Welcome to Savannah, Georgia! Known for its charming historic district, gorgeous parks, and mouthwatering Southern cuisine, this coastal Georgia city has so much to see and do. If you’re planning a trip to Savannah, we have curated some of the best things to do in Savannah during your visit.
Savannah, the Southern City
Nestled along the Savannah River and oozing with old-world Southern charm, Savannah is one of the most captivating cities in the American South. As we explore this coastal Georgia destination, you’ll discover a bewitching blend of gothic architecture, verdant public squares, romantic riverfront vistas, and mouthwatering Lowcountry cuisine. Starting from its early beginnings in 1733 as the colony of Georgia’s first city, Savannah rapidly grew into a bustling seaport enriched by British, African, and Spanish influences.
Today, visitors from around the world flock to Savannah to admire the largest National Historic Landmark District in the country. Within the 2.5 square mile Savannah Historic District, you’ll find over 20 picturesque public squares, with ornate fountains, monument statues, and sprawling live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. As you wander along the cobblestone streets, take in the iron-railed balconies and stately mansions that transport you back in time. However, Savannah also boasts a vibrant modern energy, and this is evident through a flourishing arts scene, fantastic restaurants, and a cooler edge.
Savannah beguiles with its beauty at every turn. Take a leisurely stroll beneath the soaring Gothic spires of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. As the day draws to a close, watch the sunset over the Savannah River as old cotton warehouses glow along the cobblestoned River Street. And when it comes to indulging in the culinary delights, don’t miss out on flaky biscuits, crispy fried chicken, and creamy shrimp and grits from legendary Southern eateries. For those seeking a touch of the supernatural, you can also meet the local ghosts on an evening haunted house tour by lantern light. With all these sensory experiences to offer, Savannah promises a getaway you won’t soon forget.
Below are the best things you should not miss while visiting Savannah:
Explore the Historic District
With its cobblestone streets, sprawling oak trees draped in Spanish moss, and historic 18th and 19th-century architecture, the Savannah Historic District is undoubtedly one of the main attractions in the city. This National Historic Landmark district covers over 2.5 square miles and features more than 20 picturesque public squares.
Some of the top sights to see in the historic district include:
Known as the heart of Savannah’s historic district, Forsyth Park offers 30 acres of beauty and recreation. This sprawling green space allows you to soak up the relaxing Southern ambiance beneath moss-draped oak trees. Locals and visitors alike flock to Forsyth to picnic, walk their dogs, read on benches, and simply admire the scenery.
The most iconic sight in the park is the large white Forsyth Park Fountain. Inspired by fountains in Paris, this stunning fountain was erected in 1858 and instantly became a Savannah landmark. The iconic image of the fountain with water spraying from its tiered basins and surrounded by oak trees appears on everything from postcards to travel guides. Today visitors love snapping photos in front of the photogenic fountain.
Another main attraction is the Fragrant Garden, which lives up to its name with sweet floral scents filling the air. This garden area features winding walking paths bordered by magnolias, azaleas, and other blossoming trees and plants. Cast iron benches tucked amid the greenery provide the perfect spot to stop and smell the roses.
On the south end of Forsyth Park, check out the Confederate Memorial Statue honoring those who died in the Civil War.
In addition to its fountains, gardens, and statues, Forsyth Park also offers plenty of open space perfect for recreation. You’ll often see locals playing sports, sunbathing, jogging, reading, and simply relaxing on the vast lawn. Many will grab food from the park’s onsite cafe to picnic on the grassy fields.
Whether you want to snap photos by the fountain, stroll through fragrant gardens, jog along shaded paths, or just find a patch of grass to sit back and admire Savannah’s beauty, Forsyth Park is a must-visit on any trip to Savannah. Spend an afternoon wandering in the heart of downtown.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Rising majestically above Lafayette Square, the soaring steeples of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist make it one of Savannah’s most recognizable landmarks. As the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah, this impressive cathedral dazzles visitors with its grand Gothic Revival architecture and stunning interior details.
