12 Popular Things To Do in Savannah, Georgia on Vacation

From its old-world charm to its lively nightlife, this coastal gem is truly a one-of-a-kind destination. Check out our favorite things to do in Savannah, GA!

Located along the southern coast of Georgia, Savannah is a vibrant city known for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and bustling culture. With elegant tree-lined streets, grand parks, and stunning waterfront views, Savannah offers the perfect setting for people of all ages to relax and unwind.

Whether you are visiting the city center to explore local museums and historical landmarks or spending an afternoon by the water with friends and family, you are sure to fall in love with everything that Savannah has to offer.

From its old-world charm to its lively nightlife, this coastal gem is truly a one-of-a-kind destination. Check out our favorite things to do in Savannah, GA!

#1 – Plant Riverside District

Plant Riverside District Savannah
Photo Credit: Chef Denise

Recommended by Denise of ChefDenise.com

No visit to Savannah would be complete without visiting the Plant Riverside District located on the south end of the famed River Street. The Plant Riverside District offers lots of things to do. You can spend an hour or a day taking in some live-entertainment and strolling the wide brick path along the Savannah River.

The repurposed 1912 power plant is filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and art galleries. Savannah’s open container policy allows those over 21 to carry alcoholic beverages in clear plastic cups in the historic area. So, it’s probably no coincidence that there’s a tavern at the beginning of the Plant Riverside District. If you’re not ready for a drink when you start, you’ll have plenty of opportunities along the way.

Stop in at Generator Hall and hang out on a lounge chair under a glass dinosaur if you need a respite. When hunger hits, you’re never far from an eatery. Savannah is one of the best foodie cities of the South, right up there with New Orleans and Charleston.

Everything from gourmet cookies and candy to barbecue and oysters can be found here on the river. Grab a snack at one of the outdoor venues like the Riverside Biergarten or the District Smokehouse and watch the Georgia Queen and barges pass by. 

At night time, the Plant River District is even more lively. Go up to the roof top bar at Electric Moon for some of the best views of it all. Visiting the Plant Riverside District is one of the top things to do in Savannah. 

#2 – Garden of Good & Evil Walking Tour

Garden of Good and EVil Walking Tour
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Recommended by Terri of FemaleSoloTrek.com

Another popular thing to do in Savannah is seeing Savannah, GA, through the eyes of author John Berendt. Author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this New Yorker scribe put modern-day Savannah on the map with his tale of lust, sex, and murder.

If you are obsessed with the real-life story of the insular and close-knit world of historic Savannah, consider a Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil walking tour (such as Savannah Tours on Viator).

Typically, a two-hour jaunt, your guide will dish up the gossip as well as the treachery of the true-crime story. Who doesn’t want to know if it was murder or self-defense when “shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981.” Did antique dealer Jim Williams kill his lover Danny Hansford?

The typical stops on this walking tour are Forsyth Park, Mercer Williams House Museum, Monterey Square, Churchill’s Pub, Jones Street, and Clary’s Café. After the tour, consider touring Williams’ home, which is now a museum.

You can separately book a walking tour of Bonaventure Cemetery. It is highly recommended to read the book before you take this tour then, you can quiz your tour guide on perplexing questions.

#3 – Tybee Island

Tybee Island
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Recommended by Inna from PlanetDreaming.com

Tybee is a city as well as an island located in Chatham County, Georgia, in the easternmost part of the state. Situated about 28 miles away from Savannah, it’s a popular tourist destination for visitors from the city and countrywide. 

Due to its strategic location near the mouth of the Savannah River, Tybee Island was once visited by pirates quite often. It is also known as Savannah Beach, thanks to the proximity of the state’s capital. Tybee is a nature-lovers paradise, too, since you can easily spot numerous bird species and even endangered loggerhead turtles.

There are two main historic locations – the Civil War Fort Pulaski and the Tybee Island Lighthouse.

Today, you can walk around the fort to see the towers, moats, drawbridges, and other structures. What’s interesting about visiting this place is seeing the reconstructions that make you feel like you stepped back in time. You can roam around on your own or take part in one of the ranger-led tours, which are an excellent opportunity to get to know the fort and learn about some interesting historical facts.

Besides these landmarks, Tybee is a perfect beach destination for families and couples where you can enjoy watersports, try delicious seafood, spot wildlife, and even learn some historical facts. There are lots to see and do while visiting Tybee Island. Visiting Tybee Island is one of the top things to do in Savannah. 

#4 – Forsyth Park

Forsyth Park Savannah
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Recommended by Sydney of AWorldInReach.com

If you’re visiting Savannah, Georgia, and looking for the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon, take a stroll to Forsyth Park. This large park in Savannah’s Historic District has walking paths, shady spots for relaxing, sports and recreation areas, and a large centerpiece fountain that is one of the most photographed spots in the city.

