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Wondering if Savannah Georgia is a better family vacation destination or a romantic getaway for two? There are many fun things to do in Savannah GA with kids AND many dreamy ideas for starry-eyed couples too. But the oldest city in Georgia is busy and rambunctious at times amid its cobblestone-paved paths and cozy parks canopied in Spanish moss. Knowing the best places to visit in Savannah safely and efficiently is key. It’s also the 1st stop on our Coastal Georgia road trip quest. I’m sharing my honest woman-to-woman tips and secrets and bucket list ideas so you can decide which is the best family-friendly vacay… family trip or couple rendezvous!
We’ve got to start with a chat about Savannah Georgia vacations and coronavirus.
On July 1, 2020, the mayor signed an emergency order requiring masks in public spaces within the city of Savannah. Religious establishments are exempt.
Check Savannah Covid-19 updates before traveling.
Savannah Georgia was established in 1733 by a British soldier, James Oglethorpe.
As a military strategy, he laid out the city in a grid system which is now known as America’s first planned city.
Ironically, a huge draw of this enchanting city is the rows of Savannah parks shaded by a canopy of majestic oak trees and Spanish moss.
It’s one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the US with over 22 city squares of stunning homes, churches, and museums.
Did you know history was preserved because of 7 women in the 1800s wanted to stop the demolition of buildings? Yep, they started the Historic Savannah Foundation.
Map of Savannah Historic District
Historic Downtown Insider Tip: Wear comfortable shoes whose heel won’t get wedged in-between cobblestones!
HOW TO GET TO SAVANNAH & GET AROUND
You have the option to fly into Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), located about 10 miles northwest of the city, and take a rental car, Uber, Lyft, taxi, Coastal Regional Coach, limo, or shuttle into town.
If on a Coastal Georgia road trip, then you’ll choose from Interstate 95 (I95) or Interstate 16 (I16) to drive into the heart of the city. Bring spare $$ to pay fees or use Park Savannah app to pay by mobile.
My advice is to type “Cotton Exchange” or “Bay Street” into your GPS for a great parking space downtown. Other ways to get around:
- Free Express Shuttle (DOT)
- Savannah Belles Ferry
- Chatham Area Transit (CAT)
- $$ Savannah Old Town Trolley Tours (hop on & off)
- Pedicab (bike taxi)
- Bike rentals
No matter if you’re thinking about things to do in Savannah GA with kids or a romantic rendezvous with the hubs, you can’t lose!
TOP THINGS TO DO IN SAVANNAH GA WITH KIDS
Before we talk about the incredibly romantic places to see in Savannah with your spouse, let’s check out the best places to visit in Savannah with kids!
Visit Savannah Children’s Museums
Tricentennial Park is a 25-acre area offering family-friendly fun with Battlefield Memorial Park, Savannah History Museum, Georgia State Railroad Museum, and Savannah Children’s Museum.
The Georgia State Railroad Museum is an especially exceptional standout with its antique locomotives and an intricate model train. A must-see for train-loving tots.
The Children’s Museum is closed at the time of this writing. However, the staff are next door at the Railroad Museum leading family activities 10 am-4 pm, Wednesday-Sunday (activities are included in railroad museum admission).
Fifteen minutes from Downtown Savannah, Fort Pulaski National Monument is a fascinating marvel for kids. It’s an intact 19th-century fort featuring moats, drawbridges, and mysterious tunnels. There are walking trails with views of the marsh and Savannah River. And you just might catch a glimpse of bald eagles, manatees, loggerhead sea turtles or peregrine falcons.
Insider Tip: Don’t miss the Fort Pulaski daily cannon firings at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., or 3 p.m.
Hunt for sweets
There are two sweet shops on River Street called Savannah’s Candy Kitchen and River Street Sweets. But my top choice for kids would be Leopold’s Ice Cream Shop on Broughton Street.
This old-fashioned icon has been serving up secret recipes since 1919!
Choose from homemade soups, sandwiches, salads, and freshly baked treats. And of course, end your memorable time there with super-premium ice cream.
