With large live oak trees covered in elegant Spanish moss and historic antebellum homes lining the streets, Savannah, Georgia’s picturesque charm is in no short supply. To make the most of our time in this delightful Southern city, we sought insight from as many locals and fellow travelers as possible on the best things to do here. We loved exploring Savannah and know our ‘What to do Savannah’ guide below will help you enjoy your time there as well.
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FYI This post is written based on a trip taken in early December when the temperature was between 55-75 degrees fahrenheit. We took this trip when our daughter was 2 years old and our son was 4 months old. For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Savannah with a Baby or Toddler, Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts.
What to do Savannah: Walking/Biking Tour
Our top ‘What to do Savannah’ recommendation is to take one of these walking or biking tours. Ideally take one of these the first day you arrive in Savannah so you can get a lay of the land. Taking a small group tour with a knowledgeable guide will help you learn so much about the city and what you want to do in Savannah the rest of your trip. A guided tour is one of our favorite ways to start to explore a new city! If you are unable to commit to a specific time for a tour, consider one of these self-guided tours you can purchase and take whenever works for you.
What to do Savannah: Wormsloe State Historic Site
Our next ‘what to do Savannah’ recommendation is to visit the Wormsloe State Historic Site. This is a really beautiful place! The stunning entrance lined with over 400 live oak trees (yes, live oak is a type of tree, but they are also living) covered with Spanish moss makes for a magical drive into this old plantation site. After driving down live oak avenue, be sure to stop in the visitors center and go to the museum to see a video that outlines the history of Wormsloe.
Once on the grounds, explore the old house ruins, gravesite, docks (be sure to listen for the pistol shrimp here) and living history camps. During our visit, the living history camp area was holding a Christmas special where a reenactment of a Christmas celebration typical of the time was being performed. There is also an extended 2.5 mile nature trail here you can walk on and we saw quite a few locals walking their dogs on this trail in the morning. This historic site is about 15 minutes outside of downtown.
Cost: Adults $11.25, Seniors $8.50, Children ages 6-17 $5.00, Children under 6 $2.50
What to do Savannah: Forsyth Park and Brunch at Collins Quarters
Forsyth park is a large green space located on your way into downtown. It’s best known for its large fountain and sidewalks lined with beautiful live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss. The homes around the park are really stunning (and large!) as well, exemplifying Southern architecture. We loved strolling through the park here to see the trees and around the perimeter to see the adjacent mansion homes. Our daughter’s favorite spot was (of course) the extensive playground located here.
To make the most of your visit to Forsyth park, visit on a Saturday morning to enjoy the farmer’s market and then get brunch at Collins Quarter right off the main square in the park. We loved being able to dine right in the park and the food here was quite delicious too. Collins Quarter tends to have a long wait (a sign of tasty food) but you can walk around the park or have your kids play at the playground (directly next to the restaurant) as you wait.
What to do Savannah: Visit Tybee Island
Our next, and one of our favorite, ‘what to do Savannah’ recommendations is to visit Tybee Island. We loved our visit here! Even though we were visiting in winter and it was far too cold to swim, our daughter loved searching for shells, watching the waves crash on the shore and playing in the sand. There is also a lighthouse (with associated museum) you can pay to explore — the grounds date back to the early 1700s.
The downtown area of Tybee Island is very cute with many local shops and restaurants. We liked that Tybee Island felt more laid back and was much less crowded than downtown Savannah (note we were visiting in off-season). Tybee Island is about 20 minutes outside of Savannah and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Stop in at the visitors center on your way onto the island to pick up a map and get insight into any special happenings that day.
What to do Savannah: Visit the Squares
Savannah is well known for the 22 squares located in the heart of the city. These squares are essentially small parks with paths containing different monuments and surrounded by stunning live oak trees. Each is slightly different yet all are very picturesque. They were originally developed to act as a public space for people to gather and build community in the different neighborhoods of Savannah. Our favorite square was Chippewa Square. This square was made famous in the Forrest Gump movie for the ‘life is like a box of chocolates’ scene.