Forsyth Park is located in the southern part of the Historic District, about a 25-minute walk from the River Street area of Savannah. The walk from River Street down to the park is scenic and perfect for exploring the city. Along the way, admire Savannah’s scenery, from historic squares to gorgeous architecture.

Plus, Savannah’s open container laws allow you to enjoy alcoholic beverages while walking through the Historic District, so grab a frozen daiquiri from Wet Willie’s on River Street to keep you cool on your walk. You could also plan a stop at Leopold’s, the best ice cream shop in town.

Once you arrive at Forsyth Park, you can keep walking on the park’s walking paths, start a game of frisbee or tennis, hang out on a bench and people-watch, or stop to admire the park’s scenery. Don’t forget to grab a photo of the beautiful Forsyth Fountain!

#5 – Breakfast at Mirabelle

mirabelle savannah interior
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Recommended by Elena of CarryOnChronicles.com

The southern gem of Savannah is a foodie’s paradise! One of the local favorite spots for a delicious breakfast is Mirabelle. Housed in a charming building dating back to the 1800s, Mirabelle sits on Abercorn Street in the beautiful Historic District. Located just across the street from the iconic St. Johns Cathedral,

Mirabelle specializes in authentic liege waffles inspired by Belgian street food. Waffles are available with a wide variety of sweet toppings, from peach compote to lemon-lavender curd crème, to ricotta, to cinnamon streusel.

Plus, guests will appreciate the lovely presentation and attention to detail given to each waffle. Alternatively, if you’re in more of a savory mood, Mirabelle also offers a variety of tasty paninis.

In addition to mouth-watering delights, the interior of Mirabelle is incredibly charming and welcoming. In fact, with its Instagrammable interior, it’s easily one of the best Savannah photo spots!

Plus, beyond enjoying the tasty treats they serve, you can also book a stay at one of the vintage-style boutique suites at Mirabelle, located just above the café.

These are perfect if you’re looking to explore the numerous gems of the Historic District, including the beautiful Lafayette Square, located just nearby.

#6 – Fort Pulaski National Monument

Savannah Fort Pulaski
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Built in 1847 to protect Savannah’s waterway, Fort Pulaski played a pivotal role in the Civil War. In a key battle, Union forces overtook the fort in 1862, crippling the Southern supply chain.

Now a National Monument just 15 miles from downtown Savannah, it’s a great place to visit and spend a few hours and perfectly safe for solo travelers visiting the Savannah area.

Even if you’re not a history buff, the beautiful red brick fort on Cockspur Island has a park-like setting. Green grass, palm trees, and blue water greet you upon entering.

You can explore the fort, see how the soldiers lived, and get an up-close view of the artillery they used. Around the exterior is evidence of the battle with damage from cannon fire.

Beyond Fort Pulaski, Cockspur Island offers four walking trails. Most guests enjoy the Lighthouse Overlook Trail for views of the Cockspur Island Lighthouse.

For those more adventurous, try the two-mile Historic Dike System Trail, which circles Fort Pulaski. As you enjoy views of the Island and Savannah River, you’ll also encounter sandy beaches and areas to stop for a picnic lunch.

You can easily spend half a day at Fort Pulaski, and $10 per person, it’s a good deal. If you need more time, your ticket is good for seven consecutive days. It’s a perfect way to get away from the crowds and see a piece of history.

#7 – Wormsloe Historic Site

Wormsloe Historic Site
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Recommended by Yulia of MissTourist.com

History lover or not, Wormslow Historic Site is adored by all who visit and is a must-stop during your trip to Savannah! The historic estate was originally owned by a carpenter named Noble Jones. Home to the oldest structure still standing in Savannah today, the estate, as well as the ruins of Noble Jone’s house, date back to 1745.

With 500 acres to explore, either with a guided tour or a solo wander, there is certainly something here to suit every taste. The picturesque plantation is just begging to be the star of a photoshoot, and the forest welcomes you with miles of trails to walk and ponder. Don’t miss the incredible views of the Isle of Hope, and be sure to check out the official website to see if any special events are happening during your visit.

What’s more, Wormslow Historic Site couldn’t be any more convenient to access. Jump in the car, and within 15 mins from your hotel in Savannah, the prestigious gates will be waiting to welcome you with open arms. Entry costs $10 for adults and is open daily from 9 am-5 pm.

#8 – Owens-Thomas House

Owens-Thomas House Savannah
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Recommended by StoriesbySoumya.com

One of the best things to do in Savannah, Georgia, is to take a tour of the historic Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.

Located in the heart of Downtown Savannah, Owens-Thomas House is an old, Regency-style mansion with a complicated history. It was built in the early 19th century and was home to George Welshman Owens, his family, and his retinue of enslaved people for more than a hundred years. In the 1800s, nineteen to fifteen enslaved people lived on this property.

