Start your Grand Historic South journey at the port city of Charleston, known for its cobblestone streets, gas-lit lamps, and pastel antebellum houses. The scene of Revolutionary War naval battles, legendary pirate tales, and Civil War sieges, the city is considered by many to be a living museum. Visit historic Fort Sumter National Monument, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out. Learn how Charleston’s African-American heritage has contributed to the city’s history and unique culture.
Charleston City Tour
The city of Charleston is as exquisitely preserved and aesthetically pleasing with its blend of antebellum architecture, picturesque streets, and historic landmarks. Tour the city with a knowledgeable guide who will take you to explore sights such as the colorful Rainbow Row, Catfish Row, the famous Battery, and more. Should you want to experience more of what Charleston has to offer, American Cruise Lines also offers a “hop on, hop off” shuttle which can bring you to any of your favorite attractions.
Founded in 1739, Wilmington prospered during its early years as a major port and ship-building center. Today, the city continues to flourish and boasts an outstanding reputation as a leader in preservation efforts. Explore Georgian, Victorian and antebellum-style homes restored to their original grandeur. Stroll through beautiful gardens and city streets lined with shopping venues and seafood eateries.
City Tour & Bellamy Mansion
Enjoy a narrated trolley tour of Wilmington’s historic district where you can view numerous historical sites and magnificent mansions. Following the tour, you will visit Bellamy Mansion, one of North Carolina’s most spectacular examples of antebellum architecture. After the mansion tour, there will be time to browse the many shops and attractions within walking distance from the ship.
Wilmington Blackwater Adventure
Remaining largely unpopulated since its inception in the late 17th century, Cape Fear has become an intriguing region to visit during a stop in Wilmington. As you travel by boat from the Rose Hill Plantation to the mysterious Black River, you will hear stories of early explorers that illuminate the history of this enigmatic region.
Tour the meticulously restored town of Beaufort, NC. Beaufort is the third oldest town in North Carolina and has a 21-block historic district that includes a boardwalk lined with boats on one side and unique shops perfect for browsing on the other. Just across the Newport River is Morehead City which is always bustling with boat activity.
Beaufort City and House Tour
From atop a 1967 English double-decker bus, local narrators weave stories about Beaufort’s past, featuring pirates, star-crossed lovers, and Confederate spies. After you finish making your way through the historic district, you will visit two of Beaufort’s most beautiful historic homes.
With its emerald tree canopy, quaint cobblestone streets, and majestic architecture, Savannah is a bustling seaport with renowned historic districts that preserve its 19th Century opulence.
Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum
The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum houses an impressive collection of WWII aviation memorabilia. Upon entering the museum, you will immediately be awed by the breathtaking collection of fully restored aircraft that helped serve our brave troops during the war. You will be welcomed by a tour guide who will provide the group with an overview of the museum and a brief history lesson regarding the famed Eighth Air Force Division. After introductions, you are welcome to either experience the museum on a self-guided tour or stay with your guide to be personally escorted around the museum grounds. Your visit includes an educational film, engaging World War II exhibits, airman memorials, and the rare collection of planes that served the Mighty Eighth men and women.
Trolley Tour of Savannah
Our ship will dock directly in the famous River Street area, known for open-air shopping, world-class restaurants, and southern hospitality. On the dock, meet your guide who will take you on a personalized tour of the areas’ most popular attractions including Factor’s Walk, the Cotton Exchange, and the various squares that make up the city. After the tour, you can retreat to the boat or continue to explore the city on your own. As part of the trolley tour experience, you can continue to use the trolley system throughout the remainder of the day. Trolleys run all day and meet at designated spots within the city limits.
Join a narrated tour of Savannah’s “Historic and Victorian Districts," brave an evening Ghost Walk, or explore the area's magnificent shops.
Guided Walking Tour
Amid the bustling River Street section of Savannah, you will meet with our local guide who will lead the group on a narrated walking tour of historic Savannah. Visit key attractions including Savannah’s oldest neighborhood, Colonial Park Cemetery, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and a few of Savannah’s 22 squares that provide greenery amid all of the businesses and historic houses. As you explore the various gardens, admire the architecture, and learn about the city’s history, your guide will tailor the tour to suit the group’s interests.
Experience the forested uplands, salt marshes, and beach dune systems as you spend the day in Sapelo Island. Take a narrated island tour to visit the top attractions of Sapelo's Hog Hammock Community, the local lighthouse, and the mansion of the last millionaire to own the island, R.J. Reynolds.
Narrated Island Tour
As you tender in from just offshore, you will have a grand view of the Sapelo Island Lighthouse on your way to meet up with “J.R.,” your private local guide for the day. Once you arrive, he will take you on a tour of the island, including a stop at the famous R.J. Reynolds mansion. After your visit to this 29 bedroom estate, partake in a delicious oyster roast before tendering back to the ship.
Discover the fascinating history of Jekyll Island. At the end of the 19th century, wealthy men in America, including J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt, purchased the entire island as a hunting resort prized for its “splendid isolation." Today, Jekyll Island is part of Georgia’s Sea Isles and boasts “Millionaire’s Village,” - 240 acres of extravagant homes and winter cottages recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
Jekyll Island Tour
Your tour begins with a visit to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center where you will view exhibits on sea turtle conservation, rehabilitation, and their amazing journey of life. Following your visit to the center, board a narrated tram tour of Jekyll Island’s Historic District, also called Millionaire's Village. Many of the areas historic cottages that belonged to some of history’s wealthiest men such as J.P. Morgan, Joseph Pulitzer, Marshall Field, William Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, have been restored. In fact, the current restoration project is one of the largest in the Southeastern United States.
