5 Gorgeous Fall Days in Savannah, Georgia
Happy April Travelers! We’re hopping right back in to our second stop of our Southeast road trip. If you missed stop 1, head on over to read all about St. Augustine and come along with us to Savannah.
I was so excited to visit Georgia. I am so excited to still see more parts of Georgia. It was so beautiful, everyone really is so hospitable, and there is so much fun history to learn! I really do think we went during the perfect time though. We were here at the end of October and the fall weather was incredible. It wasn’t too humid, except for one day when it rained. The rest of the time was beautiful 70’s and sunny. I don’t know if I could survive a humid Georgia summer filled with bugs. Yikes!
Anyways, we had a blast and thought 5 days was more than enough time to see everything we wanted to in Savannah. I guess I didn’t realize just how much US history really occurred here. Which is silly of me considering it was one of the original 13 colonies. I’m not even really sure what I was expecting, but Savannah exceeded all of my expectations.
Where we stayed
I booked us this private room near the Eastside/Starland neighborhood pretty last minute. Ideally we would’ve liked an entire house or hotel room but we worked with what was available. We loved the area – it reminded us a lot of our up and coming gentrified downtown area in Reno. I actually am glad that we stayed in the area we did. If you haven’t figured out yet, Kenny and I aren’t the most boujie type of travelers. We like the more local, diverse, authentic experiences. You can find all the blog posts about the expensive tourist hotels around the downtown area of Savannah but I really recommend checking out the outlying neighborhoods. We had a car so it really wasn’t a big deal driving a couple minutes to anything we wanted to see. We really were so close to everything.
Our hosts were so awesome and we are so glad we happened upon their Airbnb last minute. Most of the places we really enjoyed eating and drinking at were around our house so that was really helpful. Our hosts even brought us coffee every morning to get our day going! If you have a car I think this area would be a perfect starting point for your trip to Savannah!
The one thing I will say about Savannah in general that I didn’t know beforehand is that the chasm between middle and low class seems huge. It was such an interesting experience to see neighborhoods with brand new million dollar houses next to a house literally falling apart. Seems like most places are going through the same types of things right now. The housing market is insane, people experiencing homelessness is up exponentially, and every town is experiencing gentrification. I recommend seeing all that for yourself and getting out of the tourist bubble to see Savannah for what it actually is.
What we did
Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation – Our drive from St. Augustine was going to take us about 3 hours, so we decided to take our time. We took basically a full day and took the scenic highway 17 that was recommended to us by our Savannah Airbnb hosts. They gave us a list of a couple stops that included the Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation. We really only had time for one and I’m so glad we stopped here. Hofwyl was a former rice and then dairy plantation in the early 1800’s that continued on until the mid 1900’s. We got it all to ourselves and had a private tour of the house itself with the sweetest guide. The rest of the grounds are self guided and offers a great historic look into life in 1800 Georgia. Tours cost $8 for adults including the guided tour of the plantation house! Honorable mentions on Highway 17 are the Old Slave Cemetery and Fort King George Historic Site.
Walk the historic district – Our first day in Savannah we just parked at Monterey square and walked and walked and walked! I had high hopes of doing a walking tour here to learn some of the history and for some reason the times never worked out. I did download a couple self guided walking tours from GPS My City that we read through while we explored. Even without a true guide, I feel like we learned a decent amount about Savannah from the self guides and the plaques around the city. No matter what you choose to do, walking around the historic district will prove to be a good afternoon as you get your bearings. There’s something like 22 squares around Savannah and you can’t walk around the historic district without walking through one. Day or night, it’s fun to wander around the squares and learn about their history. You can find a tour of all the squares on City Walking Guide and even see the square that Forrest Gump made famous!
Forsyth Park – Let’s call this Savannah’s Central Park. Obviously it’s much smaller, although it’s a good sized park! We took the obligatory picture of the fountain in the middle of the park and then parked our picnic blanket to enjoy the sunshine. There’s a little restaurant near the fountain that has great reviews and looked great, although we can’t speak from experience.
Bonaventure Cemetery – I’ve already told y’all that I love a good cemetery. Bonaventure is pretty well known and it’s a biiiig place! My favorite cemetery is probably the one we saw in Boston, but this one might be a close second. Bonaventure is huge and has some very old gravestones. I just love looking at the history and wondering what life was like for those people. It’s a free activity if you’re into this kinda thing or you can do a tour like this one!
