Skidaway Island State Park: The Complete Guide

Man Kayaking in Skidaway Island State Park near Savannah Georgia
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Skidaway Island State Park

Address
52 Diamond Causeway, Savannah, GA 31411, USA
Phone +1 912-598-2300

The compact, 558-acre Skidaway Island State Park is one of southeast Georgia's most pristine recreational areas. Located just 15 miles from downtown Savannah, the park is situated on a barrier island along the Skidaway Narrows, part of the state's scenic intracoastal waterway.

The park features 6 miles of hiking trails, which wind through curtains of Spanish moss, towering oak trees and pine trees, and saltwater marshlands. Spot local wildlife like deer, egrets, and raccoons from an observation tower, rent a bike to pedal through dense maritime forests or along the water or stop into the interpretive center for exhibits like a 20-foot Giant Ground Sloth replica and reptile room. In addition to two playgrounds, picnic shelters, and outdoor fitness equipment, the park also has campgrounds for RVs and tents as well as sheltered camper cabins for overnight visitors. Here's a guide to your next trip to Skidaway Island State Park with info on the best trails, what to do, and where to stay nearby.

Things to Do

Skidaway Island State Park is a short, 20-minute drive from downtown Savannah, making it a destination for those seeking a scenic trail run, hike, or nature walk. With a large campground as well as sheltered camper cabins, visitors can also spend the night inside the park.

The 6 miles of trails are mostly flat, making them ideal for a bike ride or nature stroll around fresh water ponds and tidal creeks and deep into maritime forests. Part of the Colonial Coast Birding Trail and home to over 300 species such as bald eagles and osprey, the park is also popular with birdwatchers. An observation tower over marshland gives visitors a chance to spot fiddler crabs, egret, and deer, while the visitor center is worth a quick stop for exhibits dedicated to local plant and animal life, including a 20-foot giant ground sloth replica and reptile room.

Best Hikes and Trails

The flat, wide trails here wind along marshland, coastal inlets, and maritime forests, ideal for spotting wildlife, taking a casual bike ride, or an easy jog or hike. Bicycle rentals are $6/each and are available at the park visitor center.

  • Sandpiper Trail Loop: The park's most popular path, the 1-mile Sandpiper Loop trailhead begins from the main parking lot and traverses over tidal creeks and salt flats through maritime forests. Its flat trails and accessible boardwalk accommodate those using wheelchairs and strollers and are used for spotting crabs, minnows, and other marsh creatures. Path highlights include an observation tower, a 1930s-era liquor still, and Civil War-era earthworks.
  • Big Ferry Trail: Also departing from the main parking lot, the flat, 2-mile, bicycle-friendly loop has numbered signs detailing points of interest, including shell middens (mounds of oyster shells), abandoned Prohibition-era liquor stills, and saltwater sloughs teeming with marine life. Don't miss stop five, a boardwalk and observation tower that gives a bird's eye view of marshlands, the Skidaway Narrows, and local wildlife.
  • Avian Loop Trail: Spot dolphins and osprey and watch the coastal tides roll in and out on this 1-mile loop that hugs the Intracoastal Waterway and sandy shores of marsh creeks. Access it via the 1-mile Connector Trail or the westernmost edge of the Sandpiper Trail.

Where to Camp

Skidaway Island has a large, well-groomed central campground as well as camper cabins and pioneer campsites for groups of 10 or more. Campsites are open year-round and must be reserved in advance.

Located near the main parking lot and nestled under live oaks and Spanish moss, the shady campgrounds have 87 pull-through sites for tents, trailers, and RVs. The pet-friendly sites include water, electrical, and cable hook-ups, fire rings, and access to hot showers, restrooms, and coin laundry facilities. Some RV sites have sewer hook-ups, and there is an ADA-accessible campsite and restroom.

Skidaway also offers three two-bedroom camper cabins with televisions, screened porches, air conditioning and heating, kitchens, and indoor bathrooms. Guests must provide their own linens and kitchen plates and utensils, but can take advantage of an outdoor entertaining area with a picnic table, grill, and fire ring. Two cabins sleep up to five with a main bedroom with a queen-sized bed and a sleeping loft with one single and one double bed, while the accessible cabin sleeps four. No pets are allowed in the camper cabins.

