Wormsloe State Historic Site in Savannah, Georgia. Photo by Chris Walters, @chriswaltersphotography
In Savannah, Georgia's oldest city, ancient live oak trees — thick with Spanish moss — hang over streets. Historic architecture mingles with new construction, while ironwork, fountains and cobblestone streets add distinctive charm. With 22 squares and more than 1,600 historic structures, Savannah boasts the largest registered urban National Historic Landmark District in the United States.
Grab a pimento cheese sandwich and a red velvet cupcake at Back in the Day Bakery, then board Old Town Trolley Tours and ride through the city laughing at the guide's tales or hop off at any stop to explore at your own pace. Trolleys continue by the hour, so plan to jump on the next one to continue your exploration.
Enjoy shrimp and grits aboard a Savannah Riverboat dinner cruise and then dance until sunset.
Hear how Savannah earned its reputation as "America's Most Haunted City" while you take a ghost tour with Carriage Tours of Savannah.
Looking for somewhere to lay your head near great dining and shopping? Retreat to the new JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District for an unforgettable stay.
Grab an early breakfast and then roll around Savannah's historic squares with Segway of Savannah.
Just 20 minutes from Savannah's Historic District, Tybee Island (dubbed "Savannah's Beach") boasts wide sandy beaches and a groovy, laid-back vibe.
Start driving to Tybee Island, stopping for lunch along the way at Wiley's Championship BBQ for slow-roasted meat bathed in a tangy sauce.
Party under the sun at the beach, choosing to soak up the rays, or choose to dust off your towel and discover what else Tybee Island has to offer.
Drive south, stopping in Riceboro at Geechee Kunda, a showcase of the regional Gullah-Geechee culture.
Continue to Darien, a historic community that houses one of the largest shrimp fleets on the East Coast.
OPTION: Stay a second night in Darien to add a day trip to Sapelo Island, which can only be reached by ferry. There you'll see an active Gullah-Geechee community, University of Georgia's Marine Institute, Reynolds Mansion and the 1820s-era Sapelo Island Lighthouse. The Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve Visitors Center and Blue Heron Inn both have options for arranging the perfect tour for your visit.
Fill up with breakfast at the inn before continuing south to Brunswick. Hop aboard a Lady Jane Shrimpin' Excursion and help sort the catch alongside the crew. Later, feast upon the very shrimp you helped net after it's cooked on board.
Option 1: Jekyll Island
Drive to Jekyll Island, a Golden Isle that's a bit retro and remote. Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center where rehabilitation efforts aim to save all five threatened or endangered species of sea turtles that nest in Georgia. Pedal along paved trails that loop 20 miles through beaches, marshes, forests and historic sites on wheels from Jekyll Island Bike Rentals. Wiggle your toes in the camera-ready Driftwood Beach, scattered with knobby and twisted tree trunks made gray by the sun and sea. Slurp oysters at Latitude 31. Retreat to Jekyll Island Club Resort or the Holiday Inn Resort.
Option 2: St. Simons Island
Drive to St. Simons Island, a Golden Isle that’s a bit swanky. Climb 129 steps to the top of St. Simons Lighthouse Museum. Fork up shrimp and grits or another low country dish at ECHO, Halyards, Gnat’s Landing, or Blackwater Grill. Slip between regal sheets at the luxurious The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort.
Extend your trip: St. Marys & Cumberland Island
Add two more nights and continue south to St. Marys, a small town with quaint shops and a spectacular waterfront park. Tour the Cumberland Island National Seashore Museum and learn about the area. Crack open rock shrimp or blue crabs at Lang’s Marina Restaurant. Catch up on sleep at Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast. The next day, schedule a ferry to Cumberland Island National Seashore and spend the entire day walking the beaches. Choose to either camp overnight on the island or book a room at the exclusive Greyfield Inn.
Plan a getaway to experience Georgia's unique beach communities.
From strolling picturesque squares to attending iconic festivals, you'll find that some of the best things to do in Savannah don't cost a dime.