Wormsloe State Park – I’ll be completely honest when I say we just came here for the photo op. We did walk around and explore most of the park but I wanted to get a picture in the avenue of Spanish moss trees. And it cost us $10 each to do it. The park exhibits the history of an old Colonial estate, one area housing the oldest standing structure in Savannah. We did walk through the museum and read about what life was like for these early settlers, but I’m not sure I would say it’s completely worth the money to visit. All that to say, we did get some really amazing photos.
Riverside Plant District – This is the shopping district that lines the Savannah River. It’s full of restaurants, expensive shops and some of the major hotels. On one of our afternoons we looked for a place to sit at one of the riverfront restaurants but it gets busy! Definitely would plan some time to walk around here, grab a drink to go, and enjoy the views of the river!
History + Railroad Museums – We bought a compound ticket to see three of the Coastal Heritage Society’s museums. Most of the museums cost $9-11 so you can basically see 3 for the price of 2. We chose the History and Railroad museums along with Old Fort Jackson for our ticket. Personally, we felt like the history museum was a bit cheesy and a waste of money but we loved the railroad museum. We missed the guided tour to really learn the history of the railroad museum but still loved walking around and exploring the big trains on our own.
Old Fort Jackson – This river fortification was used during the war of 1812, although it didn’t really see very much battle action. There’s some weaponry and other artifacts from the war days, including a cannon that is fired daily! We had the place almost to ourselves when we visited and got to see the cannon firing which was pretty cool!
Colonial Park Cemetery – We missed this cemetery during the day so on our last night I made Kenny take me here so we could at least walk through. Colonial Park Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Savannah and supposedly very haunted. You can find copious amounts of tours that include this cemetery as a stop and show you where to find some of the more famous headstones. One of the more notable graves is that of Button Gwinnett, a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence!
Where we ate + drank
One of the most unique and coolest things about Savannah is that within the boundaries of the historic district, you can walk and drink alcohol! It’s like we teleported right over to Europe. A lot of the restaurants and bars have a to-go area and they’ll send you off with your drink in a plastic cup. It’s the little things, amiright? The other great thing is that all the breweries and bars allowed kids, regardless of if they served food or not. In Reno, we can’t take Ru to some of our favorite breweries because of silly old restrictions. So this was a really pleasant surprise and we all got to enjoy the local craft beer scene!
Service Brewing – This place was a favorite of our trip. Service is a veteran owned brewery with some seriously tasty beer! We got a couple tasters and beers to walk around downtown with because we wanted to try as much of their beer as possible! I recommend any of their R+D beers, we tried the piña colada, who are the crust, PB&J, and the 7 layer in tasters.
Ghost Coast Distillery – Right down the street from Service we found Ghost Coast. They had some very tasty cocktails, that you can do in a mini taster version! We ordered a tasting flight of four – three spirits neat and one cocktail. It was such a fun and unique way to try new liquor!
Tondee’s Tavern – We happened upon this old Patriot hangout on our last night in Savannah. We had walked around one last time in the historic district and grabbed a local sour to go while we were exploring.
Moon River Brewery – We actually came here twice – once for a to go beer and once for dinner. I’ll say we recommend just doing a to-go beer. Specifically if they have their sweet potato beer with the nut topping on the rim!
McPherson’s Pub – If you fancy a nice little Scottish pub, you’ll find McPherson’s is your place! They have a full menu of imported beers, as well as some local stuff on tap. We ordered some bangers and mash and enjoyed their happy hour prices on drinks. Definitely recommend if you find yourself in the area.
Savannah Taphouse – This was another place that we grabbed a to go beer, mostly because I had to use the loo so bad that we just dropped into the first place we found! One thing we didn’t know until Kenny ordered at the bar was that this place was actually owned by Ben Roethlisberger! They have 40 beers on tap and their food menu looked very yummy.
Yatai Ramen – Kenny is obsessed with Asian food so we had to at least find one place to eat some sort of Asian inspired cuisine. We happened upon this little place while walking downtown and loved both of our dishes. It was actually one of the only ramen places we saw while in Savannah so if your palette asks for it, I think this is your place!
Six Pence English Pub – This was another find while we were walking around downtown. We always love a good pot roast or some bangers and mash. Plus anywhere that you can find Irish or English beers on tap is a good find. Try to get the patio seating for people watching and enjoying the sunshine.