Clustered in the woodlands around the Connector Trail, three pioneer campgrounds are available for groups of 10 or more. Sites are pet-friendly and equipped with fire rings and two picnic shelters, but note there are no showers or flushing toilets.

Where to Stay Nearby

Just 15 miles south of Savannah and 25 miles from Tybee Island, Skidaway Island State Park is a quick getaway from either location. While there are only campsites and camper cabins available to public visitors wishing to stay on the island, the park is close to several types of accommodations, from luxury boutique hotels to reliable chains, Airbnbs, and seasonal rentals.

  • Thompson Savannah: Located on the Savannah River on the edge of the city's Historic District, the Thompson is a pet-friendly, luxury property with amenities ranging from a high-tech fitness center and rooftop bar plus a large outdoor pool deck with private cabanas and sunroom. Rooms are spacious (340 square feet for a standard king) and decorated in a mix of midcentury modern and contemporary style, and the location near River Street can't be beaten.
  • Best Western Central Inn: Just 8 miles from the park and 5 miles south of Savannah's Historic District, this outpost of the national chain offers clean, affordable rooms in a convenient and quiet location. Parking and continental breakfast are complimentary, and this is a favorite option for those traveling with groups and families.
  • Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa: Located across the river from the Historic District and 20 miles from Skidaway Island, the hotel has plenty of amenities to keep the whole family entertained. When you tire of the hiking trails, bike path, four restaurants, tennis courts, PGA championship golf course, swimming pool, spa, and splash pad, the hotel offers a free shuttle into the historic district to enjoy the city's museums, sites, and restaurants.

For more Savannah area hotels, see our guide to the city's best hotels.

How to Get There

Skidaway Island State Park is 5 miles south of Savannah, 25 east of Tybee Island, and 125 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina.

From downtown Savannah, take East President Street to Harry S Truman Parkway/Truman Parkway. Follow the parkway for 8 miles to GA-204 Spur East/Whitefield Avenue. Continue for 5 miles, then turn left onto Skidaway Island Park Road. The parking lot is straight ahead on the left, while campgrounds are to the right.

From Tybee Island, take US-80 W for 5 miles, then stay left to the entrance to South Harry Truman Parkway. Follow South Harry Truman Parkway for 5 miles to the GA-204Spur/Whitefield Avenue exit, then follow directions above.

Accessibility

Skidaway Island State Park welcomes visitors of all ability levels. The paved parking lot has designated accessible parking spots, and the 1-mile Sandpiper Loop Trail is flat and easy to traverse for visitors using wheelchairs. The large campsite is also paved, with accessible spots and one accessible restroom and shower, and one of the camper cabins is also ADA-compliant.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Note there is no boat or water access inside the park. The closest boat ramp is 2.5 miles away, at Butter Bean Beach. Located just off of Diamond Causeway/Highway 204, the area includes a bait shop, a no-frills public beach, boat ramp, and picnic tables.
  • For the best beach access near the park, head to Tybee Island, 25 miles (40 minutes) northeast. The barrier island offers sandy beaches, bike paths, fresh-caught seafood, and a low-key vibe perfect for a day-long getaway. Book a private tour of the island's iconic lighthouse tower and on-site museum, rent a bike to pedal through the palm trees, or enjoy a fried oyster Po'Boy sandwich while watching the sunset on the back deck of A-J's dockside grill.
  • The daily parking fee is $5, and passes can be purchased in advance online via ParkPass or in person via park kiosk, QR code, or the park office. If visiting several Georgia state parks in one year, consider purchasing an annual Park Pass for $50 (50 percent off for adults 62 and older and 25 percent for active military and veterans with valid ID).
  • Leashed pets are welcome to play with their owners on trails and stay in the campsites, but are not permitted in camper cabins.
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Skidaway Island State Park: The Complete Guide