13 Top Activities in Savannah, GA, for a Memorable Vacation

Known as the "Hostess City of the South" for its warm hospitality, Savannah, Georgia, is a spectacular gem in the southern United States. When you visit Savannah, you will be immersed in fascinating history, vibrant culture, gorgeous scenery, and delectable cuisine, which combine to create a unique experience you won't find anywhere else in the country.

Planning a vacation to Savannah — the most charming city in the South? You'll be thrilled to learn that there are dozens of unique things to do to make your stay memorable. From historic trolley tours and adventurous day trips to exciting museums and top-notch restaurants — here are the can't-miss attractions during a vacation to Savannah!

1. Stroll through Forsyth Park.

Spanning an impressive 30 acres, Forsyth Park is the largest and oldest public park in Savannah's Historic District. The most notable (and photographed!) attraction in Forsyth Park is the beautiful white fountain in the park's center, built in the 1850s. The fragrant garden is also a notable stop at Forsyth Park, and the mossy oak trees and blooming azaleas provide a picture-perfect backdrop during the spring.

Forsyth Park is also a hub for events in Downtown Savannah, like the Forsyth Park Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings and the Savannah Jazz Festival in September. While you're here, grab a table at Collins Quarter — one of the best brunch spots in Savannah — to savor a delicious meal while soaking up the gorgeous views in the park.

Insider Tip: If you wander outside Savannah's Historic District, Daffin Park is another great park to check out, offering a more local experience. This 80-acre park offers athletic fields, sports courts, lakeside walking trails, a dog park, playgrounds, a pool, and much, much more. 

2. Explore the city's charming squares.

Did you know that Savannah's Historic District is home to 22 historic squares chock-full of historic landmarks, memorials, and monuments that pay homage to Savannah's rich history? They are also full of gorgeous greenery, flowers, and natural scenery!

Though we recommend checking out as many squares in Savannah as possible, a few are more notable than others. For example, Chippewa Square was a filming site in Savannah for the award-winning movie Forrest Gump, and Monterey Square offers a perfect view of the Mercer-Williams House, the key location of the popular book and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

3. Take a day trip to Tybee Island.

One of the must-do activities in Savannah is taking a day trip to Tybee Island. Savannah and Tybee Island are just a 30-minute drive apart, but this barrier island and coastal city offer an entirely different environment and experience than Savannah.

There are tons of fun things to do on Tybee Island, including surfing and sunbathing on beautiful beaches, exploring historic sites like Tybee Island Light Station and Fort Pulaski National Monument, biking to and from the pier and nearby restaurants with a bike rental from Boo's Beach Gear, kayaking to Little Tybee Island, and sunset cruising to see playful dolphins jumping in and out of the waves.

4. Do some local shopping in Historic Downtown Savannah.

There is no doubt that shopping in Savannah is one of the best things to do in the city. There are plenty of places to shop 'til you drop in Savannah, but the following streets and markets boast some of the most popular boutiques, galleries, and antique shops in Savannah.

Broughton Street

Broughton Street is arguably Savannah's most popular shopping hub. Here, you'll find the perfect blend of well-known chain retailers and charming local boutiques.

Notable places to shop on Broughton Street include The Paris Market, a Parisian-inspired retailer that sells clothing, furniture, and other knick-knacks (and also houses a charming cafe, so grab a coffee or macaroon while shopping!) and the Savannah Bee Company, a local company that has gained nationwide popularity for its honey-based products, like mead, lotions, lip balms, and more. Also, stop for an ice cream cone on Broughton Street at the iconic Leopold's Ice Cream!

City Market

City Market dates back several centuries (to the 1700s, to be exact!), when merchants and traders sold their goods in the open-air market. Today, City Market is a popular shopping and dining district filled with art galleries, gift shops, and local retailers, making it one of the best places for shopping in Savannah (and a notable destination to visit, regardless!).

River Street

Though River Street is a popular shopping destination in Savannah, this charming cobblestone street along the Savannah River offers much more than kitschy souvenir shops.

On River Street, you can board a steamboat for a sightseeing or dinner cruise on the Savannah River or grab reservations at a riverfront restaurant, like the popular Vic's on the River. You can also visit the Plant Riverside District, a hub for Savannah's entertainment, dining, and nightlife. Grab a drink at Savannah Tequila Co. or Electric Moon Skytop Lounge — two of the coolest bars in Savannah — or check out the high-end boutiques, galleries, and shops within this shopping and entertainment complex.

