Destination Debrief: Charleston & Savannah

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Fora Author Fora

The Modern Travel Agency


    pink and white furniture on a rooftop overlooking Charleston, South Carolina

    Image courtesy of The Dewberry

    When it comes to southern charm and nostalgia, Charleston and Savannah are two standout destinations that encompass both. Cobblestone streets lined with brick front homes, oak-shaded parks with stoic statues and bustling dining districts keep travelers returning year after year. 

    We’ve gathered all our intel to highlight the best of each city. Whether seeking a seaside getaway or history-infused excursion, experience southern hospitality at its finest with a trip to Charleston and Savannah.

    When you connect with Fora, our advisors will create a customized itinerary specific to you and your preferences (or just a hotel booking, if that's all you need).

    Need to know:

    Airport: Charleston International Airport (CHS) and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV)

    Transportation: Both cities are walkable when staying in the central area, and both have a convenient bus system, as well as free trolleys for the historic districts.

    Best time to visit: The best time to visit Charleston and Savannah is during the spring (March to May) when the weather is warm but not too hot, and the lush parks are in full bloom. Fall (September to November) is also pleasant, with mild temperatures and less humidity.

    Ideal length of stay: About 3 to 4 days each or a week for both is ideal to explore each city’s fascinating history, architecture and culinary scenes.

    Dress code: In both cities, you’ll find the dress code is casual for daytime, with more emphasis on comfort due to the warm and humid climate. Evening attire tends to be more stylish, leaning toward smart casual.


    street in Charleston lined with pastel buildings

    Image courtesy of The Charleston Place

    Known as a city where history resonates through beautifully preserved architecture, Charleston has a deep-seated elegant charm, particularly in its chic hotels and historic inns. From bespoke tours and renowned landmarks to boutique-lined streets and curated local menus, discover Charleston’s modern take on its storied heritage.

    Where to stay in Charleston

    white hotel room with gold-colored chandelier

    Images courtesy of Zero George Street Hotel

    The Dewberry Charleston: A hip hotel with the city’s highest rooftop offering exceptional views and craft cocktails. Book with Fora to receive exclusive Fora Reserve perks like $100 hotel credit, a daily breakfast credit for two, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

    The Charleston Place: Traditional luxury and a central location pair with an on-site spa and dining experiences. Book with Fora to receive exclusive Fora Reserve perks like $100 hotel credit, a daily breakfast credit for two and an upgrade.

    Zero George Street Hotel: A charming boutique hotel offering refined rooms and suites in a 1800s property off-the-beaten-path. Fora’s VIP partner perks include $100 hotel credit, daily breakfast for two, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

    Wentworth Mansion: Historic gem with an upscale restaurant and opulent rooms exuding old-world elegance. Fora’s SLH withIN perks include a hotel credit, daily breakfast for two, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

    What to do in Charleston

    pastel bicycles against a brick wall in Charleston

    Courtesy of Zero George Street Hotel

    One of the first stops in this southern haven should be Charleston City Market, a 1700s downtown market packed with local artist stalls and food vendors, plus live music on weekends. Afterward, stroll less than two blocks to famous King Street, where the bustling street is flanked by boutiques, eateries and bars. Art lovers can pop into one of the many galleries, or take time to explore the impressive collection at the Gibbes Museum of Art or the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston for cutting edge pieces.

    History buffs have their choice of sites, including the Civil War’s initial battleground at Fort Sumter, just a half-hour ferry ride from downtown Charleston. East of town are the astounding formal gardens and manor house at Middleton Place. Other stops near downtown might include the 1800s Nathaniel Russell House and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, a former military prison.

    West of downtown, McLeod Plantation Historic Site is a sprawling property where visitors can engage with Charleston’s complicated heritage. Slave quarters that have remained intact are coupled with the interpretive tour to offer a small glimpse into life on a cotton plantation. Learn about the enslaved community’s culture, resistance and ultimate transition to freedom. 

    Where to eat in Charleston

    a tabletop with pastel plates filled with colorful food and cocktails

    Image courtesy of The Dewberry

    There’s no shortage of culinary finds in Charleston. Ranging from coffee shops and southern staples to elevated fare and white-tablecloth dining rooms, we’ve rounded up the top picks.

    When it’s time for a coffee stop or quick bite, you can rely on these destinations. A one-stop shop, Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer combines two favorite beverages in an airy, welcoming cafe. Harken is a charming cafe for your coffee fix, and for morning eats, head to Caviar & Bananas, just off King Street. 

