Tour Buses – There are a number of hop-on, hop-off tour companies with open-air trolleys or buses that will familiarize you with the city on your first day/evening here, and we highly recommend taking one to familiarize yourself with the city. Some companies that run these tours are Old Savannah Tours, Oglethorpe Trolley Tours and Old Town Trolley. It really depends on the driver as to how detailed your tour is. All of them cover the same area of the Historic District. To
catch a tour, get on at the marked tour bus stop. The closest stop being at The Mansion Hotel, just across Forsyth Park on E. Hall Street. We’d recommend you purchasing or reserving your tickets in advance. You can either do a 90-minute tour or the hop-on-hop-off, but remember that most of these companies do their last tour at 5pm, so don’t go looking to do a hop-on-hop-off later than 3pm unless you’re willing to walk home from wherever you last stop.
Walking Tours – A fun and more informative alternative to the riding tours is a walking tour. Get a deeper dive on Savannah’s history from Savannah Dan, who, in his signature seersucker suit, fedora and bow tie, will lead you on a two-hour tour through the neighborhoods with interesting stories and commentary like only Dan can give. Call for reservations – 912-398-3777.
If Architecture is more your style, then you can’t miss Jonathan Stalcup’s Architecture Tours of Savannah. He shared Savannah’s history by describing the city’s built environment. From Oglethorpe’s original plan, to today’s desire to balance preservation with a living city and the 300 years in between. Call or text for inquiries or reservations – 912-604-6354.
Savannah Riverboat Cruises – While this tour won’t acquaint you with the layout of city like the others, some guests do enjoy learning about Savannah’s maritime history on this tour. Some cruises are strictly a boat ride and others feature full meals. If this is something that interests you, the boat ride by itself is the recommended activity – you can find cheaper and better food in other venues. The ticket office is at 9 E. River Street.
Forsyth Park – is the Central Park of Savannah and is located 2 blocks from Houston House. It’s 30 acres of beautiful and you must see it. The head of the park is located on East Gaston St.
between Whitaker and Drayton Streets. The fountain at the north end of the park is beautiful. Take a stroll through, and then around the perimeter, and marvel at all the architecture of the houses and businesses that face the park. Plenty of people-watching, and there are always events going on here, like the Saturday Farmers’ Market.
SCAD Museum of Art – If you spend more than an hour or two in our town, you’ll realize that the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is more than just the local college – it breathes life into every inch of Savannah and is an ardent supporter of our city’s resoration and preservation efforts. Visit the SCAD Museum of Art and, for a mere $10 admission, you’ll be mesmerized not only by the architecture but the art. This is a teaching museum, properly rated by The New York Times as one of Savannah’s must-see sights. Located at 601 Turner Boulevard.
Tybee Island Beaches – By late May/June, the water is warming up enough to enjoy the beach. Tybee Island is about a 25-minute drive out Highway 80. If you didn’t rent a car, there’s a weekend shuttle (45-minutes) that runs Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays only at 10a, 12n, 2p, and 5p, which you can pick up from the Savannah Visitors Center (SVC) at 301 MLK Jr Blvd.
Tybee is typically not crowded if you go earlier in the day, and during the week. If you drive, note that all beach parking on Tybee is paid parking ($2 per hour as of August 2015). Credit cards are accepted, but bills are not. So if you don’t bring your cards to the beach, be sure to bring change. Please do not use the towels from the house at the beach. If you are planning on heading to the beach, and need beach equipment, please reach out to the property manager to arrange.
Bonaventure Cemetery – This is the historic cemetery featured on the cover of John Berendt’s best-selling nonfiction novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that the “Bird Girl” pictured on the cover was photographed in Bonaventure Cemetery. While the Bird Girl has since been moved from the cemetery, Bonaventure is still a fascinating and beautiful place to visit and reflect. It isn’t Savannah’s oldest cemetery, but some of the oldest graves in the US are located here, including those of many of Savannah’s founders. It’s a fascinating place and quite scenic. A two-hour guided walking tour is available from Savannah Bonaventure Dash Tours for $25/person. Walking tours through the Dash are 10a and 2p during the year, but at 2p only during the winter. You can also drive through the cemetery, but be sure to go early, because it closes promptly at 5:00p. It’s about a 15-minute drive out of downtown. Average visit is 1-2 hours. 330 Bonaventure Road, Savannah. The Dash shuttle picks up at many locations along Bay Street, so call them and ask them if they can pick you up at the corner of Habersham and E. Bay or Houston and E. Bay and meet them there. If you were to take the CAT bus, you’d have to walk the last half-mile to the cemetery from the bus stop, so take the shuttle or drive, this is one destination where public transportation won’t work well. To see the Bird Girl, you’ll need to go to the Jepson Center for the Arts, which is one of the Telfair Museums (see below). If you’re doing a walking tour, it’s best to apply bug repellent for maximum comfort during your walk, since the cemetery sits right next to the water. Bonaventure is especially spectacular during the brief azalea season at the end of March into the first week in April.