Do you believe in love at first sight? Well, it happened to me when visiting Savannah, Georgia. The Antebellum architecture, Spanish Moss, cozy cafes, and cobblestone streets are everything I dream of when traveling to a new place. It's on the smaller side but is packed with history and Southern charm. A 3-4 day getaway is the perfect amount of time to be able to enjoy everything Savannah has to offer.
We visited at the end of February and the weather was so perfect compared to the time we visited one year in July. Since the weather is warm all year round, I do recommend visiting in the cooler months to comfortably get out and walk the streets. The humidity and temperature in the summer can be overwhelming, especially for someone from Ohio. Savannah is a walkable city, which makes it so easy to get around. There's even a visitor shuttle service that takes you around the Historic district for free. We ended up driving to Savannah and had our own car to get around. It's such an easy city to navigate through, but we did notice limited parking in certain areas, so keep that in mind.
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Here's a quick breakdown of what our planned 4-day Itinerary looked like.
- check in to our Airbnb
- Early dinner at Zunzi's
- Self-guided walking tour of the city
- Visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
- Bonaventure Cemetery
- Whitemarsh Nature Preserve
- Tybee Island Lightstation and Museum
- Tybee Island South Beach
- Fox and Fig Cafe
- Rainbow Row
- Morning walk down W. Gaston St. and Jones St.
- Mate' Factor
- Moon River Brewing Company
- Paris Market
- City Market
- History and Haunts walking ghost tour
- The Gingerbread House
- Foxy Loxy Cafe
- Forsyth Park
- Wormsloe Historic Site
- Alex Raskin Antiques
- V&J Duncan Antique Maps, Prints, and Books
- Sorrel- Weed House tour
- Leopold's Ice Cream
Where to Stay
My husband and I stayed in the Historic District and we loved this location so much. Our Airbnb was located in a vintage1800s era building right across from the picturesque St. John's Cathedral. An added bonus is that it's right above a cozy cafe with the most amazing lattes! We booked the Leland suite which had a small kitchen area, seating area, and king-size bed. There's also a shared balcony with a table where we took breaks to relax and enjoy the view. This spot is also on the route for horse carriage tours and I love hearing the clip-clop up from the suite.
Another great historic B&B is the Hamilton-Turner Inn- it's also in a central location across from Lafayette Square. Every time I walked passed this inn I was in awe. It's absolutely stunning!
236 Drayton St, Savannah, GA 31401
After checking into our Airbnb, our priority was food! Zunzi's is well known for its South African-inspired sandwiches. It's a small walk-up restaurant with outdoor seating and high-quality food. I highly recommend the Johny Roll sandwich- it had me wondering if I remembered to pack my tums when I took a bite into its saucy goodness. It was loaded with vegan meatballs, veggies, and Zunzi's sauce. I got a side of New Orleans-style voodoo chips and a cocktail.
Self-Guided Walking Tour
I love starting out exploring somewhere new with a self-guided walking tour. There are also plenty of walking/bus tours to choose from on the Get Your Guide website. For our self-guided tour, we used an app from GPS My City and did the introduction walk. The walk took us mostly around Savannah's Historic District.
Savannah is one of the first planned cities in America and is set up using a grid system. There are short blocks and central meeting places called squares. The squares are where you'll find some of Savannah's most beautiful parks. Savannah has so much interesting history and the preservation is incredible. I could walk around all day and never get tired of looking at all the stunning architecture.
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
222 E Harris St, Savannah, GA 31401
This Cathedral is free to visit and it's truly an architectural masterpiece. Even if you only have one day in Savannah, this should be on your list. It was built in 1873 and was almost destroyed in a fire in 1898. The white and gold exterior is so unique and the tall stained-glass windows made me feel like I was standing in a kaleidoscope. This is a popular tourist destination so prepare yourself for the crowds.
415 Bonaventure Rd, Savannah, GA 31404
If you've read or seen the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil then you've probably heard of Bonaventure Cemetery. I personally haven't seen the movie or read the book, I just have a fascination with old cemeteries. We arrived at opening time to beat the crowds and find a good parking spot. Walking around this cemetery as the sun was coming up gave me chills; not because it's an old spooky cemetery, but because the morning light flicking through the Spanish moss illuminating the tombstones is truly a sight to see.
The cemetery was originally private and located on a plantation. The first burials here took place in the 1850s. In 1907, the city of Savannah purchased the cemetery and changed the name from Evergreen to Bonaventure, which means "good fortune" in French.
