Savannah is my favorite place we’ve stayed in four years of fulltime RVing. There. I said it.
We were in Savannah for less than 24 hours when this lifestyle was new to us, back in 2014. We stayed overnight at the Visitors Information Center, on the edge of the historic district. On Sunday morning, we hopped on our bikes to explore the poetry of the famous squares, as sunlight pierced through the Spanish moss trailing down from the trees. It was Romantic, in the truest sense of the word.
Ever since, I’ve wanted to return for an extended stay. Though our 2017 return visit was dramatic, ranging from heartbreak to euphoria, one thing can be said: Savannah did not disappoint me.
We stayed in Savannah, GA from Sept. 4-7, 2017 AND from Sept. 16-30, 2017. Yeah, about that…
Savannah, Take One
We hit the ground running. I wanted to go into the historic district every day because that’s where the magic happens. On our first full day, Tuesday, we gave ourselves a refresher by retracing the route of our 2014 trolley tour. (If you’re interested, all the trolley tours leave from the parking lot of the visitors center. Super handy if you’re staying in the parking lot overnight with your RV.)
We walked around the City Market area, where I met Pie Society for the first time. Eye-popping assortment of sweet and savory pastry goodness. Later for dinner, we had Wiley’s Championship BBQ, which was located on the way back to Tybee Island.
This is where Caspian had his first dessert ever, banana pudding. He was not happy when it was gone. I may have eaten most of it.
On our second full day in the Savannah area, we visited the historic, beautiful, somewhat spooky Bonaventure Cemetery. Oh, I could’ve wandered this place forever. We visited Johnny Mercer’s resting place, where melodies traipsed through my head.
After Bonaventure, we headed back to the historic district. Eric led us on a walking tour of some of the squares and we concluded the day’s exploration with dinner at 520 Wings. This place is a dive if I’ve ever seen one, but the hot wings are some of the best we’ve ever had.
And then it was over. Hurricane Irma was tracking our way, and we couldn’t risk staying in such a low-lying area. The next day, as we headed west away from Savannah, a mandatory evacuation order was given for Tybee Island.
➡️ The full story: “Our Hurricane Irma Evacuation Saga”
The Waiting Place, for People Just Waiting
“Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for a Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break…”
-Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”
As we left Savannah, my favorite city I had been waiting three years to see again, we had no idea what was going to happen. We didn’t know where Hurricane Irma would go; whether we’d even be safe where we were going; what was going to happen to our travel plans for the rest of the year (in Florida). We were waiting.
(Insert dramatic pause.)
The best of many scenarios ended up occurring. We made the most of our time in Macon, GA, our evacuation point. And after nine days, we were blessed to return to our campground on Tybee Island.
➡️ Keep reading: “We Weren’t Supposed to Be in Macon, GA, Until We Were”
Savannah, Take Two…Things to Do
It was a dramatic return, as our Jeep died outside the campground office. But I’ve told that story already (scroll to the end).
We spent a full two weeks in the area this time (!) and I love the rhythm of exploration we found. We did go into the historic district regularly (not quite every day). But our visits were relaxing and low-key. I like to think we looked like locals as we were pushing the stroller around. ?
When we were at the River Street Market Place, we came across this awesome walking tour booklet. It was only a few dollars, with short paragraphs about almost all the squares and points of interest in the historic district. We spent multiple days following the itineraries, wandering all over the area. It was so perfect.
Wormsloe State Historic Site
An avenue guarded and covered by towering trees will be the first thing you notice as you turn into Wormsloe State Historic Site. Once you pay the $10/adult entry fee, you can drive underneath the trees, perhaps pretending you’re in a horse-drawn carriage. Buried in the underbrush, you’ll find the remains of the colonial estate of Noble Jones (1702-1775).
- Nature trails past the tabby ruins and marsh
- Informative film
- Museum exhibits
Guided tours currently take place at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:3o p.m., and 3 p.m. There are special programs and events throughout the year.
As Eric and I watched the film in the visitors center, we turned to each other multiple times with that “whoa” look. Noble Jones was as epic as his name, fitting multiple lives’ worth of experience into just one.
