If you are traveling to the Hilton Head area, a visit to Savannah should be on your must-do list. It’s one of America’s most appealing cities, mixing distinct Southern heritage with old-fashioned charm. In one day, you can visit historic sites, stroll through Spanish moss-draped gardens made famous in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and enjoy the shopping and nightlife along historic River Street.
If you want to do more than stroll haphazardly, there are numerous ways to tour Savannah that will take you beyond what tourists usually encounter. Some are comfy rides while others offer unique ways to enjoy the town on foot. Many allow you to experience the charming city from a local’s perspective.
Here are five of the most unique ways to tour Georgia’s Southern belle city:
Perhaps the most popular (and certainly most conspicuous) tours are the numerous horse-drawn carriage rides through town. Honestly, no trip to Savannah is complete without one. Nothing beats traveling through history to the sway of the carriage and clopping of horse’s hooves.
There are several companies offering carriage rides. Two of the larger ones are Carriage Tours of Savannah and Savannah Carriage Tours. Each offers narrated treks lasting 45-50 minutes meandering through many of Savannah’s beautiful squares and introducing you to the city’s architecture and history.
Savannah has a reputation as America’s most haunted city; thrill-seekers flock to town for its famed paranormal activity. A ghost tour is a unique way to experience some of the town’s more unusual locations and tales.
Several companies offer spooky tours – and maybe a ghostly encounter or two! Guides from Genteel & Bard will take you along some of Savannah’s ages-old cobblestone streets and brick lanes, narrating hair-raising stories. Ghost City Tours will take you through haunted locations in the Historic District while delighting you with spooky tales from Savannah’s storied past. For something truly unique, try Hearse Ghost Ride Tours and shiver to a ghost ride aboard a vintage hearse.
Touring on a bike allows you to cover a lot of ground yet be nearly as up-close and personal as walking. It also offers a chance to visit more distant parts of town and lesser-known areas that tourists don’t often visit.
Savannah Bike Tours offers a traditional biking experience where you will pedal past the architecture, squares, and parks that make Savannah so famous. If you’d rather not pedal (at least much of the time), Adventure Tours in Motion offers unique e-bike tours. E-bikes have a battery-powered motor, so you don’t need to exert as much. And, if you are up to learning how to ride one, the company also offers Segway tours.
Let’s Roam runs an interactive downtown “hunt” where participants are on the lookout for storied buildings and famous places. Participants learn about Savannah’s culture, and history by searching out plaques, statues, and public art to solve riddles that can only be found at each location. Best of all, there are no present schedules, so you can take one of these tours at any time.
There is no better way to experience Savannah than through a culinary experience. Savannah Taste Experience Food Tours offers several walking tours that provide the opportunity to experience local eateries and dishes while you enjoy the beauty and history of the city. Each lasts two to three hours. One of them, the Famous & Secret East Side Food Tour will take you off the beaten path to popular local spots the traveling public isn’t usually aware of. The Southern Fried Expectations Food Tour is a wonderful two-hour stroll to local gems offering soul food and regional favorites.
What could be more enjoyable than winding your way through town enjoying an afternoon of shopping with a wine glass in hand! Sip and Shop Savannah Tours offers a three-hour guided walking tour of Savannah’s iconic squares, shopping at some of the city’s finest boutiques, all while enjoying complimentary wine during the journey. Discounts at the boutiques are included in the ticket cost, and there is even a stop at New Realm Distillery for a signature cocktail.
For information on these tours and others – and all that Savannah has to offer, click on Visit Savannah.