Tybee Island Light Station & Museum
Lighthouses, Submarines and Airplanes: Group Tours off I-95
Traveling along Georgia's I-5 offers no shortage of interesting diversions for group tours.
Running up and down the East Coast, Interstate 95 stretches from Savannah through Brunswick and then to Kingsland, taking travelers through some of Georgia's most popular and serene destinations. This route is filled history, culture, and one-of-a-kind tourist stops. Everyone from military history buffs to beach lovers and rum sippers will find something to learn about, explore, and enjoy.
Tybee Island Light Station & Museum, Tybee Island
Georgia's oldest and tallest lighthouse at 145 feet, the Tybee Island Light Station has shone for seafarers since 1736. For those up for the challenge, wear comfortable shoes and climb the 178 steps to enjoy one of the best views on the island. During your visit, you may also explore the nearby Light Keeper's Cottages and the Tybee Museum. Groups of 10 or more should book in advance; tours take about 90 minutes. Limited bus parking is available.
Savannah Historic District & Forsyth Park, Savannah
There's no better place for a stroll than Savannah's historic district, where the cobblestone streets and Spanish moss-draped oaks make for fantastic photographs. There are 20 squares to explore, each with monuments offering their own history and beauty. Don't miss Forsyth Park, the largest park in the district. Its most famous feature is the 160-year-old fountain, and visitors often recharge while sitting on one of the park benches to enjoy the sound of the water and people-watch.
National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Pooler
This 90,000-square-foot museum feature exhibits, interactive displays, and aviation art and artifacts. In the Combat Gallery, the WWII B-17 Flying Fortress may be viewed along with other authentic aircraft, engines, and scale models. Two-hour guided tours or self-guided tours are offered. Inquire about group packages that feature a two-hour, docent-led tour with either a buffet luncheon before or a dinner buffet after, prepared by the museum's in-house restaurant, Miss Sophie's Marketplace.
Overnight in Pooler
Geechee Kunda Cultural Center, Riceboro
Set in a former rice and indigo plantation, Geechee Kunda is dedicated to preserving the Geechee culture and educating the public. A community of African Americans with roots in slavery and who live in the Lowcountry, the Geechee have their own dialect, traditions, and crafts. The museum displays slavery artifacts, Geechee relics, and items from the Jim Crow era. Check the online schedule for annual events such as the Sugarcane Harvest & Craft Show.
Ashantilly Center, Darien
Originally the home of Thomas Spalding, a Georgia planter and legislator, the original house burned down in 1937 and was rebuilt by the Haynes family. The patriarch, William G. Haynes, founded the Ashantilly Center as a nonprofit educational and historical site. He was an artist and environmentalist, and today the center hosts events focusing on those interests, as well as programs centered on coastal history and culture. Tours are arrange by appointment, and rates depend on group size.
St. Simons Lighthouse Museum, St. Simons Island
Built in 1872, the St. Simons lighthouse is still in use today. Climb 129 steps to see sweeping views of the coast. Don't skip the keeper's dwelling, which features artifacts, photos, and interactive exhibits. Afterward, gather out front for a group photo. Group tours are available for a minimum of 10 people, and reservations must be made two weeks in advance.
Overnight in St. Simons Island
St. Marys Submarine Museum, St. Marys
You may never board an actual submarine, but you can get pretty close at this submarine museum in downtown St. Marys. Guests learn about the "Silent Service" by exploring artifacts and photos. Especially interesting are the exhibits made to look like the interior of a submarine, complete with buttons and a modern periscope that gives viewers an amazing view of the St. Marys River, 40 feet above ground.
Catch a ferry to one of Georgia's beautiful barrier islands. Here, you'll find pristine beaches, forests, and marshes that were once inhabited by American Indians. For adventurous groups, there are several trails to explore - more than 50 miles of trails and roads, in fact - as well as 18 miles of undeveloped beaches on the National Seashore. Tours by van and foot are available; reservations in advance are strongly encouraged.
Don't-Miss Dining: Richland Rum, Brunswick
The only single-estate rum distillery in the United States, Richland Rum grows its own sugarcane to produce its rum, making for a delicious, authentic tipple. Tours available Monday through Saturday and include a tasting. Call in advance for large groups.
Must-Stop Shopping: Savannah Bee Company, Savannah
Buzz over to Savannah Bee Company for one of the sweetest shopping destinations in Georgia. Besides jars of honey, you'll find candles, apparel, kitchen and beauty products, and other gifts. There's also a mead bar for adults to do some sipping.