From beautiful nighttime strolls in the park to a tour of the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah is a city with tons to do. Here's a list of our favorite things to do on your next trip.
Stroll Around Wormsloe Plantation
Wormsloe State Historic Site, located 10 miles southeast of Savannah's historic district on Isle of Hope, is full of stories of the past and even recent movie history. Settled in the early 1700s by colonist Noble Jones, the original 1739 tabby house is now in ruins, but the remains are still considered the oldest standing structure in the Savannah area.
Imagine being greeted by 1.5 miles of majestic live oaks flanking both sides of the road, over 400 oak trees dripping in Spanish moss. You don't have to imagine, if you remember the famous scene from "Forest Gump" where Jenny yells, "run Forest, run!"
While at Wormsloe, visitors have a number of things to explore. A stop at the Visitor Center and Museum will provide you with the history of the estate as you peruse the visual exhibits. See the tabby ruins first hand, made from ground oyster shells, lime, and salt water, and walk to the family burial ground. Continue your walk along the plantation trails and explore the unique coastal salt marsh environment and the native plants that live in its niche setting.
About a mile up Oak Avenue is Wormsloe Plantation House that is still resided in by the descendants of Noble Jones, after being built by his returning family members after his death and eventual desertion of the original house.
Special Colonial life events throughout the year allow you to interact with costumed interpreters sharing stories and exhibiting the tools and trades of colonial Georgia life.
Guided tours are offered at specified times throughout the day. When making your itinerary, remember that Wormsloe Historic Site is generally closed on Mondays, but is open 9 am to 5 pm throughout normal weeks. Admission is required.
Hire a Pedicab
In New York, you might take a taxi, but in Savannah, the mode of transportation is a pedicab. This bicycle taxi is a unique way to see the city, allowing you to still cover more ground yet enjoy the sights and take in sounds you would otherwise miss in a motorized vehicle.
With the Savannah Pedicab Company, any trip under 30 minutes is at your discretion for the cost. They refer to it as "trips for tips." Sightseeing rates are also available. Should you really want to feel special while in the Historic District of Savannah, a couple can reserve a pedicab and driver for the day for a reasonable rate of $150. It's like your own personal limousine for the day.
See Cannons Get Fired
Located on Cockspur Island, between Savannah and Tybee Island, there is more here than you expect. Yes, you can climb on a Civil War fort and explore the museum. You can also explore tunnels and feel the rumble as a real cannon is fired. Pack a lunch because this can be an all-day event if you please and the weather is right.
The view from the top is spectacular and you can see Hilton Head Island, Tybee Island and the Port of Savannah in the distance. Walk the perimeter to see holes in the structure from real wartime shell fire. Take one of the free, daily Ranger-guided tours, or watch the historic weapons demonstrations offered on Saturday. Take a 15-minute walk along the trail to Cockspur Lighthouse; only accessible the entire way during low tide. Watch the video at the Visitor's Center. Let kids earn a Junior Ranger Badge from this National Park.
There are no railings around the upper perimeter of the fort or along the moat, so keep a firm-grasp of younger children. Plan for the elements accordingly. Surrounded by water, it can often get windy here. A welcome respite on warmer days, it can prove too much on cooler days or to those with sensitive ears. If you plan on exploring the trails, bug repellent is a must. While not allowed in the Visitor Center, leashed pets are allowed in the fort and on the hiking trails. Take care not to leave pets in the car.
Visit River Street at Night
A destination unto itself and lined with cafes, hotels, sweet treats, and shops of all kinds, there is plenty of things to do on Savannah's River Street.
During the day, this family-friendly locale is full of pedestrian emerging from riverfront hotels toiling over their choice of restaurants for the day. Local artisans frequent areas along the water offering finds such as paintings, hand-woven baskets or just a catchy tune.
At night the personality of River Street Savannah changes to a lively event where bar hoppers and revelers carry the party from one establishment to the next, literally. As long as your drink is in a plastic cup, you can carry it with you along River Street.
Bonaventure Cemetery: Tour Savannah's Famous Cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery, often described as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, sits upon a bluff above the Wilmington River to the east of Savannah. A historically popular destination for Savannah visitors because of its folklore, Bonaventure Cemetery's tourist activity increased dramatically with the success of the best-selling novel, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
You will not find Sylvia Shaw Judson’s Bird Girl statue here, made famous as the image on the jacket cover of what is known around these parts as "The Book." It now resides safely on exhibit at the Telfair Museum in Savannah.
You will find many other statues of the hauntingly beautiful Southern gothic style. Grab a guide at the visitor for a listing of the famous who have been laid to rest here. Better yet, book a guided tour to really appreciate and understand the stories that add to the sad beauty that these hallowed grounds are known for. Feeling adventurous? Book a nighttime tour.
Photographers and history buffs will want to plan on extra time at this Savannah point of interest. Old live oaks, historic tombstones, stories of the Civil War, a Holocaust memorial, and many other statues will transport you with stories from around the South and out encircling the globe.