Tip: To explore these squares, park near Independent Presbyterian Church (207 Bull St Savannah Georgia 31401). Per our local Airbnb host (and we concur), this is one of the best and easiest spots to find parking.
What to do Savannah: Dine at a Local Restaurant
The food scene is huge in Savannah and there are so many scrumptious restaurants to try. We tried a new place each day and were not disappointed with any of the places we ate at while visiting Savannah. Some of our favorites included Collins Quarter (discussed with Forsyth park recommendation), Starland Yard (different food trucks and yard games, pictured here) and Foxy Loxy (casual tacos/cafe with bookstore).
What to do Savannah: Get Coffee/Tea at a Local Coffee Shop
Beyond a hopping food scene in Savannah, the coffee shop scene is also grand. We loved checking out different coffee shops. There seems to be a cute coffee shop on almost every corner of this city! Some of our favorites included Bitty & Beau’s Coffee (employs persons with special needs) and Foxy Loxy (cafe that also serves tacos and partners with a book store next door).
What to do Savannah: Visit Bonaventure Cemetery
Another one of our ‘what to do Savannah’ recommendations is to visit Bonaventure Cemetery. This is an interesting cemetery to walk or drive around because of the VERY large and elaborate gravestones here. This cemetery was made famous in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. We drove around here while our baby and toddler napped in the car. You can spend as little or as much time as you want here. If driving, 30 minutes is more than enough time here.
What to do Savannah: Oatland Island Wildlife Center
Visiting the Oatland Island Wildlife Center is such a fun Savannah activity, especially if you have kids. Here, you walk on an about 2 mile wooded path, stopping at different native animal exhibits along the way. This was a fun way to get outside, get some movement and see a lot of different animals. Our daughter particularly loved seeing the armadillo and cougar here.
Cost: $5 adults, $3 kids 4+ years, Free less than 4 years
A hiking (and cost) free alternative to the Oatland Island Wildlife Center is visiting the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge located northwest of downtown Savannah. This 3 mile drive allows you to experience some wildlife of Savannah from the comfort and safety of your car. This is a great alternative for anyone not up for walking at the Oatland Island Wildlife Center.
What to do Savannah: Eat/Shop at City Market
This pedestrian shopping street is a fun place to get something to eat and do some shopping. Be sure to get a $4 giant (and we mean GIANT) slice of pizza to go from Vinnie Van Go-Go’s. The Georgia Tasting Room is another popular spot in the city market where you can get a drink to go. During our visit, the City Market was decorated for Christmas with weekend special holiday events going on.
What to do Savannah: Walk River Street and/or Boughton Street
If you are interested in shopping in Savannah, these streets have you covered with many unique local shops and boutiques. The river walk also has some street performers to entertain you during your walk. We honestly found the hoopla to be a bit much down here but if you are already downtown, these streets are worth a visit.
Note: We found many of the shops and cobblestones hard to navigate with a double stroller but baby wearing it would be no problem.
Where to Stay Near Savannah?
This Charming Savannah Airbnb was the perfect place to stay as a family of four. The location, spacious layout, modern updates and charming touches make this home the perfect Southern escape for anyone visiting Savannah. Read our Where to Stay Near Savannah, Georgia guide for more information on why we loved this place.
What is the best time of year to visit Savannah?
Anytime of year really is a good time to visit Savannah! Spring and fall you will typically get the best weather. The summer will be quite warm and winter a bit cold. However, we visited in early December and loved it. Coming from the Midwest, the high 50s to low 70s weather we had was fantastic. Also, with it being off season, we had many popular attractions in Savannah nearly to ourselves. Further, nearly everywhere was decorated for Christmas (with many special holiday programs going on), making the city extra magical.
We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Savannah. Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Please leave us a comment!
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