Savannah with Kids: A Perfect Family Day
Here is our suggested itinerary for the perfect family vacation day in Savannah with young kids:
Start your day in Savannah by taking your kids for a walk down River Street. Don't miss the waving girl! This statue depicts Florence Martus, the sister of the Cockspur lighthouse keeper. Her tradition of waving in greeting to the ships has grown into a legend.
River Street is famous for its eateries. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to satisfy any breakfast desires -- from muffins to a full sit-down meal. One highlights that will especially delight children is Basket Bears and T's. This shop has everything from toys to Savannah souvenirs. A few shops down is another hot spot for younger visitors, The Savannah Candy Kitchen (225 E. River St.; 800-443-7884). This shop offers homemade pralines, cakes and other temptations. Adults may prefer B Matthews (325 E. Bay St.; 912-233-1319), with its unique and extensive breakfast menu. From shrimp and grits to a Southern-inspired breakfast wrap, B Matthews has something for everyone. Prices range from $6.25 to $10 per person.
Savannah Safari. The terms "Savannah" and "safari" generally conjure up images of big-game hunting, and this is no different. But instead of looking for animals in the wild, children look for animals in architecture. With a $6 book, families can go on a walking tour of the Historic District, solving puzzles as they hunt "big game." For $50, groups up to 15 can hire a tour guide who will not only lead the tour but also help with the puzzles and tell stories about many of the buildings highlighted on the tour.
If the idea of walking around Savannah doesn't appeal to you, ride in style. The Savannah Carriage company offers tours around the city. Imagine riding around the city of Savannah in an old-fashioned wagon pulled by a matched pair of percherons. All carriages for public tours are covered for comfort. Every story of the city is related to you by the tour guide that steers your family through the historic homes and squares of Savannah. The tours last about 45-50 minutes. Adult fares begin at $20. Children 5-12 are $9, and children under 5 ride for free. Tours begin and end at the Hyatt Regency, a very short walk from River Street.
No kid can leave Savannah without a visit to the Pirates House (20 East Broad St.; 912-233-5757). This Inn, first built in 1753, was a popular hangout for all kinds of seamen -- including, yes, pirates. The place is so notorious, it is thought to be the inspiration behind the book 'Treasure Island.' In fact, there are very rare early pages of the novel framed in the Captain's Room. Stories are still told about the Savannah policeman who was rendered unconscious and taken from the Inn through a secret tunnel running under the street to the sea. When he awoke, he found himself conscripted onto a ship bound for China. Supposedly, this is where the term "shanghaied" came from. The Pirates House has soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch ranging from $8 to $11. But for $13 a person, they provide a hearty lunch buffet.
Insider tip: This restaurant fills quickly, so it is best to make a reservation. Make sure to leave time to wander through the many exhibits that fill the House.
After lunch, take a drive across the wetlands to Tybee Island. Just over the bridge you will find the entrance to Captain Mike's Dolphin Tours (on the Lazaretto Creek Marina, Tybee Island; 912-786-5848). Captain Mike's tours are some of the best in the area. Here you can find the dolphins! But there is so much more to see as the boat takes visitors past beaches and marshes that house turtles, bird and even alligators. From the boat, everyone can get a novel view of both the Cockspur and Tybee lighthouses. The tour lasts about an hour and a half. Adult tickets are $15 and children 12 and under are $8.
After a long drive and time at sea, it is time to think about dinner. If you're looking for the kind of seafood restaurants that the locals patronize, check out Cafe Loco (on the waterfront, Tybee Island; 912-786-7810). The atmosphere is fun and low-key, as befits an island hangout. The menu has some of the best shrimp, fresh caught and just off the boats. Cafe Loco has live music, or you may want to eat on one of their porches and watch the sun drop like a stone over the wetlands. Dinners run between $11.95 and $18.95.
Before heading back to the city, drive the extra 10 minutes or so and have dessert at The Sugar Shack (301 1st St., Tybee Island; 912-786-4482). This ice cream shop has been an institution since 1971. The Sugar Shack offers standard Ice cream treats such as soft serves, cones and shakes; It also serves hand dipped for the ice cream purists. After grabbing a cone, head over to the pier. The pavilion plays host to fisherman -- and on any given night, the fishermen pull in a half-dozen or more small sharks. Most are more than happy to show off their catch to small shark enthusiasts.
- Overview:Savannah Travel Guide