Great Loop Route # 221: Savannah, Georgia to Hilton Head, South Carolina | What Yacht To Do (2023)


Welcome to What Yacht To Do, a Great Loop Documentary. Today, (April 19, 2022) Rev and Sam are moving on their Great Loop Route from an anchorage near Savannah, Georgia called Buckhead Creek Top over to Hilton Head, South Carolina. We stayed at Windmill Harbor Marina and had to go through a lock to get there.

We are cruising around America's Great Loop for a second time and selected a 1999 Carver 504 named the Here's To Us!! as our Great Loop boat. So much goes into Great Loop planning and we share every trip with you. Welcome aboard!

Here are a few resources that we used for the trip:

We started the Great Loop on May 15, 2019 and completed our Gold Loop journey on August 30, 2020. You can see our entire trip here:

We started our second loop on September 2, 2020 and you can follow our route here:

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Well, hello, everyone: it is a kind of a frosty morning here, 53 degrees, but you know: we've been used to 75 and 80.

We got acclimatized and uh.

While we do like the cool it's a little too cool.

We had the windows open last night down there and had to throw another blanket on.

We are here at buckhead, creek top where the tide went from well 15 feet up to 22 as far as our anchoring is concerned, so uh it's actually 15 and 23, and a half so about eight and a half foot swing.

So you don't have to take that into consideration when you uh put your scope out and we had winds up to 22 miles per hour, still pretty good wind.

Now we're gonna head up to hilton, head and uh.

If you are using like auto routing tools and the weather was good, the auto routing tools will take you in the most expeditious manner and that means going outside.

So you would go from here.

You go out the ah sound o s s a b, a w, don't know if that's the correct pronunciation and into the calabog sound and uh, then up to hilton head we're not doing that.

We listened to the forecast and well, we kind of knew from the winds uh, it's four to five feet out there and that's not pleasure boating as far as I'm concerned.

But if you are here- and you are heading north and it's a great day on the outside- it's a great way to save 10 miles.

So for us we're going to be going through uh, savannah and then up to the intracoastal.

I mean it's all intracoastal but we'll be following the intracoastal through savannah.

So there'll be some stretches there, where we're going to have to slow down so we're going to get an early start.

The tide is beginning to rise.

I'm going to give it about another half hour and we'll be out of here and uh.

Look forward to talking to you along the way, going out to take the snubber off and then pull up the anchor we're leaving the buckhead creek top anchorage.

It's really nice, it's tucked back here off the channel and we really enjoyed it.

We did have some company last night, one other boat was in here, but there's room for tons and tons of boats.

So we highly recommend this particular anchorage, well we're underway here, mile 607 in our first area of concern today, which actually went into planning last night as to hey.

What time are we going to leave? Is an area called hell gate and some people say it's hell's gate, but it's actually hell gate on the chart.

I don't know which is correct.

That has been dredged and shouldn't be an issue.

However, I don't want to go through on a low tide, so we're on a rising tide and with all of the electronics and apps and information that is just packed in everything.

You don't have to use a tide table anymore, so you go there and you see the nearest station and look when the tide's going to be up and uh by the time we get there we'll be uh well into a rising tide, three feet above low tide, and that is nice and you can actually just kind of click on areas on the chart uh, depending on what you're, using for your navigation devices.

What software you have, what equipment you have? They usually all have that capability.

You just have to learn how to use it and see what time you're going to be there and what the tide's doing so pretty easy.

As long as you understand all those things they will also show you, current charts will show you, if you're going into a current out of a current lots of information on those electronic charts and they keep getting better and better.

It's just one of those great things, as you have competition out there between them.

They keep raising the bar because they want their product to be the best.

So I'm just amazed over the three and a half years, or so that we've been doing this just watching the uh incremental improvements in the technology so learn the technology use the technology to your advantage.

Well, it's really bright out there.

The sun's been in our eyes for a while, but we are finally to the turn mile marker that looks like red 92, making a turn into hell.

Gate now, don't go through here during low tide, although they have dredged it.

You just want to be comfortable going through here, so we're on a rising tide.

How many feet you got there? Sam under us, 26 feet plenty of time, the first time through here we were nervous because it was pretty low, but this time no problem at all.

Well, I say that talk to me after the red and green here are the giant ones we're used to seeing, but up ahead, they're small kind of reminds me of kentucky lake markers showing us the way to go through here and 11 feet now, so we went from 25 to 11 feet and it better not go any lower than that all right.

