Riverside view of Savannah buildings and river boats

Savannah Travel Guide

By Kaye Toal
June 14, 2021

Savannah, Georgia is a city of many faces, both a bona fide necropolis with some of the most haunted places in the U.S. within its limits and a warm and welcoming city with delicious food and joyous outdoor events. Savannah really does have something for everyone. History buffs will love its many tours, conducted by walking, horse-drawn carriages, and by trolley. Foodies will love sampling the best dishes from the many award-winning restaurants and bakeries. Nature-lovers won't want to miss the hiking and stunning vistas on Tybee and Whitemarsh Islands. Music-lovers will be drawn by the many festivals spanning every genre, both indoor and outdoor. And there are few better places to visit if you're interested in paranormal activities - world-renowned Bonaventure Cemetery, the infamous Gribble House, and more are all contained within the most haunted city in America.

Time Zone

Eastern Standard Time

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Best Time to Go

Savannah is an amazing place to go to escape winter, as it rarely gets cooler than around 40 degrees and is frequently in the lovely and temperate mid-fifties. And Savannah is an underrated Halloween destination - the city thrives on its history, much of which is a little spooky. Ghost tours of specific haunted places and of the city as a whole are popular year-round but kick it up a notch in late September. If you choose to visit during the summer, know that it gets quite hot and muggy, but the live music and seasonal cuisine makes it entirely worth it. Spring and fall are always lovely times to travel, and moreso when your destination tends toward humidity - Savannah's spring and fall are less muggy, but still warm, and are particularly excellent choices if your goal is to enjoy Savannah's surrounding islands.

Things to Know

Savannah is a decent-sized city, but visitors almost never go beyond the Historic District. It's not that other areas lack for things to do; more that the Historic District has most of the things that Savannah is most famous for, is very walkable, and has the largest concentration of hotels. 

Savannah really embraces its identity as one of the spookiest cities in America. There's a reason this guide focuses so much on the haunted attractions of the city; there are so many of them, and it is a favorite destination for history buffs, ghost chasers, and anyone who likes a good haunted house tour. There are many other things to do in Savannah, but the city is the subject of one of the most best-selling true crime novels of all time, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, and has been the subject of some of the most-viewed episodes of beloved ghost hunting shows. 

In the true spirit of famed Southern hospitality, Savannah locals are warm, friendly, and more than happy to point you toward their favorite places or help you get where you need to go. Sidewalks tend to be wide, allowing the city to be accessible to folks with wheelchairs; it has very few hills, so people with mobility limitations should find Savannah an easy and enjoyable place to visit.

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How to Get Around

Historic Savannah, where most visitors spend their time, is extremely walkable and it's unlikely that you'll need more than your own two feet to see everything you'd like to see. However, if you'd like to venture further or faster, here are your best options.

Trains: Savannah is not serviced by any local light rails, as the city is on the smaller side. There is an Amtrak station if you want to use Savannah as your base to explore surrounding areas of Georgia.

Buses: There are two bus services, the CAT and the DOT. The CAT serves not only Savannah but the surrounding Chatham area, and costs $1.50 per one-way trip. The DOT is completely free, and services 24 stops in the Historic District, including Belles Ferry. The DOT is also ADA-accessible, making it a wonderful service for differently-abled people who want to enjoy all that Savannah has to offer.

Taxis: Yellow cab service is available in Savannah, though visitors usually use it mainly to get from the airport to their hotels. Elite Taxi is the company of choice, with the highest ratings and most frequent recommendations.

Car service: Uber and Lyft are always good options for transportation. If you are an able-bodied person who enjoys walking, you will likely never need a car to get around Savannah proper. However, if you want to visit the islands around the city or have mobility limitations, ordering a car rarely requires much of a wait. As always, you can order a private car or join a carpool.

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Best Hotels

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Exterior of Marshall House hotel in Savannah, GA
Credit: Courtesy of Visit Savannah

The Marshall House

Address: 123 East Broughton Street, Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 644-7896 
Website

First things first: The Marshall House is one of the most popular hotels in Savannah because it is, allegedly, haunted, and the hotel owners and staff embrace the fun of its reputation. Built in 1851, it has seen its fair share of history, and has several historical displays of objects found during renovation. It's an exquisite and comfortable hotel with all of the best Savannah's Historic District has to offer right out of the front door.

