We began our search with Charleston, but eliminated it, due to its indirect travel route
from Atlanta. I think (this was 14 years ago :0 ) it was seven hour drive, which was a deal breaker. The Gulf was never considered as our goals were Atlantic coastal cruising and Bahamas/Caribbean exploring.
We kept our boat in Savannah for two years on the Wilmington River. The drive from Atlanta was four hours (including fuel
stop/meal ). Easy drive - primarily interstate and fuel/food convenient. We actually enjoyed the easy drive across I-16 year round. Our boat has 6.5 draft
, motoring to/from ocean required that we "time our activities with the tides" which became restrictive after a time.
We again traveled SC, GA, and northern FL coast to find a more suitable location.
We eventually added another an hour to our drive for an easier exit to the Atlantic at St. Simons Island, GA. Golden Isles Marina is convenient and provides professional knowledgeable staff. West Marine
is an easy drive while St. Simons Island offers numerous restaurants and hardware
stores. The small airports (Brunswick and St. Simons Island) plus Jacksonville's larger airport
50 miles south were nice attributes.
Thus, from north side of Atlanta (south end of 400 to Golden Isles Marina)-305 miles) five hours of easy travel when timed well for traffic leaving - arriving Atlanta. (includes fuel/meal stop)
It really depends on your preferences. Recommend investing time to drive to/from each city under consideration to best determine what would work for you.
Best wishes, Sailing Mermaid