Staying between the red and the green and we're actually it's a mile marker 602 right now and the uh, the red nun and the green can out there floating around just go right between them, showing 13 feet now good.

You know if you are navigating this visually and didn't have those navigational aids out there.

You might just say: hey I'll, just go in the center between the points, and that would be bad.

Well, we're not columbus.

I mean we do have some aids here to help us.

The other thing that's happening is we were against the current uh as we were traveling toward the asavo sound and as we made this turn now uh, we picked up some speed because the water's kind of pushing us now, instead of going against it, are we out of the danger zone um.


This is technically still health gate, but yeah we're we're never really in the danger zone.

I'll go on a rising tide here go over here, but definitely don't want to go through here on a low tide or falling to low tide.

Well, somebody named it hell gate for a reason.


I guess so: okay, when we came through here last time it was raining and we passed barges like this small, nothing compared to the kind of barges we saw going down the rivers all right.

Well, I don't know what channel they're operating on lost the uh got: 16 12, 13, 9 out of ideas, and so the rules of the road two vessels converging each shell altered course to the starboard and that's what we did hey there, how you doing so an alarm just went off and of course I freaked out, but sam has actually set an alarm for every two hours is when he takes readings.

Sometimes I sit here with him and be the lookout and sometimes nothing's going on.

So I don't need to come up here but looks pretty much like nothing's going on.

However, we do have a bridge coming up, it's funny how you do the loop, the second time you remember things that are etched in your mind.

We have another carver following us and it is floating home, so they are behind us.

Our floating home is following us back there so be sure and check out their youtube channel, we'll meet them in person.

Sometime crab pot copy altering course we're coming up on the isle of hope, marina.

This is the second time we have passed by.

We hear it's a really great place to stay.

So if you are in this neighborhood on your great loop journey, this is definitely an option for you.

It is below the 32 degree line if you are working around that for your insurance depending on what time of year, it is just below it's like a mile and a half below, so I don't think your insurance company will give you any leeway on it.

Ours didn't.

This has been such a beautiful ride.

There are so many nice homes along the way and their docks.

It's so peaceful.

I just love this route through georgia, savannah ben marina is where we kept the here's to us for a while, on the first time around looking good got plenty of space according to that board over there.

There are four spans that go up, and I don't like the looks of this, but that one is stuck open, so I guess they don't need, aren't using that part of the highway right now.

Obviously, so I turn my head and look out the window here on the port side and there is a giant container ship.

Look at that moving quite impressive.

We're racing they're on the savannah river over there.

We're on the icw over here and sam has the right of way.

So, however, he's bigger than him we're gonna get caught in his wake.

Yeah uh! I don't think we can beat him.

Look how fast he's going well, we probably could have bet you're gonna.

Do the smart thing: huh yeah, we're like a little nap to him and just in his way so he's gonna.

Do what he's gonna do and then we we adjust.

I might have the right away, but it doesn't matter right now.

I would have tried to outrun it well, eventually, uh probably could have done it uh, except why take a chance? I don't know where it says it's going here: it's it's in code.

It says dangerous goods, um, harmful substances or marine pollutants.

Oh hazard or pollutant category, a underway using engine.

It's not telling me the speed! Oh speed, 13.7, okay, so he's uh moving he's moving right along there.

So that was a big surprise.

That was a big sprite.

When I looked over and saw it, I thought he was docked.

I did too and then boom here he comes well.

Everybody goes through this tiny area, including bob423.

So here we go making our way through this skinny area.

Look at all this water around.

Does that make a difference? No, it does not because you don't know what's well.

I guess we do know.

Shallow water is everywhere else, except right between these two markers, green 39.

You see the gold square, meaning yes, you're still on the icw that red.

What do you call that? A nun it? You know it looks like they just decided to put it there, birds hanging out doing their thing and uh.

So are we we're getting close to uh hilton head about 10 miles out and uh windmill harbor marina, where we're going to go through a block? That's locked, controlled in there and so high tide was about an hour ago and we'll be there in about an hour.

So on the down slope there, but uh pretty good title swing in there.

We don't have to worry about it, uh we're not on the map anymore, we're not on the map anymore, we're doing good um, rev checks me every once in a while make sure what I'm doing she's a good backup, a safety observer, and it's always good you're running along and you've had a couple hard days.

You know it's easy to make little mistakes that can cause big problems so good to have another set of eyes up here.

