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Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip

Birmingham, United...
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Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip

Thanks for all the advice I received in my previous post. I realise I was being way to ambitious with what I was intending to squeeze into my 12 days available. We had had a serious think about what we wanted to experience and looking at advice of other posts we’ve come up with a new plan so I thought it best to start a new post.

There would be myself and my husband (both early 30’s) travelling mid May and returning the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend.

The rough plan is fly from UK to Washington, spend three nights (two full days) in Washington visiting main tourist sights. Then collect hire car drive to Virginia, spend probably three nights here before heading further south to Savannah area for five nights.

I realise this still a very large area to cover and we’ll barely scratch the surface of seeing everything in these areas but don’t think we will back to the US for a few years and then it would probably be a family based holiday.

My main areas which need help is trying to find a base in Virginia to stay. We are looking for a country area, nice views, seeing mountains (not hiking up them, but short 1-2 hours walks are fine) maybe if we have time a short beginner’s horse trek and visiting nice towns. I’ve looked at Charlottesville and Lexington, any other ideas?

But my main concern is where to stay on the next leg of our trip. We would like to see Charleston, Hilton Head Island and Savannah. Should we stay just in Savannah and travel out or should we stay two nights in one destination and three in another.

Return flights aren’t confirmed but our options are flying out from Atlanta, Charleston & Jacksonville.

I’m sorry to come back with more questions, but the more research I do the more confused I seem to get. Any other thoughts or tips would be appreciated.

Chula Vista...
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1. Re: Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip


I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing Jefferson's home and estate, Monticello, in Charlottesville, but beyond that I can't offer up any specific recommendations to get you into the Virginia countryside.

As much as I love Savannah, I think that five nights there may be a bit much.

I would probably split it 3 nights in Charleston and 2 nights in Savannah.

As Hilton Head is in between the two, you can stop through on your way to Savannah. (Hilton Head is about 2-2.5 hours from Charleston, and just over an hour from Savannah.)

Or, with it being easier to get to Hilton Head from Savannah, you could spend 3 nights in Savannah knowing that one of your days there could be a full day trip to Hilton Head.

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip

I would spend 2 nights in Charleston then spend a day in Hilton Head and the town of Beaufort then head to Savannah for three nights. I agree with Zed that this would be the best use of your time. You need two full days in Charleston and 2 full days in Savannah to just to begin to see each area.

I too don't have specifics for Virginia. We love the coastal/historical areas of Williamsburg.

For horses we love the Kentucky Horse park but it is in Lexington, Kentucky.

For mountains we love the Great Smoky Mts. National park which is on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.

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3. Re: Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip

We have covered the same ground as you over two or three different holidays so hopefully can point you in the right direction.

Agree with the others that you should divide your time between Savannah and Charleston and if you can get away with three night in each it would be better. It's an easy drive between the two - we broke the journey in the delightful town of Beaufort which has some grand mansions and has been used in movies such as The Prince of Tides and The Big Chill.

You may have time on your last morning to do some exploring although that will depend on where you are flying from and if you are taking a direct overnight flight. For instance the BA red eye flight from Atlanta doesn't depart until 20.45 so you will have plenty of time to get there from Savannah.

Returning to Washington, as you realise a car will be a liability in the city. We walked 13 miles on our first day and the public transport pretty good although the escalators in the Metro from ticket office to street go on for ever! Don't rent the car from Dulles. It's a long journey from city centre to airport. You could rent from Reagan National Airport which is on the Metro or possibly Union Station. The former will probably make more sense as renting from the later will force you to cross town. Beware one way rental charges - not sure there is much you can do about it though.

Now for Virginia: Charlottesville would certainly be a good option. It's a buzzy college town in it;s own right and you are close to the Blue Ridge Parkway that winds it's way along the Appalachians. Monticello is a must see,

It would be great if you could then divert to Williamsburg and the historic triangle but time might be against you especially as Colonial Williasburg isn't the sort of place where you can just pop in!

So with 11 nights we could go with 3 nights DC, 2 nights Charlottesville, then a long drive to Charleston for three nights in each of there and Savannah. If you could manage two extra nights, one for Charlottesville and one to break up the long drive, then I think you would get more out of the trip.

Hope that gives you a few ideas and please let us know if you need some accommodation suggestions. We stay generally in B&B's which I realise are not to everyones taste.

Chapel Hill, North...
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4. Re: Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip

you might include Asheville NC as a stopover, too. It's a truly beautiful mountain town and about 4 hrs from Charleston and Savannah. A lot of people who do the DC/NC/SC/GA circuit hit the mountains of NC and the beaches of SC. The mountains of NC are bigger and a bit more rugged than the Va mountains. They're certainly not the Alps or anything, though. Biltmore House (http://www.biltmore.com), the Vanderbilt's chateau, is a big draw in the Asheville area if that appeals.

Edited: 24 January 2013, 16:22
North Carolina
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5. Re: Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip

Lexington and Charlottesville are great Virginia country towns. If you want to be a little closer to some higher mountains (and the views there), you might also check out Abingdon (Southwest of Lexington - towards Tennessee). It's a lovely old colonial mountain town, has a theater, very close to beautiful mountains where you can do short hikes at high altitudes, accessible to the Virginia Creeper Trail (a bike trail that goes through some gorgeous scenery - you can rent bikes in Whitetop or Damascus and ride downhill all the way).

Chapel Hill, North...
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6. Re: Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip

Love Abingdon, my ancestral home, but I certainly wouldn't call it high altitude. Thems "the knobs" rather than mountains around Abingdon. Mt Rogers is about an hour away on the way to Boone and almost 1000 feet lower than Mt Mitchell near Asheville. Grandfather Mt near Boone is also more rugged and at a higher elevation than Mt Rogers, which is the highest mt in Va. Abingdon is a great old historic town, though, and Damascus is cute, too. I think Boone/Blowing Rock and Asheville are a better stops, though. Va Creeper trail is great, though. My great grandaddy used to work on the Va Creeper railroad amongst other railroads.

7. Re: Washington, Virginia, Savannah Trip

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