Savannah, Georgia has been a popular tourist destination in the southern United States for years, owing to its picturesque downtown, rich and multifaceted history, and very popular open-container law.
The city’s warm climate and walkable nature make it a feasible destination for those looking to explore a new place while still putting some space between themselves and others. Savannah can be brutally humid in the summer months, but even in late October the weather lends itself to shorts and sundresses, and the tourists are fewer (and further) between. Late autumn and early winter therefore are some of the best times to visit this city of southern charm. But what to do? Here are the top five things to add to your socially-distant Savannah itinerary:
- Take a walking tour
Whether it’s self-guided (there are plenty of free resources available- see here and here for starters) or socially-distanced (Genteel and Bard‘s tours are conducted via headsets, allowing you to spread out at your leisure), a walking tour is a great way to explore the history of this vibrant city. The downtown is littered with informative plaques denoting buildings and sites of historic and cultural significance, so you can take all the time (and space) you want.
- Visit Old Fort Jackson
Located just across the river from downtown Savannah, Old Fort Jackson is a National Historic Landmark worth the modest $9 entry fee. Its highlight is the daily cannon firings, but, as one of the oldest brick fortifications on the East Coast, it also offers a sweeping view of Savannah’s riverfront. Inside the fort, there are displays and objects from everyday life to give visitors an impression of the troubles and joys faced by the soldiers stationed there, as well as informative placards of the various flags utilized by both the Union and the Confederacy during the war.
- Wander around Forsyth Park
There is space aplenty in Forsyth Park, which stretches over 30 acres- leafy, shaded walkways, open fields perfect for picnicking or tossing a ball around, and benches under which you can sit and people-watch to your heart’s content. It’s the perfect spot if you’re seeking out a bit of calm after a busy day taking in the city’s vibrant downtown. And don’t miss the famous and very-photographable fountain on the northern side of the park. If you’re lucky, you may even catch one of the many outdoor performances or displays put on at several points over the year- bring a picnic blanket to settle down and take in some much-beloved Savannah traditions.
- Get your drink to-go
Wonderfully convenient even before the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, Savannah’s open-container law allows the carrying of alcoholic beverages within the boundaries of the city’s historic district (be sure to check the law ahead of time for specifics). This means you can order your cocktail to-go and take your Mai Tai with you as you sip and stroll through the city’s romantic squares and lively City Market and River Street districts. (Check out The Alley Cat Lounge for some seriously cool Prohibition-era vibes and bespoke mixed drinks lovingly crafted by knowledgeable bartenders. Alternatively, there’s always Wet Willie’s.)
- Hit the beach
What better way to socially distance than to head to the shore? There are several beaches easily accessible from Savannah, including those of popular Tybee Island and Hilton Head (nearby in South Carolina). They are conveniently located for a day trip from the city and provide a more laidback and relaxed atmosphere in late autumn as compared to the extremely busy summer months.
Savannah is best enjoyed outdoors and on foot- luckily, with balmy weather late into the year, it’s possible to do so without feeling uncomfortably close to other visitors, making this southern city an ideal destination during the off-season.
Have I missed any activities you’d recommend? I’d love to hear about your experience in Savannah- let me know in the comments below!