Best Road Trips From Charleston

If you want to branch out, there are some fantastic road trips within reach of Charleston, including picturesque southern towns, stunning beaches, mountain forests, island state parks and iconic cities like New Orleans, Nashville and New York.

Top Road Trip Destinations From Charleston

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Our rankings are based only on editorial opinion, not any commercial consideration.
Savannah, Georgia, USA taken at the historic downtown sidewalks and rowhouses.

πŸš— 270 miles ⏱️ 6 hours, 30 minutes

A charming Southern escape, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. Visit for a buzzing food and drink scene, fantastic hospitality, and an intriguing history full of ghosts and folklore.

Make sure to put aside a good amount of time for this road trip, because it will take you island-hopping from Kiawah Island and Edisto Island to beautiful Hilton Head Island en route.

Neon signs on Lower Broadway Area in Nashville, Tennessee, USA


πŸš— 555 miles ⏱️ 8 hours, 30 minutes

Nashville is a big city with a small-town feel. It's the hometown of country music but all genres and types of people are welcome here. Visit β€œThe Music City”, where you can find buzzing nightlife, live music at every turn, southern food and great hospitality.

Traveling inland from Charleston, you will have plenty of amazing places to visit en route, including Augusta Riverwalk, World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta and scenic Red Top Mountain State Park.

Pink lifeguard hut on Miami Beach with the ocean in the background


πŸš— 590 miles ⏱️ 9 hours, 5 minutes

Miami has world-class beaches with amazing restaurants and a hip and happening nightlife scene. This city is where you come to party and be entertained alongside the rich and famous, set on the gorgeous Florida Coast.

This is the ultimate coastal drive with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. We recommend also visiting St Augustine, Daytona Beach and Palm Bay on the way.

Universal Studios, Orlando


πŸš— 385 miles ⏱️ 6 hours, 15 minutes

Orlando is a year-round warm weather destination known for its world-class entertainment, including the iconic Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studio theme parks.

This road trip is packed with amazing things to do on the Atlantic Coast. Take some time to visit Jacksonville, St Augustine and enjoy the sun in Palm Beach.

Mountain layers filled with colorful fall foliage just after sunrise in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

πŸš— 345 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 40 minutes

This scenic drive through the Smoky Mountains has a whole range of attractions, from nature and Dollywood amusement park in Pigeon Forge to shows and museums in Knoxville and scenery in Gatlinburg.

You will enjoy the perfect mix of urban fun like visiting Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, small-town charm in Spartanburg and breathtaking scenery near Asheville en route.

Wide expanse of freshly groomed white sands on Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City

πŸš— 500 miles ⏱️ 7 hours, 45 minutes

Panama City boasts one of the most stunning beaches on the Gulf Coast with white sands and emerald-green water. Gulf Coast beaches are very different from the Atlantic Coast, plus Panama City has endless entertainment and nightlife.

On your way to Panama City, you can make detours to Savannah and Jacksonville and visit the Florida Historic Capitol Museum in Tallahassee.

Aerial view of boats moored in the marina and a lighthouse on the pier in HARBOUR TOWN, HILTON HEAD ISLAND

Hilton Head Island

πŸš— 100 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 5 minutes

Known for its white sandy beaches, surf-ready waves and relaxed atmosphere, Hilton Head Island is a great destination if you crave some time off the grid. The island community makes this beach town unique.

This drive is perfect for a day trip, and we recommend extending your road trip adventure by making stops at Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve and Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center en route.

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA with a view of the city skyline from First Ward Park Fountain on a sunny day.


πŸš— 210 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 20 minutes

Charlotte is a fun Southern city with plenty of culture and beautiful parks, set in the beautiful sandhills. The central city of North Carolina, Charlotte has Southern roots with rich Native American and Civil War history.

On the way to Charlotte, you will have beautiful scenery to discover at Lake Marion and Congaree National Park. We also recommend exploring Columbia en route.

Tunnel near Asheville in autumn

πŸš— 300 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 20 minutes

Asheville is a mountainside city known for its art scene and history, with scenic views and a mecca of outdoor recreation. Enjoy the scenery of the Smoky Mountains while you explore this quaint town.

En route to Asheville, you will get the opportunity to spend some time in Congaree National Park, and then discover cities and charming towns like Columbia, Spartanburg and Greenville.

Busy downtown Atlanta at sunset, with a purple and orange-hued sky and streaming tail lights from traffic


πŸš— 355 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 40 minutes

Atlanta is a highlight of the South known for its scenic beauty as well as great food, culture and downtown attractions. Atlanta has it all; rich history, craft beer, glittering skylines, and eye-catching street art.

On the way, visit Savannah to wander around its historic streets and make a pitstop in Macon to explore the fascinating Tubman Museum which celebrates African American art.

Blue Ridge Mountains sunset at the Rough Ridge Overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Blowing Rock

πŸš— 360 miles ⏱️ 6 hours, 15 minutes

This part of the world has plenty of attractions for road trippers, including unspoiled surrounding public lands for hiking and scenic vistas. Blowing Rock will also give you easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This road trip might start off with town vibes in Columbia and Asheville, but you will soon be treated to stunning landscapes ad scenery; check out Linville Falls on BRP.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA city skyline.

