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Established in 1733, Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia. The city became a strategic port in the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War. In the Civil War, Union General William Sherman spared the city from the fire because he was so impressed by its beauty that he couldn’t destroy it. Travel + Leisure Magazine has consistently ranked Savannah as one of “America’s Favorite Cities” and it was listed as America’s second-best city for “Cool Buildings and Architecture,” behind only Chicago. If you are looking for a romantic escape or just a fun getaway weekend, then Savannah should be top on your bucket list. Savannah’s architecture, history, and reputation for Southern hospitality are world-renowned. If you are wondering what to do in Savannah on your next trip, then here is our travel guide to discover the amazing “Hostess City of the South.”
“If you go to Atlanta, the first question people ask you is, "What's your business?" In Macon they ask, "Where do you go to church?" In Augusta they ask your grandmother's maiden name. But in Savannah the first question people ask you is "What would you like to drink?”
John Berendt, Midnight in The Garden of Good And Evil
Jones Street is often labeled as one of the “prettiest streets in America.” You can also stroll along Taylor, Gaston, and Gordon Streets if you want to see other charming streets in the Historic District. You will really get a sense of the beautiful Antebellum architecture (meaning “pre-war”) that Savannah is known for. This style is from the 19th century Southern United States and ranges from the birth of the United States to the start of the Civil War. The key features are huge pillars, wrapped balconies, evenly spaced windows, and big center entrances at the front of the house.
Savannah has such a long and dark history that it is impossible for this city to not be haunted! Savannah is considered to be America’s Most Haunted City, so you really should do a ghost tour when you are here. Not only will you possibly get to interact with the supernatural, but you will also learn about the history of this important city. Savannah was built on top of a Native American burial ground, became the largest port for the Atlantic Slave Trade, and suffered multiple fires and Yellow Fever epidemics. No one even knows exactly how many people are buried at the Colonial Park Cemetery, which was a mass grave for all those who died during the Yellow Fever outbreaks, but the estimates are in the tens of thousands.
Photo Credit: Bonaventure Cemetery Tours
The Bonaventure Cemetery is hauntingly beautiful. It is an absolutely gorgeous Victorian cemetery that is like a mirror image of the history of Savannah. The people interred there helped to build the Savannah that exists today. The symbolism of the monuments in the cemetery also tells a story. Bonaventure Cemetery was made famous on the book cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Take a walking tour of the Bonaventure Cemetery daily at 10:00 am, noon, and 2:00 pm, weather permitting. Note: this is not a haunted tour out of respect for the families of those who rest here.
The First African Baptist Church (FABC) is very important to the history of Savannah. FABC was organized by George Leile in 1773, the same year Savannah was founded as a city. George Leile was a slave who became the first licensed African American Baptist preacher. When Leile’s master freed him before the Revolutionary War, Leile began converting and baptizing other slaves in the area. In 1777, the First African Baptist Church was officially constituted as a body of organized believers. The current sanctuary was completed in 1859 and still has the original Pipe Organ as well as balcony pews that were made by slaves. In addition, FABC was used as a stop along the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves. Learn more about the incredible history of this church by booking a tour. Tours are held Tuesday through Saturday at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm, and Sunday at 1:00 pm.
Forsyth Park is a large city park situated in the historic district of Savannah. The park was created in the 1840s and named for Georgia Governor, John Forsyth. Standing in the middle of the Forsyth Park stands a Confederate Memorial Statue. However, the Forsyth foundation is the most famous structure in the park. It was modeled after the fountains found in Place de la Concorde in Cuzco, Peru. You can check out the Famer’s Market happening every Saturday and spend a sunny afternoon enjoying a picnic in the park.
Photo Credit: Savannah Taste Experience Facebook
Savannah isn’t known as the “Hostess City of the South” for nothing. The food and drinks in Savannah are absolutely incredible! As a port city, Savannah has influences from all across the world. You will find classic Southern food with influences from the Gullah people (African slaves who settled around Savannah), the Carolina Low Country, mixed with Scots, Moravians, Germans, and French. If you want to learn more about the history of Savannah and the influences on its food, then I would highly recommend a food tour! Check out the Secret East Side Food Tour, which serves up award-winning food and fascinating stories of this historic city.
River Street is known for its cobblestone streets and beautiful waterfront walk along the river. There are over 70 restaurants, shops, and businesses along the street, making it a great place to explore. This area used to be a shipping port, but it has been renovated for tourism. You can board the Georgia Queen for a 45-minute boat ride to learn about the history of the river and see the views of Savannah from the water.
The Wormsloe Plantation is a large estate established in 1739 by Noble Jones, one of Georgia’s colonial founders. Back then, Wormsloe Plantation produced corn, rice, fruits, vegetables, and indigo by exploiting slave labor. The family was forced to flee when Union forces captured Savannah in 1864, but the family eventually returned. Descendants of Noble Jones owned the plantation until 1972 when it was then given to the State of Georgia. The plantation was opened as a historic site, although the house is still controlled by the family. This site is famous for its beautiful oak-lined avenue, which is a great spot for pictures. There is also a walking trail, museum, and a demonstration area showing colonial daily life. This plantation is truly beautiful if you are looking for a refreshing nature walk.
Photo Credit: Savannah Taste Experience Facebook
The City Market has been the heart of Savannah since the 1700s. Here you find some of the city’s most popular restaurants, art galleries, and other shops. At night, you will find plenty of live music and people strolling around with Savannah’s famous “to-go” cups (open-container is legal in Savannah’s Historic District). The shops here are perfect for great gift ideas like unique artwork, sweets, and other adorable boutique finds.
Charleston is a port city known for its gorgeous historic district, pastel antebellum houses, and elegant plantations. The city was founded in 1670 and is brimming with historical significance. The rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and hospitable people make Charleston a top tourist destination.
The Great Smoky Mountains has over 900 miles of world-renowned trails showcasing grandiose mountain vistas, cascading waterfalls, charming mountain streams, 1800s historic structures, and quiet woodland meadows. Check out the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains.
If you are planning a vacation to Orlando, you may not be able to visit a theme park every day of your vacation. That is why we created this list to inspire you to experience Orlando outside of the theme parks. Orlando is an exciting city and it is surrounded by lovely natural beauty.
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