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Carolinas and Georgia road trip

NSW
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Carolinas and Georgia road trip

Hello!

My husband and I (39 and 40) are from Australia and are in the early stages of planning a 10-12 day road trip to the Carolinas and Georgia.

I have lots of problems with my ears when flying, and have to do a non stop flight from Los Angeles. From my research, it seems that the closest non stop flights into this region are LAX-Charlotte NC, LAX-Raleigh NC, or Atlanta GA. In terms of flying in, Charlotte and Atlanta look like the best options (for flight changeover times), while Raleigh looks OK for flight times out. I have no reason for this, but I am probably leaning more towards Charlotte than Atlanta, but I would be most grateful for any advice!

I have worked out some of the places I would like to visit, and a rough estimation of time. I am hoping someone may be able to offer me advice on the best location to fly in to, and any suggestions on the route and additional places to stop. We are expecting to start in one place and end in another. We will probably spend two nights in the first location, just to try and adjust to the time difference before we drive.

Must see places:

1. Savannah GA (2 nights)

2. Beaufort SC (1 night)

3. Charleston SC (5 nights)

4. Durham NC (Duke University) (1 night)

There will need to be other stops, but I am not yet sure where... I am looking for pretty little towns with lots of history and nice shopping.

Thanks kindly for any advice or suggestions!

Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

I see you found the road trip forum.

Here is what I posted on the GA forum-

You should add the following imo-

Asheville, NC- Biltmore House, nice downtown area with shopping and restaurants, etc.

Great Smoky Mts. NP- drive over Newfoundland Gap and do Cades Cove Loop Rd.- you can stay in Townsend or Gatlingburg- great scenery and lots of history of the area.

If you fly in and out of Atlanta then here is what you can possibly do-

Savannah

Beaufort

Charleston

Durham

Asheville

Great Smoky Mts.

Atlanta

Atlanta also has lots of history and some very nice shopping in the Lenox, Phipps and Perimeter Mall areas.

Good luck and let us know if you have other questions.

Ohio
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2. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

We spent a week in Charleston and did not get bored. Have been to Savannah a couple of times for 2 days at a time. I would not take time away from Charleston or Savannah to add the Smokies, but if you have the time, by all means add them. 9 to 12 days-- are the travel days separate from that?

Marina, California
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3. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

Why do you want to visit Duke? It's out of the way of all your other destinations.

Maybe I missed this because it's in the other post, but what time of year are you planning on doing this?

Personally, I think 5 nights at Charleston is too much and 2 nights at Savannah is too little. Take one from Charleston and add it to Savannah.

You should look at the costs of a one-way car rental (picking up in one place and dropping in another) before you plan too much, as this can be quite expensive. You're not talking about covering a very large area, so the extra drive time may be worth the slight hassle. Anyway, as you pointed out, there are only so many major airports in the area, so your choices of end locations are limited.

With the flights, I would also look at the costs. I didn't even know there was a LAX-RDU non-stop, but it's probably on Delta, and it's probably very expensive. The LAX-ATL route will likely be more competitive and, therefore, cheaper. Price out Southwest Airlines as well for that route, as they do have a non-stop, and they will not show up on sites like Orbitz; you have to go to southwest.com.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

Great ideas!!

Yes what time of year are you planning this trip? How many days do you have for this trip?

Agree with colinaz- don't think you need 5 days in Charleston.

Also since Beaufort is between Savannah and Charleston and it only takes about 2 hours to drive that distance I would make that stop a day trip and not spend the night there.

Marina, California
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5. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

Agreed about the Beaufort as a day trip comment. There's not really enough there to occupy a full day. Consider a side trip to Hunting Island State Park for some beach time, as that's a really nice beach. That since none of your destinations are on the ocean, and I mention that because many visitors do not seem to realize that.

NSW
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6. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

Thanks Peachbelle, Wings, and Colinaz for your wonderful suggestions!

We are thinking about either late March/early April or late October for this trip. What time of year do you think would be best? Even though we have a lot of very hot weather in Australia, we try and avoid it as much as possible when travelling. For the last two years we have visited the States in October (just returned from a road trip around New England) but I have heard that spring is beautiful, and so was thinking about the first week in April instead. Are either times particularly humid?

I have 10-12 days in total. This trip is part vacation, part work. I allotted five days to Charleston because I have to spend a day in Columbia. I know Duke is so far north of everything else, and that part is optional, but I would like to include it if there is any way to do it. But to be honest, it is the inclusion of Duke that seems to be making it difficult for me to work out a good route! My main goal is to try and include as many different experiences as possible. For our New England trip, we visited the Maine coast, the NH mountains, Vermont, and Boston. We really liked the change in scenery.

Thanks for your suggestions about Beaufort - I think a day trip is a better choice. It just looked so pretty, that it made me want to stay at an inn there! :)

And finally, thanks for your thoughts on the flights and car hire. Budget is a consideration, but I would be happy to pay more if it meant a better trip. We live so far away, and it is hard to know if there will be a chance to revisit!

Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

April or mid October both would be good. It is not humid now and is usually not until later in May. The flowers will be lovely in April.

Here is what you may be able to do with 10-12 days and you will be able to see and do a variety of things-

Day 1- arrive in Atlanta

Day 2- Atlanta

Day 3- drive to Savannah

Day 4- Savannah

Day 5- Beaufort, Charleston

Day 6- Charleston

Day 7- Charleston

Day 8- Columbia

Day 9- Asheville

Day 10- Gatlinburg/Smoky Mts.

Day 11- Smoky Mts./ drive to Atlanta

Day 12- fly home

Of course you can change this up a bit and take a day away from Charleston and add it somewhere else, etc. based on your interests, etc.

Just let us know your thoughts and will be glad to help!!

Ohio
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8. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

My vote is early April. Azaleas should be in bloom. Savannah parks are awesome that time of year. I would presume Charleston will be as well. Also nice temps. Warm, but not too hot.

NSW
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9. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

I was leaning towards April because of the flowers too!

My only concern is that I have enough time to plan it - but since posting this query I have a list of new options, which is wonderful! Thank you.

Peachbelle, I am now going to look at Google maps and the Great Smoky Mountains. I really like the idea of seeing that area. Is there any part of Atlanta that would be best to stay in? I am going to splurge on a five star hotel, and especially love historic places.

Thanks again.

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: Carolinas and Georgia road trip

I meant to include a map link to show you driving times and miles for this route-

http://goo.gl/maps/z1zfK