5. Marvel at beautiful and historic churches.

Since Savannah is such a historic city, several churches and religious buildings here hold historic significance to Savannah, the state of Georgia, and even the United States! These are a few of the can't-miss churches to visit in Savannah.

First African Baptist Church

First African Baptist Church is a National Historic Landmark and is home to the oldest continuous Black church population in North America. The church was constituted in December 1777 and has held services ever since. You can purchase tickets to tour First African Baptist Church for $15 per adult on Monday at 1 PM or Tuesday through Saturday at 11 AM or 1 PM.

Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is the most famous church in Savannah and perhaps one of the most notable landmarks in the city. You can take a self-guided tour to admire the colorful stained glass windows, detailed murals, and stunning architecture in the church from Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 11:30 AM or 1 PM to 5 PM and Sunday from 1 PM to 5 PM after morning Mass.

Touring the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist is free, but a small donation of $3 per adult is appreciated. Check the calendar before visiting to ensure the church is not closed for a funeral, wedding, or other church-related event.

Congregation Mickve Israel

Located on Montgomery Square in Savannah's Historic District, Congregation Mickve Israel, founded in 1733, is home to the third-oldest Jewish congregation in America and the oldest Jewish congregation in the South. The first synagogue, founded in 1820, was the first synagogue built in Georgia, and the main sanctuary, built in 1878, is considered one of the most beautiful synagogues in the world.

You can tour the sanctuary and museum at 10 AM, 11 AM, 1:30 PM, or 2:30 PM on a 45-minute tour Monday through Friday. A tour costs $10, and tickets are available to purchase on-site.

6. Tour the historic homes in Savannah's Historic District.

One of the things that makes Savannah unique is the historic buildings and homes in the city center with cultural significance. Touring these house museums is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Savannah. The following are a few of the most popular among visitors to Savannah.

Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters

Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters is one of the three Telfair Museums and one of the most sobering landmarks in Savannah. At this house museum, visitors can admire the beautiful artwork and architecture in the home, built in 1819, while learning about the complicated history between the wealthy and enslaved people who lived and worked here.

Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Tickets are $30 per adult, and they include guided tours that last 45 minutes to an hour and admission to the other Telfair Museums. These guided tours fill up quickly on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to secure your time slot in advance.

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace Museum

Did you know that Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, is from Savannah, Georgia? While you're here, you can tour her birthplace and childhood home, which has since been turned into a museum, and learn more about this historic figure's life and legacy.

Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace Museum is open daily from 10 AM to 4 PM. The last guided tour begins at 3:50 PM, but self-guided tours are also available during the museum's quiet hours. Tickets are $15 per adult and $12 for seniors, military personnel, and students (ages 5–21) but are only $10 for Girl Scouts (both adults and kids!).

7. Embark on a trolley tour through the historic city center.

Savannah boasts a vast history dating back to the 1700s that spans important events like the American Revolution, Civil War, and Civil Rights Movement. There are dozens of historic sites in the city to explore. One of the best ways to learn about the city's rich history is on a trolley tour through the Historic District.

Old Town Trolley Tours and Old Savannah Tours offer "hop-on, hop-off" trolley tours that will help you get around the city quickly while learning about historic sites. These trolley tours include hundreds of points of interest but stop at popular Savannah attractions mentioned in this guide, including Forsyth Park, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, City Market, and River Street, so you can get off to explore.

Book your next vacation in Savannah!

Find your perfect getaway with unparalleled luxury in Savannah! Choose from our premier rental properties and secure your spot!

Book now

8. Get spooked on a haunted ghost tour.

Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in the United States, with many cemeteries, haunted houses, and haunted hotels to explore. Naturally, one of the best things to do in Savannah, GA, is to go on a ghost tour to see the spookiest spots this southern city has to offer!

Dozens of excellent tour companies offer unique ghost tours in Savannah, including everything from walking tours and trolley tours to after-hours cemetery tours and haunted pub crawls. On a Savannah ghost tour, you might visit Sorrel Weed House, Bonaventure Cemetery, Andrew Low House, Colonial Park Cemetery, and other notable haunted places in Savannah.

9. Make reservations for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

If there is something that Savannah does not lack, it's spectacular southern dining! There are several notable and famous restaurants to check out in Savannah, but the ones that provide an exceptional experience in addition to the great food are a can't-miss.

For example, the southern fine dining, spectacular ambiance, and rich history (and even haunted history!) at The Olde Pink House make this pastel-pink restaurant a must-visit during your trip to Savannah. For family-style dining and delicious comfort food that hasn't changed much since the restaurant opened in 1943, check out Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room on Jones Street. And for an elevated southern food menu served in a renovated Greyhound Bus Terminal from 1938, check out The Grey.

10. Learn about the city's history and culture at a museum.

Savannah is full of museums covering every topic, from history and art to railroads and drinking (yes, seriously!). Though we encourage you to read about the best museums in Savannah to find the ones that interest you the most, we've listed a few of the most interesting museums below.

Savannah History Museum

Ready to take a tour through nearly 300 years of history? If so, you'll love visiting the Savannah History Museum to discover fascinating facts about notable times in Savannah's past, including the Civil War, Colonial Savannah, the American Revolution, and more.

You can also learn about notable people from Savannah, like Juliette Gordon Low (the founder of the Girl Scouts), and see the iconic bench from the famous movie Forrest Gump, which has since been removed from its original location in Chippewa Square. The admission cost is $10 per adult and $7 per child, and the museum is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Insider Tip: Savannah History Museum is owned by the Coastal Heritage Society. Check out their other museums and historical sites in Savannah, including the Savannah Children's Museum, Georgia State Railroad Museum, Pin Point Heritage Museum, Old Fort Jackson, and Harper Fowlkes House.

Savannah African Art Museum

Savannah African Art Museum is a nonprofit museum on a mission to provide engaging and educational experiences that start conversations about African art and culture.

The museum features an educational collection of more than 1,000 pieces of artwork and objects from West and Central Africa, and the collection has grown and continues to expand since the museum's opening in 2017. In addition to several permanent exhibits, the Savannah African Art Museum also has a few rotating exhibits that are usually on display for about a year at a time.

American Prohibition Museum

American Prohibition Museum is the only prohibition museum in the United States and teaches visitors all about the Prohibition Era from 1920 to 1933. You can learn about bootlegging, moonshine, and more, and even sample period-accurate cocktails and drinks from the speakeasy inside the museum.

Tickets to the American Prohibition Museum start at $16 per person, but South Key is happy to provide our guests with discounted tickets — you can contact us to learn more!

SCAD Museum of Art

SCAD Museum of Art is a contemporary art museum affiliated with Savannah College of Art and Design, one of the most prominent art schools in the country.

This museum features contemporary art in permanent and rotating collections from up-and-coming and established international artists, including SCAD students. Tickets are $10 per adult, and children under 14 are free.

Telfair Museums

In addition to the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarter, Telfair Museums offers two other excellent museums, Jepson Center and Telfair Academy, which are worth visiting during a trip to Savannah. Jepson Center & Telfair Children's Art Museum provides insight into the future of art and architecture. In contrast, Telfair Academy covers nearly 200 years of history, including 19th and 20th-century American and European artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and more.

Both museums are open from 10 AM to 5 PM daily. Tickets are $30 and include admission to both museums, as well as the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.

11. Venture into nature at Wormsloe Historic Site.

Wormsloe State Historic Site is one of Savannah's best (and most photographed) spots. It is about a 15-minute drive from the Historic District, but most tourists agree it is worth the drive!

The path to the former plantation is lined with beautiful, moss-covered oak trees that make for a stunning photo. Though the picture is worth the trip alone, you can also visit the small museum at Wormsloe State Historic Site to learn more about Georgia's history, walk along the seven-mile interpretive nature trail, or explore the ruins of the oldest standing structure in Savannah — the former estate of Noble Jones in the early 1700s.

12. Enjoy Savannah's live entertainment.

Savannah is a city where the fine arts take center stage — from music and dancing to film and photography. That said, one of the best things to do in Savannah is to catch a musical, play, or performance at the historic Savannah Theatre or Lucas Theatre for the Arts.

If you're visiting Savannah in the spring, the Savannah Music Festival is one of the city's can't-miss events. This 17-day music festival attracts talented musicians from across the globe and is one of the region's most anticipated cross-genre music festivals.

13. Stay in a charming vacation rental in Historic Savannah.

As you can see, Savannah's Historic District offers so much to do! If you're planning to do as much in Savannah as possible on vacation, it’s smart to stay in a location that is central to all the action.

Fortunately, our vacation rentals from South Key Management are in the city center and offer all the amenities needed to experience a cozy and comfortable "home away from home" in Savannah. Explore our charming vacation rentals to find the perfect one for you. Contact us with any questions about your stay — we can't wait to host you!

Newsletter Sign Up!

Subscribe now for the latest Savannah rental opportunities! Get exclusive updates on listings and special deals. Don't miss out – find your perfect space in this historic city!

sign up