Founded in 1862 to educate freed slaves, it’s now a cultural center for African-Americans residents of the Sea Islands, a community also known as Gullahs. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also held the annual retreat for his Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the center. After our visit, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch prepared by our Trip Leaders, then return to Beaufort via shuttle or on our bikes.

Later we embark on a walking tour of Beaufort. We’ll stroll through the city’s mix of antebellum mansions, live oaks, and 1950s storefronts with a resident guide, who will explain why the town has lured so many moviemakers to its charming streets. A number of critically acclaimed films have used Beaufort as their backdrops, including Forrest Gump, with Tom Hanks; The Prince of Tides, with Barbra Streisand; and The Great Santini, with Robert Duvall.

Make your own dinner plans in Beaufort this evening; there are many excellent restaurants from which to choose.

Hotel: The Beaufort Inn
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 23 or 38 miles

DAY 5: Shuttle to Savannah / Tour of Savannah / Lunch and free time

This morning, we shuttle to Savannah (a journey of approximately 90 minutes) and spend time exploring some of the most memorable spots of this city. We’ll embark on a walking tour of Savannah’s picturesque streets and squares, gaining an understanding of the city’s history, architecture, gardens, and abundant charm. Did you know that Savannah has the oldest standing antebellum railroad complex in America? Or that Savannah had the first practical cotton gin? Our guide will help us envision Savannah as a colony, through the Victorian Era to present day.

After settling in to our hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is yours to explore Savannah at leisure.

Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

Hotel: Andaz Savannah
Meals: B
Daily Options: Non-Biking Day

DAY 6: Cycle Isle of Hope to Wormsloe Historic Site / Farewell dinner

After breakfast, we ride out from the center of Savannah toward the Isle of Hope. Featuring a number of attractive old homes dating from the first part of the 19th century, the Isle of Hope looks out over the Intracoastal Waterway.

Our destination is informally known as Wormsloe Plantation, and is a State Historic Site. One of the most photographed sites in the entire South, it features a 1.5-mile-long live oak avenue framed by a graceful stone entry arch. The remains of the estate—which was constructed using “tabby,” a building material similar to cement and made from lime, ash, and crushed oyster shells—constitute the oldest standing structure in Savannah.

After some free time for lunch on your own in the Isle of Hope area, we continue our ride. Our route brings us past Savannah State University’s Thunderbolt campus and the moss-hung gardens of Bonaventure Cemetery, an 18th-century plantation that was featured in John Berendt’s critically acclaimed novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

You'll have free time to explore Savannah when we return.

Tonight, celebrate with the group during a farewell dinner at The Olde Pink House, a Savannah institution since the 1700s.

Hotel: Andaz Savannah
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 26 or 38 miles

DAY 7: Depart for home

Our tour concludes after breakfast this morning. A complimentary VBT shuttle is available to take departing guests back to the Charleston airport (CHS), arriving around 11:30 am. For this reason, we suggest a flight departing no earlier than 2:00 pm. Guests with cars parked at the Ansonborough Inn should plan to take a taxi from the Charleston airport to the inn (cost is approximately $30).

If you wish to avoid the transfer back to Charleston, you may choose instead to fly out of Savannah. We do not offer shuttle service to the Savannah airport. A taxi to Savannah International Airport costs approximately $25.

Meals: B

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Accommodations

Andaz Savannah

This sparkling hotel prides itself on savvy local connections and the best of sophisticated Savannah. You're exactly where you want to be when staying at Andaz, in the heart of the fun and just-a-little-funky restored historic district. Across the street is Savannah's newest jewel, the recently restored Ellis Square. A short stroll down the street and you're enjoying the breezy charm of City Market.
Free WiFi Included

The Ansonborough Inn

The Ansonborough Inn is located within Charleston’s historic district of Ansonborough, so named when Admiral George Anson won the property in a spirited poker game. Just one block north of the Market Street area, centrally located and close to all of historic downtown Charleston. Once a shipping warehouse, the property was transformed into a luxury hotel after a $3.5 million renovation. With just 46 rooms, guests are made to feel very much at home. Rooms range in size from 450 to 750 square feet and feature individual climate control, voice mail, mini-fridge and microwave, and in-room safes. Enjoy the hotel’s expanded continental breakfast and daily wine-and-cheese reception. The rooftop deck and cozy pub offer relaxing spots for a drink.
Free WiFi Included
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