The words “Savannah Georgia”, pronounced with a southern drawl, evoke a different time. It is a world of southern belles and colonial mansions.
We suspected that things might have changed since Simon’s favorite film, The Legend of Bagger Vance. However, we were pleasantly surprised to discover the city could be reached by day from Jacksonville.
1) Beautiful beaches
Although Savannah does not have beaches, the Georgia Coast is home to some of the best beaches near Savannah.
Georgia offers more than 100 miles of coastline and has a beach for everyone. You won’t be disappointed, whether you prefer a busy beach like Tybee Island or a wild and isolated beach such as the beaches in a state park. It’s possible to be surprised at the number of beaches nearby Savannah.
Some of the beaches in Savannah, Georgia are commercially-developed offering you everything for a great day. Some beaches are more isolated and natural, while others offer more adventure and a more natural experience.
There are many beaches that are close to Savannah. These beaches are located around 20 minutes from the city, while others are further away and can be used as a day trip. These are located on the barrier islands in Georgia and South Carolina, and can only be reached by ferries.
You will find beautiful water and golden sand at any of these beaches close to Savannah.
2) Elegant Mansions
Savannah’s historic district is full of charming, colonial homes that have been lovingly preserved. While you can see many mansions that once belonged to historical figures, I was equally fascinated by the current Savannahians’ homes.
The key is in the details: freshly painted doors, a vase of bright flowers, a curving staircase or rocking chairs on a brightly white verandah.
3) Mammoth Oak Trees
The streets and parks are lined with giant oaks that have been drenched in Spanish moss.
4) Many Squares
There are 22 squares with leafy greenery in the historic district. These squares make great places to relax and take in the sights.
The first squares date back to 1733, when James Oglethorpe, a British general, created the famous city plan that included squares in the middle of each neighborhood.
5) Aimless Wandering
Central Savannah is pedestrian-friendly. It has quiet streets and a relaxed atmosphere that encourages aimless wandering. We loved the quiet residential streets north of Forsyth park.
6) Forsyth Park
Forsyth Park is another relaxing spot to take a walk amongst the ancient oaks. This beautiful fountain is featured in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Make sure to watch the film or read the book before visiting.
7) Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room
This tip was provided by The Road Forks, foodie bloggers who travel the world. We are grateful for their help. We were vegetarians and didn’t believe southern cuisine had much to offer, but Mrs. Wilkes proved that we were wrong.
Eight strangers sat with us at a large, laden table with many bowls of food. We had many options, including mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, candied yams, and collard greens as well as black-eyed beans, green beans, and baked beans.
It was the best southern food that a local man sitting next to me said, apart from his grandmother’s. It was delicious and plentiful.
8) Cupcake Emporium
After Mrs. Wilkes’, we were full for the remainder of the day. But we couldn’t resist The Road Forks’ recommendation for Mabel Francis Potter Cupcake Emporium. So we bought a box to take with us. Oh my god! These cupcakes are divine! We are tempted to return to Savannah for five hours just to get more.
We had to take a while to decide on all the wonderful options, but we finally decided on Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Frosting, Coconut Butter Cream, Chocolate Butter Cream, Chocolate, and the innovative Chunky Chocolate Chip Cup Cookies. Who knew that cookies could make such delicious cupcakes? All were delicious – moist cakes with soft, creamy frosting.
We were greeted by the owner who was friendly and offered us tips on travel. Simon even received a free cupcake to try the tongue twister challenge.
9) Friendly People
Savannah’s locals are extremely friendly. We were asked many times by strangers, “How are you doing?”. Customer service was exceptional everywhere. Simon was mistakenly identified as someone’s child (that was quite strange though). ).
10) Independent Businesses
Savannah is home to many independent cafes, restaurants, and shops, as well as treasures such as Mrs. Wilkes’ or the Cupcake Emporium. We wish we weren’t so full so we could try more.
11) Bonaventure Cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery, a 10-minute drive from downtown is famous for its appearance in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It is huge, filled with Victorian headstones and moss-draped oaks.
12) Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum
It would be impossible to visit the Deep South without mentioning African-American history. This museum is a fascinating one that focuses on Savannah’s civil rights movement.
13) Bull River Cruises
The Bull River is nestled between Little Tybee Island and Wilmington Island, and Bull River Cruises takes advantage of everything this waterway has. You can board a boat for an eco-tour. This will take you through Savannah’s tidal creeks and rivers, and teach you about the ecology and importance of this natural habitat.
Fans love their Sunset Cruise and Dolphin Discovery Cruise. Imagine a perfect afternoon. You’re out on the water, with the ocean breeze cooling you, and dolphin sightings in your sights. Savannah boat trips are simply the best!
Savannah offers some of the best recreational tours that will give you a fascinating look into its history, such as this walking tour for small groups or a delicious-sounding food tour.
You should also plan to take the time to walk the streets on your own. Parking at the Visitor Centre on Louisville Rd is recommended ($1 per hour, first hour free), and picking up a map to help you wander from square to square.
You could also opt for the Savannah hop-off trolley tour to discover some history and explore at your own pace, without needing to walk everywhere.