How to Spend a Long Weekend in Savannah: 3 Day Itinerary
March 23, 2023
If you're planning a Savannah weekend getaway, you're in the right place! Savannah is an alluring city known for iconic oak trees, beautiful architecture and numerous town squares. It is the oldest city in Georgia and also known to be one of the most haunted cities in America.
This blog will share a 3 day Savannah itinerary that includes amazing Savannah food, outdoor activities near Savannah and the best things to do in this beautiful city.
I’m excited to share my experiences, tips and favorite activities from my 3 week stay in Savannah during Spring 2022! This post has been updated for 2023.
Tips for Visiting Savannah
- Be prepared to be in awe of Savannah’s beauty! You will experience beautiful greenery in the squares, an impressive riverfront and large oak trees that frame the roads. Savannah feels like a quintessential Southern city.
- Savannah gets very crowded during peak times. I was there around Spring break and struggled to find parking on the weekends. If you hate crowds, consider visiting during off seasons and weekdays.
- Savannah has an open container policy, so you can consume alcohol on the street. Your drink should be in a plastic cup and you’ll need to stay within the Savannah Historic District to take advantage.
- The city is a popular bachelorette and bachelor destination; I saw many party goers on pedal wagons around the city. Overall, Savannah was more of a party destination than I was expecting.
- There are 22 squares in Savannah and each one is beautiful. The squares typically have benches and shade, and they’re a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Where to Stay in Savannah
Hotels in downtown Savannah can be expensive. There are some incredible luxury accommodations if you would like to splurge. If you are visiting on a budget, I recommend staying a little outside of the city and driving or taking public transportation into downtown.
Luxury Hotels in Savannah:
- JW Marriott Plant Riverside District: This riverfront hotel has an incredible collection of gems, rocks and fossils in their lobby. The rooms are elegant and the hotel is in an amazing location right on the river.
- The Drayton: The Drayton is an historic luxury hotel located downtown just a minute from the river. They offer 50 guest rooms that have been thoughtfully designed to emphasize the building’s historic roots. The hotel also has a rooftop bar with fantastic views.
- The Galloway House Inn: This small inn offers only four suites, so you are sure to get an intimate experience. It is located further south from the historic downtown area, but still within walking distance of some great restaurants and activities. The hotel is dog friendly and also offers bike rentals.
- The Forsyth Park Inn: This bed and breakfast has eleven guestrooms and is right across the street from Forsyth Park. There is a beautiful courtyard and a gourmet breakfast included with your stay.
Budget Hotels in Savannah:
- Courtyard by Marriott Savannah Midtown: This hotel is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Savannah and has a pool, breakfast options and the standard comforts you would expect.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Savannah Midtown: This hotel is about 15 minutes from downtown Savannah and has an outdoor pool, a parking garage and all of the typical amenities you would expect.
When to Visit Savannah
Most consider the spring to be the best time of year to visit Savannah. The spring brings temperatures in the 70’s, blooming flowers and popular festivals like the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Savannah hosts one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the world! This is also the most crowded time of year, so hotel prices may be higher than usual.
Summers in Savannah can be very hot and still crowded. Expect highs in the 90’s during the summer months. This is a good time to visit if you are also planning on visiting Hilton Head or Tybee Island.
The fall is considered shoulder season in Savannah, so you may experience less crowds and lower prices while still having favorable weather. Temperatures range from the 40’s to the 70’s during these months.
Winter in Savannah is when you can experience the lowest crowds and prices. The temperatures range from the upper 30’s and to the lower 60’s, it rarely snows here.
Getting Around Savannah
Ideally, I recommend staying in a central location and walking as much as you can. The downtown area of Savannah is very walkable.
There is also good public transit in Savannah. The DOT is a free shuttle service that includes 20 stops in the historic District. These buses typically come every 10 minutes and are a great way to get around.
If you are driving your own vehicle in Savannah, there are several parking garages and a lot of street parking. One thing that I noticed was that sometimes garages would say they were full, but they actually still had several spots available. Parking can be difficult during weekends and holidays, but you can usually find a spot if you’re patient.
