Things to do in Savannah, Georgia. Saving money on lodging and spending big on food and experiences.
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
Best places to eat, things to do, and places to see.
Over the past year, Savannah became one of our favorite cities...and we didn't see that coming at all. Over the past 6 months, we've now been there 3 times.
It felt like home to me within the first 15 minutes of walking around. The historic district has a cozy, warm, and inviting feeling that's nothing short of palpable. Old oaks hover above the intricate architecture, practically embracing the city and her people alike.
If you're looking for a road-trip-worthy place filled with tons of history, great food, and a relaxed vibe, I'd highly suggest you add it to your list.
Where we've stayed: RV Parks & My Car
Major budget tip:
There are plenty of nice places to stay in Savannah, but it can get pricey. The first 2 times we've visited, it was actually because we had 2 weeks booked at The Oaks (an RV park) 45 minutes outside of the city. It made it super convenient to drive in after work and on the weekends.
This last time, we used this trip to try out the ultimate budget hack for traveling... sleeping in the car. My mom and I decided put the seats down and sleep in the back of my Mazda 3 hatchback together during this trip.
We brought a lot of my backpacking gear (sleeping mat, inflatable pillows, sleeping bags, a battery-powered fan), and used my planet fitness membership for a shower and a free parking lot for the night. Since it was our first time doing this, it wasn't super comfortable, and I learned a lot for my next stealth camping excursion.
Let's just say that I never really noticed how many lights are on in parking lots at night, or how loud my mom snored until she was right next to me...
Overall, a good way to save $200ish on a hotel for the night though, and it meant that we didn't hesitate to spend that money on the best food and experiences in Savannah.
More info on everything I've learned about car camping coming out soon! I've definitely found ways to make it more comfortable because of this trip!
Let's start where I always begin with my trips, figuring out where to eat. These are all of the places that we come back to again and again.
This city was made for brunch. Hot summer days lead to lazy Sunday mornings. So even when you roll out of bed around 10, you've still got time to get ready and head into the city for a perfectly relaxed meal before starting your day.
Heading from Chippewa Square towards the riverfront, you'll run straight into this fancy little place that's got outdoor seating for days. Hang out under the magnolia trees, grab some mimosas, and get ready for a new twist on some old southern staples.
When we went, we started off with a delicious vanilla cappuccino. The waitress had gone on about how careful they were with their vanilla selection, and we knew we had to go for it. We asked for the house favorite, and ended up with 2 orders of the Swine Time Beni (a delicious pork creation topped with an egg, bacon, and jalapenos) and paired it with our own a la carte order of shrimp & grits.
Close to the riverfront means being close to all the action and a great spot to start your day. It's inside an old building with a newly renovated interior, filled with tasteful photographs of the city from local artists. Conveniently, it's close enough to everything, so you'll be able to easily walk off the wave of tiredness you'll feel after all of the southern classics here.
Food-wise, I enjoyed the butternut squash bruschetta with candied pecans, dried cranberries, and caramel sauce the most. I have a bit of a sweet tooth, and I can definitely say that this was a refreshing surprise to start off brunch with. I would personally suggest saving such a sweet treat for after your meal if you aren't planning on picking up dessert after you leave to explore the riverfront.
I feel like I've saved the best for last on this one.
The food was good, yes. This was my first experience with shrimp & grits, and it didn't disappoint. I also packed my plate with old favorites: biscuits & gravy + some eggs & bacon. It's a buffet, but pace yourself if you want to be able to still explore the city without a nap when you depart.
Mostly though, it was a combination of the food, the atmosphere on the boat, the tour up and down the river, and the history tour on the speakers outside that really set this one over the top for me. I loved it so much, that I convinced my brother to do it when he went for a visit as well
Some tips: Book this one in advance, because it fills up quick. There is only 1 slot, currently boarding Sunday at Noon. My suggestion: pay a bit extra for the window seat so that you don't miss anything as you eat your breakfast!