Construction on this cathedral first began in 1873, with the sanctuary finally completed in 1896 under design by American architect P.J. Gelat. The result is one of the most dramatic and inspiring houses of worship in Georgia.
Approaching the exterior, your eye is immediately drawn upward to the twin spires towering some 248 feet into the sky. These ornate steeples are topped with handcrafted copper spires in the French Gothic style.
Stepping inside, prepare to be awed by the soaring vaulted ceilings, intricate stone and brickwork, and elaborate stained glass windows. Sunbeams streaming through the colorful glass cast rainbow glows over the pews. Rich religious murals adorn the walls and ceilings.
Up near the altar, pause to admire the carefully hand-carved Caen limestone reredos measuring an immense 54 feet tall. Delicate spiraling columns, arches, and fine details took master sculptors years to complete. The impressive pipe organ overhead contains 4,873 pipes up to 32 feet long and adds to the majestic ambiance during musical masses.
As you wander beneath the lofty nave and side aisles, take in the devotional statues honoring Mary and various saints. Though grand in scale, the cathedral still feels intimate and spiritual.
Glancing downward, you’ll notice the terrazzo flooring inlaid with mosaic tiles forming intricate patterns. And don’t miss the striking stained glass windows dating back to the 19th century.
From the commanding exterior to the jaw-dropping interior, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist stands as both an architectural and spiritual Savannah landmark.
Of all Savannah’s stately public squares, Chippewa Square offers one of the biggest pop culture claims to fame. This leafy downtown square is home to the iconic bench featured in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, where Tom Hanks’ character sat waiting for a bus and recounted his life story. Today, the bench remains a hugely popular photo spot for visitors re-creating the famous movie scene. But even without its Hollywood associations, Chippewa Square enchants visitors with its beauty and history.
Created in 1815 as one of Savannah’s original four landscaped squares, Chippewa Square offers a relaxing oasis amidst the bustle of downtown. The square’s centerpiece is a large monument erected in the 1840s honoring statesman and Savannah native James Oglethorpe, founder of the Georgia colony. Spanish moss drapes from massive oak branches as sunlight filters through the canopy, creating a magical setting.
Surrounding the square, you’ll find a mix of architectural gems like the 1845 Greek Revival First Baptist Church and the 1890 Romanesque Revival synagogue. On the north side stands the imposing Armstrong House, an Italianate mansion built in the 1860s that now serves as a cultural center.
Of course, the Forrest Gump bench on the square’s northeast corner remains the star attraction. Locals will often oblige with taking your picture sitting next to Forrest.
But while it’s fun to pose by the Gump bench, don’t overlook the square’s other charms. Order a coffee from the adjacent coffee shop, then find a shady bench or grassy patch to people-watch. Soak up the laidback vibes as residents walk dogs, read books, or chat with neighbors. Watch artists painting local street scenes. Let the kids release some energy at the playground.
Beyond Hollywood hype, Chippewa Square offers a quintessential pocket of Southern charm in Savannah’s Historic District.
As the oldest of Savannah’s stately public squares, Wright Square brims with history and provides a beautiful spot for strolling. Nestled between Bull Street and State Street, this 2-acre green space charms visitors with its towering trees, tranquil fountains, and historic monuments.
Wright Square was founded way back in 1733 as part of James Oglethorpe’s original city plan for Savannah. Named for Sir James Wright, Georgia’s third royal governor, the square initially served as a gathering place for colonists and Native American tribes to hold meetings and discuss trade.
Today, visitors admire the square’s monuments commemorating important figures in Savannah’s past. In the center rises a lofty column honoring William Washington Gordon, founder of the Central of Georgia railway. On the east side, find a more somber monument – a memorial boulder honoring the Native Americans who inhabited the region before colonial settlement.