7601 Skidaway Road – Website
Day Trip to Beaufort, SC
The romance I sense in Savannah is present across much of the Low Country, a region stretching along South Carolina’s coast. We visited Beaufort, SC, in 2014 when we were in the area, and I wanted to go back. On a fresh, sunny day, we took the backroads to this charming town on the water.
We enjoyed walking up and down Bay Street, stepping into any of the shops that caught our eye. These local businesses specialize in antiques, gifts, decor, clothing, and everything in between. Monkey’s Uncle is a well-curated toy store with interesting items you won’t see in big box stores. We got Caspian a touch-and-feel book and a red, fuzzy tactile ball he still plays with.
After the shops, we curled around to the waterfront. There’s a long walking path, with bench swings overlooking the calm inlet. Grab a frozen yogurt or coffee nearby, then sit and watch the world go by for awhile.
On our way back to Tybee Island, we visited Parris Island, where all of our enlisted Marines go for basic training. Today, it looks like many other military bases. But Billy Joel’s “Goodnight Saigon” was running through my head, as I remembered all our service members who started on Parris Island, bound for sacrifice I can’t even imagine.
Things to Eat in Savannah
I did a ton of keto cooking in Savannah–lots of new recipes. I’m due to share more of our favorites here, so I’ll do that soon. When we weren’t at home, here are a few places we ate at in the Savannah area:
- B. Matthew’s Eatery – I was looking for a hip Sunday brunch after church and we ended up here. The location on Bay Street is great, but the service and food left us underwhelmed.
- Wright Square Cafe – Little sandwich and coffee shop located just off Wright Square. The sidewalk board tempted me with promises of a lavender latte. It was really good. This seems like a quiet place where you could work for a few hours without being disturbed.
- The Collins Quarter – I visited The Collins Quarter by myself in the late afternoon. Sitting outside, I sipped a gorgeous lavender lemon martini and felt quite in my element. Where’s my teleporting machine when I need it?
The one place we wanted to try, and didn’t get to because of our work schedule, was Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. Next time! We ended up doing the rest of our eating out on Tybee Island, which I share below.
Our RV Park in the Savannah Area, on Tybee Island
We didn’t stay in Savannah proper, but on Tybee Island at River’s End Campground. We stayed in site #30 the second time and liked it well enough (our first site was bigger, but I can’t remember the number).
We loved River’s End and I’m fairly confident we’ll stay there every time we visit Savannah. It’s about 20 minutes to the historic district, but it’s a beautiful drive along the water. A number of our friends have stayed at Skidaway Island State Park. We would’ve died staying there, with the mosquitos the way they were.
The campground has a large, clean swimming pool. But it’s only a few minutes’ walk to the beach if you prefer #saltlife. You can watch the sunset from a bench swing or search for shells. If you walk along the beach for a while, you’ll get to Tybee Island Light Station.
You can bike or drive down Butler Avenue to get to a collection of local restaurants and shops. We tried Fannie’s On the Beach first. The hot wings and cocktails were really good. The downside was the price apparently associated with being across the street from the beach.
We also ate at CoCo’s Sunset Grille (we didn’t go back because Eric didn’t care for their blue cheese dressing!) and Sting Ray’s Seafood. Sting Ray’s ended up being our favorite, between the outdoor seating, live music, and menu selection.
Last, but definitely not least, Caspian and I walked to Tybean coffee shop almost every morning…including at least one Monday when they were closed. Sad face.
But–happy face–they have three styles of nitro cold brew, all of which are so good. I got turned onto nitro here, and look for it at all the coffee shops I go to now. Tybean’s is still my favorite. The people there are really nice, with regulars filing in constantly. Be warned that seating is limited. There’s one small sofa and a few bar stools inside (the bar is probably too narrow for a laptop). There are a couple of picnic tables outside, but the mosquitos can be bad.
I hope I don’t have to wait another three years to get back to Savannah because I love it so much. My words don’t do it justice. What have been your experiences there?