Savannah’s welcoming, “Slow-vannah” pace offers something for everyone: foodies, history buffs, art aficionados and adventurers. But to see it all, you need to know some insider secrets! Use these 25 Savannah travel tips to plan your trip and discover all this grand, southern belle has to offer.
Table of Contents
- What makes Savannah so special?
- 25 Savannah Travel Tips for savvy travelers
- Familiarize yourself with a map of Savannah’s Historic District
- Get a visitors Guide from the Convention and Visitor Bureau
- Take a guided tour of Savannah your first day
- Hop off the trolley during your tour to take a closer look
- Skip the hotel breakfast and eat local!
- Wear comfortable walking shoes
- Remember your camera
- Stay in the Savannah Historic District
- Money-saving Savannah travel tips: Take advantage of freebies!
- Make dinner reservations in advance
- Visit on weekdays when you can
- Use the crosswalks
- Expect kindness, and appreciate it
- Save with the Savannah Tour Pass
- Expect home tours to take about an hour each
- Bring your umbrella
- Enjoy the market areas
- Sample Savannah’s World Famous Pralines
- Browse Forsyth Square Farmer’s Market
- Ask your hotel concierge for recommendations
- Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
- Talk to the locals
- More Savannah travel tips to answer common questions
What makes Savannah so special?
Savannah, Georgia was founded in 1733, the first planned city in America.
Way back when, James Oglethorpe designed Savannah around four “squares.” The grid layout made the city easy to defend — with each square surrounded by residents and community buildings.
The city kept using the grid design through the 1850s, ultimately leading to 24 squares anchoring small neighborhoods.
Today, 22 of the 24 squares remain, shaded by Live Oak trees, branches heavy with Spanish moss.
25 Savannah Travel Tips for savvy travelers
The Savannah historic district is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. When you use these Savannah travel tips, you’ll beat the crowds, enjoy the best meals and experience the great history of Savannah without the stress.
There’s no particular order to these Savannah travel tips…. all are helpful!
Familiarize yourself with a map of Savannah’s Historic District
Familiarize yourself with a map of Savannah’s historic district before you go. The city’s historic squares, stately homes, museums and restaurants are easy to find when you know where you are. As major cities go, Savannah is one of the easiest to explore.
Find the places that interest you and plan your visit to visit attractions and restaurants near each other to get the most of your time in the city.
Get a visitors Guide from the Convention and Visitor Bureau
Request a visitor’s guide from Visit Savannah, the city’s convention and visitor bureau. If you want one mailed to you, request it 6 weeks or more ahead of travel. The online version is available instantly.
The visitors guide includes information on Savannah’s famous squares, vibrant neighborhoods and nearby towns like Tybee Island. Many local restaurants and businesses include money saving coupons to help stretch your vacation budget.
Take a guided tour of Savannah your first day
Take a guided tour the first day to familiarize yourself with Savannah. It’s a great way to learn the history and to see the spots you find most interesting. You can visit those later in your trip.
If you’ve been to Savannah before, consider a special interest tour to discover more great tales of the city.
Some of our favorite tours are:
- The Savannah Old Town Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. Our favorite tour for first timers visiting the city, this is a great way to learn Savannah’s interesting history from pirate days to the present. Your ticket is good all day, so hop on and hop off as much as you’d like.
- Savannah Ghosts and Graveyards Tour. Board the “Trolley of the Doomed” for a thrilling tour of America’s “most haunted city.” This tour includes stops at the Andrew Low House and the Perkins and Sons Ship Chandlery. Ghoulish tales are sure to entertain.
- Savannah Narrated Riverboat Tour. On this 1.5 hour tour, the Captain will share stories of old about the port and ships that visit Savannah. The tour heads down river to Old Fort Jackson, home of one of the oldest artillery pieces in the country. There’s plenty of time for photos of the historic riverfront and skyline. Many people say this is their favorite tour of Savannah because of the unique perspective offered.
- Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery Tour. One of the most famous cemeteries in the country, Bonaventure Cemetery is a real treat for art lovers and fans of history. This tour, which sells out during peak travel season, consistently receives rave reviews.
Hop off the trolley during your tour to take a closer look
The hop on hop off trolley tour is spectacular, but there’s lots of information coming your way. Hop off the trolley if the guide shares something particularly interesting. Take a closer look at the square or the historical structure. Take photos. Read the historical plaques. Let the information seep in.
Then, hop on the next trolley that heads your way!
Also, if you get a tour guide you don’t particularly enjoy (we had one who was a bit bland), hop off and get on the next trolley.
There’s no rule that says you have to complete the tour in one ride! You have all day. Enjoy it.
Skip the hotel breakfast and eat local!
When I travel, I usually look for hotels with breakfast included. That’s a great vacation budget stretcher.
But, believe it or not, this Savannah travel tip is skip the hotel with free breakfast and eat local. Savannah’s casual restaurants are part of its charm. Enjoy the local cuisine!
Wear comfortable walking shoes
Wear comfortable walking shoes, not brand new. Savannah is a walking city, and you’ll want happy feet!
When I want to look a bit dressy (not sneakers), I wear a comfortable loafer with memory foam cushioning and a grippy sole for all day comfort like this Life Stride Loafer.
In warmer weather, I prefer a sturdy sandal with good traction, like the KEEN close toed sandal (which I have in tan, black and blue) or an Athlefit strappy sandal when I want something a bit “cuter.”
Savannah is a walking city, so take care of those feet! And, it’s an old city with cobblestone streets and lots of staircases. Flip flops aren’t the best for all day sight-seeing.
Remember your camera
Remember the camera. Savannah’s historic homes and architectural details are simply spectacular. If you have a great camera, pack it! I forgot mine and regretted it from day one.
Of course, if your go-to is your cell phone, make sure it’s fully charged each day. Or, here’s one of my best Savannah travel tips: carry a cell phone power bank, like this quick charge power bank, so you don’t have to worry about running out of battery while seeing the city.
Stay in the Savannah Historic District
Stay in the Savannah Historic District. This is one of the most walkable cities in the United States, and if you stay in the historic district, you can leave the car parked and enjoy the sites.
Our favorite hotels in Savannah are:
- Holiday Inn Express Historic District — With stunning views of the city and a gorgeous outdoor pool that looks out over the river, there’s no better location in the city. Minutes from River Street, the City Market, Abercorn Street, and great restaurants like Vic’s on the River, Leopold’s and the Cotton Exchange, you won’t need the car.
- Planter’s Inn on Reynolds Square — Built in 1913, this boutique hotel offers 60 individually decorated rooms, bike rentals, a spa and other upscale amenities. For a pampering stay in the heart of Savannah’s historic district, this might be the one. It’s minutes to River Street, the Old Pink House Restaurant (next door), Ellis Square and Forsyth Park.
- Springhill Suites Savannah Historic District — On a family vacation to Savannah, we recommend the larger rooms and convenient location of this hotel, close to popular restaurants like (one of my favorites) Goosefeather’s Cafe and local museums. All the squares are within walking distance. Head toward the Riverfront District and City Market one day. Then, head south toward Forsyth Squre and the museums another day. The hotel does offer free breakfast (good to get kids started each morning) and a pool for downtime.
Money-saving Savannah travel tips: Take advantage of freebies!
There are LOTS of free things to do in Savannah, making it a more budget-friendly destination than you might think.
Don’t miss out on the free things to do in Savannah, like taking the ferry across the river to enjoy spectacular city views from the convention center. It’s amazing at night with the lights reflecting on the water.
Make dinner reservations in advance
This is one of the most important Savannah travel tips I have, especially if traveling during peak season! Make dinner reservations before you travel! Popular restaurants like The Old Pink House and Vic’s on the River often are booked in advance.
I use Open Table to make reservations wherever I travel. It’s easy to use and offers accurate guest reviews.
Visit on weekdays when you can
Savannah is a popular weekend getaway for regional travelers. If you want to tour historic homes and museums without big crowds, visit during the week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the least crowded days in Savannah.
Use the crosswalks
This is one of the most educational of our Savannah travel tips! Use crosswalks.
In Savannah’s historic district around the squares, you won’t see traffic lights. Locals are really great about stopping at crosswalks to let pedestrians cross, so use them. It helps everyone.
With that said, don’t assume that vehicles will stop for you! Be aware!
Expect kindness, and appreciate it
My first trip to Savannah was with a friend. As we wandered the historic district, we stumbled upon Savannah’s oldest fire station, located across the street from the city’s main cemetery. The fire fighters were sitting in an open bay, chatting with each other and cleaning equipment.
We stopped to say hi and asked about the station. The guys were friendly, told us a bit of the history and then offered us a tour of the station. It was loads of fun.
On that trip, and every time I have been to Savannah since, I have met the nicest people, ready to share the stories of the city. Enjoy it.
Save with the Savannah Tour Pass
The Savannah Tour Pass includes admission to more than 30 attractions in Savannah, with skip-the-line privileges to many of the historic homes and museums, as well as a number of tours (including those mentioned above).
The one day tour pass includes two specialty tours plus admission to as many “standard” attractions as you’d like.
We use city tour passes like the Savannah Tour Pass wherever we travel to save money on the things we know we will be doing anyway!
Expect home tours to take about an hour each
Allow approximately one hour to tour historic sites. Some take less time and others take a bit more. Plan for an hour per site to avoid overbooking your day.
Most tour homes open around 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. and close at 4:00 or 5:00 p.m.
Bring your umbrella
Bring your umbrella. It’s helpful for those pop up rain showers the south is known for.
And, if you’re standing outdoors in line, it provides shade from the sun.
Enjoy the market areas
Savannah has three main market areas: River Street, The City Market and Broughton Street.
Each area offers unique shopping experiences, dining options and atmosphere. There’s something for everyone in Savannah.
Sample Savannah’s World Famous Pralines
Here’s another of our great Savannah travel tips for you: Be sure to sample one of Savannah’s famous pralines at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen in the City Market and (YES, BOTH) River Street Sweets! We won’t tell you had both.
Browse Forsyth Square Farmer’s Market
Visit the Forsyth Square Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings between 9:00 and 1:00. The earlier you go, the better. While small, the market offers organic foods including some prepared breads, fruit popsicles, honey, fruits and veggies.
Grab a snack and enjoy the park, especially the famous fountain!
Ask your hotel concierge for recommendations
There’s so much to see and do in Savannah. Ask your hotel concierge for recommendations to fit your interests.
Savannahians are proud of their tourist friendly city and will do whatever they can to help you enjoy your trip.
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Drink water! The summer heat, southern humidity and all that easy walking are draining.
This easy carry water bottle is an easy way to stay hydrated. You can refill it when you stop for meals at local restaurants!
Talk to the locals
Talk to people.
Every time I go to Savannah, I am reminded how friendly it is. It’s NOT an accident.
Savannah is a friendly city, and the locals are quite happy to share Savannah travel tips or a little history about the city!
My first visit to the city, after dinner at the Six Pence Pub (made famous by Julia Roberts), we ended up chatting at an outdoor table with some locals who shared great tips for the last day of our trip!
There’s no need to rush in “Slo-vannah.” The city moves at a relaxed pace. Enjoy it!
Read historic markers, take photos (even pose on the staircases for grand shots), enjoy an ice cream cone mid-day.
The possibilities are endless.
More Savannah travel tips to answer common questions
Since first writing these 25 Savannah travel tips, people have asked more questions about visiting Savannah. I hope you find these tips for visiting Savannah helpful as you plan your visit to this beautiful, historic city.
My first trip to Savannah was four days. That was just about perfect! We had plenty of time to take a city tour, see the historic sites, and enjoy amazing food. But, if you only have one day in Savannah, that’s enough time for a couple historic site tours with time to explore Savannah’s historic district.
The most popular times to visit Savannah are between the months of March and July. The city is in bloom, and warm temperatures mean there’s no need to carry coats. Avoid St. Patrick’s Day (massive festival) and holiday weekends. Fall is the off season in Savannah, but it’s a great time to go because it’s cooler in the evening. Really, there’s no bad time to visit Savannah!
Absolutely! We parked our car at the hotel and left it the whole time we stayed. Savannah’s historic district is compact and relatively flat. The best way to enjoy Savannah is on foot, so you can linger in the squares. If you want to visit Wormsloe State Historic Site or Tybee Island, you’ll want a car for that.
The DOT Trolley in Savannah’s historic district is free. It has two routes, Downtown and Forsyth Park, with 18 stops. This is not a narrated city tour trolley. The narrated trolley tours are not free, but they are intended to be entertaining and informative.