Owens-Thomas House is one of the best historic sites in Savannah. A visit here allows you to explore fine Regency architecture, visit period rooms stacked with decorative art, and learn about the complex history of enslaved people who kept the house up and running. A tour of the former slave quarters is an eye-opening experience.

Other highlights at the mansion include a beautiful parterre garden, a carriage house, and several workspaces, including the butler’s pantry and a working cellar that features the city’s early indoor plumbing systems.

Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters are open every day from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Purchase your ticket online here and check in onsite to be part of a guided tour. Tours happen every 15 minutes. 

#9 – Mercer Williams House

Mercer Willliams Savannah
Photo Credit: Savannah First Timer

Recommended by Erin of SavannahFirstTimer.com

The always-intriguing Mercer Williams house has been drawing visitors to Savannah for decades – ever since John Berendt published his best-selling novel, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” in 1994.

The book focuses on the life of local philanthropist and restoration expert Jim Williams, who was accused of shooting a young prostitute named Danny Hansford. The shooting took place during Williams’ popular annual Christmas gala, and many of Savannah’s elite were gathered at the home at the time.

Hansford and Williams’ relationship had been a tumultuous one, and Williams claimed the shooting was in self-defense. He was tried four times in the state of Georgia before finally being acquitted on the charge of murder. Less than a year after his return to the Mercer Williams House, Williams’ body was found in the study — ironically in almost the exact same location where Hansford was originally shot.

The home is no stranger to tragedy. It sat empty and abandoned for a while and fell into a state of neglect. During that time, a young boy named Tommy Downs snuck into the house and stumbled to his death from one of the upper levels (some say he was pushed). Visitors can still see the missing spike where he was impaled on the beautifully wrought iron fence below.

These days, members of Williams’ family still reside in the home, which has been impeccably restored. They allow visitors to tour a few rooms on the ground floor of the beautiful home. 

#10 – Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery Savannah
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Recommended by Sam of FindLoveandTravel.com

Bonaventure Cemetery is easily one of the most unique places to add to your Savannah itinerary. It is located on a scenic bluff just east of the city. Not only is it the largest cemetery in Savannah, with over 100 acres, but likely one of the most famous as well. Originally a plantation, part of the land was sold to be a private cemetery in 1846. Eventually, Bonaventure Cemetery became public in 1907.

So why is it so famous? Besides several notable people being buried here, including Johnny Mercer, the cemetery was featured in the Novel and movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. 

Furthermore, it is known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries sprawling with giant live oak trees blanketed in Spanish Moss. During springtime in Savannah, the cemetery is bursting with azalea blooms, giving the sense you really are walking through a garden rather than tombs. 

Like the rest of Savannah, the cemetery is indeed considered haunted. One of the most famous graves to visit is that of Little Gracie Watkins, who died when she was 6 of pneumonia. You can even consider taking a tour of the cemetery! 

You can visit the cemetery free Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

#11 – American Prohibition Museum

1920s Gangster
Photo Credit: [@stu99/DepositPhotos]

The American Prohibition Museum is a must-see attraction for visitors to Savannah, GA. Located in the heart of downtown near River Street, this museum offers a fascinating look at one of America’s most significant departures from traditional social norms.

Through interactive exhibits and carefully curated artifacts and memorabilia, the museum tells the story of America’s brief foray into alcohol prohibition and its lasting impact on our society today.

Whether you’re interested in history or simply looking for an entertaining experience that will leave you feeling enlightened, the American Prohibition Museum should certainly be on your list of things to do in Savannah.

#12 – National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force

12 Popular Things To Do in Savannah, Georgia on Vacation
Photo Credit: [@MikeMareen/DepositPhotos]

Located in Savannah, Georgia, the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts. The museum pays tribute to the brave men and women who fought in the skies during World War II, highlighting their incredible feats as well as the equipment and technology that made such accomplishments possible.

You can explore a variety of exhibits and displays, including a fascinating collection of restored aircraft and cockpit simulators. Whether you are a longtime fan of military history or simply have an interest in aviation and its role in combat, this museum is sure to leave you inspired.

So if you’re looking for something truly unique on your next trip to Savannah, add the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force to your itinerary!

Final Thoughts

Savannah, GA
Photo Credit: [@sepavone/DepositPhotos]

Savannah, Georgia, is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the United States. With its antebellum architecture, cobblestone streets, and picturesque squares, Savannah exudes an undeniable Southern charm that attracts tourists from all corners of the country.

Of course, aside from its beauty, Savannah also offers a wealth of fun activities for you to enjoy. Whether you are exploring on your own or taking a guided tour of some of the city’s best-loved landmarks, we highly recommend a visit to Savannah as one of your next vacation destinations. You won’t be disappointed!

12 Popular Things To Do in Savannah, Georgia on Vacation
Alexandrea Sumuel

Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.