    For heartier fare and waterfront views, reliable seafood favorites are dished up at Fleet Landing. If looking for upscale dinner plates, Husk is set in a beautifully restored Victorian home where the menu offers creative southern fare with options that change daily. For fine dining, head to FIG, a bistro setting with gorgeous southern-inspired dishes, or book a table at Halls Chophouse, famous for its hearty steaks. And for not-to-be-missed home cooking in North Charleston, Bertha’s Kitchen and  Hannibal’s Soul Kitchen do not disappoint.


    tall trees with moss in front of an beige mansion in Savannah Georgia

    This historic city enchants visitors with its moss-draped oaks, cobblestone streets and meticulously preserved antebellum mansions. Explore the vibrant culinary scene at gourmet restaurants, take a leisurely carriage ride through the historic district or simply watch life go by in the lush squares that make Savannah a jewel of the South. 

    Where to stay in Savannah

    pink curtains and greenery adorn a rooftop hotel area

    Images courtesy of Hotel Bardo

    Thompson Savannah: Riverfront property touting designer rooms, a sleek pool and trendy rooftop bar. Book with Fora to receive Hyatt Privé partner perks like a hotel credit, a welcome amenity, daily breakfast for two, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

    Hyatt Regency Savannah: Contemporary rooms in a prime riverfront location just steps from dining and shopping. When booked with Fora, you’ll receive Hyatt Privé partner perks like a hotel credit, a welcome amenity, daily breakfast for two, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

    Andaz Savannah: Designer corner property in a bustling central location with a relaxing pool and terrace. Book with Fora to receive Hyatt Privé partner perks like a hotel credit, a welcome amenity, daily breakfast for two, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

    Hotel Bardo: An 1800s manor (formerly The Mansion of Forsyth Park) with park views and an updated modern aesthetic. Book with Fora to unlock Leading Hotels of the World perks like daily breakfast for two, an upgrade and extended check-in/out.

    What to do in Savannah

    river boat on savannah river with buildings in the background in georgia

    From the Spanish moss swaying from majestic oaks in Forsyth Park and tidy brick homes in the historic district, visitors can’t help but feel they’re stepping back in time. Landmarks that are sure to tell a story include First African Baptist Church, the oldest continuous Black church in North America, and the Birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. And while not exactly historic, ghost tours abound in Savannah, with the evening ones particularly popular.

    One of the city’s prime attractions, the Savannah River is a major port, as well as ideal for enjoying the sunsets. Hire a private boat to get a unique view of the city, or book a dinner cruise on a classic river boat. And for beach goers, the half-hour drive to Tybee Island is worth it.

    Savannah also attracts art and literature fans. Art lovers might be surprised by the robust collection at Telfair Museums, a creative complex that includes a children’s museum, an academy and the historic Owens-Thomas House. And for those who read (or opted for the movie) “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” Bonaventure Cemetery will bring those pages alive.

    Where to eat in Savannah

    stylish bar with stools and a back wall of bottles

    courtesy of Andaz Savannah

    Savannah is packed with eateries, from coffee shops to multi-course culinary adventures. We’ve researched where to refuel, taste regional favorites and celebrate a night out during your Savannah getaway.

    Coffee shops abound across the city, and some of the best include The Coffee Fox, The Gallery Espresso and Mirabelle (try their waffles!).

    Riverfront stops can be crowded and unpredictable, but these standouts dish up reliable eats. Vic's On the River is a classic venue specializing in southern fare, like shrimp and grits and their signature fried chicken. Also a veteran choice, Huey’s dishes up homestyle southern plates and is famous for its powdery beignets. Nearby, Olympia Cafe offers tasty Greek fare in a laid-back space, and pizza lovers can grab a pie at Graffito Pizza.

    When it comes to a special night out, plan ahead for a table at The Olde Pink House, one of Savannah’s most cherished landmarks offering a grand Southern dining experience in an 18th-century mansion. Another upscale choice is Elizabeth on 37th, serving elegant dishes in a historic setting. Other restaurants of note include The Grey, whose diner-like exterior belies a gourmet menu, and Alligator Soul Restaurant, which serves – you guessed it – alligator, along with wild game.

    Ready to travel? Connect with Fora to plan and book your southern getaway today.

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