Olde Harbour Inn

Address: 508 East Factors Walk, Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 234-4100 
Website

Built in 1812, the beautiful (and pet-friendly) Olde Harbour Inn is one of the oldest in the city. Positioned along the river, it boasts beautiful views and is steps away from some of the most delicious dining Savannah has to offer. The Olde Harbour Inn is also, allegedly, haunted, and they are included in many walking ghost tours.

Planters Inn

Address: 29 Abercorn Street, Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (800) 554-1187
Website

If you're looking for old-world Southern charm to accentuate your stay in Savannah, look no further than Planters Inn. Another historic hotel, Planters Inn has stayed true to its roots throughout its renovations, and is decorated in a lush and grand style that is a treat to relax in. Many of the rooms overlook Reynolds Square, adding to the feeling that you've taken a little step into the loveliest parts of the past.

Mansion on Forsyth Park

Address: 700 Drayton St, Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: (912) 238-5158
Website

A glamorous, chic, and eclectic hotel, the Mansion on Forsyth Park is famous for its decor and its food. The experience of the hotel is truly a luxe one, where old-world glam meets modern pop color. Abutting Forsyth Park, the Mansion is convenient as well, with a nearby DOT stop and many things to do within walking distance.

Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn

Address: 121 W Gordon St, Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 238-0518
Website

A block away from Forsyth Park is another glamorous option, with elegant rooms at a variety of price points - the Savannah Bed & Breakfast Inn categorizes its rooms, and you can opt for a Premium, Traditional, or Value room depending on what your budget is. The standout of the Inn is its gorgeous patio, which feels like something straight out of a storybook, replete with plants, statuary, and a fountain.

Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, Georgia
Credit: Courtesy of the Perry Lane Hotel

Perry Lane Hotel

Address: 256 East Perry Street, Savannah, GA, 31401
Phone: (912) 415-9000
Website

If your tastes run more toward mid-century modern, the Perry Lane Hotel was made for you. A modern oasis in the heart of Savannah, it's known for its sophisticated amenities and romantic ambiance. Whether or not you stay here, you'd be remiss not to try the chocolate peanut butter tart at the hotel's restaurant, The Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market.

River Streen Inn exterior in Savannah, GA
Credit: Casey Jones/Visit Savannah

River Street Inn

Address: 124 E. Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: (912) 234-6400
Website

Once a riverside cotton warehouse, this 200-year-old stunner overlooks the Savannah River and historic River Street, right alongside some of the best dining and sightseeing in the city. The decor in the River Street Inn is a tasteful combination of the old and the new, with original brick details accented by elegant mid-century modern furnishings. 

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Best Restaurants

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The Wilkes House sign outside
Credit: Geoff L Johnson Photography/Visit Savannah

Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room

Address: 107 West Jones St., Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 232-5997
Website

There's a line awaiting opening every day at Mrs. Wilkes' Southern-style eating where guests share tables for up to 10 people. Serving lunch only, the entire spread - which changes regularly and includes staples like grits, cornbread, okra, fried chicken, and more - will run you $25 for as much as you can eat, cash or Venmo only.

Exterior view of The Olde Pink House
Credit: Dylan Wilson/Visit Savannah

The Olde Pink House

Address: 23 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: (912) 232-4286
Website

Built in 1771, this pre-Revolutionary War mansion has been a bank (the vaults are now used as wine cellars), a tea room, and a military building during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Now an upscale Southern restaurant, The Olde Pink House is open for lunch and dinner daily, serving up exceptional seafood, fried chicken, and a stellar selection of wines. Reservations recommended.

Alligator Soul Restaurant

Address: 114 Barnard St Savannah, GA 31401 
Phone: (912) 232-7899
Website

As with most things in Savannah, Alligator Soul Restaurant began its life as something else - in this case, a grain warehouse, giving the entire establishment an earthy out-of-time feeling that pairs well with its farm-to-table cuisine. The seasonal menu almost always includes at least one alligator dish. Vegetarians and vegans receive the white glove treatment here; while the menu does include several vegetarian appetizers and small plates, for $28, the chef will prepare a unique, off-menu entrée featuring that day's freshest seasonal vegetables. Reservations recommended.

Fox and Fig Cafe

Address: 321 Habersham St., Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 297-6759
Website

Savannah's premier vegan establishment features not only a range of delicious breakfast and lunch options, but some of the most delectable coffees available in the city. Located near many top tourist destinations, Fox and Fig Cafe is a perfect option to refuel with a delicious, plant-based meal and smooth PERC coffee.

