I’d like to blow all of my credibility as an expert on visiting Savannah, Georgia right off the bat:
I’ve been there once for about two hours.
That being said, I loved every minute of it, took copious notes, and am eagerly planning my return.
I don’t know much about what to do in Savannah, Georgia – but I can tell you with confidence where you should start your trip to this small southern town. (And you should listen to me because the second I pulled into Savannah I asked a tour guide where I should go if I only had an hour to spend there. A novice who asks an expert is almost as good as an actual travel expert.)
Head to River Street. Immediately. River Street is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or a daytrip in Savannah.
River Street is a narrow cobblestone road that runs along the Savannah River on the northeast edge of town. You’ll want to drive very slowly and watch for the trolly tours. Trust me on the drive slowly bit. (And also? Wear a bra. I’m serious.) Street parking is limited, but you’ll find several small parking lots with reasonable meter rates.
Although I pulled down River Street to find a place for lunch, I was instantly distracted by the river walk. I live 20 minutes from the ocean and white sandy beaches. I am not easily impressed by water, especially something as mundane as a river.
But something about this water and this river is so calming. Words like “rolling” and “rambling” come to mind when you stand along the banks. The bridge that spans the river and the massive ships that sail under it are beautiful. I know this because I took approximately 152 pictures of said bridge and said ships.
Once I managed to tear myself away from the water, I found a new love across the street. (What can I say? I’m fickle.)
Gift shops. No. Gift boutiques. Block after block of cute little storefronts with handmade jewelry, tacky souveneirs, and knick knacks galore. You could spend hours wandering in and out of these shops.
Of course at some point, you’ll need to eat. This is an especially good idea if that was the excuse you gave for driving 20 minutes out of your way in the first place.
Apparently someone named Paula Deen has a restaurant in Savannah and she’s kind of a big deal. But if you didn’t wake up early enough to get your name on a reservation list for dinner and you’d like to find a place you can walk in and get a meal, River Street offers several options. All of them specialize in seafood. Personally, I recommend River House Seafood & Bakery becase that’s the only place I ate in Savannah (and it was fabulous).
As you head further down River Street, you’ll find more shops, more places to walk, and a famous statue.
The Waving Girl Statue is a tribute to Florence Matus, a Savannah resident who used to live along the river and waved at the ships as they sailed by. No one knows why she waved at the ships, but the story is part of local Savannah legend.
Spending time along River Street in Savannah is definitely more about seeing than it is doing. Fortunately, “seeing” is often much less expensive than “doing”, which is why Savannah is a great place for a cheap vacation. It’s a slow paced destination that can provide the perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation or a romantic getaway.
All photos by Britt Reints.