What To Do In Savannah, GA
After a short stay in Charleston, SC and the surrounding islands, we headed south to spend 3 days in Savannah, GA before continuing further south to Florida.
Three of the places in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List, by Patricia Schultz are in Savannah, GA and we managed to get to 2 of them: Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room (formerly Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House) and the Downtown Historic District. We skipped Elizabeth’s On 37th because, well, the prices are very high and we’re on a budget.
The first night, we just relaxed in the hotel, but we managed to fit quite a bit of sight-seeing into the next two days and didn’t spend much money in the process. Savannah is a beautiful city with tons of history and incredible classical Southern architecture.
Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room
The very first stop on our 2nd day was Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room for lunch. The doors open at 11, so we got there around 10:30 to be sure we’d get in. The line fills up quickly for this Savannah staple. For a more in-depth review of the place, check out our post, but suffice to say that if you’re in Savannah, Mrs. Wilkes’ is a must-eat establishment. And it’s the only meal you’ll need all day.
Dog Park at Mother Matilda Beasley Park
After eating 2 meals’ worth of food in one hour, we decided to take Knox to a nearby dog park so he could burn off some of the calories we ate. (Somehow the math works out on that.) Only 2 or 3 miles from Mrs. Wilkes’ is Mother Matilda Beasley Park with a section for off-leash doggie fun times.
It’s a decently nice park. It’s not huge, but there was more than enough room for the 5 dogs there, with room for another 10 to spare. It’s mostly sand, rather than grass, but it’s maintained well and you don’t have to watch out for landmines. After letting Knox engage in a good half-hour of butt sniffing and random running about, we headed to the Downtown Historic District.
Downtown Historic District
The great thing about these historical old cities is that you can spend a lot of time just walking around looking at the architecture, seeing the squares and parks, and reading the historical facts without spending a dime. Savannah is no exception.
We managed to burn an hour or two on Savannah’s River Street, aptly named since it runs parallel to the Savannah River. Just getting to River Street is a treat. You get to see the very steep and tight old stone staircases that drop down a good two stories from Bay Street. In the span of just that staircase, it feels like you’re going back in time 150 years. The modern buildings and hotels are gone and all that’s left are the old stone streets and buildings.
Down along the river, there are 14 or 15 plaques detailing various historical facts about the city, from the founding of the city to the slave trade to the Civil War. If you’re a history buff like we are, you’ll read every word of these.
We love seeing these old cities that have managed to maintain the historical feel of the old districts. Cities like Boston, Charleston, and Savannah pull it off perfectly, blending modern living while maintaining their historical significance and beauty.
Leopold’s Ice Cream
After Mrs. Wilkes’, we certainly didn’t need dinner. So we opted for some really, really good ice cream at Leopold’s Ice Cream. Walking in, you’re transported back to the 1950s and greeted with more than enough flavors, from the classics like chocolate and vanilla to creative originals like Honey Almond Cream.
The next day, we set out for some more sight-seeing at Bonaventure Cemetery. Okay, so it might seem a little weird to go hang out in a cemetery, but this one is really amazing to see.
First of all, it’s huge! Then there are the meticulously designed headstones and family plots, many of which seem to be competing for some “Most Ornate Headstone” prize.
And all of that is set beside the Wilmington River amidst old growth trees covered in Spanish Moss. You don’t need more than about 30 minutes to see enough of the place, but it’s definitely worth stopping in. Especially since it’s directly on the way to…
Remember that part about us being history buffs? Well, there’s just something cool about old Revolutionary and Civil War era forts. We didn’t get to go out to Fort Sumter in Charleston, so we decided to visit Fort Pulaski. It’s on the way to Tybee Island, so we didn’t even have to go out of our way. There’s an entrance fee of $5 per person, but our National Parks Pass got us in free. Of course, Knox had to sit in the car while we toured the fort, but it was a cool day, so we didn’t have any problems letting him sit for a half hour or so.
There are guided tours of the fort, but we just walked in and gave ourselves a self-guided tour. There are plenty of informative plaques to fill you in on the details of the fort, when it was used, and how the Union used new technology to make Fort Pulaski and every other brick fort ever built obsolete in just two days.
It’s interesting to walk inside these old forts and realize how small they were and think about the conditions that the Union and Confederate soldiers endured while stationed there during Georgia summers and winters. And of course they lacked much of our modern machinery to move the giant cannons and ammunition around. I can only imagine how tough life would’ve been manning one of these forts.
After the tour, we took advantage of the picnic area to whip out our camp stove and cook up some quick dinner before heading off to Tybee Island.
Finally, we headed out to Tybee Island, which is just a little beach community. It’s definitely more developed than Edisto Island, but not as much as Kiawah Island. We stopped at another dog park, but Knox was alone there, so we didn’t stay long.
The sun was already setting, so we just took a little drive around, stopped at a nice produce stand to get some boiled peanuts (no luck, they weren’t ready), and headed back to grab some shut-eye before heading south to Florida for warmer weather the next morning.
Here are a bunch of pictures from our 3 days in Savannah and all of the various places we went.