Explore the Savannah Riverfront
Start your weekend in Savannah by exploring the downtown Riverfront area. This area is not to be missed during your Savannah weekend trip! There are several shops and restaurants and you’ll have wonderful views of container ships coming down the Savannah River.
I recommend tasting a praline from Savannah’s Candy Kitchen (they give out free samples), taking a look at the Waving Girl Statue, and walking inside the lobby of the JW Marriott hotel. The hotel has an extensive collection of fossils, gemstones and rocks.
On the bluff level behind the riverwalk, you will find Factor’s Walk. It's worth visiting as the area is said to be haunted and has some secret tunnels. I visited the Cluskey Vaults, which were used as storage.
However, some speculate that they were also used as a holding area for enslaved individuals. You can find these vaults if you walk or drive down the Bull Street ramp. Find more information on this area in this full guide to Factor’s Walk.
Explore Downtown Savannah
There is a lot to see in downtown Savannah and I recommend taking some time to walk around and explore. Here are several points of interest as you explore. As an alternative to walking, you could take a trolley tour to learn more about the history and local attractions.
Shopping in Downtown Savannah
- Paris Market: This beautiful shop has gorgeous home decor and a cafe that serves coffee and croissants. You can find candles, antiques and unique eclectic items throughout the store.
- The Olfactory Co: The Olfactory Co has a variety of oddities, soaps, books and more. Part of the store is said to be haunted.
- Savannah Bee Company: At this shop, you can buy a variety of honey, beauty products, apparel and more. However, the most unique aspect is the mead tasting. You can sample several types of mead at the bar or bring a bottle home.
Visit the Savannah Squares
I recommend visiting as many of the Savannah squares as you can, but here are a few of my favorites.
- Wright Square: Wright Square is one of the four original squares in Savannah and said to be haunted. If you take a ghost tour, you’ll learn about how Alice Riley was hanged in this square in the 1700’s, even though she was likely innocent. Spanish moss does not grow on the trees in this square, and legend says that “Spanish Moss will never grow where innocent blood has been spilled.”
- Lafayette Square: Lafayette Square has a nice fountain in the center and is right across the street from the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist.
- Chippewa Square: This square is where the famous bench scene in Forrest Gump was filmed. The bench has now been moved to the Savannah History Museum and there is no signage indicating its former location in the park. Instead, there is a new flower bed on the north side of the square facing Bull Street where it once stood.
Casual Breweries and Food in Downtown Savannah
Here are some places for food and drink to check out as you explore downtown. Remember that you can take a drink to-go if you would like!
- Moon River Brewing Company: Moon River is an iconic brewery that is commonly believed to be haunted. They have a large food menu and a great outdoor patio space. I enjoyed the Savannah Sling sour beer.
- New Realm Brewing & Distillery Co: This multi-level restaurant and bar serves food, cocktails, innovative beers and more. I enjoyed the Tropic Dream beer. Georgia Tasting Room: The Georgia Tasting Room serves wine, mead, moonshine, frozen drinks and more. I enjoyed a peach moonshine slushie here. Your wine samples will be free if you purchase a bottle.
- Byrd’s Cookies: Byrd’s has several locations around Savannah and serves a selection of mini cookies. Flavors include peach, key lime, chocolate and many more. The cookies have a bit of a crunch and you’ll likely want to eat several. When you visit their locations, you can try free samples.
- Vinnie Van GoGo’s: Vinnie Van GoGo’s is a great spot in the City Market area to grab a slice of pizza. They serve thin crust New York style pizza at very affordable prices.
- The Coffee Fox: The Coffee Fox is a cute cafe that serves a great selection of pastries, coffee and brunch options.
- Treylor Park: Treylor Park is a fun restaurant for dinner in Savannah. They lean into the “trailer park” theme with photos of campers and airstreams all around the restaurant. Their food is a unique take on Southern items with dishes like peanut butter and jelly wings, fried banana peppers and shrimp and grit tacos. I really enjoyed the Tire Swing cocktail and the grilled cheese with caramelized onions and tomatoes.