Joe's Crab Shack

Address: 504 E River St, Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 232-1830
Website

Seafood lovers, rejoice, as there are many options for you to get your fix in Savannah, and few more delicious than the famous Joe's Crab Shack. A casual, family-friendly eatery by the river, Joe's Crab Shack is, predictably, known most for their crab, but don't miss the cajun steampot and the fish and chips. 

The Cotton Exchange Tavern

Address: 201 E River St, Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 232-7088
Website

If you're looking for casual eating and a gorgeous view, look no further than the Cotton Exchange Tavern. Down-home American cuisine gets a delicious spin with crab dip, grouper fingers, and hush puppies on the menu. With a wide-ranging menu, The Cotton Exchange Tavern is sure to please even the pickiest eater. Don't miss the Tybee Crab Chowder.

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Things To Do

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Historic House Tours

Website

A primary attraction in Savannah is its record number of historic homes, many of which have been turned into museums. Among them are the Andrew Low House, where the founder of the Girl Scouts grew up; and the Sorrel-Weed House, one of the most haunted places in America.

Savannah Children's Museum

Address: 655 Louisville Rd., Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: (912) 651-6823
Website

A play- and exploration-based museum, the Savannah Children's Museum is a fun and affordable destination for those with young children. It is entirely outdoors and features a reading nook, an exploration maze, and a sensory garden, in addition to many programs and activities to participate in during the day.

Savannah, Ghost Tour
Credit: Pascal Meier/Visit Savannah

Savannah Ghost Tours

Tours meet at Wright Square
Phone: (912) 441-9277
Website

There are a lot of ghost tour options in Savannah, but the Hauntings Tour by Savannah Ghost Tours is by far one of the most popular. A 90-minute walking tour that's as interesting as it is fun, it's inspired and informed by several books about Savannah's history. Reservations are not required but recommended for large groups. Pet-friendly.

The Club at Savannah Harbor

Address: 2 Resort Dr., Savannah GA 31421
Phone: (912) 201-2240
Website 

If you are a golfer, The Club at Savannah Harbor is a must-tee (get it?). A gorgeous, winding course over the tidal wetlands outside Savannah, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city's downtown while you play.

Oatland Island Wildlife Center

Address: 711 Sandtown Road, Savannah, GA 31410​
Phone: (912) 395-1212
Website

Nature lovers won't want to miss the islands surrounding Savannah, including Oatland Island. This small animal sanctuary is a zoo-like preserve with many educational programs, where you can observe species in their native habitats.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah
Credit: Casey Jones/Visit Savannah

Bonaventure Cemetery After Dark

Phone: (912) 319-5600
Website 

A variety of tours are featured in Bonaventure Cemetery, the only cemetery featuring after-dark tours in Savannah. They are themed according to the time of year, and extremely popular - advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.

Musicians perform at Savannah Music Festival
Credit: Courtesy of Visit Savannah

Savannah Music Festival

Address: 216 East Broughton Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401
Phone: (912) 234-3378
Website

The Savannah Music Festival is the event of the spring, an acclaimed cross-genre festival featuring local and national musical artists, educational programs for children, and more. Hundreds of artists perform over the festival's two-week duration, and it's a guarantee there will be an act for every music lover to enjoy. During the off-season, they also host a number of other music events as well.

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Best Shopping

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Plants and a pile of vintage band t-shirts at Starland Strange and Bazaar
Credit: Courtesy of Starland Strange & Bazaar

Starland Strange and Bazaar

Address: 17 W 41st St, Savannah GA 31401
Website

An eclectic shop full of fun finds, Starland Strange and Bazaar is a Dolly Parton-loving pink oasis in the heart of Metropolitan Savannah. A little further south than most tourists venture, it is nonetheless worth the trip, with a one-of-a-kind shopping experience and no telling what treasures you'll find.

River Street and Rousakis Riverfront Plaza

Address: River St, Savannah GA 31401
Website 

Nine blocks of shopping, dining, and river views, including famous River Street Sweets and half a dozen quirky boutique gift shops. It's easy to spend half a day wandering up and down River Street and nabbing candy, one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts, and some gorgeous snaps of the river.