So these are the kind of toes that we have seen now.

We're in south carolina saw one in georgia has vehicles on it really interesting.

It's like a fairy large that one's called the jake washington gates are opening.

All right looks pretty good a little bit of wind uh coming from the left there, but no no you're, not my way at home.

Just you have a boathole ready.

Would you just in case uh? We got a little bit of wind or something I mean I pretty much.

I think I have it under control here, but yeah just have a boat ball stand about in case we need it.

This is pretty cool just when you thought you were done with locks.

Huh mm-hmm see you so, oh okay, so those are rubber.

Bumper things there.

Okay, all right! Ask him if it's bob that might be bob okay, I'm showing 8.7! Well, we are back on land after three days of anchoring in georgie.

We never set foot in georgia on the soil for some reason, we're in south carolina now, hilton, head and uh excited to be here because we didn't get to go here.

Last time came through a lock we're going to stay here for two nights, so we're standing in front of the south carolina yacht club here on hilton head and just panning around to the south.

I guess it would be where boats are moored there and right in front of houses that are just beautiful houses and now looking out toward the intracoastal, so we were lucky enough to meet bob and ann shearer.

Those of you who don't know bob and ann bob 423 does a lot of great work for the intracoastal cruisers, and so they were gracious enough to accept our invitation for dinner at the yacht club got to know them.

It was wonderful bob presented me with a bob for 23 burgee, which will proudly be flown on the ears to us.

It was 58 miles and uh kind of an exciting journey, particularly with that cargo ship.

So it's time for happy hour early, we'll see you next time on what you ought to do.



How long is boat ride from Hilton Head to Savannah? ›

Yes, there is a ferry from Hilton Head Island to Savannah, Georgia, and it is by cruise. It takes almost two hours to get to and from Hilton Head, which gives you 4 hours in Savannah.

How far apart are Savannah and Hilton Head? ›

Savannah - Located 20 miles south of Hilton Head Island, Savannah is a charming and historic city on the Georgia coast.

Do you have to take a ferry to Hilton Head Island? ›

There are numerous ways to get to our Island. You can drive, you can fly commercial or in your own plane, you can come by rail, by bus, or even on your private yacht via the Intra-Coastal Waterway.

Is there a tour from Savannah to Hilton Head? ›

Vagabond Cruise operates the major cruise line to the island. This operator runs a popular historic cruise that leaves Hilton Head and explores historical Savannah in a guided trolley tour. After spending 4 hours touring the city's top historical highlights, it returns to Hilton Head Island.

What is halfway between Hilton Head and Savannah? ›

Bluffton, South Carolina is a beautiful quintessential Southern town located halfway between Hilton Head Island and Savannah.

Is Hilton Head SC worth visiting? ›

Hilton Head Island is America's Favorite Island®, offering 12 miles of pristine beaches and everything you need for the ultimate retreat. Enjoy easy days relaxing in the sun, sand and surf on some of the best beaches in the country. Come sail away. Hilton Head Island was built for boating.

What cities are within 30 minutes of Hilton Head SC? ›

Savannah is 45 Minutes, Charleston is 90 minutes, Bluffton is 15 minutes and Beaufort is 30 minutes.

What is the most exclusive part of Hilton Head? ›

Harbour Town – the most exclusive area in Hilton Head

Located southwest of Coligny Beach, Harbour Town is the most exclusive area of the island, where you'll find a stunning harbor with many private yachts.

How do you get to the disappearing island in Hilton Head? ›

The Only Way to Reach Disappearing Island

For around 1.5 hours every day, the low tide reveals and provides access to Hilton Head's famous Disappearing Island. This historic island can only be reached by a Hilton Head Disappearing Island tour.

Does it cost money to get onto Hilton Head Island? ›

For $9 in cash per vehicle, “casual daily visitors” can enter Sea Pines. Commercial vehicles pay $15, and buses and tour vehicles pay $30. Property owners don't have to pay this fee and can request free passes for their guests.

What's the difference between Hilton Head and Hilton Head Island? ›

Hilton Head Island, often referred to as simply Hilton Head, is a Lowcountry resort town and barrier island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States.

What is the best way to get from Savannah to Hilton Head? ›

Driving is the easiest way to get there, but ride-share apps such as Uber are options if you don't have a car. Rides from Savannah to Hilton Head typically take 45 minutes and cost between $65-$100, depending on the service and party size. Now that you have planned your transportation, let's start the journey!