- The Pirate’s House: The Pirate’s House is themed as you would imagine - like a pirate ship. The house was formerly an inn where sailors stayed in the 1700’s. Today, it is decorated like a ship and said to be haunted.
Take a Ghost Tour
If you are interested in paranormal activity at all, a ghost tour is a must-do activity in Savannah. It is the most haunted city in America after all!
I toured with Genteel and Bard and had a great time. Our group was given wireless receivers and headphones for the tour, which made it easier for us to spread out a bit along the way.
The tour lasted about 2 hours and included ¾ of a mile of walking. Stops included the Sorrel Weed House, the Colonial Park Cemetery, the Foley House Inn and many more locations. I really enjoyed learning more about Savannah history and legends from our guide.
There are plenty of different types of ghost tours depending on your preference. You can go on a haunted pub crawl, take a bus tour or go on one of the many walking tours. No matter what you pick, this is one of the best experiences to have while you’re in Savannah.
Leopold’s Ice Cream
Leopold’s is a famous spot and a must visit if you love ice cream. Expect there to be a long line during most hours of the day, but it’s ice cream worth waiting for, at least once.
Leopold’s has been open since 1919 and was founded by three brothers from Greece. One of the brothers' sons, Peter Stratton, took over the family business while also pursuing his dreams of working on Hollywood movies. Stratton has produced films such as Mission Impossible 3 and there are many movie props and posters around the shop today.
Three ice cream flavors remain unchanged since 1919: tutti frutti, rum bisque and lemon. I tried them all and highly recommend the rum bisque and lemon. The ice cream is super creamy and delicious. If you want to be sure to avoid the line, you can also order ahead at certain times or purchase a pint to-go in the back of the parlor.
Bonaventure Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Savannah and is known for its beauty and the many notable people buried there. The cemetery was first established in 1846 as the privately owned Evergreen Cemetery. Today, you can visit on your own for free or take a guided tour.
If you visit on your own, here are some things to look for:
- The Little Gracie Statue
- The one bell left from when it was a common issue for people to be buried alive.
- Johnny Mercer’s grave (a Savannah musician)
- Conrad Aiken’s grave (a Savannah poet)
The cemetery is large but you can walk between the most famous gravesites. You can pick up a map at the front office, but be aware: it will not show you the most famous graves. It was a bit of a hunt for us to find the famous sites without a guide, so I recommend booking a tour if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything.
On day two, I recommend spending some time in the artsy Starland neighborhood, which is a few minutes south of the main downtown area. In the late 90’s, two SCAD graduates with Historic Preservation degrees purchased the old Starland Dairy and began to revitalize the deteriorated buildings. The area soon became a creative hub for arts, businesses and culture.
- Starland Yard: This food truck container park is a unique and beautiful space. There are colorful, painted shipping containers stacked high, an upper deck area, a bar and more. You can often find live music and there is always a rotating selection of food to choose from. Instead of paying the food trucks individually, start a tab when you first enter the park and pay all together on your way out. I enjoyed a frozen cocktail, a pizza with swiss chard and ricotta, and refried beans made with butter and topped with pine nuts.
- Superbloom: Superbloom is a gorgeous but small cafe and gift shop across from Starland Yard. They have a great selection of flavored lattes, natural wine and gifts made by local artists.
- Starland Bazaar: This boutique has unique gifts, beautiful painted front steps and ice cream. They even have homemade waffle cones with flavors like matcha and red velvet.
- Two Tides Brewery: Two Tides Brewery serves innovative brews and always has a unique sour beer option to try. The upstairs tap room is bright and colorful with murals covering many of the walls. They do not serve food besides some snacks, but you can bring in your own.
- Hop Atomica: Hop Atomica is a brewery on the outskirts of the Starland area. They serve a full menu of pizza, salads and other food along with their beer.