Savannah is fairly well-known for hitting above its weight class for fantastic dinner options. Some of the top options in the area (according to guides) are The Olde Pink House, Vic's on The River, and Husk.
I'm here to give you another option.
This is our ridiculously affordable, no-frills, all-time favorite. So much so, that our waitress Briana knows us as her "regulars" even though we live almost 300 miles away. No shame in our game!
We've eaten at the best places all up and down the East Coast, and all I can say is that whatever you order off of this menu will be absolutely perfect. No crazy recipes, no strange ingredients you wouldn't expect, just fresh delicious food at an amazing price.
I'd suggest you honestly try anything, but our favorite menu items are the edamame potstickers and prime burger. Get that burger with swiss cheese & without the mayo and pickle if you really want to enjoy the taste of the meat.
I promise, this will be the best $10 burger you've ever had.
Our little secret: After we tried Husk for dinner and spent way too much money, waited way too long for our food, for way too little food, this was our trusty backup for 2nd dinner.
I have a mad sweet tooth, and so you can always count on me to find the sweetest menu items and dedicated dessert shops. These are my best finds, and one that's still on my dessert bucket list.
A quick stop on your way to or from the riverfront, they've got tons of yummy flavors with a cream-like filling. None of that jelly-centered nonsense here! Some of our favorites were "Savannah Banana", "Tybee Turtle" and their "Snickers". You can't go wrong with any of those!
It's a great quick snack to grab that won't melt all over you, and we prefer to enjoy these in Reynolds square, which is a nice and relaxing spot to unwind under the oaks.
If you've spent any time walking along the river, you've undoubtedly run across this place. If you venture in, they're usually giving out yummy praline samples at the front! Founded in 1973, it's coming up on 50 years old, and is the city's oldest candy store. They carry everything you could want, and have plenty of gift baskets ready to go for friends and family back home as well.
Our favorites are the bear claws, chocolate almond bark, and the divinity bars with almonds.
Pro-tip: Grab a bottle of milk from the fridge towards the back, you're definitely going to want it with how sweet everything is! Head over to the riverfront and enjoy your dessert from one of the benches overlooking the river. You get a view of the bridge and the riverboat cruise ship. I think it's the perfect end to a date-night in the city.
We haven't made it here yet, but the reviews seem great, the atmosphere seems intimate and the desserts look interesting.
If you give it a try, let me know how it is!
I don't drink a ton of caffeine anymore, but it used to be a ritual for me. Now when I do have it, the experience has to be worth it. These places didn't disappoint.
I recommended them for brunch earlier, but their vanilla cappucino is worth stopping to grab a pick-me-up on it's own.
Made with a perfectly mild vanilla and created with care, it's a nice boost to your day without getting too crazy. It's a good staple for sure.
It's also a good central spot to stop and relax a bit if you've been walking around the historic district for most of the day.
This one is more of a grab-n-go situation. But it is located near a ton of shops that you can meander around as you sip on your coffee. Savannah Bee is right next door, and you can stop in to taste some honey while you wait.
I wasn't ready for this coffee, and now I've made multiple people order and drink it because I just HAD to share it. It's too good not to. Mexican Mocha is my go-to. It has a nice rich mocha flavor with an unexpected kick of jalapeno spice at the end. Never had spicy coffee? I hadn't either before this. It's unique, it's fun, it's just plain old good!
Things to Do & Places to See
So there's obviously no shortage of good food, but I'm here to tell you that there's also no shortage of things to do and places to see in Savannah. I'd highly recommend a long-weekend to get a good amount of things in, while also getting the space to unwind and relax in this cozy historic city.
These are some of our go-to activities.
I know, I already mentioned this for brunch, but it was worth mentioning again as an activity all on it's own. If you're looking for a great way to see the city from a different perspective, enjoy getting to dress up for a more formal activity once in a while, and wouldn't mind a real life history tour when you're done eating some yummy southern classics...this is the actiity for you.
This was our first activity in the city, and WOW did it set us up for a great vacation!
