Your Trip to Savannah: The Complete Guide

••• Tetra Images - Henryk Sadura / Getty Images

From its oak-covered public squares and historic architecture to its moderate climate and coastal beauty, this Georgia city is worthy year-round destination. Located just four hours from Atlanta and two hours from Charleston, the city is a great side trip from either of those cities as well as a worthy destination in its own right.

With its well-preserved Historic District, endless festivals, interactive museums, award-winning restaurants, and more, Savannah has plenty of activities for all seasons, visitors, and ages. Here's a complete guide about when to visit, where to stay, what to do, getting around, saving money, and more on your visit to Savannah.

Planning Your Trip to Savannah

  • Best Time to Visit: With azaleas and flowers in full bloom, favorable weather, and a full roster of festivals like the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, spring is the most popular season for visiting Savannah. Summers can be oppressively hot and humid, but there are nearby beach and water-related activities to help you keep cool, and the city is less crowded in July and August than it is in spring and early summer. Fall offers fantastic weather and fewer tourists than spring, while winter can be chilly, but provides lower hotel rates and smaller crowds.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: U.S. Dollar
  • Getting Around: Because parking is expensive and navigating one-way streets can be tricky, the Historic District is best explored on foot or via the fare-free Downtown Transportation (dot) network, which offers shuttle buses and a ferry to popular tourist areas and centrally-located parking garages. The buses operate every ten minutes, starting at 7.am. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends and make 24 stops along both the Downtown and Forsyth Park routes. The broader, fare-based Chatham Area Transit (CAT) offers service to other parts of the cities and surrounding areas, including an express bus to and from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. Rideshare services, taxis, and rental cars are also available at the airport.
  • Travel Tip: Since traveling by foot is the best way to explore the city, wear comfortable walking shoes. And pack an umbrella for unexpected downpours.
Historic District in Savannah, GA
 Jordan Banks/Getty Images

Things to Do

First-time visitors will want to take advantage of the Historic District's 22 public squares, including Forsyth Park, which features 30 acres of greenery, walking paths, and a distinctive Parisian-inspired central fountain. Other free options include exploring the 100-acre Victorian-era Bonaventure Cemetery, strolling the galleries and restaurants that occupy the old warehouses of River Street, and touring historic houses of worship like Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the oldest Catholic Church in Georgia, and the First African Baptist Church.

Other noteworthy attractions include the birthplace of Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, the longest-running live performance theatre in America, Savannah’s Telfair Museum (the Southeast's oldest public art museum), the SCAD Museum of Art, the Savannah History Museum, the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, and the Savannah Botanical Gardens.

Given its location on the Savannah River and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the city offers plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, boating, and paddle boarding in both the city and nearby areas like Tybee Island and Skidaway Island State Park.

Food and drink lovers will want to explore the area's top bars, breweries, and restaurants.

Some of the top experiences in Savannah include:

  • A trolley tour of the historic district. Both Old Town Trolley Tours and Old Savannah Tours offer narrated, hop-on, hop-off tours of the city. Both trolleys depart from the Visitors Center at 15-20 minute intervals. They include stops at points of interest like River Street, the Savannah History Museum, the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, City Market, and Forsyth Park.
  • Southern cuisine at Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House. Come hungry and ready to make new friends at this 19th-century era boarding house turned restaurant, where Southern favorites like fried chicken, collard greens, butter beans, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, and coleslaw are served family-style at communal tables.
  • River Street. This promenade, which runs for a mile along the southern portion of the city's riverfront, is brimming with shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants, many of them housed in historic warehouses. Stroll the cobblestone streets, ride a historic street car along the riverfront, take a dolphin or river tour, or enjoy the free ferry ride to Hutchinson Island.

Explore more activities in Savannah with our guides to the city's spookiest spots and best things to do.

The Grey
 Credit: Chia Chong

What to Eat and Drink

As a coastal city, Savannah is an excellent spot for seafood as well as traditional Low Country cuisine. You can also find a variety of international fare, from classic Italian pizza to upscale Australian bistro fare. The city also has a thriving nightlife, with both dive bars and elegant cocktail joints, as well as several local breweries and distilleries.