Moss-strewn, sprawling live oaks provide plenty of shade for relaxing or picnicking beneath the ancient branches. On warm days, you’ll see residents playing music, reading books, and eating lunch in the grassy patches. Gaze upward through the canopy to admire the architectural variety surrounding the square – the old Chatham County Courthouse, the Vernon River Antiques Center, and more.
On the northeast corner, don’t miss the Georgian-style building housing the Georgia Historical Society. Inside, peruse exhibits on local history and expansive archives. You can even research your own genealogy here!
Perhaps most striking about Wright Square is its sense of tranquility despite its urban location. Birdsong and bubbling fountains mingle with distant street sounds. Wander the paved walkways and admire the statues honoring Savannah trailblazers from centuries past.
Mercer Williams House
History buffs and fans of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil won’t want to miss touring the famous Mercer Williams House museum. Located at 429 Bull Street, this restored 19th-century mansion provides an intimate glimpse into Savannah’s eccentric past through the home’s previous residents.
The Mercer House was built in the 1860s by Hugh Taylor, a prominent Savannah attorney, in the Italian Renaissance style. Ornate ironwork accents the balcony, doors, and grand entranceway. Inside, the home dazzles with glossy hardwood floors, crown molding, marble mantles, and soaring 14-foot ceilings.
In 1969, antiques dealer Jim Williams purchased the dilapidated property and meticulously restored the house to its former glory. Williams also amassed an impressive collection of Louis XVI furnishings and artwork to fill the mansion.
But it was the events surrounding Williams’ alleged murder of his assistant Danny Hansford here in 1981 that brought the Mercer House international notoriety. The sensational months-long trials and Williams’ eventual acquittal became the subject of John Berendt’s smash true crime novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Today, tours provide a glimpse into this storied home and Williams’ opulent tastes. You’ll see rooms like William’s ornate study, a restored 18th-century French salon room, and a striking two-story library dripping in gold leafing. Costumed guides recount tales about the eccentric Williams and details that inspired scenes from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Regardless of whether you’ve read the novel, a visit to Mercer Williams House transports you back to Savannah’s eccentric old Southern splendor. Strolling these rooms lined with antiques provides insight into both Jim Williams’ life and Savannah’s unique local lore. It’s one of the city’s true historic gems!
Colonial Park Cemetery
Wandering beneath the sprawling live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, it doesn’t take long to feel transported back in time at Savannah’s Colonial Park Cemetery. Established in 1750, this tranquil graveyard is one of Georgia’s oldest cemeteries, providing a hauntingly beautiful glimpse into the past.
Colonial Park Cemetery stretches over 6 acres in Savannah’s historic district, bounded by Oglethorpe and Abercorn Streets. An estimated 10,000 souls are interred here, though only 1,000 grave markers remain. Gravemarkers bear the names of some of Savannah’s earliest and most prominent citizens and immigrants.
Massive oak branches arch overhead, their knobby roots snaking among the weathered gravestones. Moss-blanketed markers tilted at odd angles create an eerie, magical scene of abandoned graves reclaimed by nature. Some elaborate family plots feature iron fencing, statues, and stone benches for visitation. Wander slowly along the winding brick paths to admire the ornate carvings and inscriptions on markers from past centuries.
Among the graves, you may spot the final resting places of Revolutionary War heroes like Button Gwinnett, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Lachlan McIntosh, another Revolutionary officer, was buried here up until 1947 when his body was moved to West Point. But thousands of ordinary citizens also fill the cemetery plots.
While some sections feel a bit unkempt and overgrown, the lack of modern landscaping adds to the otherworldly atmosphere. Spanish moss, crumbling cherub statues, and fading inscriptions create a ghostly spectacle. It’s not hard to imagine souls still haunting these grounds, their stories forgotten over time.
Colonial Park Cemetery truly transports you to the past within Savannah. Here you can contemplate the lives of those who came before while admiring their elaborate, ornate burial places among serene natural beauty. It’s an atmospheric, haunting experience.
