Beginner’s Guide to Savannah

Under the Oaks blog: Beginner's Guide to Savannah #travel #forsythparkThank you to all who have given us well-wishes for our second anniversary! It has started off on the right foot for sure. The week before our actual anniversary we took a long weekend trip to Savannah and Tybee Island. I talked a bit about it here but I wanted to give a more in depth guide to some of the places we went and things I learned that I couldn’t find when researching. Hopefully these tips help if you’re traveling to Savannah anytime soon and please feel free to add to the list! Remember, we traveled in October, not during peak season in the summer, so some things might vary.

General Places of Interest:

Ellis Square and City Market – Touristy but worth a walk through. The Saturday night that we were there, we walked through Ellis Square to find it packed with people. It was all set up for the Midnight Garden Ride, a family friendly bike ride around the city at night followed by a party!

Under the Oaks blog: Beginner's Guide to Savannah #travel #riverstreetRiver Street – This place is busy but it’s has some great views, good restaurants, and some a few candy shops that are incredible. It’s still touristy with souvenir shops and concierge kiosks but we didn’t mind those. We had brunch at Huey’s On The River.

Bay Street – Some great restaurants are located on Bay. We particularly enjoyed B. Matthew’s Eatery and Moon River Brewing Company.

Under the Oaks blog: Beginner's Guide to Savannah #travelAny of the Squares – It has been said that Columbia is the most haunted. There are several points of interest around this square where strange activity has occurred, particularly the Davenport House, Kehoe House, and 17hundred90 Inn & Restaurant. Also check out Calhoun and Whitefield Squares, which are said to have been old sites of burial grounds that were built over.

Must See / Do:

Get a beer or wine to go! – This was probably one of the worst places to have chosen to go while pregnant because drinking on the street is legal and everywhere you go, they ask if you want a drink to go. They also have a frozen daiquiri bar that’s just counter service. I had a sample of the Weak Willie (non-alcoholic) and it was delicious!

Old Savannah Tours – This was my favorite part of the trip for a few reasons. (1) Not only did we get to see several key places in Savannah, but I didn’t have to plan any of it! We purchased tickets for the on/off tour, which I’d highly recommend over any others. We were lucky to get a great tour guide, Kathleen, on the first go around and stayed on for the entire 90 minute tour. Then we took it again and got off at the places that interested us the most. (2) We were on an open air trolley and didn’t have to walk. It was hot but so much better than walking! (3) It was a fast tour but, after, I felt like I had a much better sense of direction and a list of things I wanted to see again.

A Ghost Tour – We didn’t take any of the ghost tours when we went but Jason did a few months back during a bachelor party weekend. Most start pretty late at night and I knew I wouldn’t be able to last that long. After more research since we’ve been back, I’d choose this tour company to go with because of the wealth of information on their website.

Under the Oaks blog: Beginner's Guide to Savannah #travelMovie Location Sightseeing – Do some research before you go and scout out places from some big films that have taken place around Savannah, such as Forrest Gump, Something To Talk About, and The Last Song. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was a big film that I knew about and Forrest Gump but I didn’t realize there were so many locations. Or you can always find a tour to do the research for you! (The photo above is of the church where the feather was dropped in Forrest Gump.)

Savannah History Museum – We didn’t get a chance to stop by here but this is where a lot of must see things are housed, including the bench from Forrest Gump and Johnny Mercer’s Oscar and Grammy awards.

Parking: During the week in Savannah, you pay for parking. There are several parking garages, which is what we did, but you can also find meter spots on the street for anywhere from 30 minutes to 10 hours. I strongly advise against parking on Bay Street (the main drag) even though it’s convenient to everything and a full 10 hour meter. With hundreds of tractor trailers passing through Savannah on this street alone, your chances of losing a mirror and/or being side-swiped are pretty good.

Safety: I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of people out at all the time. I felt very safe walking throughout downtown, even after dark. Panhandling is illegal so you don’t have people coming up to you at all, which is a nice change from a lot of places we’ve been.

Under the Oaks blog: Beginner's Guide to Savannah #travel #ladyandsons #pauladeenEating around town: We made reservations for our anniversary dinner at Alligator Soul but took a chance the rest of the time. One thing I’ve learned in general no matter where you are, the earlier you get to a restaurant for dinner, the better. We ate between 5:30p – 6:30p pretty much every night and we didn’t run into major issues (remember: this was not the summer!). But we also didn’t try to go to the MOST popular places either, like The Lady and Sons, which I’m sure has a wait all the time. The more touristy the eatery and/or area, the longer the wait.

B. Matthew’s was not busy at 10:30a on a Friday morning but was packed Saturday morning around the same time when we drove by. Friday evening during a stroll on River Street, I stopped into Huey’s on the River to ask when their busiest times for brunch usually are. She gave me a card (which was also good for free beignets!) and told me to call 30 minutes before to put our name on the list. Saturday morning I called and she said they were just on a short wait but put my name down. I’m so thankful we did that. By the time we got there, about 35 minutes later, the wait was over an hour but we got right in. Before you go, see what policies the restaurant has regarding call ahead seating and reservations. I think we were on a wait for only one place the whole time we were there but we also didn’t have a list of must-try restaurants.

Under the Oaks blog: Beginner's Guide to Savannah #travel #tybeeislandTybee Island: We enjoyed staying on Tybee, especially for the price. It was so awesome to be able to spend time at the beach as well as in Savannah. Here’s a few FYIs about Tybee if you plan to stay there or visit when you’re in Savannah:

  • Parking on Tybee is all paid all the time.
  • There’s limited public beach access so make sure to find the right spot and go early!
  • Check out The Crab Shack while you’re there for a really unique experience. I thought it would be super touristy and fake but it is authentic and one-of-a-kind.

If you travel to Savannah, have fun, see a ghost, and don’t touch the Spanish Moss! — Annie

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