Updated: May 21, 2015

Savannah Vacation - Hotels and Lodging, Tours, Sight Seeing

When it comes to experiencing the Old South, a trip to Savannah is a must. Recently made famous by the book and film, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", renewed interest in tourism has brought visitors to Savannah to enjoy its southern charms. Savannah sits on the Georgia coastline, separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River. A bustling port here is the fourth busiest in the US, but tourists come here on vacation to walk the old squares under the shade of old live oaks covered in Spanish moss, while admiring the old-style home and mansions that line Savannah's streets. In this guide, we will provide some vacation and tourist suggestions for Savannah - where to stay, where to eat, what tours to take, what to see, etc. Enjoy!



Savannah Map

Savannah has the distinction of being the oldest planned city in the US, and it shows. The city is layed out in a nice grid fashion, accented by over 20 park-filled squares that pop-up every few blocks as you explore the city. Bordered by the Savannah River to the north, the historic district of Savannah stretches from Bay St. near the waterfront down to Forsyth Park just past Gaston St., about 30 short blocks to the south. Historic Savannah is bordered to the west by Montgomery St. and to the east by Broad St. One of the nicest tourist areas is along Bay St. and down around the waterfront area by the river. You'll find City Hall here, as well as numerous hotels here, and many restaurants right near the water. Interstate 95 is about 10-15 minutes to the West of Savannah, offering you easy access into the city along route 17 or on the 16 freeway. Savannah International Airport is located between exits 102 and 104 off I-95, a short cab ride due west of the historic downtown. The closest beach access from Savannah is out Hwy 80 to Tybee Island, about a 15 minute drive. The Savannah Visitor Center is located on the west edge of the historic district, along MLK Blvd between Louisville and Turner. You can stop here for maps and sight seeing brochures, but you can also get a lot or visitor and tourist information in your hotel lobby. You can see some nice color photos of Savannah, as well as get lots of information on tourist activities, shopping, dining, maps, and more at SavannahVisit.com.

Best Savannah Hotels - Savannah Lodging Reviews

Savannah offer a lot of options when it comes to lodging. If you want to stay cheap, your best bet is to find a hotel or motel close to the I-95 interchange around exit 94, where Rt. 204 intersects. There is a Wingate Inn, Hampton Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Springhill Suites, Red Roof Inn, La Quinta, Ramada Inn, and more here, located just a few minutes drive from the historic center of downtown Savannah. For example, late Spring/early Summer rates at the La Quinta are just $100 per night. Halfway closer to the historic area is another batch of hotels around Stephenson Avenue, around Abercorn and Bull St., just south of the historic district. You'll find Fairfield Inns, Courtyard at Marriott, Clubhouse, Comfort Inn, Masters Inn, La Quinta, and Country Inns and Suites here as well. Prices for the La Quinta were also around $100 a night here. If you can afford it, we recommend staying more in the heart of historic Savannah, so you can enjoy evening walks along the river, and much more by being close to the center of the action. There are a number of hotels located along Bay St. which give you easy access to the most popular part of the city -- the entire area along Bay St. is very safe and accessible within several blocks either side of City Hall - you can't go wrong with any lodging you select in this area. The big hotels here include the Hyatt Regency that straddles River St., right next to City Hall. Some other nice hotels here include the Hampton Inn Savannah (201 East Bay Street), Doubletree Hotel Historic Savannah (411 West Bay Street), Holiday Inn Mulberry (601 East Bay Street), Hilton Garden Inn (321 West Bay Street), Quality Inn Heart of Savannah, Best Western Savannah, and Comfort Suites. All these spots along Bay Street are fine. If you want to escape the chains and indulge a little local history, try the River Street Inn (RiverStreetInn.com, 124 E. Bay St), which is right on Bay St, looking out over River St. and the Savannah River. Built in an old warehouse, this boutique hotel offers great ambience, though they could use some improvements in the rooms from our recent visit (rotting window frame, rotten wood around tub, thread-worn upholstery on furnishings, very drafty winter windows in balcony rooms, etc.). We loved the location, loved the overall feel of the property -- just want to see some money being spent in refurbishing and maintenance. Expect to pay $160-$250 for a room.

Best Savannah Carriage Tours - Savannah Trolley Tours

Savannah gets hot and humid in the summer, and one of the best ways to see all the scenic squares of the city is to take a carriage or trolley ride. The trolley rides are a great deal - you can buy an all day on/off ticket that allows to stop and visit sites along the way when you feel like, and reboard a trolley later in the day to continue the loop around all the major areas. If the weather permits, walking the historic downtown should not be missed either, but feet do get tired, and there is nothing wrong with letting a trolley or carriage help you out! You'll find a number of different trolleys zipping around the city. Our two favorites are the Old Town Trolley Company (marked by their festive orange and green trolley cars) and Old Savannah Tours (with their classic white trolleys). OldSavannahTours.com has all the information you need about them - tickets are $20 for adults and $8 for children for the overview tour (you save a few bucks if you order online), but consider a few dollars more for the On and Off Tour tickets for all day access, just $3 more. They stop at 14 different stops around the historic center, with trolleys running every 20 minutes or so from 9AM-4:30, seven days a week. A full loop tour takes about 90 minutes - they will even come and pick you up at your hotel in the historic district. All tours are narrated by friendly and knowledgeable guides, giving you lot of local insights, history, and folklore as you explore the moss-covered squares together. Their company also offers a variety of bus tours, ghost tours, and other exciting ways to see the city. Their site also offers a nice printable tour map of Savannah in PDF format here. This is a really nice map showing all the squares - print it at home and take it with you!

The Old Town Trolley is our overall favorite. The main pickup spot is over at the City Market, near Jefferson and Bay St on the NW side of the city. Trolley Stop Gifts is here, and they sell tickets, and the trolley stops right out in front. Tickets are $23 for all day on/off privileges, or $20 for a complete loop tour (also takes about 90 minutes). There are 17 stops along this route, including:
  • Savannah Visitors Center
  • Welcome Center
  • City Market
  • Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace
  • Sorrel-Weed House
  • Forsyth Park
  • Cathedral of St. John
  • Davenport House
  • Lucas Theatre
  • The Pirates House
  • Emmet Park
  • Marriott Riverfront
  • Bay Street/Factor's Walk
  • West River Street
  • Central River Street
  • East River Street
  • Inn at Ellis Square/City Market
Take advantage of the off/on ticket - you can get off anywhere you want and board later, giving you quick, easy access to all the best sites in town, all day long. Walk when you want, ride when your feet give out! We recommend taking a trolley tour first to get your bearings and hear some history of Savannah, then get off and start walking and exploring on your own. Hang onto the map to remember where the stops are, and ride to the areas you want to explore when you get tired or need a lift back to your hotel area.