Savannah City Market
No list of the best things to do in Savannah is complete without a visit to the bustling Savannah City Market. This collection of shops and restaurants occupies four historic blocks along the Savannah River, providing the perfect pit stop during your city explorations.
Housed in restored 19th-century warehouses and cotton stores, City Market offers an eclectic array of boutique shops, art galleries, and cafes. You’ll find everything from handmade jewelry and toys to Savannah-themed gifts and decor. Watch artists demonstrate portrait painting, metal sculpting, glassblowing, and other media.
When you work up an appetite, City Market provides an incredible variety of dining options to satisfy any craving. Choose from classic Southern fare like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and fried chicken. Or sample AUTHENTIC cuisines from around the world – Greek, Indian, Latin, Italian. Grab a table beside the river and indulge in fresh seafood while admiring the views.
In addition to the permanent stores and eateries, City Market often hosts fun events like outdoor concerts, craft fairs, and holiday celebrations. The riverside location makes it a fantastic spot to admire the St. Patrick’s Day festivities and fireworks on Independence Day.
While certainly touristy, City Market remains a must-do Savannah activity. It captures so much of the city’s charm in one place – riverfront views, restored historic architecture, local artisans, and fantastic food. Wander the brick streets, weave between tourists and locals, and hunt for the perfect Southern souvenir. Just don’t forget to stop and take in those magical river vistas! City Market sums up the best of Savannah.
I recommend taking a trolley tour or guided walking tour to hit all the highlights of this storied Southern city. Time your visit around early evening to catch the sunset over the historic district—it’s absolutely magical!
Relax in the Parks
In addition to the many picturesque public squares, Savannah has some incredible larger parks that are perfect for picnicking, jogging, or simply soaking up the natural beauty. Some top green spaces to check out include:
- Forsyth Park – As mentioned above, this 30-acre park has walking paths beneath moss-strewn oaks, a large grassy field, a cafe, and a glorious fountain.
- Daffin Park – Stretching 150 acres, Daffin Park offers playgrounds, sports fields, walking trails, and a pretty lake surrounded by weeping willow trees.
- Emmet Park – Situated along the Wilmington River, this small green space provides beautiful river views and a quiet natural oasis in the city.
- Oatland Island Wildlife Center – Nature lovers should visit this 711-acre preserve featuring wooded trails, a discovery center, and an observation tower for spotting gators, birds, bobcats, and other native wildlife.
Pack a blanket, snacks, and refreshments, and spend a lazy Southern afternoon relaxing in one of Savannah’s verdant parks and squares. It’s a quintessential Savannah experience.
Soak Up the Riverfront
Savannah’s location on the Savannah River makes for enchanting views and recreational opportunities. Some top ways to enjoy the riverfront include:
- Walk or bike the River Street cobblestones – Stroll along the shops, restaurants, and cotton warehouses that line this iconic old port along the river.
- Take a riverboat cruise – See the historic district and lush marshland surroundings from a relaxing new perspective on a narrated riverboat tour.
- Visit River Street Sweets – Sample pralines, bear claws, and other sweet confections at this beloved candy shop on River Street.
- Dine along the river – Choose from an array of restaurants with outdoor dining overlooking the river; try local seafood staples like shrimp and grits or fried green tomatoes.
- Admire the Waving Girl statue – Don’t miss this statue honoring Florence Martus, the woman who waved at every passing ship entering the port for over 40 years.
- Watch the ships along the harbor – Gaze at massive container ships and boats gliding under the towering Talmadge Memorial Bridge spanning the river.
No visit to Savannah is complete without time spent walking, dining, and taking in the atmosphere along the Savannah River.
Feast on Southern Cooking
Savannah’s devotion to mouthwatering Southern food is evident in the myriad restaurants serving up staples like fried chicken, collard greens, grits, pecan pie, and so much more. Some places to get your fill of Savannah’s famous cuisine include:
- Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room – Enjoy family-style Southern cooking in a cozy boardinghouse atmosphere; get there early for lunch to try the fried chicken, black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, and other classics.
