Gullah Geechee & Gullah Traditions of the South ~ A Gullah Heritage Tour

The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. Many came from the rice-growing region of West Africa. The nature of their enslavement on isolated island and coastal plantations created a unique culture with deep African retentions that are clearly visible in the Gullah Geechee people’s distinctive arts, crafts, foodways, music, and language.
Today’s Gullah Geechee arts and crafts are the result of products designed by their ancestors out of necessity for daily living such as making cast nets for fishing, basket weaving for agriculture and textile arts for clothing and warmth. Deeply rooted in music traditions brought to the Americas by enslaved Africans, their music evolved out of the conditions of slavery that characterized their lives. The influence and evolution of musical forms that arose out of Gullah music can be heard in many musical genres such as spirituals and gospel music, ragtime, rhythm and blues, soul, hip hop and jazz.
Explore the beautiful scenery, rich in history, inspiration, passion, and home to a diverse ecological system found only on the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor stretching the coastal areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida . Experience their unity, love, culture, heritage, and joy on one of these incredible Gullah Heritage Tour Packages available exclusively through MARS.

6 Days /5 Nights

Group size

Tour Inclusions: 5 nights’ accommodation; baggage handling; 5 breakfasts; 4 lunches; 4 dinners; admissions, entrance, and guide fees as stated in the itinerary, including taxes, and gratuity. Except gratuity for guide fees is not included on adult tours unless otherwise requested.
Gullah Geechee & Gullah Traditions of the South ~ A Gullah Heritage Tour    
5 Night / 6 Day Journey from St. Helena Island to Sapelo Island
  • Lady's Island Oyster Farm
  • St. Helena Island
  • Penn Center
  • Darrah Hall
  • Fish & Oyster Roast Festival
  • Guided Reconstruction-era Tour of Beaufort, South Carolina
  • First African Baptist Church
  • Second African Baptist Church
  • Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters
  • "Moon River" at Pin Point
  • Wormsloe Historic Site
  • Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum
  • Laurel Grove South
  • Savannah African Art Museum
  • King-Tisdell Cottage
  • African American Family Monument
  • Journey to Sapelo Island
  • Sapelo Lighthouse
  • Hog Hammock Community
  • Darien River
  • and more!

