Probably the biggest field trip I went on was to Savannah, Georgia, USA when I was in 5th grade. The port city, located south east of the state capital, was about a 4 hour drive 1 way! The carefree waterway vibe of River Street mixed with the historic walking tours stayed with me. As an adult, it’s great to have the freedom to explore as well as rediscover nostalgia of childhood.
Come with me as we check out the free things to do in Savannah!
Listed first due to the iconic views, this touristy shopping strip has so many things to see you’d think it was an actual attraction. There’s limited pay-for-parking lots so I would suggest parking before driving down to it. The road is also very bumpy due to the original brick. So, whether you’re walking or driving through, be prepared! It goes on for quite a stretch so there’s room for all even on the busiest days. If you love River Street, there are a few hotels right on the water, for your convenience. If you’re patient, you might catch a boat saying, “Hi!”
This may sound kind of odd at first but older cemeteries, such as this one, have a lot of character. Here in Savannah, as Georgia’s oldest city, it’s the history that makes this a must-see. There are some notable people buried here and at the entrance there’s a sign pointing you in their direction. In addition to checking out the unique headstones, I was looking for the grave of a little girl named Gracie who passed on a century before I was born. As the story goes, her family was originally from Boston and moved to Savannah because her father was transferred here to open a new hotel for his company. She was a favorite of the guests and locals alike. Unfortunately, she fell ill and died at 6 years of age. Her parents were too grief stricken to stay and went back to Massachusetts. However, before they left, they had sculptor John Walz create a very lifelike image of stone carved from her photograph. She was buried here and rests alone so I thought I’d visit. Aside from Gracie, it’s quite a varied landscape.
Perhaps one of the most picturesque locations in Savannah is Forsyth Park! This vast green space has a garden, monuments, water fountain, walkway of trees, and a giant xylophone. Thanks to the trees, it’s a nice respite from the humid southern air to walk the brick paths. The corner I came in at housed a garden only open until around 2pm every day. Roses in red, pink, and yellow stood proud amongst the greenery. There’s also a large playground for kids!
Similar to Forsyth Park, Chippewa Square has stunning scenery but unlike Forsyth, it’s quite small. There is a statue in the center dedicated to Savannah creator, James Oglethorpe. However, as scenic as the square is, you might recognize it for a different reason. It’s the actual spot where Forrest Gump sat on a bench throughout the movie by the same name, chatting to everyone about his life while he waited for the bus. The bench is no longer (it’s the Savannah History Museum) there BUT the spot is recognizable.
You can’t go to a coastal town and not go to the beach! A short drive south, you find beach abundant Tybee Island! There are many places you can get to the beach from here. I parked near the lighthouse and by a fort. On site there was a restaurant but more conveniently, restroom and shower. You can rent an umbrella on the beach for $20 and chairs for $10 each. I brought my own chairs and was in the water too much to make use of an umbrella but it’s something to consider. It was a very clean beach and the walkway out was this beach rug which made it easier to walk on sand. I must say I very much appreciated the changing/shower area as well as the foot fountains right as you reach the parking lot from leaving the beach.
Just an FYI, everything I spoke about is FREE but if you’re driving it does typically cost to park. I parked for free at my hotel and Bonaventure Cemetery. In downtown, I parked on the street and the meters were digital. You just need to remember the space number and it’s $1/hour paid with a card. At Tybee Island, it was $2 an hour and same payment method.
While there are plenty of ghost tours, famous homes, and museums to see – it’s also nice to have some good free fun. If this inspired you to check out Savannah, let me know! To check out more photos, stay tuned to Facebook and Instagram.