- Olde Pink House – Savor contemporary Southern dishes with French influences in a romantic 18th-century mansion; try the famous fried green tomatoes.
- Zunzi’s – This casual spot on River Street serves enormous southern comfort sandwiches loaded with fried chicken or catfish, collards, chili, and more.
- Elizabeth on 37th – Indulge in upscale Southern food in a historic mansion; highlights include shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, and crab cakes.
- The Grey – Housed in a restored Art Deco Greyhound bus station, The Grey puts a refined twist on Southern cooking with dishes like benne seed hummus, catfish with roasted tomatoes, and buttermilk pie.
Don’t leave without trying local staples like she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, pecan pie, and a mint julep cocktail! Savannah’s scrumptious Southern food is a highlight for many visitors.
Experience the Arts Scene
In addition to its wealth of history and natural beauty, Savannah has a vibrant arts and cultural scene. Some top spots to take in performing arts, galleries, and museums include:
- Lucas Theatre – Catch a play, musical performance, or concert at this beautifully restored early 20th-century theater.
- Telfair Museums – Three sites house impressive collections of American Impressionist art, Southern regional art, and more.
- SCAD Museum of Art – This modern museum from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) hosts creative exhibitions by acclaimed artists.
- Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum – Learn about Savannah’s maritime history at this museum housed in the elegant 1819 Scarbrough House mansion.
- Jepson Center for the Arts – Admire contemporary art, traveling exhibitions, and gorgeous architecture at this modern Telfair Museum site.
- Savannah Philharmonic – Hear spectacular classical music performed in venues around town by this professional Philharmonic orchestra.
- First Friday for the Arts – On the first Friday of each month, galleries and shops in Starland stay open late for this artsy street festival with live music, food, and pop-up shops.
With its numerous museums, theaters, festivals, and other cultural activities, Savannah offers abundant opportunities to experience the creative soul of the city.
Tour the Unique Architecture
In addition to the historic 18th and 19th century buildings, Savannah is also home to beautiful examples of Victorian, Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, Renaissance Revival, and other architectural styles. Some highlights include:
- Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – As mentioned earlier, admire the inspiring Gothic Revival architecture of this 19th-century cathedral.
- Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace – Marvel at the English Regency architecture of the childhood home of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low.
- Isaiah Davenport House – One of America’s first planned residences, this 1820 home exemplifies Federal-style architecture.
- Hamilton-Turner Inn – Stay in this picturesque 1873 Victorian mansion known for its ornate Second Empire architecture marked by a dramatic mansard roof.
- City Market – The restored 19th-century warehouses here display a variety of architectural details from the era.
- Dinglewood Mansion – Built in 1900, this stunning historic home boasts Beaux-Arts architecture with glamorous details.
A stroll around Savannah reveals a living museum of evolving architectural styles, from the earliest colonial buildings to elegant Victorian masterpieces.
Shop and Explore Local Boutiques
From antique stores to trendy fashion boutiques, Savannah offers abundant shopping opportunities to take home unique local finds. Some top shopping spots include:
- City Market – Peruse handicrafts, Savannah-themed gifts, jewelry, and art from local artists and shops in this four-block market area.
- Paris Market – Browse home goods, perfumes, gifts, fashion, and more at this beloved Savannah bazaar established in 1873.
- Two Women and a Warehouse – Check out stylish clothing, jewelry, and accessories by emerging local designers at this popular consignment boutique.
- Savannah Bee Company – Sample and buy honey and bee-related products at this local company’s flagship store and honey-tasting bar.
- Gallery Espresso – Enjoy specialty coffee drinks while you browse the rotating exhibition of works by local artists.
- The Sentient Bean – Sip organic fair trade coffee at this bohemian cafe while shopping for handmade jewelry, art, and knickknacks.
