Savannah: Southern Gem on the Georgia Coast
If you’re looking for good old-fashioned Southern charm and hospitality, along with historic architecture, spooky cemeteries, 21 park squares and the sights and sounds of a bustling waterfront district, take a stroll through picture-postcard-perfect Savannah, Georgia.
Visitors to this Southern gem immediately find themselves captivated by its beauty, history, ambiance and charm. It’s easy to do as you sit under the shade of an oak tree near the city’s lively waterfront, gazing at the massive container ships that pass by. Or take an “up close and personal” view of historic Savannah by taking a walking tour of the city’s historic architecture and 21 park squares.
James Edward Oglethorpe and a group of English settlers founded the city in 1733. Savannah was originally established as a bustling port known for its cotton exports. Today, the city renowned for its striking architecture that blends a variety of styles, including English Regency, Greek Revival, Romanesque and Gothic Revival. You can see 300 years of history showcased on the streets and squares of the largest historic landmark district in the United States.
Historic Walking Tour
Put on your walking shoes and discover the most delightful way to discover this oak-studded coastal city rich in history. By taking either a guided or self-guided walking tour, you will learn about the Savannah’s many innovations, including city planning, the cotton gin, and ocean-going steamships. All played an important role in Savannah’s contribution to our culture and history. Before starting out on your walking tour, be sure to download a map of the city’s famous landmarks, featuring a tour of Savannah’s historic architecture. The walking tour covers some of the nation’s finest examples of 19th Century architecture.
As you walk along the tree-filled squares and pass the well-maintained historic buildings you’ll notice that many of the door frames, porches and window sills of many Savannah homes are painted blue-green, or “Haint Blue.” Decades ago, this attractive color was originally painted on these surfaces to ward off evil spirits. Haint Blue paint was first used by African slaves as a means to prevent evil spirits from entering their houses.
Ghost Haunts of Savannah
With so much history coursing through the city and surrounding areas, it’s no surprise that Savannah wouldn’t have a few skeletons in its closet. In fact, some folks consider Savannah one of the most haunted cities in the United States. Be prepared to visit shadowy squares and haunted mansions when touring the spooky side of Savannah. Take one of the city’s many ghost tours to enjoy spine-tingling presentations about local legends, hauntings, and strange sightings.
Savannah is a river town, and the ideal way to experience the harbor and port area is to take a riverboat cruise. Relive a bygone era onboard one of the city’s riverboats. Chances are, you’ll learn about the history of Savannah and its riverfront, plus see the statue of “The Waving Girl.” Operators like Savannah Riverboat Cruises offer a wide range of river tours, including sightseeing, dinner, wedding, moonlight and “Murder A Float” cruises.
Savannah Riverboat Cruises.
Any visit to Savannah should include a stop at nearby Tybee Island. This low-key seaside resort is located 18 miles east of Savannah, and features a wide, three-mile long beach that’s backed by gorgeous sand dunes, and is perfect for sunbathing, people-watching and swimming. The island’s south-end pier and pavilion is a splendid venue for strolling above the ocean, people-watching and fishing. Tybee also offers some cool cultural and historical places to visit: Fort Screven, Tybee Island Lighthouse (built in 1773), a marine science center, and Fort Pulaski National Monument, located just west of the island on Hwy 80.
Tybee Island offers an assortment of activities for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can choose from boat cruises, fishing trips, kayaking, bike riding and bird watching. Tybee Marine Science Center offers beach walks and touch tanks to help us better understand the creatures of the sea. On warm days, dolphins can be seen playing from the shore.
Birthplace of Girl Scouts
If you were – or have a daughter who was a Girl Scout – you know Savannah as the birthplace of Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low. In 1912, she organized the first Girl Scout troop meeting of 18 girls in Savannah. The year before, she met with Sir Robert Baden-Powell in England, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Gordon Low decided to establish a similar organization for girls in the United States. From its inception, Girl Scouting has grown to 3.7 million members, and is the largest educational organization for girls in the world.
You can visit the Girl Scout founder’s family home in Savannah, which became a national Girl Scout program center in 1956. It provides tours to thousands of Scouts yearly. Built in 1821, the house has been elegantly restored to reflect the 1880s, and is furnished with many original Gordon family pieces, including artwork by the Girl Scouts founder. Located in the heart of the Savannah Historic District, “the Birthplace,” as it is commonly called by Girl Scouts nationwide, was named the city’s first National Historic Landmark.