The main Interstate highway arteries into the Charleston and Savannah region are the heavily traveled north/south I-95, the east/west I-26 coming into Charleston from Columbia, South Carolina, and the east/west I-16 coming into Savannah from Macon, Georgia. A common landmark road throughout the entire Charleston and Savannah area is U.S. 17, which used to be known as the Coastal Highway and which currently goes by a number of local incarnations as it winds its way down the coast, roughly paralleling I-95.
Charleston has a “perimeter” Interstate, I-526 (the Mark Clark Expressway), while Savannah has a much smaller version, I-516 (Lynes Parkway).
You don’t have to have a car to enjoy Charleston and Savannah, but to really explore the areas surrounding those cities you’ll need your own vehicle. Renting a car is easy and fairly inexpensive, as long as you play by the rules, which are simple. You need either a valid U.S. driver’s license from any state or a valid International Driving License from your home country, and you must be at least 25 years old.
If you do not either purchase insurance coverage from the rental company or already have insurance coverage through the credit card you rent the car with, you will be 100 percent responsible for any damage caused to the car during your rental period. While purchasing insurance at the time of rental is by no means mandatory, it might be worth the extra expense just to have that peace of mind.
Some rental car locations are in cities proper, but the vast majority of outlets are in airports, so plan accordingly. The airport locations have the bonus of generally holding longer hours than their in-town counterparts.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition