Charleston had been on my bucket list for several years now. I had heard others talk about it and seen pictures and just fell in love with the idea of it. While doing my own research, I also stumbled upon Savannah. I had heard of Savannah before too, but didn’t realize that it also had a reputation similar to Charleston; charming; historical and artsy. So, naturally, I felt like I now needed to see them both! Although they abode in different states, luckily they are only a 2-hour drive apart, which allowed us to visit both and make our own comparisons!
Charleston was our first stop. It is a very resort – chic city, full of all the charming southern feels. Some of my favourite things about Charleston were the antebellum mansions. These line the streets down by the battery park and they are truly incredible. These magnificent structures take “the porch” to a whole other level. With large white pillars and grand balconies; they are truly exquisite historical homes and so are their gardens! I only wish we could have gotten inside a few!
Rainbow Row was also a lovely strip of historical Georgian-style homes along the Cooper River, decked out in pretty pastels (like much of the colour scheme in Charleston). We always enjoy a good market and their historical city market did not disappoint! Also, the local boutiques and antique shops were super cute!
The waterfront park is a lovely to stroll around as well. They have this huge Pineapple Fountain that is great for pictures (or for getting your doggy’s paws wet to cool them down). While there, we learned that the pineapple signifies southern hospitality. Possibly a reason we are seeing this fruit trend into home decor like crazy lately.
Also, it’s not a trip to the south without visiting a planation. I recommend the Boone Hall plantation. It was the scene of many movies including the all-time romantic fave, The Notebook!
Another must-see is the Angel Oak Tree . It’s the oldest tree east of the Mississippi River. It is between 400-500 years old and magnificently and incredibly massive. Local folklore tells stories of ghosts of former slaves appearing as angles around the tree.
I wish we would have had more time to explore some more restaurants, but we managed to eat at some old traditional staples and some more modern southern spots as well. We loved the cocktails and small plates at Prohibition; Magnolias is has been a brunch fave for years, oh, and the Sugar Bakeshop is the cutest little small batch bakery. Stop in for some Charleston’s sweet ice-tea and divinely fresh cupcakes.
For lodging, I highly recommend the The Restoration Hotel – it was really close to all the shops and districts. It was super spacious which is great when travelling with a dog and baby! We had our own kitchen, washer and dryer and it was super urban chic decor. I love boutique hotels for their attention to detail and this place was on point. My fave detail was when they would deliver our breakfast every morning in a picnic basket. They would ring the doorbell and leave it at the door. It was just so cute!!
Savannah, although different vibes (think more gothic and mysterious) had equally as much to see. We enjoyed our stay at the Westin Harbour Golf Resort & Spa. We had a beautiful resort-style pool at our hotel, so we took advantage of that lots (it was where Elle had her first pool experience!) One night they were setting off fireworks and we had the most specatacualr view! The westin was pet friendly, so Sadie was a hit with everyone (as usual).
Every day, we would enjoy the free ferry across the river every morning and land in the historical district, where everything is cobble stone and you can walk around with a beer in your hand. It can be tricky to walk long distances in the heat with a dog and baby, so we took advantage of a horse and carriage ride. It was a first for both Sadie and Elle and it couldn’t have went more smooth. In hindsight, I wish we had done this in Charleston too.
In Savannah, we enjoyed dining at restaurants in historical buildings. The Olde Pink House had amazing service. I had also tried the fried green tomatoes almost every restaurant we went and they were the best here! We then grabbed a classic cocktail to go, and strolled around the historic district. (I recommend the Pink Lady!)
We also really enjoyed our dinner at Vics on the River. Food was and service were amazing. They have a piano bar and the main dining room showcases a map that was hand-drawn by Union soldiers detailing Sherman’s march from Tennessee through Georgia. The map was originally found in 1901 during a renovation of the building – we thought this was Avery cool bonus.
All that to say, although Charleston was our favourite, both places are quintessential, southern cities with lots to offer! Although they share similar characteristics, both also boast their own unique charm. It just depends on your personal preference as to which vibe is more your style.
I have tried to link all the places we stayed and enjoyed dining and sightseeing, but feel free to shoot me a note if you plan on visiting and have any specific questions. I hope you get the chance to check them out! If you have already, let me know what you think! Thanks for reading and enjoy your week!