The Deep South may be known for its Spanish moss, prolonged vowels, and leisurely way of life, but it’s also home to some of the most hospitable people, complicated histories, and best food and drink in the country. Three cities that continue to thrive with the latter are Savannah, Hilton Head, and Charleston, and they’re all within driving distance to one another (45 minutes from Savannah to Hilton Head and two hours from Hilton Head to Charleston). Such close proximity demands an epic week-long culinary road trip to experience all of (well, some of) the cuisine and cocktails this area has to offer. 

I took this journey myself with one of my BFFs, Sarah, to visit some of the best bars and restaurants in Georgia and South Carolina. What I found was a lot of butter, a lot of barbecue, but a true appreciation for locally-grown ingredients that have inspired new takes on classic Southern dishes. Check out my detailed picks for each of the cities below. There’s a spot for every type of eater and appetite!

The Best Bars and Restaurants in Savannah

The Best Bars and Restaurants in Hilton Head

The Best Bars and Restaurants in Charleston

Looking for a ride?

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

As a New Yorker who primarily finds himself in taxis, subways, and Ubers in need of some serious upgrades, I was relieved to drive the 2019 Chevrolet Blazer during this trip. Aside from feeling ultra-safe (it’s rarely me behind the wheel…eek!) in its bold and sporty design, my friend and I were impressed with the SUV’s array of road trip-friendly technology like an easy-to-use GPS system, Apple CarPlay, and in-car wifi. While Sarah browsed the internet and worked on a graduate school paper, I was able to open the massive sunroof and blast Beyoncé’s “Before I Let Go” on repeat. It honestly doesn’t get better than that.

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