Splash through Ellis Square Fountains
What fun for kids when the weather is warm! The squares and fountains of Savannah are famous, but this one is amazing for small kids and it’s free! Near City Market, Ellis Square has about 15 waterspouts shoot up into the air about seven feet.
What’s even better? It’s one of the best things to do in Savannah GA with kids during warm months because here are nearby coffee and treat shops nearby and plenty of seating at the fountains.
Insider Tip: The area is flat and level, just make sure kiddo have skidproof shoes on so they won’t slide down.
Take a free Savannah Ferry
If looking for a free activity to get a unique view of River Street Savannah, take a ride aboard the Savannah Belles Ferry. Named after four amazing “Southern Belle” women that left their mark on the city in days gone by.
Hit the Savannah Georgia Beach
Although not close to downtown, “Savannah’s beach,” Tybee Island could be a fun diversion for the family.
Walk the wide beaches, rent a bike, or visit South Beach for a snow cone and walk along the pier.
Fort Screven and the Tybee Island lighthouse are two iconic history stops worth the time for a visit.
Want to experience the natural beauty of the area at eye-level? You won’t believe what’s waiting just a few minutes outside of the city!
Go kayaking through the marshes or rivers with a guide or on your own to view wildlife all around. Beautiful eagles and Ospreys soar in the sky above you. You may even be able to get up close and personal with dolphins and otters swimming by!
Insider Tip: Rent a kayak or book a tour with Savannah Coastal Ecotours or Moon River Kayak ahead of time to ensure availability and ask questions about COVID safety.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SAVANNAH AS A COUPLE
The scenery screams romance all on its own from almost every corner of this city. Almost too many outdoor romantic things to do in Savannah Ga to list here, let me give you a few dreamy ideas to get started.
Wormsloe Historic Site
The very first romantic thing to do is to stop at Wormsloe State Historic Site, a 1736 colonial estate near downtown Savannah.
The tickets are affordable considering the beauty you encounter and the time it takes to explore!
If you are dying to immerse yourself below the majestic oaks dripping with Spanish moss, you’ve hit the jackpot here!
Drive down the mile and a half lane under a picture-perfect canopy of those magnificent trees and moss. Then take a guided tour with a guide dressed in period costume.
They’ll lead you on a delightful (and romantic) stroll through the woods and along the marshes to the ruins of a 1730s homestead. It’s the oldest colonial tabby ruins in the state!
Be on scene on just one spot where countless movies set in Savannah have been shot. You’ll actually feel as if you’re a part of a romantic movie (miles away from the world) when in actuality, you’ll only be about 10 miles from Downtown Savannah.
Take a stroll hand in hand with your man along Savannah’s historic waterfront, the hubbub of activity. It’s a must-see at least once in a lifetime.
The romantic, hand-laid “ballast stones” that pave River Street were brought in on ships from Europe that traveled into Savannah when it was a virgin port. The 1800s ships would dump their ballast stones along the Savannah River shoreline and load up on valuable cargo.
Get a treat and sit a spell on one of the many benches to watch the water activity with your sweetie. You may get a free concert by one of the frequent jazz players that liven up the sidewalk scene.
Insider Tip: If you aren’t there to party, plan to go early in the day to enjoy the cobblestone, waterfront views, yummy treats, and soul-stirring monuments.
Steamboat Dinner Cruise
Speaking of waterfront views, catch a river breeze AND a romantic sunset aboard a Savannah Riverboat cruise!
Talk about romantic!
Board the massive Georgia Queen or the Savannah River Queen and relax on a delightful sightseeing tour from an ornate ballroom.
Parks & Fountains
The most romantic thing to do in Savannah in my opinion is to slowly stroll along the city’s shaded parks with the one you love!
There are many beautiful Savannah parks like Chippewa Square, the spot of the Forest Gump bench scene, but none more popular than Forsyth Park. Forsyth boasts 10 acres of live oaks, sprawling green space, and a breathtaking fountain that’s the top photographed spot in the city.
