Skip to main content

Travel: Southern Coastal Road Trip

To close out the year we took a road trip up the coast! Over 4 days my boyfriend and I stayed in Savannah, took a day trip to Charleston and stopped in St Augustine on the way back home to Tampa, Florida. 

In this blog post I'll share everything we did, tons of photos and an itinerary with details and what we spent to help you plan this trip yourself. On this trip we spend total of $1080 for 2 people, or about $150/per person per day - trip was about 4 days.

We wanted to take a road trip for a slower pace of travel. It was amazing not to worry about planes to catch or be rushed by anything else and just relax and enjoy the holiday festivities in each of these cities. These cities were perfectly spaced out to give us only a few hours of driving each bit between stops. 

Savannah, Georgia

Our first stop, after lunch in Jacksonville FL, was Savannah Georgia! We had about 2 days here to explore the city. I pre-planned 2 items, a visit to the Prohibition Museum and the Trolley Tour loop around the city. We also went to the Aquarium and enjoyed the Christmas Market on the river. 

I love the history we have on the East Coast in the US. Savannah has a ton of history! it is still one of the largest shipping ports in the Coast and the River walk shows all of that history. The River walk is a steep level down below the city streets above. Keep an eye out for some seriously steep stairs! 

We took the Trolley Tour to see the city, it was about a 1.5-hour loop around the town. Tickets are normally 50$ per person but online pre-purchase has better rates and Mondays have discounts. We got our tickets for about $30 each. This tour was an amazon way to get a crash course on the history of Savannah, see the main sites and hop-on-hop-off for the day as we explored on our own. 

Steep Historic Stairs on the River Walk 

The city is packed with beautiful historic homes and churches. 
Many older than the United States (Pre 1776) itself. 

This time of year, they have the Holiday Market on the River. This is beautiful decorated mini-shops or booths of local vendors. There are also events in the evenings for the Holiday season. We also wondered into the Hyatt hotel and local art galleries that had amazing art exhibits, even dinosaur bones and geodes that you can enjoy for free! 

 

We also visited the Prohibition Museum; this is the only one in the United States. I highly recommend this stop to learn how much Prohibition shaped America. Prohibition is the period between 1920 to 1933 when the consumption and sale of alcohol in the United States was outlawed. Here are some of the facts I learned. 

  • Federal income tax was created to replace the revenue from liquor taxes before prohibition.
  • Corn production switched to supplying corn syrup production, once it couldn't be used for alcohol production due to prohibition. Think, they had to do something with the large amounts of corn, so they used it for corn syrup production and how that has impacted our food culture.
  • The term "probation" comes from prohibition because it led to large amounts of people being arrested but with overflowing jails, they were put on probation instead.
  • Medical and religious alcohol use was still "legal", this led to thousands of alcohol prescriptions and ordained religious members so people could still access alcohol. 
  • Prohibition led to the creation of NASCAR, it all started with supped-up cars to evade the police as they transported illegal alcohol. 

The museum also had a speakeasy (of course) and a drink is included in your admission ticket, except on Sundays due to existing liquor laws. Here are some of the drinks available from the age of prohibition. We got the French 75 and Cameron's Kick. 


We wanted to get out of the city, so we visited the University of Georgia Aquarium and Nature Center.  

      

      

One of our favorite meals on the trip was "Flock to the Wok" - an amazing dumpling restaurant. I will definitely make time to visit again, next time we come to Savannah. 




Charleston, South Carolina

I love visiting Charleston! I think the city is very walkable and there is so much history and food culture there. We parked in the City Visitor center garage for 9$ for the day. 

We got to see the town decorated with Holiday decorations (just about everywhere) in the shops and hotels. There was also a street Holiday market on King Street this Sunday on our visit, with street food and gift vendors. We visited the City Market and two new spots for us, Rymans Seafood and Kaminski's Desserts before driving back to Savannah. Kaminski's coconut pie was a great way to end the day. 

 

St Augustine, Florida

On the way home, we stopped in St Augustine for the day. Weve been a few times and it' such a great stop. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of Spanish-European and African-American origin in the United States, about 200 years before the United States was founded in 1776. Forty-two years before the English colonized Jamestown and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. 

We walked the rows of local shops set in this historic town. Many of the buildings have plaques with their history, use and when they were built. We parked at the Castillio San Marco fort, stopped at Ben's Pretzels for a snack and Colombia for lunch. The weather was perfect to wander around the town, local shops and historical buildings. 

       




This time of year, the city also hosts a large light display in the parks and some hotels. 
You can see these with a walking or trolley tour. 

We had an amazing road trip! It really allowed us to explore more of the history in our area of the United States. Not only was the road trip a cost-effective way to travel, but we also got to see the coast at our own pace and flexibility without worrying about timing of flights.



Full Itinerary with Costs

On this trip we spend total of $1080 for 2 people, or about $150/per person per day - trip was ~4 days

Basic Spend Per Category - for 2 people 

  • Hotel - $182.34 - How I paid this much for 3 Nights - I also used 103,000 Hilton points and an 80$ Hilton Amex Credit (special on Tapestry Collection) to get to the $182.34 total cost.
  • Parking - $80.50 - Parking at the hotel and for the day in Charleston and St. Augustine
  • Gas for the car - $133.47 - for the road trip and to get around the cities 
  • Food - $428.65 - this is an average of $53.58 per person per day - we love food, coffee and snacks
  • Shopping - $124.31 - shopping for gifts and local favorites (I love getting candles and honey on our travels) 
  • Activities - $129.82 - tickets for museums and tours 
Total $1,079.09 - for 2 people for 3-4 days

Here's a full breakdown of everything we did and spent! I hope these deets help you plan your travels! 

ItemDateDetailsCost
HotelWhole TripThe Bluff Savannah Historic, Tapestry Collection by Hilton - 3 Nights
630 West Bay Street Savannah GA 31401, US
$182.34
ParkingWhole TripHotel Parking - $20/day$60.00
GasWhole TripTampa - Savannah - Charleston - St Augustine - Tampa
Miles - 930 miles / 22 (mpg) X 2.275 ($/gal) = $116.25 Est
$133.47
FoodSaturday - SavannahWhite Duck - Coffee on Road Trip$12.40
FoodRoad Trip Lunch - Cousin Willies BBQ (Jacksonville, FL)$32.88
ShoppingSavannah Christmas Market Shopping$23.27
FoodSavannah Christmas Market Cider$6.42
ShoppingSavannah Christmas Market Shopping$15.36
ShoppingSavannah Bee Company$42.08
FoodDinner - Restaurant Compped Meal Due to Restaurant ErrorFree
FoodSunday - CharlestonIncluded Hotel BreakfastFree
FoodRymans Seafood$55.00
ShoppingOld Whaling Co - Candles$43.60
ParkingCharleston Visitors Center$9.00
FoodDessert at Kaminskis$30.00
FoodMexican Restaurant - Savannah$60.00
FoodMonday - SavannahIncluded Hotel BreakfastFree
ActivitySavannah University Aquarium & Trail$14.00
FoodCoffee Fox$12.93
ParkingDowntown Parking$1.50
ActivityTrolley Tours - Savannah Hop on Hop Off$56.00
ActivityProhibition Museum$59.82
FoodFlock to the Wok$110.00
FoodTuesday - St AugustineIncluded Hotel BreakfastFree
ParkingSt Augustine Parking - Castillio Fort$10.00
FoodColombia Restaurant - Lunch$75.00
FoodBens Soft Pretzels$13.00
FoodKilwins Ice Cream$13.96
FoodDrive HomePanda Express$7.06