Pro-tip: Order the tickets online at home, they're cheaper than at the boat or across the street. I'd also recommend paying a bit extra for the window seats because it's totally worth it. You won't miss a thing outside while you enjoy your brunch.
Remember, they only have 1 slot each week for the brunch cruise: Sunday at noon.
Go on a Ghost Tour
I love getting to see a new city this way. Not because I believe in ghosts, but because it's a perfect way to safely see a new city at night (you're in a big group of other people), you get to learn so much history that you otherwise wouldn't, and you'll have tons of new fun-facts to share with those back home.
Do you know why Savannah's streets are so lumpy? According to the tour-guide, it's because the city was built on top of her dead after a yellow fever ravaged the city centuries earlier. The burials took up so much space that they later had no choice but to build on top of them... SPOOOOOKY....👻
We enjoyed our tour with Ghost city Tours. They have a few different options depending on the level of spookiness you want, and they have a family option as well.
Shop in the Historic District
Need some affordable souvenirs for yourself or those back home? There are plenty of shops right on the riverfront that are packed with affordable t-shirts, really cute sweaters, and all kinds of artsy coffee mugs.
It's not just tourist shops though, there area also bakeries, jewelry stores, and tons of other local goodies to be had.
Savannah Bee - Stop in to taste all the different kinds of honies. Did you know that the flavor changed depending on the plant the bees got the pollen from?
My personal favorite is Tupelo, my Fiance's is Orange Blossom, and my mom's is Sage. You can get jars of honey and tons of products made out of it as well like lotions and bath products.
Pro-tip: You can actually book an in person tour of their hives a bit away from the city, and I hear it's a favorite for families.
Relax in Forsyth Park
When we aren't sure what else to do, and the weather is good, this is our go-to activity. It's located in the center of the city, and is filled with live music, people socializing and playing sports, families enjoying time together in popped-up lawnchairs, and oak trees that are perfect for hammocking between.
A nice bonus: They've got weirdly nice public bathrooms. You'll see what I mean if you get a chance to check it out. And who doesn't need a dependable spot to go when they're out exploring a new place?
Get some work done in a cafe
When we work, we generally do so from the RV. Since I basically have another full-time job in writing, photography, and content creation, it's always a good idea for me to find a place to get a bit of work in.
We really enjoyed Art's Cafe, where we hung out in this double decker bus while sipping on a strawberry smoothie, wrote up some articles and did a bit of picture editing. The wifi was good, and outlets were everywhere in the top level of the bus. Defiitely a nice little place to get some work done if you need it.
Check out the squares
Speaking of enjoying nature, one thing that struck me was the foresight to create parks all around the historic district in consistent places. That means consistent places to relax, stop at with a coffee or dessert you've picked up, or even just to sit and watch the horse-drawn carriages and trolly's go by.
I loved knowing exactly where to find little hideouts in the city. And they each have their own flair.
I'm not kidding, look at how well this was planned:
Take in the architecture
It won't take you long to realize that this city is full of beautiful buildings. You'll probably know that by the time you find a parking spot. Do yourself a favor though and purposely dedicate some time to strolling around to check it all out. This is how we spend so much of our time when we're in the city, and along the way we generally find tons of new places and favorite little pockets.
Pro-tip: stick around after dark to get a whole new view of the city. The oil lanters turn on, and the ghose tours come out. The oaks hold the light and shadowy horse drawn carriages take over the streets. This is probably my favorite time to enjoy the architecture.
Visit Tybee Island
Located just outside of the city is a great little island escape that could very well be it's own trip. You'll find great seafod, a slower pace of life, and cute cottages all over the island. If you've got time, it's defiitely worth a day trip, or even a long-weekend!
Coming soon: An entire guide on Tybee. Stick around to check that out!
We love visiting Savannah, and I hope that maybe you're inspired to give it a shot yourself or that you found something new to try!
Leave a comment if you have any recommendations that you'd like to share for our next trip there, and let me know if you found this guide useful! - Thanks for reading.