Thirty acres of shady groves in all, the squares of Savannah never disappoint as a romantic backdrop. In fact, they’ve been the venue for countless proposals and weddings!
Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist
At the center of the picturesque historic district is the Gothic Revival-style Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. This jaw-dropping church captures your imagination from the outside and the inside.
This Roman Catholic cathedral is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah. All I know is that the towering spires and stained glass take the breath away from any visitors that come close to it.
Do you know why Savannah Georgia is said to be one of the most haunted places in America?
- Battles like the Siege of Savannah in 1779
- The Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1820
- Murders like the 1959 murder of three sisters
Some say River Street is the most haunted spot. How about Colonial Park, where soldiers have been seen walking the perimeter of the beautiful gardens at night.
And yet some chalk it up to the notion that the entirety of the land plot upon that General James Oglethorpe built Savannah’s squares was a burial ground for Native tribes.
Bonaventure Cemetery is on a hauntingly beautiful 17th century bluff shaded with oaks and magnolias, overlooking the Wilmington River. Stroll on your own or take a ghost tour around the gothic-style graves lined with blooming azaleas in the spring.
Whichever one is accurate, there are more ghost tours than you can shake a stick at. So have a romantic time getting spooked together for this popular ghost hunting city after dark!
KID FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS
It’s not always easy to find a place that adults AND kids both enjoy. But here are two of the best places to eat in Savannah for kid-friendly fun.
Dine with Pirates
The Pirate House is a must if you have the kiddos in tow. Yes, it’s a little touristy. Let’s remember that the tots will love it!
There are pirate hats, mugs, and a gift shop upstairs. Oh, and the comfort food. If you leave hungry, it’s your own fault!
Vintage Chic Fun
The staff call their place a “vintage chic diner.” That sums it up well.
The owners named the charming Little Duck Diner after their little “ducklings.” They designed it around the youthfulness in all of us and created a menu from their kids’ favorites.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN SAVANNAH AS A COUPLE
The Seafood Spot
If you are strolling on River Street and want a lovely fresh seafood meal, pop into the Shrimp Factory. The no-fuss menu, friendly service, and great comfort food fill you up for a good price. Families AND couples love it.
Comfort Food Galore
Speaking of comfort food, Mrs. Wilkes is a famous southern diner and comfort food institution. It’s been cranking out amazing food since 1943! For families AND couples.
Want to get dressed up for a romantic cuisine rendezvous? You don’t have to but if so, this is the place! The romantic winner is the elegant 1771 mansion, the Olde Pink House that serves up dishes like Low Country She Crab Soup and fried green tomatoes. Also, ask for the southern sushi!
*PIN FOR LATER*
OLD TOWN TROLLEY
One of the best things to do in Savannah is to take the Old Town Trolley to get a great overview of this historic city.
Ramble about at your own pace with the hop-in and hop-off option to 15 stops!
Places like the famous Forsyth Park, haunted houses, City Market, and museums, it can’t be beat!
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SAVANNAH
Let’s get woman-to-woman brutal about my opinion on where to stay in Savannah for family-friendly experiences.
Whether a family vacation or a couple’s retreat, you MUST be strategic about choosing one of the Savannah Georgia hotels or rentals.
#1 – The city gets a little, um, interesting as the sun begins to set.
Folks party hard on and around River Street. AND it’s legal to carry a drink out of an establishment and ramble. Typically, this is the case from River Street until the Jones Street area.
In my Mom opinion, steering clear of River and Bay Streets for lodging is wise.
#2 – It’s not a wise practice to walk around after dark in Savannah in certain areas that aren’t populated with people.
So where’s the best place to stay in Savannah?
My current top pick is The Marshall House. Luxurious family rooms without the resort price tag!
Room to move
My current favorite house rental is 14 East Jones Street. On one of the prettiest blocks in America, you won’t be disappointed in the scenery of the neighborhood!
