Things to do/see in Savannah, GA

The wife and I have decided to spend our upcoming spring break in Savannah, GA. Neither of us has been before, so I’m hoping to gather some anecdotal recommendations from the dope of things to do, see, avoid, etc. while we’re there.

We plan to be in Savannah itself for about 4 or 5 days, plus another 2 or 3 on Tybee island. We’re normally up for almost anything, but will be 7 months pregnant at this particular time (early April), if that matters.

Thanks in advance!

If you enjoy architecture Mercer House

I’d skip Paula Dean’s restaurant, especially considering your pregnancy. You can only get reservations if you’re with a group, and everyone else has to wait in a huge line outside in the heat.

I went once and had the buffet, and while it was good, it wasn’t anything that you couldn’t get in a hundred other places in the city. Think of stereotypical Southern food and it’s there - fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas, mac-n-cheese, grits, etc. Maybe ordering off the menu is better, but my guess is not by much. The place is dedicated to feeding the masses rather than fine dining.

Stay away from Hannah. Once I saw her with a great big pan and there was Hannah pouring water on a DROWNING man, she’s hard hearted Hannah, the vamp of Savannah G-A

I loved the tour of Mercer House, led by a lovely older lady who referred to the Civil War as “the late unpleasantness.”


Truly remarkable house, even without the notoriety of the Williams case. Jim Williams also restored a number of other houses in Savannah.

There is a place down by the water that has great beignets… Damned if I can remember the name right now!

The trolley tour of the city is very comprehensive and even with your ‘condition’ should be quite easy to handle. Don’t miss The Pink House. If you weren’t carrying a fetus, I’d suggest the riverfront because it is a real hoot (until nighttime when it gets rowdy). You might also try one of the steamboat rides on the river.

I live in Omaha, but my heart is in Savannah. Huey’s is the beignet place…best breakfast in Savannah (located on the river). I would say you must go to Mrs. Wilkes for lunch…drinks at the new Churchill’s (although it isn’t as great as it was before it burned down). Paula Deen’s is okay (but skip Uncle Bubbas), worth going once to say you’ve been there, but definitely go late, after the huge lunch rush has died down a bit and you can get seated quickly. Bonaventure Cemetery is fabulous as for walking around and is very quiet, even when there are lots of people there. Colonial Park Cemetery is right in the old quarter and is also quite nice. I definitely agree on the Trolley tour…do that first and get your bearings in the city. The River Walk is fun, but shopping is not good there, but is much, much better in the City Market area. The Paris Market, a store in City Market gets written up all of the time as one of the hottest little gift shops in the country. Try to poke into all of the old houses and churches that are open for tours, and just hang out and enjoy the town!

Huey’s! That’s it! And Bonaventure Cemetery is really cool- I love cemeteries in general.

I meant to respond to this when I first spotted it, but I was having a busy night at work…

In addition to the other good advice you’ve already received:

If you like cemeteries, check out Colonial Park cemetery in downtown Savannah (in addition to the ridiculously picturesque Bonaventure.) Add it to a little walking tour - see the squares, pop into Leopold’s for ice cream, walk through the cemetery, grab a slice of pizza at Vinnie Van Go Go’s in City Market, walk through the zillions of art galleries. Instead of Paula Deen’s, I’d recommend lunch at Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House one weekday. For the best view around, take the water taxi across the river for dinner at the AquaStar at the Westin. Ask your front desk clerk or hotel concierge for directions to Desposito’s in Thunderbolt - total dive of a seafood shack, with the freshest seafood in town.) If you aren’t nauseous, take one of the riverboat cruises - they’re great fun, especially the gospel brunches. Also, if you are an art afficionado (sp?) check out the Telfair Museum and the adjacent Jepson Center. There are lots of house tours (besides the very lovely Mercer House) that are worth your time: the Andrew Low house, the Juliet Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts) house, the Green-Meldrim House (Sherman’s headquarters when he captured the city,) the Davenport House (the first of the homes restored during Savannah’s revival,) and so forth.

If you like museums, the Railroad Roundhouse is pretty interesting (adjacent to downtown - easy to walk to if you aren’t driving,) the local history museum next door at the visitor’s center, the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights museum (across the street from the Roundhouse and the Savannah History Museum,) and the Ships of the Sea Museum (in a house worth the tour, even if you aren’t so into ships.) All of these are on the western border of the historic district. If you have a car with you, I highly recommend the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler (about 10 miles west of downtown, just off Interstate 95 at Exit 102.) (And don’t forget to budget for parking with your hotel, if you’re staying downtown.) The various trolley tours are great fun, and offer a good overview of the historic district, and there are other more specialized tours - Ghost Tours, Movie Tours, whatever.

Other nice things to see: Trustee’s Garden (eastern edge of downtown,) Old Fort Jackson (War of 1812 fortification, fun place to watch the dolphins and pelicans,) Fort Pulaski (built pre-Civil War - one of Robert E. Lee’s first assignments out of West Point - you’ll pass it on the way to Tybee Island.) If you have a free day, I’d also recommend a quick trip to Jekyll Island’s Millionaire’s Village and/or St. Simons Island - both a bit more than an hour south of Savannah.

On Tybee, you’ll of course stroll the beaches and maybe (if you’re up for it) tour the lighthouse. Eat spicy food at the North Beach Grill, grab breakfast at the Breakfast Club, enjoy the general laid-back tackiness that IS Tybee, and sleep late.

The Savannah Music Festival begins March 24th and goes through April 9th, but it doesn’t sound like this will fit in with your plans.

And don’t forget to get the “I Got River-Faced On Shit Street”, t-shirt, even though you may not be there for the fest.

D and I may head down that way ourselves…

Have a great time!


If any of y’all are heading this way, let me know if you need help with accommodations, directions, etc. I live and work near Savannah, and love to play tour guide!

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. We’ve been compiling a list of places to eat and things to see, and are very much looking forward to it all!

While en route to South Carolina in November 2010, we stopped for a night in Savannah and drove to Tybee Island. There is NO FREE PUBLIC PARKING on the island as Tybee Island proudly proclaims. Want to stop at a tacky tourist shop? That will cost you a $1.50 per hour. Their meters will accept credit cards though— with a minimum of a $3.00 charge.

Let me be clear, I have no problem paying for parking. There’s a perfectly good reason that New York city can command $40 to park. NYC is an amazing place. Tybee Island?–not so much. There are thousands of miles of nice beaches in the US. Florida alone claims to have 663 miles of beaches and Florida actually values its tourists. Sure to get onto Pensacola Beach you’ll have to pay a $1.00 toll for the crossing the bridge to the barrier island, but there’s no unreasonable parking fee once you get there.

Tybee Island seems to have decided that they can and will take advantage of their tourists. There’s only one road to the island. Unlike other barrier islands where that one road runs the length of the island and you can exit the island at the other end, Tybee Island’s one entry point is its one exit point. I picture the mayor as Snidley Whiplash curling his mustache and saying, “But what can they do? HAHAHA! We’ve already got them here, and they’re on vacation! We can charge anything we want!!HAHAHA!”

But seriously, $1.50/hr is not that bad. Go and have a good time. Choose a better beach destination next time and spread the word. There really are MUCH better beach spots.

I’m from Calgary originally, so am quite used to over-paying for parking. But we were fore-warned about the lack of parking on the island, and made sure to choose a B&B that includes a parking spot.