Savannah’s lovely historic homes and house museums get all the attention. Equally compelling is the natural beauty of the picturesque city and surrounding Georgia coastal area.
You don’t have to go far to experience it. It’s all around. On land or waterways, there are memorable outdoor attractions in the historic district, within close proximity to it, or a short drive away. On land, Savannah has lovely places to walk, stroll, hike, or bike. The surrounding maze of linking waterways – the river, salt-water marshes, estuaries, swamps, maritime forests, and pristine wilderness areas wait to be explored.
NATURAL BEAUTY IN HISTORIC DOWNTOWN
- Walk 4 scenic squares. Most visitors go by or around Savannah’s signature squares. Walk through them. Stop to look around. Sit on a tree-shaded bench or by a fountain. Smell the flowers, look up at the lacy reach of moss-draped trees, study the statuary details. These 4 are considered to be the lovelies. Monterey Square is considered the most beautiful for its lovely trees and flowers. It’s surrounded by charming houses, including the Mercer William House, of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil fame. Picturesque Chippewa Square is centered by the impressive statue of James Oglethorpe. Look for the Forrest Gump Bench. Madison Square is surrounded by a notable mix of historic houses in varying architectural and lovely grounds. Johnson Square is the oldest and largest and has bubbling fountains.
- Stroll the most beautiful street. Shady Jones Street, named one of the most beautiful streets in America by Southern Living magazine, is a lovely walk. Time your walk around lunchtime to enjoy real southern food served family style at Mrs. Wilkes.
- Sightsee by Bike or Segway. Get closer to the natural beauty of Historic Downtown riding a bike or gliding along on a Segway. Travel under the canopy of tree-lined streets, through beautiful parks and past lovely gardens surrounding historic homes on Historic Savannah by Segway narrated tour. Or, venture out on your own for a pleasant afternoon outdoors exploring Historic Downtown on an electric bike rented from Electric Bikes of Savannah. Pack a picnic for lunch at Forsyth Park.
- Go on a Savannah River Cruise. Cruise around the active river aboard large, 4-level, old fashion riverboats. Views of the riverfront, busy port and skyline from from big viewing windows in climate-controlled comfort. Feel the breeze on the open air decks. Savannah River Queen and Georgia Queen offer a wide variety of cruise choices. The 2-hour narrated Sightseeing Cruise is a favorite. Other options include lunch, Sunday brunch and dinner cruises with meals and entertainment. A sunset cruise to end a perfect day.
UNDER 10 MILES FROM HISTORIC DOWNTOWN
- Discover the beauty of a Southern Gothic cemetery. Bonaventure Cemetery, is one of the most beautiful places in Savannah. Located 5 miles east of downtown on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, the Victorian-era rural cemetery was as a beautiful, serene park for people to walk through an appreciate. Bonaventure is part lovely natural landscape and part sculptural garden. Locate the historic section to enjoy it the Victorians did. Stroll down tree-lined roads and paths, appreciate the lovely, draping landscape surrounding unique cemetery sculpture. Or, skip the strolling and cover a lot of ground on a narrated Segway of Savannah Bonaventure Cemetery Tour. Another option is to drive through it, but you’ll miss the most beautiful places along side paths.
30 TO 45 MINUTES FROM HISTORIC DOWNTOWN
- Wormsloe Plantation – an ancient gem. Just under 30 minutes from Historic Downtown, Wormsloet is a place to wander through the ruins of a colonial-era homestead and hike through the expansive grounds along scenic trails. The spectacular entrance road alone is well worth the trip. If on duty, Park rangers provide information. If they are not there, head to the trail leading to the ruins and continue on around the property.
- Bull River – the place to see dolphin. No more than 30 minutes away Historic Downtown is Bull River, laced with coastal fingers of tidal creeks, rivers and salt marshes. Besides an abundance of sea birds, it’s a favorite dolphin hang out. Go on a Bull River Tour Eco Tour to learn about this wildlife filled area. Families enjoy the thrill of spotting dolphin on the Dolphin Discover Cruise.Tybee Island – the best beaches. Beat the low-country summer heat on a Tybee Island beach. There’s a lot of activity going on at South beach. Sunbathe, swim and skimboard; play Frisbee, beach volleyball. Go out on the pie, check out the pavilion, beach shops and restaurants. If you are not a beach purist, head to North Beach to climb to the top of Tybee Lighthouse for forever views. Cross the street for a walk through Fort Severn Historic District and museum.
- Little Tybee Island – a nature lovers paradise. Coastal marshes, tidal creeks, rigid dunes, and wooded hammocks are irresistible to nature lovers. The pristine, 700-acre, uninhabited barrier island nature preserve, nesting place for wood storks, herons, egrets and ospreys, is accessible only by boat, canoe or kayak. Several guided kayak, paddle board, and boat excursions are available from various water tour companies on Tybee Island and North and South Beach.
1-HOUR PLUS FROM HISTORIC SAVANNAH
- Pickney Island National Refuge – great for hikers. Located near Hilton Head, just over an hour from Historic Downtown, the beautiful wildlife refuge has miles trail loops for a good hike around marshes filled with with egrets and ibis, freshwater ponds with alligators, forests with deer, and even a remote beach.
- Zip-line at Hilton Head – awesome for active families. Fly through the trees and high above the trees for an amazing aerial ride to 11 platforms and 3 towers. At each tower, guides chat about what’s visible below –tree-tops of oaks and pines, the meandering Broad River, tidal marshes dotted with wading birds, maybe an occasional dolphin. The view from the tallest platform 75 feet high is spectacular!