Southbound Brewery – We got a Groupon for Southbound and I almost didn’t put it on here. We would’ve maybe given this place a second chance but the first impression was not a good one. It’s also a little bit of a drive outside of the downtown area. I think their beer is worth checking out but we had a weird experience with the bartender and just didn’t love our time here. They have a nice patio, some live events, and food trucks on the weekends. Hopefully we just caught them on an off day.
The Perc – We got coffee here literally every day of our trip! It is the highest recommended coffee shop on every blog post and by every local. It also happened to be about two blocks from our Airbnb! We’d pound our first cup from our hosts to get us out of bed and grab our daily grind from Perc. They have a rotating menu of specialty drinks, but my favorite was the Espresso Tonic with orange peel and bitters!
Two Tides Brewery – Dare I say that this was one of our favorite places in Savannah? Two Tides was our very first stop before checking into out airbnb and we loved it! They have a rotating menu of some really unique beers and a few very funky upstairs rooms to enjoy your bevs in.
Water Witch Tiki Bar – This awesome bar was around our airbnb and they let us sit out on the patio with our sleeping girl. We ordered a couple gourmet cocktails and enjoyed the fall patio weather. We absolutely think you should check this place out for a night out in Savannah.
Hop Atomica – This is where we had our first dinner in Savannah and it was a favorite of our trip! This little microbrewery and distillery has some really yummy pizzas and side dishes to match. They also have a full bar, patio and their libations on tap. I ordered an incredible London Fog ale to match our pizza and sweet potatoes.
Starland Yard – Add this place to the top of your list while in Savannah! We saw Starland Yard while we were at Two Tides since they are located right next to each other. It was for sure one of our favorite dinner spots. This food truck park is extremely family and dog friendly and gets very busy! Finding a seat might be a little bit of a challenge but don’t let it deter you from staying a while. They have rotating food trucks every week and make it really easy to pay – you check in with your last name as you come in and pay your tab as you leave. Plus, almost every night of the week they have local music playing, so it’s really a fun event! We ordered a pizza and some beers and snagged a good table close to where the music was being played. Our only regret – not ordering dessert!
Foxy Loxy – I saw this place on almost every blog while researching Savannah. It is on almost every breakfast list you’ll see. We ordered breakfast sandwiches to go on one of our late mornings and they were quite good, even for take out! Seems like a really cute place on the inside in case you make it to dine in instead.
Tybee Island Day Trip
On our second to last day in Savannah we took a little day trip to Tybee Island. I think it deserves an entire day to itself, maybe even an overnight! We didn’t hit the beach on Tybee, although you totally could find a nice sandy area to hang for the day. We really came to Tybee for Fort Pulaski and to just explore, so we meandered and saw what we could by car. Tybee is a relatively small area so we could really drive the main street pretty quick. We stopped for coffee and breakfast at Friendship Coffee Co., where we had the sweetest waitresses who were just enamored with little Ru. We had some drinks and apps at Pier 16, although I wish it wasn’t so hot because we would’ve loved to sit on the patio! Dinner is a MUST at Bubba Gumbo, it came recommended by a few locals in Savannah and Tybee Island and wow. It was the southern seafood dinner we needed. You obviously must try the gumbo, and if you’re extra hungry order an extra basket of hush puppies and the Coquille St. Jacques (seared scallops drenched in cheese!) And of course, gotta get a local beer to wash it all down.
What to do
Tybee Beach Lighthouse + Battery museum – On our drive back up the main drag, we stopped in North Tybee to visit the lighthouse. It happens to be the oldest (and tallest!) lighthouse in Georgia! It’s $12 per person to visit and your ticket also allows you access to the battery museum across the street from the lighthouse. We headed up the 178 steps to the top of the lighthouse for the stellar 360º views.
Fort Pulaski – This was everything we were looking for in a fort, complete with a moat! Although Fort Pulaski never saw a crazy land battle, there was plenty of cannons fired upon its walls as the Union troops overtook the fort in 1862. At one point during the Civil War, the fort was turned into a prison and remained one briefly when the war ended. It wasn’t busy at all when we visited and it was such an interesting piece of Southern history to see. Especially the cannon holes on the exterior of the fort, that immortalizes battles long since lost.
Savannah was an incredible look into our American history and all around southern charm. We really can’t wait to get back and enjoy all that Georgia has to offer! Next stop – Charleston! See you next time to talk about our last stop on our Southeastern road trip.