Savannah Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Places to Visit in Georgia
Credit

Courtesy of Chris Moore - Exploring Light Photography/Getty Images

Savannah Area Map

Neighborhoods

Savannah's grid pattern was laid out during its founding in 1773, and is still in use today. This layout makes the Historic District easy to navigate on foot. Beyond the Historic District and the neighboring islands, Savannah is largely residential. To cover a fair amount of ground in a short amount of time, consider signing up for a guided tour.

The Historic District is in the center of the city, chock full of well-preserved Civil War-era architecture. Noteworthy houses include the Andrew Low House and the Juliette Gordon Low House, which is where Juliette Gordon Low (aka Daisy), the founder of the Girl Scouts, was born. To break up the day, you can lounge and ride bikes through Forsyth Park, located at the southern end of the district.

Riverfront

The Riverfront area mainly comprises River Street, which, as the name suggests, runs along the Savannah River at the northern boundaries of the Historic District. Formerly abandoned due to a yellow fever outbreak, it was later transformed into the bustling and artsy scene it is today. River Street is now filled with a bevy of restaurants and souvenir shops, not to mention a vibrant nightlife scene with casual bars and pubs.

City Market

City Market, located in the northwest of the Historic District and also along the Savannah River, is the latest up-and-coming area in Savannah. Here you'll find casual cafes, shops and plenty of shaded areas for relaxing and people-watching.

Historic Homes

One of Savannah's major attractions are its historic homes, which the city has made huge efforts to preserve. The most popular include the following:

Andrew Low House

The Andrew Low House, on Lafayette Square and near the Savannah River, was built in the mid-1800s by a wealthy Scottish merchant that was passed down through generations. Today, its antique- and silver-filled rooms are open to visitors. And if you're a history buff, you might find it interesting that one of the home's storied guests was a pre-Civil War Robert E. Lee. The house was later home to Juliette Gordon Low, the ex-wife of Andrew Low's son. It was here that she founded the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Green-Meldrim House

Sitting on Madison Square in the middle of the Historic District is the Green-Meldrim House, which was originally built by a wealthy cotton merchant in 1850. The house, which was once used as Union General William T. Sherman's headquarters during the Civil War, is filled with lavish furniture and interiors, including porcelain doorknobs.

Isaiah Davenport House

The Davenport House is where the historic home preservation efforts in Savannah began in 1954. At the east end of the Historic District, the house is built in a Federal style and features a majestic elliptical stairway. Although still beautiful, travelers lamented the condition of the reproduction furniture doesn't quite match the decadence of the originals from the early 1800s.

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace

Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, was raised in this house built in the early 1800s. Located in the middle of the Historic District by Wright Square, the house is run by the Girl Scouts of the USA and features artwork, including some of Low's own. Also be sure to walk up Drayton Street to visit the Andrew Low House, which the Girl Scouts founder called home in her later years.

Owens-Thomas House

Sitting a couple blocks northeast of the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is the Owens-Thomas House, built between 1816 and 1819. The extravagant house is often referred to as a "jewel box." The visitors center sits in the former slave quarters and stable.

Located south of the Historic District, the Victorian District was the first suburb of Savannah. Although it is mostly residential, the area is worth a visit for what visitors described as some of the best Deep South architecture built after the Civil War.

A short 20-mile drive east from downtown Savannah will bring you to the city's islands. The most well-known island in Savannah is Tybee Island. The 5-mile-long island has charming beaches, cute restaurants and shops that make for a pleasant daytrip. For the adventurous types, Tybee also offers spots for fishing, jet skiing and kayaking.

Southeast of Tybee is the quaint Isle of Hope, which features antique cottages and beach homes. Farther south, Skidaway Island is known for its golf courses and numerous trails for jogging and biking.

Savannah is known for its Southern hospitality and in turn, is generally very safe. Visitors most likely will not run into any problems, especially in the touristy Historic District. However, you should still use common sense when exploring the area and keep an eye on your valuables. Use a cab if you're unsure of where you're going, and walk in groups. River Street, in particular, can get quite rowdy at night.

The area outside of the Historic District is relatively less tourist-friendly, so you should not go south of Forsyth Park.

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