The most popular spot is Little Gracie Watson. She passed away when she was 6 years old from pneumonia. She was the daughter of a hotel manager and warmed the hearts of many people in Savannah. Her tombstone is a life-size sculpture of her, which is not something you normally see in a cemetery. People from all over still leave her flowers to this day.
Whitemarsh Nature Preserve
Johnny Mercer Blvd, Savannah, GA 31410
This is one of Savannah's hidden gems! We decided to stop here because we had planned on going to Tybee Island, and this little spot is on the way there. It's only about a 12-minute drive from the city center. Not only are there walking trails, but you'll also find mountain bike trails here. This is a great spot if you're looking for a nature walk. The morning breeze, native plants, and birds chirping really helped wake me up and put me in a vacation state of mind. There is a swampy area here so make sure to keep an eye out for alligators.
Tybee Island Light Station and Museum
30 Meddin Dr, Tybee Island, GA 31328
When driving through Tybee Island, one of the first things you'll notice is a towering black and white lighthouse. The history of this light station dates back to 1736. This makes it one of Georgia's tallest and oldest lighthouses. If you just want to check out the outside and grab a quick picture you can park in the parking lot and grab all the pictures that you need without purchasing a ticket. To do a tour tickets are $12 per adult. The ticket also includes admission to Battery Garland.
101 Fort Pulaski Rd, Savannah, GA
This fort is located across from the lighthouse. We didn't stop here but I wanted to include it in this post because I wish we did. It made history when the union army tested rifled cannons in 1862. The new cannons were successful in breaching one of the corner walls causing shells to pass through. After this breach, the Confederate army surrendered the fort. Here you can still see the damage of the cannon balls on the fort walls.
Tybee Island South Beach
South Beach is such a fun little beach town to visit. Here you can walk down Tybrisa Street where you'll find lots of dining, shopping, and nightlife. The Island pier and Pavilion are a must. We watched huge cargo ships pass by when walking down the pier. My favorite part was the public swings that have at the beach. It was so relaxing to swing and listen to the beach waves.
Fox and Fig Cafe
321 Habersham St, Savannah, GA 31401
After our island adventure, we drove back to the city to check out the Fox and Fig Cafe. I read so many great reviews on this vegan cafe and knew we had to try it out. It was so hard to choose since everything sounded so good. I got the chipotle mac and my husband went with the fox burger. Everything here is vegan and delicious. There's also a full espresso bar here!
510 E Bryan St, Savannah, GA 31401
You might be familiar with Charleston's Rainbow Row, but did you know Savannah has one as well? These colorful houses are located one block from River Street. They might not be as impressive as Charlestons, but they really are charming. They are considered Old Savannah Style homes and showcase Victorian-era details.
Morning walk down Gaston St. and Jones St.
One of my favorite things to do was to simply walk around and see all the architecture. W. Gaston has so many incredible houses to admire. Jones St. is considered one of the most beautiful streets in America. The street is lined with arched oak trees that really give it so much character.
401 E Hall St, Savannah, GA 31401
This rustic little tea house made me feel like I walked into a Grimm fairytale. The baked goods and Maté drinks are a little piece of heaven. I'd never heard of Maté before visiting this place. It's a South American caffeine-rich infused drink using Yerba Maté, which is a type of herbal tea. After visiting a couple of days in a row, I know I'm confident that I could order any drink off the menu and love it.
Moon River Brewing Company
21 W Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401
Moon River Brewing is located one street over from the River Walk. We loved stopping here and trying some new beers. You can get a $16 flight of 10 different beers to try- yes I said 10! We also grabbed some nachos, which were delicious.
6 W Broughton St, Savannah, GA 31401
When I found out Savannah had a Paris Market I knew I had to go there. This boutique store does sell beautiful items, but to be honest, it was a little pricey for me. I did visit the cozy cafe here and was instantly taken with how much it reminded me of Paris. If you have time, the Paris Market is the perfect place to window shop and grab a delicious latte.
219 W Bryan St, Savannah, GA 31401
The City Market is a four-block open area market that's been around since the 1700s. The history is pretty incredible. This spot has survived 2 fires, the civil war, and hurricanes. Even after all the tragedies, we still found it to be a lively atmosphere to visit. There are a variety of shops, art galleries, restaurants, candy stores, and even a prohibition museum. There are also a lot of local musicians that play music here. Make sure to grab a to-go cocktail when walking around!