Savannah offers such an eclectic array of boutique finds, that you’re sure to leave with special mementos of local flavor.
Tour Historic Homes
History buffs will adore touring some of Savannah’s beautifully preserved historic private homes and mansions. Top picks include:
- Owens-Thomas House – This elegant English Regency mansion designed in 1819 features gorgeous gardens and rare intact urban slave quarters.
- Davenport House Museum – Get a peek inside one of Savannah’s earliest homes, built in 1820 and exemplifying Federal architecture.
- Andrew Low House – Built by a prominent merchant in 1848, this striking Italianate mansion boasts stunning ornate details.
- Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace – See where the founder of Girl Scouts grew up in this gorgeous 1818 English Regency home.
- Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home – Tour the childhood home of famed Southern author Flannery O’Connor near Lafayette Square.
- Green-Meldrim House – Admire antebellum Gothic Revival architecture at this stately mansion from the 1850s.
- Sorrel-Weed House – Take a spooky evening ghost tour at this historic mansion known for paranormal activity.
Visiting Savannah’s grand historic homes allows you to vividly imagine what life was like in Savannah during previous eras. The homes provide a glimpse into the past.
Delight in Dolphin Tours
One of the top ways to experience Savannah’s riverfront and marsh surroundings is on a dolphin tour. These boat tours take you along the peaceful waterways while guides keep an eye out for wildlife like dolphins, manatees, birds, and sometimes even alligators. Some recommended outfitters for dolphin tours include:
- Savannah Dolphin Tours – This operator offers daily narrated dolphin cruises showcasing the wild resident bottlenose dolphin pods.
- Bull River Cruises – Look for dolphins, birds, and other coastal creatures on this comfortable covered pontoon boat tour.
- Captain Mike’s Dolphin Adventure – This guide has decades of experience finding dolphins and pointing out historic sights along the way.
Gliding through the waters around Savannah while friendly wild dolphins swim around your boat is a magical experience for all ages. Don’t miss a chance to get out on the water during your visit.
Attend a Festival
Savannah hosts a number of lively annual cultural festivals, food festivals, and music festivals throughout the year. Some of the top festivals in Savannah include:
Savannah Music Festival
Each spring, the Savannah Music Festival brings over 100 world-class musical performances to various stunning venues across Savannah.
For almost 3 weeks every April, you can enjoy classical, jazz, blues, Americana, country, and more from acclaimed musicians. Performances take place in theaters, churches, clubs, and outdoor spaces drowned in harmony and soul. The festival consistently attracts big-name talent like Wynton Marsalis, Emmylou Harris, and Renée Fleming. Undoubtedly, music lovers of all genres are sure to be impressed by the caliber of sound and artistry.
Savannah Food & Wine Festival
The Savannah Food & Wine Festival held each November draws renowned chefs, winemakers, and foodies for a weekend celebrating culinary arts. Attendees can sample bites from James Beard award-winning chefs. They can discover new favorite wines from around the world, take classes in cooking techniques, and more.
Moreover, with dishes highlighting everything from BBQ to seafood to sweets, it’s a savory exploration of Southern food. In addition to it, add in the live music, celebrity chef demonstrations on stage, and liquor tastings, and you have an extraordinary epicurean experience.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Savannah hosts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country, bringing enormous crowds clad in green each March. The festivities last throughout the whole month, with the main highlight being the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Marching bands, dancers, bagpipes, and more wind through the streets as onlookers shower them with beads, trinkets, and love.
Therefore, you should reserve your spot early along the barricades to watch Savannah turn into a giant emerald street party.
Savannah Film Festival
Each October, the Savannah Film Festival attracts major Hollywood figures and premieres upcoming acclaimed indie films. For instance, you might catch screenings of Oscar contenders, Q&As with famous directors and actors, workshops by industry insiders, and more. Moreover, the intimate size allows attendees to easily interact with special guests. Past attendees have included Jeff Daniels, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, and more. Undoubtedly, movie buffs will adore the insider access.