πŸš— 100 miles ⏱️ 2 hours

Visit Myrtle Beach for endless entertainment and lively nightlife along the picturesque boardwalk. It is an iconic beach town with amusement parks, arcades, golf courses, and pristine white sands with choppy waves great for surfing.

There is something for everyone on this road trip, including Santee Coastal Reserve, charming town of Georgetown, Atalaya Castle and Huntington Beach State Park.

The South Carolina State House in Columbia.


πŸš— 115 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 50 minutes

Columbia packs a punch for bustling nightlife and entertainment. Surrounded by old hardwood forests and rivers, this lowlands city holds plenty of thrills while but maintaining its classic history and charm.

This relatively short drive inland will take you past the beautiful landscapes of Lake Marion, Santee State Park, both short detours, and Congaree National Park.

Edisto Island, South Carolina, USA with a dead tree on Boneyard Beach at sunrise.

Edisto Island

πŸš— 45 miles ⏱️ 1 hour

Edisto Island is a pristine island with sandy beaches. See historic plantations, sea turtles nesting on beaches, pristine marshland, and large oak trees surrounding the quaint town of Edisto Island.

You will have plenty of detours to make on this short drive that are perfect for history buffs, such as McLeod Plantation Historic Site and Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve.

Greenville, South Carolina, USA downtown cityscape on the Reedy River at dusk.


πŸš— 210 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 10 minutes

Greenville has a great arts and entertainment scene, with highlights like the Greenville County Museum of Art and the Carolina Music Museum. Enjoy the local shopping, dining, and visit the central scenic waterfall.

En route to Greenville, we recommend adding Lake Marion, Congaree National Park, Columbia and Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests to your itinerary.

bohiket marina with boats near kiawah island

Kiawah Island

πŸš— 30 miles ⏱️ 1 hour

Enjoy seaside golf courses, beach walks, and nature parks on beautiful Kiawah Island. This island is renowned for its manicured golf courses with ocean views and for its nature and wildlife conservation.

We recommend taking this beautiful yet short drive slowly and visiting McLeod Plantation Historic Site and the impressive Angel Oak Tree on the way.

Bulls Island coastal view, South Carolina near McClellanville


πŸš— 40 miles ⏱️ 50 minutes

McClellanville is a small fishing town where you can get fresh Lowcountry seafood. Nearby you will find Francisc Marion National Forest, where you can hike boardwalk trails through the swamps, fish in remote ponds and learn about conservation.

On your way to the cute town of McClellanville, you can make stops at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park andBoone Hall Plantation & Gardens.

town of Walterboro South carolina USA - Twon of walterboro courthouse at night with star trails in the background


πŸš— 50 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 10 minutes

This quaint Lowcountry town is a short drive from Charleston and offers plenty of charm and hospitality without throngs of tourist crowds - it's great for history lovers.

This short drive is perfect for anyone interested in history, because you will get to visit Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and Middleton Place Historic Landmark en route.

Dockside view of boathouse walking on dock with pink sky in Beaufort, South Carolina.


πŸš— 70 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 30 minutes

Beaufort is a lesser-known southern town set against picturesque moss-draped live oaks and winding colonial streets. Visit this coastal town and explore the historical homes, breathtaking scenery, and Southern charm.

Both Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve and Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease are located just off this route, so you can extend your road trip if you have a little more time.

Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina, USA taken during a beautiful sunset reflecting in the light on the Atlantic Ocean.

Hunting Island State Park

πŸš— 85 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 50 minutes

Hunting Island State Park is a chance to step away from civilization and experience the natural beauty of the forested sea islands. This pristine white sand coastline is popular yet remains beautifully unspoiled.

On your way, make sure to check out Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve and Pon-Pon Chapel of Ease, which are short detours from the route.

Public Beach access on Kure Beach on North Carolina's Atlantic coast.


πŸš— 175 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 35 minutes

A buzzing city on the beach, travel to Wilmington for access to the Cape Fear Coast and River District. Known for its vibrant riverfront and island beaches, this city is a waterfront paradise.

There is plenty to discover on this drive to Wilmington, including Georgetown, Atalaya Castle, Huntington Beach State Park and Myrtle Beach.

Longer road trips from Charleston

Entrance to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis


πŸš— 760 miles ⏱️ 11 hours, 20 minutes

Memphis is home to amazing culture, music history, and artists, as well as amazing soul food and live music entertainment. This city was made famous as the birthplace of Rock and Roll, so it's perfect for any music lover!

Tourist boat near the Statue of Liberty on a sunny day with some clouds

New York City

πŸš— 760 miles ⏱️ 12 hours

The Big Apple needs no introduction - it's a once-in-a-lifetime city experience and a chance to see all the bucket-list landmarks like Times Square and The Statue of Liberty.

A jazz band playing in New Orleans' famous Bourbon Street on a summer evening.

πŸš— 850 miles ⏱️ 16 hours

New Orleans, famous for its French influence, is the home of Mardi Gras, but the party atmosphere lasts all year round in this vibrant center for music, Creole food and French architecture.

Niagara falls between United States of America and Canada.

Niagara Falls

πŸš— 885 miles ⏱️ 13 hours, 10 minutes

Niagara Falls and the town of Niagara is a beautiful destination to witness a bucket list-worthy natural phenomenon. An iconic natural wonder, the surrounding area, including Niagara-on-the-Lake, is renowned for its distinctive winemaking.