Savannah, GA

Tours, Activities & Trips: Try these Fun Things to do in Savannah

Rene Cizio

There are so many more things to do in Savannah than touring the squares and searching for ghosts, but those are two great choices. I recently spent six weeks in the city and explored many great places and spaces that make the region so spectacular. Plenty of activities, day trips, tours and places to eat will leave you happy, and I’ve highlighted some of my favorites. If you’re planning a weekend trip or longer, you won’t want to miss these 21 fun things to do in Savannah.

  1. Walking tours
  2. House tours
  3. Activities
  4. Places to eat
  5. Day trips

1. WALKING TOURS

Savannah is famous for its squares that make up the historic district downtown. Savannah’s founder, James Oglethorpe, created six neighborhoods in 1733, built around a central square. Today, 22 of the original 24 squares still exist.

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The 22 squares serve as focal points throughout the historic district, each with unique statuary, fountains, flowers, trees and seating areas. The huge live oaks draped in Spanish moss bring romantic southern charm to the squares and make taking a stroll around each one the best way to spend your time in Savannah.

Much of life and tourism centers around the historic district and numerous opportunities for good old-fashioned walking. Where you decide to walk the squares on your own, you’ll find plenty of signage, businesses and adventure to occupy yourself. If you’d prefer a more formal structure, the city has dozens of tour companies and individuals offering various types of themed walking tours.

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  • Walk the squares read the signs and visit the businesses. Many markers tell you about each square’s history and special features and the houses surrounding it.
  • Take a walk. There are history, architecture, food, ghost or one of the many other types of tours. Many vendors offer various tours throughout the day and night.
  • Head to Forsyth Park for one of many events, or on a guided tour bordering the historic and Victorian districts and admire the famous Forsyth Park fountain.
  • Walk the Victorian district and see a different style of home than in the squares filled with bright colors and gingerbread details that make each one distinctive.
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2. HOUSE TOURS

The number of historic homes in the Savannah historic district is beautiful. The styles include Georgian-style row homes, Italianate, Gothic, Greek Revival and more with flourishes and adornments and are built of rare Savannah red brick. Several are “trust lot” mansions with massive homes and gardens. However the best part is you can go inside many of them. A favorite pastime of visitors is going inside and seeing the restorations, regal furniture and grand rooms.

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  • Juliette Gordon Lowe’s birthplace, one block from Wright Square, was the home of the revered Girl Scout founder. Lowe was born there in 1860 and later moved to the Lowe family home on Lafayette Square, the first Girl Scout Headquarters, which you can also tour.
  • The Sorrel Weed House is a famous haunted mansion offering architecture and ghost tours if you dare. I did one of the ghost tours and was scared for weeks!
  • Mercer-Williams House is featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and is the former home of art dealer and restorations expert Jim Williams. The house is still maintained as it was when Mercer lived there and the murder happened.
  • Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home is where the famed southern gothic author lived until she was 15. They’ve restored to the depression era time period when her family lived there.
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3. THINGS TO DO

There are many fun activities in and around Savannah, which is why it’s so popular for weekend trips, bachelor and bachelorette parties and more. Many tour companies offer options and plenty you can do yourself. Here are a few fun things I recommend.

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  • Ghost hunt in a hearse. Only in Savannah will you see former hearses with roofs cut off, holding eight people and driving around the squares. They stop at all the famous ghost story locations and a few bars too!
  • While in Savannah trolley tours are a must-do. The old-time trolleys go all over the city and are a great way to hop on and off and see all there is to see without driving. Plus, the narration is top-notch.
  • The Telfair Museums are a series of three museums showcasing Savannah’s art and history. One price buys entry into all three museums,s where you can see the famed “bird girl” statute and some of the oldest haint blue paint in the south.
  • Savannah’s cobblestone riverfront is a blast from the past. It includes many shops and restaurants and is one of the city’s oldest parts. t’s a great place to find live music and events.
  • Bonaventure Cemetery is a picturesque park like cemetery filled with Spanish Moss, camelia blossoms, jasmine and other fragrant, flowering bushes. The memorial sculptures are unique and one of a kind and it’s one of the few cemeteries in the county that offers guided tours.
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4. PLACES TO EAT

Most of Savannah’s best restaurants have a wealth of beauty, history and ghostly tales to go with the excellent southern food. Dining in the city is well worth planning for, and visiting some popular spots won’t disappoint. Here are a few with great stories and good food!

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  • The Olde Pink House is a Savannah classic. Housed in an old mansion, it’s filled with history, ghost stories, spectacular service, and southern food. The basement bar is a good stop for late-night drinks—plan and book a month in advance.
  • 1790 Inn and Restaurant is an old establishment where you can rent a room. Just make sure it isn’t the haunted room 204! There are at least three ghosts that are believed to inhabit the inn. If you can’t make dinner, at least stop by the tavern for a drink.
  • The Pirate’s House is a 1753 building that pirates and others use as a seaman’s inn and tavern. Savannah’s oldest structure was once the favorite haunt of pirates. Now, you can get a great meal filled with nostalgia and maybe a few ghosts.
  • Clary’s Cafe was featured in the book and movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” It’s a throwback 1950s diner you won’t find very many places. You must try the biscuits and gravy and one of their homemade eclairs.
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5. DAY TRIPS

Finally, if you’re in Savannah for more than a few days, or you’re looking for some beach time or exploring other areas, there are plenty of places nearby for an excursion. Some adventures are within 20 minutes to one hour away from downtown Savannah which makes great day trips. Therefore, you’ll find that each community is unique and different from the one before, and part of the fun is exploring them.

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  • Wormsloe State Historic Site boasts one of the best Live Oak allées in the region and the ruins of the oldest standing structure in Savannah. It’s a great place to take pictures, walk, learn about Savannah’s history and take an easy hike.
  • Tybee Island is a beach community on the Atlantic Ocean just 20 minutes outside downtown Savannah. There are miles of sandy beaches, dunes, and bunches of shops and restaurants to enjoy.  
  • People know Hilton Head Island known for its Atlantic Ocean beaches and golf courses in an elite and pristine community. It’s only an hour away.
  • Bluffton is a small community in South Carolina, just 45 minutes from Savannah, on the way to Hilton Head. It has the same ocean views, a charming small, historical community, and a bustling downtown. There are plenty of small businesses, restaurants and outdoor activities to enjoy. You can take a carriage or golf cart tour too see the highlights. They host an excellent farm market on Thursdays.
  • Beaufort is a small town about 45 minutes outside of Savannah. It has a bevy of small shops and many artisans selling handcrafted goods in the picturesque downtown.

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