In conclusion, with festivals for music, food, film, and even pirates, Savannah truly celebrates year-round!
Savannah Jazz Festival
Sway to the sounds of skilled jazz musicians during outdoor concerts each September at Daffin Park and other locales.
Tybee Island Pirate Fest
Family fun takes center stage during this lively pirate-themed parade and party on nearby Tybee Island in October.
Time your Savannah trip to coincide with one of the city’s unique annual festivals for an even livelier experience. From food to books to pirate invasions, Savannah knows how to throw a good festival!
Wander Tree-Lined Squares
One of the most serene, beautiful activities in Savannah is simply strolling the city’s many shady public squares. With majestic oak trees draped in Spanish moss and historic monuments centered in manicured lawns or fountains, Savannah’s squares offer peaceful pockets of nature in the urban landscape.
Some squares not to miss include:
- Forsyth Park – The sprawling 30-acre park provides plenty of room to wander beneath the oaks and around the large fountain.
- Wright Square – Live oaks shade this square where William Tecumseh Sherman stood in 1865 when he captured the city.
- Johnson Square – Georgia’s founder James Oglethorpe camped in this square before building the city.
- Telfair Square – Find the iconic Bird Girl statue here that graced the cover of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
- Orleans Square – One of the prettiest squares features the 18th-century Mickve Israel synagogue and towering oak trees.
Pack a picnic lunch, snap some photos, rest for a bit on a bench, and repeat as you make your way through Savannah’s postcard-worthy public squares.
Tour a Haunted House
Adventurous souls visiting Savannah will want to explore the city’s notoriously haunted houses and locations. Some top spots for paranormal encounters include:
- Sorrel-Weed House – As mentioned earlier, this historic home offers hired paranormal investigations and creepy evening ghost tours recounting the spooky happenings reported here.
- Moon River Brewing Company – Georgia’s most famously haunted pub serves good food and beer in a building that once housed the city morgue.
- 17Hundred90 Inn – Guests have reported unexplained occurrences in this historic hotel, which served as a hospital during the Yellow Fever epidemic.
- Olde Harbour Inn – Strange occurrences at this waterfront inn include doors opening, cold spots, and ghostly figures.
- Dawson Hall at Mercer University – Students have witnessed supernatural events in this college building for over a century.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, touring Savannah’s haunted houses and hearing the chilling tales provides spine-tingling entertainment on a spook-filled night. Just maybe don’t walk alone after dark!
Relax at the Beach
When ready for a break from downtown, head to the beaches of Tybee Island, located around 15 miles east of Savannah. Easily reachable by car or tour bus, Tybee Island offers laid-back beach town vibes with long stretches of sand, beachfront hotels and eateries, and sunny water activities.
Rent bikes and cruise down the island to the Tybee Island lighthouse. Pop into the colorful shops and art galleries lining Tybrisa Street. Grab seafood, tacos, or ice cream along the main drag. And of course, sink your toes in the sand with a book or go for a swim in the Atlantic waves washing ashore.
Tybee Island provides a pleasant outdoor escape to complement time spent in historic Savannah. And be sure to stick around Tybee to watch the stunning sunset over the water!
Day Trips from Savannah: Exploring Beyond
Savannah provides a convenient launchpad for venturing to nearby coastal destinations. Here are some of the top day trips:
Charleston, South Carolina
Located just 2 hours north, Charleston offers many of the same draws as Savannah for example historic architecture, Southern food, and charming public squares. Stroll the colorful Rainbow Row houses, explore antebellum plantations like Boone Hall, and indulge in shrimp and grits. The lively City Market area overflows with shops, restaurants, and street performers. Charleston’s past rivalry with Savannah is evident in subtle ways, making it fun to compare the sister cities.