Romantic Airbnb & Historic Inn
My current top romantic Savannah B&B would be the Pearl Suite at the Eliza Thompson House. A vintage hideaway that oozes southern charm and history.
THE BEST SHOPPING
There are literally shopping opportunities sprinkled all around, but there are two spots you can’t miss:
The Bull Street corridor has some of the best boutiques in the city like Carol’s Boutique, E. Shaver Booksellers, and Foxy Loxy Print Cafe and Gallery.
Looking for fashion boutiques? The Design District is full of gift shops and exclusive fashion designers on Whitaker Street.
THE MOST INSTAGRAMMABLE PLACES
- Forsyth Park
- The Olde Pink House
- Wormsloe Oak Avenue
- Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist
- Tybee Island Pier
- Tybee Island Crab Shack
- Downtown Carriage rides
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Walking to see historic homes, beautiful parks, and intriguing statues are all free. Tour the Mercer Williams House where you only have to tip. Take a stroll through Colonial Park’s historic cemetery, ride the ferry, or splash through Ellis Square.
Lush landscapes, horse-drawn carriages, comfort food, well-preserved architecture, and eccentric history. It’s also known as the backdrop of movies like Forrest Gump, The Lincoln Conspiracy (1977), and Lady & The Tramp (2019).
Concierge and locals have a standard answer, “Stay between MLK and Broad.” They are well-populated. Like anywhere else, don’t wander down dark alleys, vacant spots, or through quiet parks at night.
Yes, one of the best! See the best places to see throughout this article.
Jones Street was named the prettiest by Southern Living Magazine. It’s not the only jaw-dropping street, however. There are many!
There are 3 fabulous seasons to visit… Spring, Fall, & Winter. Summer is too hot! Trust me on this. Savannah in the Spring is beautiful and all abloom, but it’s also the most popular so crowds will be heavier and lodging will be pricer. The perfect weather and fun in October are fantastic also.
Yes, there is an Amtrack Station.
I would say yes, especially on river Street during certain times of the year. But there are certainly many other fabulous attributes to the city that can be enjoyed if that isn’t your scene.
YOU MAY NEED
Obsessed with the beauty of Forsyth Park like we are? Now you can look at this iconic park every single day with a Georgia Print On Canvas.
Like the map I shared above but want one to hold in your hand and stick in your pocket? Here’s the absolute best Historic District Map. And I love the different options of this self-guided tour!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
All addresses below are located in Savannah unless otherwise noted.
Georgia Railroad Museum: 655 Louisville Rd.
Leopold’s Ice Cream: 212 E Broughton St.
Coastal Ecotours: 50 W Bluff Dr.
Forsyth Park: 2 W Gaston St.
Wormsloe Historic Site: 7601 Skidaway Rd.
Cathedral of St. John The Baptist: 222 E Harris St.
Bonaventure Cemetery: 330 Bonaventure Rd, Thunderbolt, GA
The Pirate House: 20 E Broad St.
Little Duck Diner: 150 W Saint Julian St.
The Shrimp Factory: 313 E River St.
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room: 107 W Jones St.
Olde Pink House: 23 Abercorn St.
The Marshall House: 123 E Broughton St.
Eliza Thompson House: 5 W Jones St.
VACAY WITH KIDS OR AS A COUPLE?
As you know, we seek and share “family-friendly” vacation ideas in the south – for families and couples.
Basically that means that we aren’t looking to party while on vacation. We’re looking for safe, wholesome, and clean fun.
So which kind of vacation do I think is best in this city – family vacay VS romantic getaway?
There are definitely PLENTY of fun things to do in Savannah GA with kids. It’s a bustling city, and I think older kids would enjoy it more.
Yet, Savannah is one of THE most romantic cities in the U.S. in my opinion. Romantic streets, parks, B&Bs, restaurants, boats. Romance is literally everywhere you look!
So my answer is both!
You can read Georgia travel guides to other gorgeous cities like St Simons Island or the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Read travel guides to other beautiful southern states like Florida and the Carolinas as well!
I’m ready for a visit! Thanks for the detailed info.