As much as I love to vacation at Walt Disney World, sometimes it is nice to change things up a bit, and take in what other vacation spots have to offer. Savannah, Georgia is another place that I LOVE to visit, and I thought I would share some of what this beautiful city of real life fairy tales, haunted mansions, and adventure has to offer.
I know that many of our readers make the drive down to Walt Disney World Resort, and Savannah makes a great place to stop and visit either before or after your Disney vacation. Savannah is located about 20 minutes off of Interstate 95, and is about 4-5 hours north of Walt Disney World.
When I enter Savannah, I feel like I’ve been transported back in time to a place where life was lived at a much slower pace. The city is set up in a grid of streets with her famous “squares” located in the middle of most intersections. In the squares you will find several monuments dedicated to the rich history and stories of Savannah’s past, surrounded by picturesque mansions and trees draped in Spanish moss. As you journey through town, you’ll find cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, and architecture that dates back centuries. My favorite sights of the city are the fountain in Forsyth Park (where I got engaged), and the Waving Girl statue at the end of River Street.
If you decide to make the trip to Savannah, I highly recommend taking a trolley tour to learn the stories of this historic town. I have taken two over the course of my visits, and have learned something new each time. All of the trolley tours will take you through the 3 main areas of Savannah–Downtown, River Street, and City Market. If you’re looking to learn a lot of in depth knowledge about Savannah, I recommend Oglethorpe Tours. The tour lasted about an hour, and we were driven all about Savannah learning tidbits about our surroundings along the way. Our driver gave us tons of information and told many stories passed down over the years. The Old Town Trolley Tours is great if you want to be able to stop and explore during the day. The Old Town Trolleys pick you up at several stops throughout Savannah. You can listen to the stories of the specific area you’re touring, hop off the trolley to explore or shop a little, and then catch the next trolley that comes when you’re ready to move on. It’s a great way to move about Savannah without as much walking. And speaking of walking, expect to do a lot of that in Savannah. We park our car when checking in, and don’t see it again until checking out. Everything you could possibly need to get to in Savannah is within walking distance. Many walking tours are also offered; regular historic tours, haunted ghost tours, and even pub crawls! I hope to try the ghost tour on my next visit!
Accommodations vary greatly in Savannah, Georgia. Visitors have options that range from historic Bed and Breakfasts to popular hotel brands to luxurious boutique hotels. I love to stay at the Andaz Savannah. It is luxurious, modern, and located centrally to downtown, City Market, and River Street; making it easy to navigate Savannah on foot. I have stayed in a couple other locations, but I keep coming back to the Andaz.
There is no shortage of delicious places to dine in Savannah! One of the most popular restaurants in Savannah is The Olde Pink House. It is a beautiful, southern mansion that has been converted into a restaurant. Make reservations well in advance, because The Olde Pink House books up quickly. I love the pork tenderloin here, and my husband said the duck was delicious last time we dined there. If you cannot make a dinner reservation, you must at least grab a “Pink Lady,” their signature drink, from the bar in the back of the restaurant. If you’re looking for an authentic southern dining experience, you must check out Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. Only open from 11am to 2pm Monday thru Friday, a seat in this place is a hot commodity! It is well worth a wait in the line to get in. My other favorite spots to eat are: Corleone’s, Nine Drayton, Vinnie Van GoGo’s, Huey’s On the River, and J. Christopher’s.
The shopping in Savannah is very unique. Most of the stores are locally owned shops and boutiques. I love to browse the shops around Broughton Street and see all the local goodies being offered for sale. Make sure you stop in at the Savannah Bee Company, Red Clover, and The Paris Market. If you get a hankering for a little snack while shopping, Leopold’s Ice Cream has been churning out homemade ice cream since 1919! You can’t make a wrong choice. My favorite local Savannah snack HAS to be pecan pralines from Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. There’s two locations–one on River Street and one in City Market, so you’re never too far from a praline. Make sure you take one of the warm samples they offer when you enter. They’re SO good when they’re warm and fresh!
Unlike the days of yore, Savannah doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. The city has a very active nightlife! At the top of the Bohemian Hotel on the river, you’ll find Rocks on the Roof. It is an upscale bar that looks out on views over River Street and downtown Savannah. Take in the sights, or have a seat next to the fire pit and enjoy signature cocktails. If you’re looking for more casual night out, Wet Willie’s offers frozen daiquiris in two different locations. Grab your frosty drink and head down River Street or if you’re in City Market enjoy the live music outside. Lulu’s Chocolate Bar combines cocktails with desserts; I suggest the espresso brownie! Savannah Smiles is a dueling piano bar located near River Street and is a great place to head out with a group of friends.
Located about 30 minutes outside of Savannah is Tybee Island. I stayed here on a girl’s getaway trip a couple of weeks ago. I was a little hesitant to stay outside of Savannah, but Tybee Island offers a more relaxing venue without being too far outside the city. We rented a beach house on the island through Tybee Vacation Rentals. The house was BEAUTIFUL and was just steps from the beach! I can vouch for the staff being excellent since we encountered a small setback on our trip, but they were very quick to take action and accommodating. Tybee Island is the perfect combination of a historic city and beach vacation.
I hope you don’t mind the little detour from my usual Disney related posts, but I definitely consider Savannah, Georgia to be a Magical DIStraction in my life, and want to share its magic with others. Have you been to Savannah before? I’d love to hear about your favorite sights and stories in the Magical DIStractions Facebook group! Magical DIStractions can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ so please take a moment to follow us. You can also sign up for the Magical DIStractions newsletter and watch videos on ourYouTube channel. We will keep you up-to-date on all of the latest news!