I didn’t know much about Savannah, Georgia before we bought our plane tickets. A few of friends had told me it was romantic, relaxing, and had fantastic peach sangria…what more could you need?
The minute I arrived in Savannah, it didn’t take much to convince me they weren’t kidding. The southern charm of the city consumed me the second I stepped foot on River Street. The Spanish moss, squares upon squares of green space all over the city and friendly locals made for a very warming welcome to the city. Also, when I found out one of my first stops that the city was open-container and offered me my peach sangria in a To-Go cup, I felt myself already sold that this place was soon to become one of my favorite cities.
1. Chippewa Square
I spent the weekend exploring the cobblestone streets and taking in the southern hospitality without much of a planned agenda. I will say one of my favorite “non” attractions I saw was in Chippewa Square, the iconic park where Tom Hanks was filmed waiting for his bus in Forrest Gump. One of my personal favorite movies, I was very excited to find and take a picture with the bench. Unfortunately, after circling the park more times than I can count, I learned the bench had been taken to a museum and was no longer in the park. Tricked! I snapped a picture with a street sign that marked the spot which was still satisfying, but word to the wise for all of you Forrest fans out there.
2. The Bohemian Hotel
One of my favorite spots in Savannah was The Bohemian Hotel. I will say, I’m a sucker for rooftops. Give me a rooftop with a view and a beer and I’m a happy girl. But looking over the Savannah River and down on River Street, this particular rooftop bar may take the cake. When you get to the top, a breathtaking view of the Talmadge Bridge to South Carolina hits you in the face. The bar is decorated with chandeliers made of oyster shells and gives off a hipster-meets-modern atmosphere. The crowd was a mix of everyone from college students to business travelers, to older couples celebrating anniversaries, and everyone in between, all just enjoying the moment.
3. River Street
Much like rooftop bars, I’m also a sucker for fireworks. May trip in Savannah was over the 4th of July holiday so I was treated with an awesome firework show over the Savannah River for the holiday. I took in the fireworks from River Street, an adorable cobblestone street along the river lined with hot praline kitchens (that offer free samples), ice cream shops, and pubs. We stood alongside the river with peach ice cream in hand, watching the fireworks and the Georgia Queen, a classic paddle-wheel riverboat, pass down the river under the colorful sky.
4. Tybee Island
Frequently called “Savannah’s Beach”, Tybee Island is located just outside of Savannah. I spent the day laying on the beach and climbed to the top of the Tybee Island Lighthouse. The beach was just as beautiful and way less crowded than Hilton Head. The views from the lighthouse also made the excursion well worth it.
5. Alligator Alley
Located in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Alligator Alley is a dirt road that runs through the swamp land just outside of Savannah. I stopped here on our way up to Hilton Head for the day, with very low expectations of actually seeing live gators in their natural environment. I was very surprised when within the first mile alone we had seen over a dozen alligators. The drive itself was surprisingly beautiful – not what I was expecting either driving through the swamps.
6. Bonaventure Cemetery
I was a little confused at first when I keep hearing Bonaventure Cemetery being referred to as one of the most “beautiful” cemeteries in the world as that’s not usually an adjective I’d hear associated with cemeteries. But after seeing Bonaventure, it was easy to understand why. Bonaventure is Savannah’s most famous cemetery as it served as inspiration for writers, poets, filmmakers, and more for over a century.