How much is shuttle from Savannah to Hilton Head? ›

When travelling from Savannah Airport to Hilton Head Island, the only travel option available is by taxi or private shuttle, the journey costs $105 (€95) and takes you to your Hilton Head accommodation in only 45 minutes.

Where does Hilton Head to Savannah ferry dock? ›

Take Hilton Head Island's only express ferry service to Savannah, Georgia to discover the city. Dock directly on River Street and start exploring right away.

Which island is nearby and a popular weekend getaway in Savannah? ›

Tybee Island, Georgia

Easily the most popular day trip from Savannah, Tybee Island also makes a wonderful and easy destination for a weekend trip from Savannah.

How long does it take to get from one side of Hilton Head to the other? ›

Hilton Head is small (only 42 square miles), so you don't need to travel too far to get from one part of the island to the other (it takes about a half-hour by car).

What town is next to Hilton Head SC? ›

Bluffton. Just across the bridge from Hilton Head Island, Bluffton is a charming and historic town on the South Carolina Coast. Stroll along the moss-shaded streets of Bluffton`s downtown historic district to discover historic churches, antebellum homes and locally owned art galleries and gift shops.

What is the best month to visit Hilton Head? ›

Visiting Hilton Head Island in the summer is the prime season. Many seasonal activities reopen and all kinds of events pop up on the calendar. The water is warm enough to swim in and the sun sets a little later each day. Feel the summer excitement rush to the area as villas and hotels book up fast!

What is the best time of year for Hilton Head? ›

The best time to visit Hilton Head is April and May as well as September and October. Spring and fall offer fewer crowds and lower lodging rates all the while maintaining temperatures that are still beach-friendly. Summer is also a great time to visit the island, as the weather is perfect for swimming in the ocean.

What is the rainiest month in Hilton Head? ›

Rain falls throughout the year in Hilton Head Island. The month with the most rain in Hilton Head Island is August, with an average rainfall of 5.1 inches. The month with the least rain in Hilton Head Island is November, with an average rainfall of 2.2 inches.

What is Hilton Head SC known for? ›

Hilton Head Island has more than 100 miles of paved trails. Hilton Head Island is justifiably famous for its incredible beaches and world-class golf courses.

What city do you fly into for Hilton Head South Carolina? ›

Savannah/Hilton Head International is the closest major airport to Hilton Head Island. Conveniently located just a short drive away, It is situated approximately 30 miles southwest of the island, about a 40 – 45 minute drive.

Is Myrtle Beach near Hilton Head Island? ›

Hilton Head is a gorgeous barrier island on the coast of South Carolina. Myrtle Beach, on the other hand, is another city in South Carolina just about three hours north of Hilton Head.

Where to avoid in Hilton Head? ›

A cluster of low-income apartment complexes in the area near the intersection of Mathews Drive and William Hilton Parkway have been considered a crime trouble spot for decades, say town officials. That includes Hilton Head Gardens, Sandlewood Terrace, The Oaks and Woodlake Villas.

What is the most secluded beach at Hilton Head? ›

Mitchelville Beach

This beach is so far off the beaten path, many longtime locals don't even know it's there. You have to drive down a winding dirt road just to get there. You'll find plenty of free parking, clean restrooms and a short walk from the parking lot to the water.

Is Hilton Head luxury? ›

Hilton Head Island emerged as the No. 1 luxury destination in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Where is the best place to find shells in Hilton Head? ›

Shelling The Mitchelville Beach area is a less crowded beach and a perfect place to go shelling on Hilton Head. You'll most likely come across a few sharks' teeth too. It's located at the north end of Hilton Head and looks out over the Port Royal Sound. This undisturbed beach is perfect for nature watching and fishing.

Can you find sand dollars on Hilton Head? ›

Luckily, Hilton Head Island usually has a trove of sand dollars on its beaches. Unlike most animals whose shells you find on the beach, the sand dollar is not a mollusk. Instead, it's most closely related to sea urchins and starfish. The creature doesn't live in its shell.

What is the deserted island near Hilton Head? ›

Daufuskie Island has been inhabited for thousands of years and possesses a rich, interesting history and a culture that's truly unique. In fact, artifacts found on Daufuskie suggest the area was inhabited 9,000 years ago!

Can you swim in the ocean at Hilton Head? ›

Hilton Head Island's official beach season is April 1st through September 30th of each year. During the official beach season, life guards are stationed in each of the designated swimming areas and other heavily populated beach areas for assistance.