Visitors can choose to drive or walk through and the cemetery is open every day from 8 am to 5 pm. The Historical Society's Visitor Center is open on the weekends. There is no charge for entrance and free tours are available certain times of the month.
Check guest reviews and prices for Bonaventure Cemetery tours on TripAdvisor.
See the Forsyth Park Fountain at Night
You can't have a list of things to do in Savannah without checking off a visit to Forsyth Park and the fountain. While beautiful any time of day, dusk adds another layer of whimsy as the lights provide an ethereal glow.
One of the most popular attractions for visitors to Savannah, the Forsyth Park Fountain was installed in 1858 and designed to recall the Parisian fountain located at the Place de la Concorde. Following several repairs and renovations necessitated by damage related to weather, aging, and vandalism, the fountain was completely restored in 1988.
Should you frequent the City of Savannah over St. Patricks Day, this fountain is ceremoniously converted to a green flowing cascade to celebrate the festivities.
Forsyth Park is the largest park in the Savannah historic district. It serves as an epicenter for all that is social and happening. Saturdays welcome the weekly Forsyth Farmers' Market on the South side.
Designed in the 18th Century by General James Oglethorpe, as part of his master plan for Savannah, the 30-acre Forsyth Park is bordered by Park Avenue on the south and by Gaston Street on the north.
Watch the Sunrise at Tybee Island
Just 20 minutes from historic downtown Savannah, a visit to Tybee Island must be a part of any Savannah vacation.
For those early risers, skies painted by the rising sun await you near the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion. The most crowded beach on Tybee during the day, you'll get your pick of seats to watch mother nature rise and shine as you feel the morning-cooled sand between your toes.
After the morning has said hello, you can head over to Sunrise Restaurant. Conveniently open at 6 a.m., this family-run restaurant will serve you up a hot cup of coffee and a full selection of morning eats.
Climb Up Tybee Island Lighthouse
178 steps and you will reach the top of the lighthouse, affording you the opportunity to step out on the top catwalk for spectacular views of the Tybee Island. This is a great way to learn the history of Tybee Island as well as gain a true bird's eye view of the surrounding island area, including the beach and the mouth of the Savannah River.
The walk to the top is not for the faint of heart. The stairs are steep, but there are landings about every 25 steps where you can take a moment and even let other climbers pass. Everyone should climb at least one lighthouse in their life. Be aware though that the top catwalk is often closed during questionable weather, such as lightning or high winds.
The Tybee Island Lighthouse is open every day of the week except for Tuesdays and some holidays.
Tour the Cathedral of St. John
Recognizable by its twin steeples towering over the Savannah skylines, St. John's Cathedral is a sight to be seen both outside and inside.
Still an active house of worship, tours of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptists are available most mornings and afternoons whenever mass and other ceremonies are not happening.
Originally built in 1876, a Catholic church of its magnitude was, and still is, unusual in the deep South.
Marvel at the Ships Along the Savannah River
Still a major shipping lane, container ships travel right through Savannah's waterfront area along the Savannah River. Dwarfing the other river-going vessels, such as the water taxis, kids, and the young-at-heart can't help but be overwhelmed as the behemoth vessels pass.
Raise your hand in greeting to the captains and carry on a tradition of Savannah's Waving Girl.
The Savannah River, historically important for the prosperity of Savannah, provides a picturesque backdrop for the city. The Talmadge Memorial Bridge, which crosses the river on US 17, was completed in 1991, replacing the old cantilever truss bridge design with a cable-stayed bridge design. The Talmadge Bridge is a frequently seen in the background of most pictures taken from River Street of the giant container ships on the Savannah River. It's also the site of the annual Savannah Bridge Run held in December.
View Artists Working in Savannah's Historic District
The Historic District of Savannah is the largest registered urban National Historic Landmark district in the United States. Several tours of historic homes are available and most Savannah visitors try to include visits to a few historic homes while exploring Savannah.
Each square has its own unique feature- fountains, artisans, and even famous movie locations. See where Forrest Gump sat on his bench waiting for the number 9 bus. Although the actual bench isn't there, the spot where it sat in Chippewa Square is easy to find. There is a replica of the "Forrest Gump bench" at the Savannah History Museum.
Go to the Oldest Public Art Museum in the South
Telfair Museum of Art, the oldest public art museum in the South, is a journey through progressive eras of art and architecture. Housed in three separate buildings, each holds treasures of its time.
The Telfair Mansion, built for the Royal Governor's son in 1818, was designed by English architect William Jay and contains many of the original furnishings. In 1883, an addition was built, where exhibits of American and European paintings and sculpture are displayed.
The Owens-Thomas House, one of the country's best examples of English Regency architecture, displays most of the decorative arts collection and includes a museum store and an orientation gallery.
The Jepson Center for the Arts, a state-of-the-art building that opened to the public in March 2006, is for major traveling exhibitions and 20th- and 21st-century works.
Fans of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" can view the Bird Girl statue here.