Hop over to Jekyll Island off the Georgia coast to see the lavish “Millionaire’s Village” constructed by America’s elite families like the Rockefellers in the late 1800s. Tour the sprawling beachfront mansions and cottages, or relax on 10 miles of unspoiled beaches. Spot wildlife like nesting sea turtles at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
Hilton Head Island
Just across the border in South Carolina, Hilton Head Island offers 12 miles of family-friendly beaches perfect for swimming, kayaking, and sunbathing. Enjoy fresh seafood, bike among lush nature preserves, and play on one of the island’s renowned golf courses. The beaches here are routinely ranked among America’s best.
Accessible only by ferry from the tiny town of Darien, Sapelo Island feels worlds away. More than 97% of the island is protected state salt marshland, home to wildlife like nesting loggerhead sea turtles. Learn about the Geechee culture of the enslaved Africans who once worked this barrier island on a guided tour. With no hotels or restaurants, Sapelo retains its isolated coastal beauty.
With its proximity to the coast, Savannah allows easy day-tripping to pristine southern beaches and remote coastal nature.
Practical Tips for Your Savannah Adventure
To help you make the most of your time exploring Savannah, here are some key trip-planning pointers:
Best Time to Visit Savannah
Savannah enjoys warm weather for much of the year. Spring and fall are ideal times with lower humidity and smaller crowds. March-May and September-November offer daytime highs in the 70s-80s°F. Summer is popular but hot and humid. Late winter is still mild but accommodation rates drop after the holidays.
Aim for spring or fall if you can, but Savannah entices all year with its charm!
Getting Around: Trolleys, Bicycles, and Walking
Savannah is very walkable, especially in the historic district. The free Dot Shuttle loops around major tourist spots. Chatham Area Transit (CAT) buses and the Old Town Trolley provide inexpensive transportation options. Pedicabs and Uber are available too.
Many visitors rent bikes; Savannah has dedicated bike lanes on certain streets. Rental companies like Bicycle Link and Savannah Bicycle Tours offer cruisers, tandem bikes, and more.
Walking remains ideal for shorter trips between major sights in the city center. Just watch for summer heat if hoofing it!
Where to Stay: Charming Inns and Luxurious Hotels
Choose from historic inns, charming B&Bs, modern hotels, and major chains around downtown. Popular options include:
- Mansion on Forsyth Park – Impeccable modern hotel housing 700 pieces of art
- The Marshall House – Historic hotel where famous guests like Rtiz and Rockefeller stayed
- Kehoe House – Elegant 1893 Renaissance Revival mansion turned B&B
- Thunderbird Inn – Quintessential mid-century motel with retro Palm Springs vibes
- Bohemian Hotel Savannah – Chic modern hotel with riverfront views and Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe
Book well in advance for major events like St. Patrick’s Day or peak seasons.
Safety and Health Considerations
Savannah is generally safe, but exercise the usual precautions like avoiding isolated areas at night. The historic district and riverfront are typically busy. Stay hydrated in the summer heat.
Be aware of horse droppings on cobblestone streets and take care on uneven sidewalks. Use bug spray for mosquitos. Check festival dates to avoid crowds. Savannah’s hospitable charm invites travelers year-round! Proper planning ensures you craft your perfect Southern sojourn.
From its romantic historic district dotted with public squares to its dedication to Southern food, Savannah truly offers a quintessential taste of Georgia’s coastal culture. I hope this guide gives you plenty of ideas for experiencing the best this charming Southern city has to offer. Let the oak trees, river views, and welcoming hospitality draw you in during your visit to one of America’s most beautiful historic destinations.
So pack your walking shoes, grab your camera, and get ready to fall in love with Savannah! If you have any other must-do recommendations for this Georgia gem, please share them in the comments. I’d love to hear your Savannah favorites.
Well, last but not least, If you are an explorer by heart and love to travel, you can check out our budget traveling hacks post. Or if you love to travel solo, you must check out our post on how to stay safe while traveling solo.
You can also explore the small-town charm of Lagrange, Georgia if you happen to be around.
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