No trip to the city is complete without a visit to The Grey, a 1930s Art Deco Greyhound bus terminal turned modern Southern restaurant. Chef and co-owner Mashama Bailey won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2019 for her thoughtful soul food that takes advantage of local and seasonal produce like crab with Carolina Gold heritage rice and bell peppers and smothered quail with blackening spice, Creole spice, and grit cakes.

Other top Savannah dining destinations include the Olde Pink House, which specializes in Low Country cuisine in the city's only surviving 18th-century mansion, and Elizabeth on 37th, which offers new American fare, including a chef's tasting menu.

For more casual options, try whole-hog Carolina BBQ with the fixings, at B' Cracklin' BBQ, vegan-friendly brunch at Fox and Fig Cafe, all-day breakfast at Collins Quarter, Neapolitan pizza at Vinnie Van Go-Go, and both beef and veggie burgers at Green Truck Pub.

Want to sample some of everything? Opt First Squares food tour, which includes an overview of the city's culinary history as well as tastings at six restaurants and food purveyors in the Historic District.

A far as bars, Kevin Barry's Irish Pub on River Street, Ordinary Pub at City Market, the rooftop bar Perch at Local 11 Ten overlooking Forsyth Park, and the Savannah Distillery Ale House, with over 100 craft beers in the Historic District, are all reliable options. Savannah is also home to several local breweries and distilleries, including Ghost Coast Distillery (whiskey, rum, gin, bourbon, and other spirits), Southbound Brewing Company, and Coastal Empire Beer Co, maybe of which offer tours and tastings.

Where to Stay

  • Historic District: From luxury options like the DeSoto Savannah on Madison Square, like the riverfront adjacent Alida, and the boutique Perry Lane to reliable chains like the Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn & Suites, the historic district has hotel options for every budget and is the most convenient to the city's biggest and most popular attractions.
  • Midtown: Just a 10-minute drive from the Historic District, Midtown is a quieter option with plenty of restaurants, parks, and activities for visitors. Most standard chains like Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn & Suites and the La Quinta Inn have properties here.
  • Pooler: For travelers on a budget, there are several options near the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, like the Best Western Plus, Comfort Inn & Suites, and Quality Inn, all of which are about a 20-minute drive from downtown.

Getting There

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) offers direct flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Newark, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities via major airlines like American, Delta, JetBlue, and United.

The drive from the airport to downtown is approximately 20-25 minutes. You can rent a car at the airport or catch a rideshare like Lyft or Uber or hail a taxi just outside of the baggage claim. Chatham Area Transit also offers bus service to and from several points in the city, including downtown.

Savannah is an easy drive from nearby major cities like Charleston, South Carolina (108 miles north), Atlanta (250 miles), and Jacksonville, Florida (140 miles). Most of the city's hotels have parking lots or valet, so driving a car into the city isn't an issue, as long as you don't mind paying parking fees.

Money-Saving Tips

  • Take advantage of the city's public green spaces and parks. With 22 public squares in the Historic District alone, you're never far from a free place to wander and marvel at the city's trees, flowers, and architecture.
  • Book a hotel in offseason. Hotel rates can skyrocket during tourist seasons (particularly spring through the end of June), so try visiting during a less busy month like February or August.
  • Tour churches and cemeteries. These are some of the city's most notable spaces and many, like Bonaventure Cemetery (the city's most extensive and featured prominently in the book and later the film version of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"), have free walking tours.
  • Consider purchasing a city TourPass, which has one, two, and three-day options starting at $72 for adults and $42 for children. The pass includes admission to over 30 top city attractions like the Savannah History Museum and Telfair Academy, plus trolley privileges.
Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Visit Savannah. "Savannah's Squares and Parks."

  2. Visit Savannah. "Step Inside America's Longest Running Live Performance Theatre."

  3. James Beard Foundation. "The 2019 James Beard Award Winners." May 6, 2019.

Was this page helpful?