Sample Itinerary:
    Day 1 -
  • Arrive in Beaufort, South Carolina and tour Lady’s Island Oyster Farm where they grow the signature 'Single Lady' oysters in the beautiful Coosaw River using maricultural techniques.
  • Check in to your local Beaufort hotel.
  • Enjoy a presentation from a historical lecturer with a deep interest in preserving the Gullah Culture and ancestral heritage, and a member of the Beaufort History Museum Board of Directors.
  • Feast on an included dinner at the #1 spot for the best barbecue in the Lowcountry!
  • Return to your hotel for the evening. (B, L, D)
Day 2 -
  • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning.
  • Depart to catch the spirit of the Islands onboard open-air trolleys with fully unobstructed panoramic views. Smell the earthy marsh and salty tidal air, soak in the sunlight, and enjoy the fresh air breezes.
  • Tour Penn Center, a cultural and educational center located on St. Helena Island. It evolved from the Penn School, one of the first southern schools organized by northern missionaries for formerly enslaved people. During the 60s, Penn Center hosted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the SCLC staff as they planned the March on Washington and the Poor People’s Campaign. Visit Darrah Hall, oldest structure on the Penn Center campus, dating to the end of the Reconstruction era.
  • Enjoy a special Low Country Boil with a Gullah Story-teller. Visit an authentic Praise House and hear your story-teller continue their tale.
  • Experience an Eco-Dolphin Boat Cruise and navigate the waters through an estuary brimming with dolphin and other Lowcountry wildlife.
  • Dock and disembark for a classic Fish & Oyster Roast Festival this evening! (B, L, D)
Day 3 -
  • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning prior to checking out.
  • Embark on a Guided Reconstruction-era History Tour of downtown Beaufort, a historic period during and post-Civil War in which the US grappled with the question of how to integrate millions of newly freed African Americans into the social, political, economic, and labor systems.
  • Depart for Savannah, GA, and visit the First African Baptist Church, the oldest in North America.
  • Visit the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters Museum. The slave quarters are complete with the nation’s largest expanse of slave-applied, “haint blue” paint, made from indigo and thought to ward off evil spirits.
  • Enjoy a BBQ Lunch Feast overlooking “Moon River” at Pin Point.
  • Stop for a photo opportunity of Oak Tree Lane at Wormsloe Historic Site, the world’s longest road of live oaks adorned with Spanish moss creating an absolutely stunning view.
  • Check in to your local hotel.
  • This evening, dinner will be included at a local black woman-owned & operated business serving Southern Savannah favorites.
  • Return to the hotel for the evening. (B, L, D)
Day 4 -
  • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning.
  • Visit Laurel Grove South. While slavery was still legal, there were more free African Americans interred in Laurel Grove South than any other cemetery in the Southeast.
  • Tour the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum. Recognized in 2009 as “Georgia’s Official Civil Rights Museum” the Museum chronicles the struggle of Georgia’s oldest African American community from slavery to the present. In 1859, one of the largest slave sales in U.S. history took place outside of downtown Savannah. Remembered as "The Weeping Time," this historical event was appropriately named, not only for families torn apart during this time, but also for the heavy rain which occurred throughout the two-day auction.
  • Enjoy lunch on own and free time to explore in City Market.
  • Tour the Savannah African Art Museum. Opened in 1865 as a school for newly freed slaves, the former Beach Institute is now home to Savannah’s African American Arts Center and holds a collection of over 1,000 objects from West & Central Africa, representing 22 countries and over 130 cultures and ethnic groups.
  • Visit the King-Tisdell Cottage which has served as a cultural museum of African American arts and crafts for more than three decades.
  • Tour the Second African Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached his “I Have A Dream” sermon, an address he repeated during the famous March on Washington, D.C. in 1963.
  • Stop by the most prominent homage to black history in Savannah, the African American Family Monument, depicting a newly emancipated family of four standing together in an embrace.
  • Enjoy the evening at your leisure with free time and dinner on own along the Riverfront. (B)
Day 5 -
  • Grab an early breakfast to go bag from the hotel this morning and head over to the Sapelo Ferry Dock for a Journey to Sapelo Island with your local Gullah Guide who is a direct descendant of slaves brought to Sapelo in the early 1800s to work the plantations. Explore Native American shell mounds, visit the tabby ruins of an old French estate, check out Nannygoat Beach, tabby ruins of the slave cabins, and see the newly-restored Sapelo Lighthouse. You’ll also ride through the Hog Hammock community. Lunch is included while visiting. Your Gullah Guide will share stories spanning decades of history. Explore Sapelo with the inside knowledge that only a Sapelo native can provide. Afterwards, experience a Ring Shout, or “shout”, an ecstatic, transcendent, religious ritual, first practiced by African slaves in the West Indies and the United States, in which worshipers move in a circle while shuffling and stomping their feet and clapping their hands.
  • Depart to enjoy a Farewell Supper on the banks of the Darien River, known for its elegant views of the Altamaha bio-reserve and the amazing sunsets. The local shrimp fleet docks right at their backdoor and provide an abundant supply of fresh locally caught Sweet Georgia Shrimp. (B, L, D)
Day 6 -
  • Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning before checking out and departing for home with memories which will last a lifetime, and knowledge to share with a new generation. (B)
Base rate does not include motor coach transportation, airfare, airport transfers, driver gratuity, guide gratuity, (student groups exempt) or any upgrades or add-ons unlisted from itinerary as stated. Pricing may vary based on day of arrival or other conditions. Personalized itineraries with custom pricing and/or additional transportation can be created and added based on client needs and upon client’s request. MARS will customize quotes or personalize itineraries for FREE.

Click 'PDF' below for a Sample Itinerary:            

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