History and Haunts Ghost Tour
Savannah might look pristine and charming to the eye, but this city really has a ton of secrets that make it one of the most haunted places in the world. Even if you're not into the paranormal, this tour is still a must! It wasn't cheesy like most ghost tours. We learned a lot of dark history in the area that will give anyone chills. Learning that most of the time I'm walking on unclaimed graves in the historic district did not settle well with my mind! Click the link above to book your tour!
The Gingerbread House
1921 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401
The Gingerbread House is one of my favorite houses in Savannah. It was built in 1899 and has such a unique look. It's currently a venue for weddings or events. You can't go inside unless you're attending an event, but it's still worth a visit to grab a picture!
Foxy Loxy Cafe
1919 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401
The Foxy Loxy Cafe is next door to the Gingerbread House. This is the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch. It has delicious and fresh tex-mex food. They also serve beer and wine. We ordered tacos, salads, and chips and sat outside to eat. Everything was so flavorful. We will 100% hit this spot up again when we return!
2 W Gaston St, Savannah, GA 31401
A visit to Savannah isn't complete without taking a walk through Forsyth Park. This has to be one of my favorite parks I've ever been to. The towering oak trees and picturesque fountain that's modeled after the de la Concorde in Paris really give it so much character. The park is 30 acres and has plenty of walking trails, benches, playgrounds, and even a splash pad.
Wormsloe Historic Site
7601 Skidaway Rd, Savannah, GA 31406
Wormsloe Historic Site has one of the most impressive driveways I've ever driven down. The 1.5 miles of lined oak trees always puts me in awe. After driving down Oak Avenue you'll find what it was like for the early settlers in Georgia. There's a museum, walking trails, and ruins dating back to 1737! There is an admission fee to get in $10 for adults, $4.50 for kids (ages 6-17), and $2 for children under 6.
Alex Raskin Antiques
441 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401
This antique store is located in what's considered the last unrestored grand mansion in Savannah. The entrance is on the side of the building in the cellar. When you walk in you'll notice the peeling paint and crumbling plaster. I also noticed the large price tags on the antiques- some as high as $20K. This antique store houses a lot of Victorian-era items. I can only imagine they all came from the historic homes around the area. Even if you can't afford to shop here, it's still worth a visit.
V&J Duncan Antique Maps, Prints, and Books
12 E Taylor St, Savannah, GA 31401
If you do enjoy antique shopping, then you'll love this cozy place and its pricetags. It's full of old vintage maps and books. Most of the maps are over 100 years old! I love the idea of purchasing an authentic vintage map of a place you love and hanging it up in your house. This is a one-of-a-kind place and highly recommend visiting.
Sorrel Weed House Tour
6 W Harris St, Savannah, GA 31401
On our ghost tour, we learned that the Sorrel Weed House is one of the most haunted houses in Savannah. They do offer ghost tours of the house at night, but we decided to do a daytime one. This house has an unusual history. It was first built on a burial site of soldiers that died during the Revolutionary war. During the Civil War, the basement was used as a surgical room to complete amputations where many men ended up dying. It also has a scandalous history that ended in suicide.
The Sorrel Weed House tour is worth doing! Other house tours to consider in Savannah are Owens Thomas House, Andrew Low House, Davenport House, and the Mercer-Williams House.
Leopold's Ice Cream
Leopold's is a famous spot in Savannah. Every time we passed by, there was a huge line outside spanning the block. At the time I didn't understand the hype for this ice cream. On our last day, we passed it and noticed the line wasn't nearly as long as we'd seen it. We found parking and stopped here. After reading a ton of good reviews about their lemon custard flavor, that's what I decided to order. It was a little slice of heaven. Now I understand the line! A fun fact is that Leopold's invented the Tutti frutti flavor.
Things to Note Before Visiting
- If you want to eat at a popular restaurant make your dinner reservation at least a month in advance to secure your spot! I didn't get to eat here, but I heard its a must for Southern food- The Olde Pink House
- Savannah has an open container policy where you're able to take a to-go cup of an alcoholic beverage. It does have to be in a plastic cup and remain in the parameters of the Historic District.
- Savannah summers are hot and muggy. We went for a day in July and I don't think I could do that again. The air was so thick with the heat we could only walk a couple of blocks at a time before finding air conditioning.