Can you be on the beach at night in Hilton Head? ›

The following are PROHIBITED on all beaches:

Sleeping on the beach between midnight and 6 a.m. Unauthorized wearing of lifeguard emblems, insignias, etc.

What is the average cost of housing in Hilton Head Island? ›

$704,740. The average Hilton Head Island home value is $704,740, up 4.6% over the past year and goes to pending in around 10 days.

Why is Hilton Head so dark at night? ›

“Hilton Head has very little light inland because of aesthetics, to keep it natural,” Kuehn said. “The beachfront ordinances that have to do with lighting and sea turtles only apply to lights that can be seen from the beach, so it's not even on the road.”

Can you walk around Hilton Head Island? ›

Hiking along some of the most scenic walking trails on Hilton Head Island is the perfect way to experience the natural beauty of the Lowcountry. Maybe you're planning to spend all your days on the beach. Perhaps you're looking to get out and explore the rest of the island.

How long is the Savannah Riverboat cruise? ›

90-Minute Savannah Riverboat Sightseeing Cruise

Enjoy a 90-minute narrated sightseeing cruise in Savannah aboard this traditional riverboat. Hear our Captain's intriguing…

How do you get from Savannah to Hilton Head without a car? ›

Getting to Hilton Head Island by Rail

Sit back, relax, and take the train! Amtrak service is available via Savannah, GA, which is a short 45-minute trip from Hilton Head Island, or via Yemassee, SC, which is just one hour from Hilton Head Island.

Can you boat the entire Savannah River? ›

The Savannah River is navigable for shallow draft and barge traffic from its mouth to Augusta and for ocean vessels from the mouth to 5 miles (8 km) above Savannah.

How long is the Savannah River boat? ›

The Georgia Queen measures an impressive 230 ft long,64 ft wide and a towering 68 ft tall and features three grand ballrooms with over 15,000 square feet of dining space, a 5,000 square foot, fully open-air top deck with patio seating. The entire boat encompasses a total of 38,000 square feet.

What is the best time of year for a riverboat cruise? ›

June and July are prime months for European river cruises on the Rhine and Danube, as well as rivers in France, Portugal and Italy. Unlike most European vacations, August is not the most expensive month because this primarily adult market prefers cooler weather and fewer busy ports.

What do you wear on a riverboat cruise in Savannah GA? ›

We do not have a dress code. Our customers dress in everything from casual to formal. We encourage everyone to dress based on the situation you are celebrating.

Are riverboat cruises for old people? ›

Riverboat cruises are not just for old people but are a popular choice for seniors because they offer a comfortable, relaxing way to see different parts of the world.

How much is a shuttle from Savannah to Hilton Head? ›

When travelling from Savannah Airport to Hilton Head Island, the only travel option available is by taxi or private shuttle, the journey costs $105 (€95) and takes you to your Hilton Head accommodation in only 45 minutes.

Is the Savannah trolly free? ›

DOT Downton Free Trolley

It's FREE and is one of the most popular ways to get around the historic district of Savannah and see the sites.

Can you walk everywhere in Savannah? ›

Savannah's very walkable, so no matter where you stay, you can easily see all 3 places during your visit. View our interactive map to get more perspective on the distances. City Market is one of the most-visited attractions in Savannah, GA, featuring artists working in their lofts and exhibiting works for sale.

Why can't you swim in the Savannah River? ›

The Savannah River has some potentially unfortunate consequences for would-be swimmers. As a major shipping channel and also as a potential carrier of rain runoff and contaminants, the river may sometimes contribute to high bacteria counts, which can occur particularly after major storms on any beach.

Is it safe to swim in the Savannah River? ›

Savannah River is filled with alligators, but it is also not the best place to take a swim. You will not only be crowded by the alligators, but you will also find it quite dirty for your liking. It is a swamp with obstacles, plants, and evident pollution flowing inside it.

Do dolphins come up the Savannah River? ›

Do Dolphins Swim in the Savannah River? Bottlenose dolphins can be seen along the beach or within the rivers of coastal Georgia. Bottlenose dolphins are commonly spotted near Tybee Island, where the Savannah River empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

How far can you go up the Savannah River by boat? ›

The Savannah River is generally navigable from Augusta to Savannah, a distance of approximately 200 miles.

How deep is the deepest part of the Savannah River? ›

How deep is the water in Port of Savannah? ›

47 feet

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