To experience the real charm of the south, Savannah, Georgia, is a must-see. With its Spanish moss-covered live oaks and magnolias, more than 1,600 historic buildings and enchanting gardens, this port city is the picture of the old south blended with modern conveniences, famous eateries and trendy shops.
Founded in 1733, Savannah is one of the oldest settlements in the United States. Even though the city boasts the nation’s largest registered Urban Historic Landmark District, its 22 green squares and historic structures are all located within a 2.5 square mile area. Making it ideal for exploring on foot.
Choose from historic house tours, ghost tours or a self-guided tour through Historic River Street. Warm muggy days and cool breezy nights are perfect for a boat cruise on the water or a moonlight carriage ride.
So grab your walking shoes and take advantage of these 25 fun things that make Savannah so intriguing:
1. Get a taste of the South with some okra gumbo or she-crab soup at the Pirates House. Just a block from the Savannah River, the restaurant was formerly an old inn that housed bloodthirsty pirates and sailors from the Seven Seas.
2. Enjoy a day at the beach on tiny Tybee Island and tour the island’s 154-foot Light Station, constructed in 1933.
3. Take a guided ghost tour, such as Sixth Sense Savannah, and learn about all the local hauntings.
4. Tour the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, named for an early Civil Rights leader, and learn the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Savannah.
6. Walk or bike at the scenic 300-acre JK Gregory Park.
7. Visit the Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center and learn about the history of the Girl Scouts, and view the paintings, sculptures, and personal possessions of the organization’s founder.
8. Marvel at the museum-like 19th Cathedral of St. John the Baptist with its soaring spires, elaborate stained-glass windows, statues, and elegant gold leaf.
9. See the unique collection of Japanese-native bamboo, lotus and other lush greenery at the nearly 100-year-old Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens.
10. Tour the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum, founded in 1966. See exhibits of ship models, paintings and maritime antiques, principally from the era of Atlantic trade and travel between England and America during the 18th and 19th centuries.
11. Partake in the finest of southern cuisine at The Lady & Sons, owned by Paula Deen and her boys. Try the fried green tomatoes, y’all!
12. Visit the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences Museum of Art, the South’s first art museum, built in 1812 as a mansion.
13. Enjoy an evening of dinner, live entertainment, and a tour of Savannah on a sightseeing river boat cruise from the Savannah River Boat Cruise Company.
14. Explore the old historic graves at Colonial Park Cemetery (dating back to the English colony of Georgia), Laurel Grove Cemetery (with graves of Confederate soldiers and African American slaves) and Bonaventure Cemetery (former plantation and resting place for some famous Savannahians).
15. Experience the Jepson Center for the Arts: ArtZeum, a contemporary art museum that features interactive displays, galleries, sculpture gardens and more.
16. Discover the historic relevance of Fort James Jackson, a restored nineteenth-century fort located one mile east of the city on the Savannah River. Originally built to protect the city of Savannah from attack by sea, the structure played a bigger role during the Civil War.
17. Tour the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, the oldest and most complete antebellum railroad repair facilities in the United States.
18. And speaking of rails — when thirst calls, check out The Rail Pub, Savannah’s popular watering hole located in the Red Light District. The building has been everything from a boarding house to a brothel since it opened in 1890.
19. Catch a live musical show at the Historic Savannah Theatre, built in 1818. Enjoy hours of music, comedy and dance performed by award-winning singers and musicians.
20. Discover Savannah’s wild side at Oatland Island Wildlife Center, located less than 5 miles from Savannah’s historic district. Come face to face with wildlife and walk through pristine habitats.
21. Find antique treasures and gifts in stores and specialty shops located on historic River Street, in City Market or along Broughton Street. Peruse boutiques in the Downtown Design District, the Starland Design District, and around Wright Square.
22. Tee off at The Club at Savannah Harbor Troon Golf, rated one of the best courses in Georgia by Golf Week Magazine and awarded 4 stars by Golf Digest.
23. Sip a glass of wine and enjoy a world of tastes — from fish tacos to Coq au Vin, veggie lasagna to Asian short ribs — at the Blue Turtle Bistro.
24. Visit the Mighty Eight Airforce Museum and learn about the courage, character and patriotism displayed by the men and women of the Eighth Air Force from World War II to the present.
25. Board the Dolphin Magic Tours, sit back, relax and take in the sights during a two-hour cruise along Savannah’s waterways heading toward Tybee Island. Dolphin sighting guaranteed!