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Charleston to Savannah: A Southern Reel

Ebikes Available on this TourNational ParksSavor 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 Activity
  • Perfect for those trying a bike vacation for the first time.

Ebikes Available on this Tour

E-Bikes Available

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Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Charleston to Savannah: A Southern Reel​

Two beguiling cities bookend your cycle through the heart of the Old South. On your bicycling excursions, you’ll draw close to historic mansions, farms, and gardens, while exclusive events like a country social and visits to a tea plantation and an African-American cultural center carry you into its unique traditions, culinary delights, and distinctive charms. Breathe in the sea air along the way, as you admire moss-draped oaks, carefully tended vineyards, golden beaches, and more. And it’s all been carefully paced to match the easygoing lifestyle of the South.

 

Cultural Highlights

  • Get a real feel for Southern life with 6 nights in distinctive inns right in town
  • Cycle through Sullivan’s Island to the Isle of Palms, with stunning beach views
  • Enjoy leisure time to make your own discoveries in Charleston
  • Experience the best birding in the state  as you cycle through cypress forests to saltmarshes on Bear Island, followed by a picnic lunch
  • Join in the dancing and merriment at a genuine Beaufort social, a Southern tradition
  • Visit historic Penn Center, where Martin Luther King, Jr. met for annual retreats
  • Stroll by mansions on the streets of Beaufort on a guided walking tour
  • Discover exquisite Savannah with plenty of time on your own
  • Cycle to stunning Wormsloe Plantation, with its 1.5-mile avenue of oaks

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 High/Low Temperature (°F) – Beaufort
Mar 68º/48º  Apr  76º/55º  May  83º/64º  Sep 85º/69º  Oct 77º/58º  Nov 69º/48º

Average Precipitation (in.) – Beaufort
Mar 3.5  Apr 3   May 3  Sep 5  Oct 3  Nov 2.5

What’s Included:

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Land Only Single Supplement: $795

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 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
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DAY 1: Arrive in Charleston / 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 p.m. 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 3:00 p.m. for a safety briefing and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride. You’ll wind your 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, you’ll cycle along a dedicated bike/pedestrian lane on the dramatic Cooper River Bridge. 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 you’ll be treated to views of the beach and access ways.

After lunch at a local restaurant on the Isle of Palms, 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, you’ll return to the Ansonborough Inn, where you’ll have time at leisure to explore Charleston on your own. Perhaps 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: 18 and/or 11 miles

DAY 3: Shuttle to Bear Island / Experience a Beaufort Social

Today you shuttle south to Bear Island where you’ll ride through cypress forests. A Sea Island, Bear Island is home to a wide variety of waterfowl species and one of the best birding areas in the state.  The upland habitat consists mainly of maritime influenced pine-mixed hardwoods such as loblolly pone, shortleaf pine, live oak, sweetgum and hickory and provides nesting areas for passerine birds and raptors, including the protected southern bald eagle. Enjoy a picnic lunch prepared by your Trip Leaders. Afterwards, shuttle on to Beaufort (about 70 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 before partaking in a famous Southern tradition: a Beaufort social, at your inn. You’ll have the opportunity to dance the exuberant yet dignified Virginia Reel, a Colonial folk dance.

If you wish to enjoy the Beaufort Inn’s spa services during your stay, VBT encourages you to make your reservations well in advance of our arrival.

Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 15 miles

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

After breakfast in town, ride through beautiful farmland to St. Helena Island, passing the historic Chapel of Ease along your 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—they 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 your ride, enjoy a visit to the Penn Center. Founded in 1862 to educate freed slaves, it’s now a cultural center for African-American residents of the Sea Islands, a community also known as Gullahs. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. held the annual retreat for his Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the center. After your visit, you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch prepared by your Trip Leaders, then return to Beaufort via shuttle or on your bikes.

Later, embark on a walking tour of Beaufort. You’ll stroll through the city’s mix of antebellum mansions, live oaks, and charming 1950s storefronts with a resident guide, who will explain why the town has lured so many moviemakers to its lovely 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: 28 or 35 miles

DAY 5: Shuttle to Savannah / Walking Tour of Savannah

This morning, shuttle to Savannah (a journey of approximately 90 minutes) and spend time exploring some of the most memorable spots of this city. You’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, and to the present day.

After settling in at your 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, you 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, a State Historic Site. One of the most photographed locations 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, you’ll continue your ride. Your route goes past Savannah State University’s Thunderbolt campus and the moss-hung gardens of Bonaventure Cemetery, on an 18th-century cemetery and 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 you return.

Tonight, celebrate with the group during a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Hotel: Andaz Savannah
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 25 miles

DAY 7: Depart for home

Your 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 a.m. For this reason, we suggest a flight departing no earlier than 2:00 p.m. Guests with cars parked at the Ansonborough Inn should plan to take a taxi from the Charleston airport to the inn. The cost is about $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 about $25.

Meals: B

Charleston to Savannah: A Southern Reel Map

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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. A/C is available.
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, it is 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 only 46 rooms, the hotel makes guests feel very much at home. Rooms range in size from 450 to 750 square feet and feature individual climate control, voice mail, mini-fridge, microwave, and in-room safe. 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

The Beaufort Inn

With a majestic main house and several adjacent cottages, the award-winning Beaufort Inn occupies an entire block in the city of Beaufort’s historic district. A splendid example of Victorian architecture, the complex dates to the 1890s and features elegant gables, wraparound porches lined with inviting rocking chairs, and a lush, manicured garden. During your stay, you may wish to relax with a massage at the inn’s on-site spa, or enjoy afternoon tea in one of its mahogany-paneled dining rooms. Each of the Beaufort Inn’s 28 rooms is air-conditioned and equipped with cable/satellite television and complimentary wireless Internet access.
Free WiFi Included
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