Cruising North on the U.S. East Coast
Part 3: St Simons Island, Georgia, to Charleston, SC (170 miles)
On Day 3 of our trip north, we cruised offshore from St Simons Island, Georgia, to Charleston, South Carolina. The Atlantic was calm, and the only things we saw were some large cargo ships hanging out in the open water, waiting to enter the Savannah River.
Coming into Charleston is exciting, as you can go in and remain at full speed quite far into the harbor; past Fort Sumter, a sea fort; and The Battery, a defensive seawall and promenade. We usually stay at the Charleston City Marina at its “MegaDock,” the longest freestanding floating fuel dock in the Southeast at 1,530 feet. The marina is within walking distance from the city’s historic district, but also offers a free shuttle service. The name of their pump-out boat is a great musical reference ‘play-on-words’ and always makes me laugh when I see it (see a picture in the slideshow below!).
I love stopping in Charleston as it is such a beautiful city with a real southern charm, lots of beautiful houses, and great shops, bars and restaurants. I know many people think the Historic Charleston City Market is only for tourists, but I have found some really nice gifts there, and delicious breakfast spots. We are also lucky to have friends living in Charleston, so it is always wonderful to catch up with them on the way north, and again on the way south.
The historic district is gorgeous, having multiple architectural styles, e.g. Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Charleston Single House, and Art Deco. I love to just go for a stroll and admire all the beautiful houses and buildings, Rainbow Row, and of course the Pineapple Fountain. A cruise through the harbor and on the Ashley and Cooper Rivers will take you past Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, where the USS Yorktown is docked, and under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
Another stop full of southern charm (south of Charleston) is the town of Savannah, Georgia, known for its lovely parks with fountains, moss-draped oaks, and beautiful houses, including the house featured in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. There is such a variety of architectural styles, some similar in style to the houses in historic Charleston.
The riverfront warehouses and cotton exchange have been converted and are now a popular tourist destination. I love strolling down River Street’s cobblestone-and brick-lined streets with its century-old buildings now converted into antiques and gift shops, restaurants, and hotels. When we went to Savannah, we docked at the Savannah City Market. A great central location, popular for restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife. Don’t miss Waving Girl’s statue on River Street, offering an ideal location to watch the ships go by on the Savannah River. Visiting Savannah requires a small detour, as the city is about 20 miles in from the ocean on the Savannah River.