A Savannah to Charleston RV road trip takes you through section after section of wetlands, which were once plantations. As a result of the wetlands, streams, and rivers, the road trip between Savannah and Charleston bends westward along Interstate 95 North and then eastward to Charleston after you get on U.S. Highway 17. Between the two cities, nothing remains of the once productive rice lands. Today, much of the area east of the highways is parks or recreational areas. Stopping at these locations gives you an idea of what the area looked like before European settlement.
Two national parks are within a day’s drive from your Savannah to Charleston road trip. Though these parks are some distance from your proposed route, they are well worth the extra miles.
Congaree National Park
The closest national park to Charleston is Congaree National Park. Located 122 miles northwest of Charleston, the park is easy to get to by traveling Interstate 26 West for about two hours. The park covers an area of 26,276 acres. Congaree National Park harks back to the days before the first European settlers arrived in the area. The slow Congaree River slides along the length of the park where a virgin forest of tall cypress trees provides a canopy for wildlife, birds, and alligators. Guided tours, extensive boardwalks, and boating opportunities let you experience this untouched land. Four public and eight private RV campgrounds offer plenty of choice locations to park and explore.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park borders North Carolina and Tennessee. The drive to the park from your road trip route takes about six hours to cover a distance of 340 miles. The park covers over 500,000 acres of pristine mountain terrain that varies from 800 feet in elevation to over 6,500 feet. The park trails are extensive and often culminate in spectacular panoramic views. Guided activities are available at ranger stations throughout the area. Several RV campgrounds all along the park provide ample opportunity to stop and relax for the night.
Hunting Island State Park
Hunting Island State Park is the most often visited park in South Carolina. Located midway between Savannah and Charleston, this barrier island includes 5,000 acres of low country along the South Carolina coast. Miles of beach, together with swampy areas and maritime forests, provide a mix of activities for visitors. You can walk the beaches, swim in the protected lagoon, hike the trails, or explore the 130-foot lighthouse, the only lighthouse accessible to the public in all of South Carolina.
Edisto Beach State Park
Edisto Beach State Park is one of the first South Carolina state parks established by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The park is 50 miles south of Charleston. It is the only park along the South Carolina shore accessible to disabled visitors, with miles of boardwalks through the hovering maritime forest. RV campgrounds are immediately available to visitors with 115 campsites with electrical power and running water.
Givhans Ferry State Park
Givhans Ferry State Park lies only 37 miles inland from Charleston. The park sits beside the upper reaches of the Edisto River—the longest free-flowing blackwater river in the country. RV camping spots are readily available at the park. Popular activities include kayaking, canoeing, picnicking, hiking, boating, and fishing.
The points of interest that lie on your route include activities of every type that would make a great stop on a road trip itinerary from Savannah to Charleston. Some are choice restaurants, others are monuments, and some are memories of the deep past. The list you find here includes natural phenomena and man-made items that demonstrate the importance of this area of the country.
Little Tybee Island
Little Tybee Island is about 17 miles directly east of Savannah. The island is one of the most remote parks in the area. You can only reach it by boat. If you do not have a boat, kayaks, canoes, and boats are available to rent on Tybee Island. Little Tybee Island is more extensive than Tybee Island; it is a nature preserve. To get there, you park your RV at one of the numerous RV campgrounds on Tybee Island and take a boat across the water. You are allowed to spend the night on Little Tybee Island, but you must bring in all your supplies, including water, and carry out all your garbage. The island features long beaches, great fishing, and wildlife.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins
The Old Sheldon Church ruins lie just outside Beaufort, SC. The location is isolated from regular traffic. Being about midway on your road trip from Savannah to Charleston, the site is a natural place to stop and contemplate the past. The ruins are what is remaining of the first Greek Revival structure built in the Americas. The original church was erected in 1745 and was considered the most impressive church in the South Carolina colony. Repeatedly destroyed by man or nature, the church was rebuilt several times with the same architectural design as the original. Today, the roof and doors are missing, crumbled into dust. Taking a trip to this site takes you back to the pre-Revolutionary era.
The Angel Oak Tree
The Angel Oak Tree is named after the Angel family who originally owned the land on which it grows. The tree is one of the most often visited sites in the Charleston area. The live red oak tree stands over 66 feet tall, and the trunk measures 28 feet in circumference. The limbs shade an area of 17,200 square feet. The most extended branch is measured at 187 feet in length. The tree is estimated to be 400-500 years old. It is protected from the threat of urban development by the city of Charleston.
Though there are no big cities you'll pass through when you make a direct road trip from Savannah to Charleston, there are several towns off the main route. Some of those cities are significant reference points when traveling to national parks outside the immediate area. Other towns have historical significance.
About 50 miles northwest of Savannah sits the town of Statesboro, GA. The town was founded in 1802 as a supply station for the cotton plantations in the area. The architecture of the city is indicative of the 1920s when a new industry moved into the area. Today, with the inclusion of Georgia Southern University, the city of 35,000 people is changing into a college town. Restaurants, arcades, theaters, and outdoor play facilities are growing yearly. The changes welcome the visitor. You will find that there are many dump stations available for the traveler. Campgrounds are available for RVs of any size.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island is a resort town on the coast of South Carolina just 20 miles along your road trip from Savannah to Charleston. The permanent population of 37,000 often swells to double that amount during the spring and summer months. Hilton Head is famous for its beaches, restaurants, and extraordinary activities. The town is an example of what happens when a community works with the surrounding environment to create a booming economy. Finding a dump station in Hilton Head is not a challenge. Several campgrounds for RV travelers welcome any and all to the community.
Columbia, South Carolina
On your way from Charleston to inland national parks, you will always travel through Columbia, the capital of the state. The city has seen a revitalization in the last three decades, enough to become a mecca for musical entertainers, innovative programming, and a mix of cuisine that is becoming a trademark. These changes make Columbia a great spot to stop and rest on your way to, or back from, parks close by your road trip route. Dump stations are available throughout the city. RV campgrounds make it easy to stop, explore, and appreciate the cultural evolution of the city.