- Foxy Loxy Cafe: Foxy Loxy was my favorite place to work remotely while in Savannah. This giant cafe has backyard patio seating, indoor seating and even a deck to sit up on their second floor. They serve a variety of items from coffee to cheese boards to wine. There is also unique, eclectic decor throughout the establishment. It’s a great place to hang out with friends or work on your laptop.
- Bull Street Taco: Bull Street is a Mexican spot that serves tacos, burritos, margaritas and more. I enjoyed the tempura cauliflower bowl. The restaurant is not far from Forsyth Park.
- Common Thread: Common Thread is a wonderful place to visit if you are looking for a higher end meal. This restaurant focuses on locally sourced ingredients and serves a variety of small plates meant to share. I appreciated that they had many vegetarian options and I absolutely loved the cavatelli pasta. They also have an extensive wine and cocktail menu. The menu changes seasonally so there is always something new to try. Be sure to make a reservation in advance.
Forsyth Park is the largest park in Savannah and is just north of the Starland District. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and enjoy the canopy of oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.
The park is also home to the most famous fountain in Savannah - the fountain was first erected in 1858 and its water is dyed green every St. Patrick’s Day.
Forsyth is a beautiful place to go for a walk, read a book, watch a concert or play tennis.
On your third day in Savannah, spend some time outside of the city with some beautiful natural sites.
Skidaway Island State Park
Skidaway Island State Park is located 30 minutes outside of Savannah and offers some wonderful hiking trails. The park includes maritime forest, salt marshes, boardwalk trails and beautiful trees, creating a great variety of scenery.
I recommend combining multiple trails in the park for a loop. I hiked a 4.3 mile loop that includes the Avian, Sandpiper, Big Ferry and other trails. Begin in the marsh area where you can see oysters and crabs crawling out of their holes in the mud.
Later on the trail, there is an observation tower where you can get a bit higher and enjoy river views. As you continue around the loop, you will see palm trees, spanish moss and even Earthwork mounds that were used as fortifications during the Civil War.
I even saw a nest with two barred owls while on the Big Ferry trail. Entry is $5 per car and there is a nice visitor center with a gift shop and information. Skidaway Island makes for the perfect easy day trip from Savannah.
If you're wondering what hiking gear to bring, check out my day hike packing list!
Wormsloe Historic Site
Not far from Skidaway, Wormsloe is a popular destination with a famous tree tunnel and an interesting history. When you arrive, you’ll need to pay $10 per person before driving down the famous 1.5 mile tree tunnel. Note that when you drive down the tree tunnel, you are not supposed to stop. You can however take plenty of photos at either end.
At the end of the tunnel, there are ruins of a former plantation house, a colonial area where enslaved people and indentured servants lived, some hiking trails, a gravesite and more. In addition to a plantation, Wormsloe once served as a defense post in the 1700’s. There is also a garden area where they grow a mix of Native American crops, European crops and African American crops; all of the foods that together make up Southern cuisine.
End your time in Savannah with a special Southern meal from The Grey. The restaurant is located in a former Greyhound Bus Terminal which has been beautifully restored. Chef Mashama Bailey creates dishes that draw on her Southern roots. The food is both unique and comforting at the same time.
I highly recommend making a reservation, but you’ll need to do so several weeks in advance. If you don’t have one, you can still go and eat at the Diner Bar which has first come first serve seating.
I loved the red rice balls and the Roses cocktail (tequila, pisco, rhubarb, strawberry and lime) and the salted honey chess pie.
Other Things To Do in Savannah
If you have more time, here are some other attractions to add to your Savannah itinerary:
- Take a day trip out to Tybee Island, a barrier island with sandy beaches located just 20 minutes from downtown Savannah.
- Visit the American Prohibition Museum, the only prohibition museum in the United States.
- Visit the First African Baptist Church, the first Black Church in North America. The church is a National Historic Landmark and tours are offered.
- Take a tour of the historic Mercer Williams House Museum, which was in the movie 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.'
Savannah is an incredible vacation destination for couples, friends and families alike. The beautiful city has something for everyone and is a great place to return to again and again. Whether you are taking a Southern road trip or going directly to Savannah, don’t miss this unique Georgia destination.
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