Neighborhood Comics

Address: 1205 Bull St. in Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: (912) 349-3095
Website

Two blocks south of Forsyth Park is this gem of a specialty shop, which sells new releases, back issues, graphic novels, collectibles, and more. Neighborhood Comics pride themselves on being inclusive; all are welcome in this comic shop to feel a little more super.

The Cottage Shop

Address: 2422 Abercorn St, Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 233-3820
Website

Long considered Savannah's best boutique gift shop, The Cottage Shop is, in a word, adorable. If you want it, you can probably find it here - from high-end designer pieces to cute interest-based gifts, The Cottage Shop is the kind of place it's very easy to spend hours browsing.

E Shaver Booksellers

Address: 326 Bull St. Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: (912) 234-7257
Website

Support a local bookstore by visiting one of the best - E Shaver Booksellers has been around since 1975, and their selection is varied and carefully curated. New releases and bestsellers are readily available, and E Shaver Booksellers puts on regular events and is host to The Tea Room, where you can pick up delicious premium loose and bagged teas and gorgeous teaware. Plus, there are bookshop cats just begging for a pat.

shopSCAD Savannah

Address: 340 Bull Street Savannah GA 31401
Phone: (912) 525-5180
Website

A gallery-style shop that features work from designers and artists that are or have been part of the Savannah College of Art and Design, shopSCAD is where to go for truly unique jewelry, fine art, home decor, and gifts. Shopping here directly supports the artists, and inventory changes regularly.

Neighborhoods to Know

Historic District - North:  The southern Historic District is home to one of the most iconic settings in America: Chippewa Square, where Forrest Gump sat and waited for a bus and told his life story.  Most travelers will stick to the Historic Districts, both North and South, as they are the most walkable and feature the vast majority of hot tourist spots. The North district meets the river and contains within its bounds City Market, the Jepson Center, famous River Street, and several of Savannah's many House Museums. The Historic Districts are just that: historic! There's no street to walk down that isn't redolent with Savannah's rich history, and it's easy to spend a full day wandering through the neat, cobbled streets looking at 1800s mansions and parks that predate the United States themselves.

Historic District - South: Don't miss the gorgeous fountain in Forsyth Park, or the many House Museums and boutique shops surrounding the park. An easy walk from the river, the Historic District - South starts at Harris St. and extends most of the way down the park. The Andrew Low House (the home of the founder of the Girl Scouts), Flannery O'Conner's childhood home, and the infamously haunted Mercer Williams house are all within this district. 

Victorian District:  For any architecture lover, the Victorian District is for you. The 50-block neighborhood is lined with historic and beautifully restored homes that make for a nice relaxing sightseeing stroll. Built as the city's first suburb, the area's architecture mainly dates back to the 1800s. The area abuts Forsyth Park and is just south of the Historic Districts.

Thomas Square Streetcar District: Another centrally located neighborhood, just south of the Victorian District, Thomas Square has plenty of history all its own. Designated a National Historic District in 1997, the area is home to over 1,100 historic buildings, making it one of the country's largest such districts. Named after Thomas Square Park in the center of the neighborhood, some people refer to it as "Metropolitan" or "Mid City" due to its central location.

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Weather

Spring in Savannah is pleasant and warm, though rainy - the area averages around 15-20 days of rain in March through May. However, with the city in full bloom, there are fewer more beautiful times to go; the temperature during these months ranges from 50-84°F, so be sure to check the weather before you pack.

Summer can be muggy and gets hot, but with that heat comes the southern atmosphere most folks delight in when visiting Georgia and other southern states. With music festivals, events, and outdoor dining galore, Summer is a celebratory time to visit Savannah - just make sure you bring your sunscreen and a water bottle, and an umbrella in case of thunderstorms. Temperatures range from 72-92°F on average.

Fall is a pleasant, dry time in Savannah, with temperatures ranging from 50-86°F on average and little rain compared to the rest of the year. Outdoor dining, walking tours, boat rides, and the like should all still be enjoyable. Nights get a bit cooler, so bring layers if you plan to be out and about all day and into the night.

Winter is a wonderful time to visit Savannah, especially if your goal is to escape the more brutal temperatures of the northern part of the country. Temperatures stay between a cool  41°F to a comfortable 65°F on average, so you should have no problem enjoying outdoor activities such as walking tours and hiking.

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Apps to Download

OpenTable: Restaurant reservations and menu previews.
iOs | Android

Historic Walking Tour: Self-guided walking tour with customizable routes as well as locals-suggested routes
iOs | Android

Download the DOT route map