Other Jekyll Island Attractions
For self-guided exploration of the island, many visitors choose to travel by bicycle. Jekyll Island features more than 20 miles of paved trails that allow for exploration of a broad range of scenery, from beaches to forest to Jekyll Islands own Historic Landmark District and campgrounds. Free trail maps are available at the Jekyll Island Welcome Center.
If you're seeking a different perspective while exploring the island, you might want to saddle up and experience Jekyll Island on horseback! Guided tours originate from the Clam Creek picnic area, continuing through maritime forests and along the salt marshes, before returning at beautiful Driftwood Beach. Reservations are required and can be made Monday through Saturday (weather permitting) at Victorias Carriages and Trail Rides at the Island History Center on Stable Road. Website
Kayaking & Canoeing
Jekyll Islands protected natural beauty is meant to be explored. This fact especially holds true for the Islands salt marshes and estuarial waters. One of the best ways to experience this intriguing ecosystem is by kayak or canoe. There's no better way to observe native birds, fish and other coastal creatures in their natural habitat. The Tidelands Nature Center offers a three-hour guided tour along Jekyll Creek, where an experienced naturalist leads visitors through the islands salt marshes and teaches about the various flora and fauna along the way. For a self-guided exploration of Jekyll Islands Rixen Pond, canoe rentals also are available through the Tidelands Nature Center. Both canoe rentals and kayak tours are available March through October. Sea Kayaks, a more maneuverable and stable relative of the traditional kayak, also are available for saltwater excursions. Instruction and guided tours are also available. Website
Fernandina Beach, FL
Discover the natural beauty of Amelia Island, with its miles of quartz beaches and rolling sand dunes. Fernandina Beach, the island's only city, now harbors a treasure trove of history, antiques, and collectibles. Join a walking tour of Centre Street's Historic District, with 50 blocks of restored 19th Century Victorian homes and shops.
Amelia Island River Cruise
Take in the view of Florida’s third oldest city, beautiful Fernandina Beach, on a relaxing river boat tour. A benefit of touring the island from the water is the increased chance of seeing the unique marine life that inhabits the islands’ surrounding waters. In addition, your tour will include the island’s main attractions such as Fort Clinch and the Amelia Island Lighthouse.
Other Amelia Island Attractions
The Great Florida Birding TrailOld Towne Carriage Company
The Great Florida Birding Trail begins at Fort Clinch. The trail makes it easy for all birders to find new birding sites throughout the state. Guides detailing what species to expect at each site and the best times for viewing can be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce Welcome Centers, Fort Clinch, and Little Talbot State Park
Take a narrated horse-drawn carriage ride through Amelia Island's historic district lasting 30 minutes. Enjoy the ride as you see the landmarks of the 50-block downtown district, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. All of the tours include a guide who describes the landmarks and the history of the area.Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary
The Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary is located on Big Talbot Island and specializes in caring for Florida's wild birds. Peacocks, pelicans, owls, eagles, ostriches, vultures and emus in various stages of rehab are nursed back to health. Kelly Seahorse Ranch
Kelly Seahorse Ranch offers one of a few beach-riding opportunities in the nation. Through Kelly Seahorse Ranch, enjoy the scenery of Amelia's fantastic, white-sand beaches and the beauty of the ocean by horseback.
Enjoy a leisurely day of cruising as you continue on your journey through the East Coast Inland Passage. Delight in breathtaking views of the shoreline and relax in one of your ship's comfortable lounges.
Beaufort’s history includes European explorers, Native American inhabitants, British settlements and Civil War battles. Today, horse-drawn carriages bring you through the narrow streets of this district, past 18th and 19th century homes, famous for unique Beaufort-style architecture. View historic forts, elegant homes and majestic plantations and discover why Beaufort was once heralded as the “Newport of the South."
Low-Country Heritage Tour
Take a step back in time as we visit scenic Beaufort, and explore what life was like living on a southern plantation. The experience begins the moment we dock when you will be introduced to our resident expert, Evelyn. She will greet you warmly in her period-specific hoop-skirt and with a welcoming smile. Evelyn will remain with as your guide as we depart for Lady’s Island, St. Helena where you will walk the grounds of a former plantation. Explore the main plantation house, manicured grounds, and as a special treat, be entertained by a live performance that highlights some of the soulful plantation-life songs. In the evening, Evelyn will return to the ship to perform a memorable private onboard concert for everyone to enjoy.
After a southern inspired luncheon, embark on a tour of Beaufort’s popular Bay St. from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. This narrated journey follows the historic tree-lined streets of Beaufort as you make your way to the area’s antebellum homes, parks, and shops. Many of the local buildings remain untouched and are preserved as they were originally constructed after being used as hospitals, offices, and commander’s quarters during the Civil War. At the conclusion of the tour, you will have free time to experience Beaufort and its southern charm on your own.
Welcome back to Charleston. Stay an extra day or two and take a tour of one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the South.Visit colorful Rainbow Row, Catfish Row, and the famous Battery. Enjoy the beauty of the area with a stroll through magnificent parks and gardens.