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Savannah, Georgia, is a beautiful place to visit. While the city may have a reputation as a destination for couples or girls-only weekends, Savannah offers a lot of fun for families, especially if you enjoy mixing family fun with history like we do.
We made the trek to Savannah after one of our Disney World visits. We drive from Joplin, Missouri, so I’m always on the lookout for somewhere to explore on the drive home. I was first drawn in by Savannah’s beauty and charm. I’d read John Berendt’s book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and I’m also a fan of the movie.
Add in the book Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley and the movie Forrest Gump, and I had plenty of reasons to make a stop in Savannah.
Arriving in Savannah, Georgia
We’d just spent two nights in St. Augustine, Florida, so we were only about three hours away. We woke up in good time on our departure day, and we were in Savannah by lunchtime.
If you’ve read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil or have seen the movie, you’ll be familiar with The Lady Chablis. Unfortunately, The Lady Chablis is now deceased, but she was still performing in Savannah during our visit. And yes, I was pretty excited to see her sign downtown.
Family Fun in Savannah
Since it was time for lunch, we made our way to our lunch destination.
The Pirates’ House
This historic restaurant is a lot of fun for the young and young at heart. Built in 1753, The Pirates’ House was originally an inn for those who sailed the seas. Now it’s a fun place to sample some yummy southern food while enjoying the pirate theme. Our server was in costume and was glad to show us around.
Click here to read more about our Pirates’ House experience.
Click here to read about my friend April’s experience in Savannah, including a visit to the Pirates’ House, on her blog Minivan Adventures!
Okay, I totally understand if you’re wondering why you would visit an old cemetery during your family visit to Savannah. On our family trips, we try to see different things that members of our family interested in. So while this may not be the first place you think about when traveling to Savannah with kids, Kristin is into exploring things that are historic, so she doesn’t mind taking a look at a place like Bonaventure Cemetery.
The statues and headstones are simply gorgeous, and even in the heat of summer, the cemetery was doable. We walked our lunch off for an hour or so before heading back to town. To read more about our Bonaventure Cemetery experience, click here.
Family trip or not, you simply must make a visit to Forsyth Park while in Savannah. Be sure to check out the iconic fountain while you’re there.
Though it was July and HOT, we still walked under the gorgeous Spanish moss hanging from the oak trees in the park.
The shade helps a little, and the scenery is definitely worth it.
Savannah’s Squares and Historic Homes
We didn’t have a lot of time for exploring since we’d only planned for one night during our visit, and we had something special planned for the evening, but we did take a look at some of the squares in Savannah and the beautiful homes around them. Below is a picture of Wright Square.
And here is Lafayette Square.
Below is the historic Armstrong House.
And here is the Andrew Low House.
Andrew Low was a prominent businessman in Savannah who would later become Juliette Gordon Low’s father-in-law. Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of the Girl Scouts. Oh, and the house is haunted, like many in Savannah. But more on that later.
The Thunderbird Inn
After we explored some of Savannah’s squares, it was time to check in to our hotel for the evening. We chose the Thunderbird Inn just outside of the historic district. When we return, we will probably try a place on River Street, but for our quick visit, the Thunderbird Inn was perfect for our family.
The retro theming was fun, and we found Moon Pies and RC Colas waiting for us in our room. For a last-minute stop, the price was reasonable, and Krispy Kreme donuts were available for breakfast. Many of the rooms on River Street are more suitable for singles or couples, so it was nice to find a reasonable place with two beds.
Savannah’s River Street
After a quick fast food dinner, we headed to River Street. We had evening plans, and we wanted to be sure that dinner didn’t take too long. But before those plans, we walked around Savannah’s River Street.
River Street has plenty of dining and shopping choices, and many of the restaurants and shops have hotels above them.
Even if you don’t stay on River Street, the area is worth checking out.
One of the shops had some Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil merch, so that was a fun place to shop.
As you can see, the Bird Girl statue is featured on the book’s cover. The statue was once found in Bonaventure Cemetery, but sadly, it was so popular that the statue had to be moved to the Telfair Museum to protect it.
Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Ghost Tour
Of course, we weren’t just on River Street for shopping. We had booked a trolley ghost tour with Ghosts and Gravestones, and River Street is where the trolley loads.
Now I know what you may be thinking–a ghost tour for families? True, a ghost tour may not be suitable for all kids, and you want to be sure that your children do not interfere with the tour and diminish the experience for others. But we’d discovered in a previous year in St. Augustine that a ghost tour on a trolley can be a great way to explore a city as the sun goes down. It’s a great way to explore places in cooler evening temperatures that are otherwise closed for the day.
Our tour started before dusk. Right before the tour, we purchased some water to take with us. Remember–it’s July in the South! Then we settled in for the tour. The tour guide told us stories as we rode around the historic district. One thing to note is this is not the type of tour where you use instruments to detect ghosts. This is mostly history and storytelling. Kristin liked riding the trolley, and the stories weren’t too scary.
It’s also worth noting that there are trolleys in town during the day that you can hop on and hop off provided by the same company. That may be a better option for your family, but I do know they stop running at some point during the day.
After touring the city, we made our first stop at the Andrew Low House. As part of the tour, you get to go inside for a guided tour of the home. The house and its furnishings are simply beautiful, but this tour does give you some ghost stories associated with the home.
As you can see, we took this tour in daylight. A spookier experience may happen after sunset. Still, this was a great way to see the Andrew Low House. Click here to read more about our ghost tour.
Evening on River Street
Our second stop on the ghost tour was on River Street. After that portion of the tour, we found ourselves again on the riverfront, this time at dusk.
We explored a little more before heading back to the Thunderbird Inn for the evening. We’d had a busy day, and the next day was a driving day as we made our way back towards Missouri.
This is such a pretty place–day or night.
One Last Stop
But before we went back to the hotel, we stopped at the Mercer Williams home. Yes, this is another Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil reference.
Savannah, Georgia: The Wrap-up
As you can see, we only had a small taste of Savannah. Still, I think we experienced quite a bit in 24 hours. Sometimes you only get a little bit of time at a destination, and I think that’s okay. These short visits usually inspire us to return to experience more. If you’re wondering if Savannah is a worthwhile stop along your road trip with your family, my answer would certainly be YES! The city is charming with plenty to see and do. Give it a try. We hope to return one day.
Savannah is such a great place to visit no matter how old you are. It really does have it all – beauty, history, shopping, dining, entertainment, pirates, ghosts…
Savannah is on my list! There are some fun sties to check out!
We love Savannah. There’s a couple places I’ve not heard of that we will be adding to our list for next time we visit.
What a great one day itinerary! I love doing the bus and trolley tours. It’s a great way to get to know a city. And I always do a ghost tour too. You learn even mote that way. That doll though…😳
I’m sad that the last time we were in Georgia, Savannah was just a drive through. We will definitely be back. Was such a pretty place to see!