Heading to Orlando? Consider starting your journey in South Carolina to enjoy some family time and visit some of the fun destinations along the way. My family recently made this trip and were able to explore these spots over the course of a week.
Since we usually travel with three or four generations, stopping at spots that offer something for everyone – from Grammy to toddler – can sometimes be a challenge, but the east coast from South Carolina to Florida is full of fun spots that are worth exploring.
We usually just zip by most of them on our way to Orlando. This time we had a different plan! We wanted to add on a week and spend a little time exploring all those spots we usually drive by. We didn’t want to miss any of them!
Here’s some of what you can see along the way!
Beaufort, SC – With a rich history spanning over 500 years, this area of South Carolina is full of landmarks to visit and feed your inner, adventurous child. There is plenty to do to fill a day. Some suggestions include:
- Take a Gullah Heritage Van Tour from Spirit of Old Beaufort
- Have lunch in one of the many waterfront or downtown eateries
- Hop onto the Pat Conroy or Movie Van Tour from Beaufort Tours, LLC
- Have fun at the Kazoobie Kazoo Factory and Museum – the only U.S. Kazoo Factory!
- Explore a pristine beach at Hunting Island State Park, and climb the Historic Lighthouse
- Cruise the river on Captain Dick’s River Tour (starts at the Marina)
- Learn about military history at Parris Island and the Parris Island Museum
Hilton Head Island is full of hidden gems for all members of the family. A Revolutionary War cemetery and the Gullah Sweetgrass Gallery shouldn’t be missed and during oyster season you can watch the day’s catch being unloaded at the dock and women shucking oysters inside the Bluffton Oyster Company.
The Hilton Head area also lays claim to an Indian shell ring dating back to the time of the Great Pyramids. You’ll find a 4,000-year-old elliptical mound within the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.
Depending on when you visit, the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival is a great way to spend a day while sampling the deliciousness of the island! This festival is held each March.
Midway between Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL, lies four beautiful barrier islands: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons Island and the mainland city of Brunswick. The islands are referred to as the Golden Isles.
Historic landmarks and museums, lighthouses, quaint bed-and-breakfast inns and the best southern hospitality you’ll find.
The islands are speckled with historic stained glass in various churches, chapels and hotels. Some date as far back as the late 1800’s.
On St. Simon’s Island, the largest of them all, you can find large beautiful oak trees containing weathered faces. The twenty carvings are said to hold the spirits of sailors lost at sea. Searching for the St. Simons Island Tree Spirits will keep you busy for quite some time.
Savannah, Georgia is a charming Southern escape. Art, architecture, shopping and ghost stories all set under beautiful oak trees draped in Spanish moss.
Savannah is a popular destination for travelers from across the nation and everyone visits for a different reason. Each year Savannah holds festivals and events that people flock to. By far the most popular season is Halloween time since Savannah is known for its haunted history.
If you hope to see as much of Savannah as possible, in a short period of time, there are walking tours as well as carriage and trolley tours that visitors can enjoy.
In Jacksonville the Catty Shack Ranch is a conservation mission that rescues tigers and other big cats from inhumane captivity. The Jacksonville Zoo lets you feed the giraffes at the African Overlook and then watch otters float along in the Wild Florida exhibit. A visit to the Museum of Science and History is amazing! The museum is home to one of the largest single-lens planetariums in the United States. The museum also offers family-friendly exhibits to entertain and amuse everyone in the family.
The St. Augustine/Palm Coast/Flagler area is a gem! It’s an area that can take several days to explore. This strip along the coast of Florida is full of white sandy beaches, recreational water adventures, and history dating back before the birth of the country since St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States. The area is also home to the world’s first oceanarium at the Marineland Dolphin Adventure. Great restaurants and live music are around almost every corner.
Ponce De Leon Lighthouse and Museum at 175 feet high is the tallest lighthouse in the state and one of the tallest in the United States.
Be sure to get a sip from the legendary fountain of youth at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park before leaving the area!
Daytona Beach is full of resorts, attractions and the Daytona International Speedway and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. The Daytona Beach Pier offers nearby thrill rides, the Daytona Lagoon water park and lots of fun along the boardwalk area.
The Museum of Arts and Sciences, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum, includes a hands-on children’s area and a Planetarium show.
If you’ll be driving along the coast, be sure to check out some of these great family-friendly spots along the way! You can also find tips and inspiration for driving tours in other parts of the country, such as this historical Southwest driving tour, on Alamo’s Scenic Route.
Alamo’s Scenic Route
Alamo isn’t only about car rental. They are also a great resource for vacation planning. Alamo’s Scenic Route is a great resource to use when planning your next family get away. Are you an Alamo Insider? By signing up for Alamo’s free program, you will enjoy member benefits like 5% off their everyday low prices.
Booking online is super easy and takes some of the stress out of planning. There is also a customer service number for people who like to ask a human a question!
So what are you waiting for – start planning your next family travel adventure with Alamo!