Savannah with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

Savannah with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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Savannah is known as the oldest planned city in America, and with a little planning, you can easily enjoy the perfect family getaway. Older children especially enjoy the hip culture of the city, and vacationing in Savannah with tweens may inspire them to think about future college plans.

The Savannah College of Art and Design has made huge strides in protecting the historic nature of the city while teaching the next generation of artists. There's also a lot for any budding artist to see and do, and the beautiful live oaks covered in Spanish moss and fun shops, restaurants and art exhibits in the historic district will inspire your entire family (tweens included) to have a great vacation. Coastal Savannah is also a seafaring town with one of the few deep water ports on the East Coast, so don't forget to try the seafood and check out the city's checkered pirate past. Here are some tips for planning the best family vacation in Savannah.


Goose Feathers
Why not start the day with a breakfast in the historic district? Family owned and operated, Goose Feathers (912-233-4683) is located at 39 Barnard Street and is a European-style bakery with something for everyone. Looking for something light? Grab a fruit bowl or yogurt with toast. Health conscious? Try a bowl of oatmeal topped with walnuts and fresh apples. This quaint café also offers eggs Benedict, quiche and oven-roasted potatoes. For a sweet treat, try their stuffed croissants, muffins and pastries. Breakfast prices run from $1.99 to $7.95 per person. Don't forget to grab a dozen or so whoopee pies to eat later in the day. These are a Savannah treat made of two fresh baked cakes with a sweet creamy filling. Goose Feathers is open Mon-Fri 7AM-3PM and Sat-Sun 8AM-3PM.

Telfair Museums
Just a few blocks away at 121 Barnard Street, you'll find the Telfair Museums (912-790-8800). The Telfair is three museums in one. The oldest building, the Telfair Academy, opened in 1886 and is one of the oldest art museums in the country. It houses a permanent collection of works by European and American artists, including Childe Hassam, Gari Melchers and Robert Henri. Next to Telfair sits the Owen-Thomas House. This house was built in 1819 and remained in private hands until it was given to the Telfair in 1951. Today it holds a collection of decorative arts, furniture and artwork. The Jepson Center joined the Telfair family in 2006 and has a permanent collection of contemporary art. The Jepson Center also houses the ArtZeum, an interactive gallery spanning 3,500 square feet that is entirely devoted to young artists. Tickets for the Telfair are $15 for adults and $5 for students from kindergarten through college age. The museum is open Tue-Sat 10AM-5PM, Mon from noon-5PM and Sun from 1-5PM. Tickets are good for all three museums and last for a week, giving your family time to admire, think and return another day.

River Street
No Savannah family vacation is complete without a walk down River Street. This line of shops and restaurants is famous across the South and offers your tweens an incredible variety of things to do in Savannah. There are T-shirt and souvenir shops, stores offering fresh, homemade saltwater taffy and sweets, charming toy shops and bookstores. Start at the southern end, near the statue of the waving girl, an artist's rendition of Florence Martus. She stood on the edge of the mighty Savannah River and greeted ships for forty years either by waving a kerchief during the day or hoisting lantern by night. Continuing down the cobblestone street, be sure to stop off at Basket Bears and T's for a wildly fun collection of unique shirts. Don't miss the famous pralines at River Street Sweets (912-234-4608) or the unique, color-changing shirts at Del Sol Clothing (912-236-6622). If you happen to be in Savannah for St. Patrick's Day, don't miss the parade and festival on River Street in Savannah with your tweens – just make sure to go early to avoid the wilder, party crowd that appears after dark. River Street Sweets is located at 13 E. River Street. You can find Del Sol Clothing at 423 E. River Street.


River House Seafood Restaurant
The River House Seafood Restaurant (912-234-1900) sits toward the end of East River Street and is housed inside an old cotton warehouse. Sit back and watch the cruise ships and barges go by as you enjoy pecan encrusted tilapia or Lobster Crab Bisque. Their lunch menu offers more than just seafood, with plenty of chicken, pork and even hamburgers on the menu for the pickiest of kids. The lunch menu offers meals as low as $6.95 and up to $18.95. Make sure not to leave the restaurant without a piece of their famous chocolate or praline cheesecakes. River House is located at 125 W. River Street, and it is open Mon-Thu 11AM-10PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-11PM and Sun 11:30AM-10PM.

Savannah Riverboat Cruises
What better way to see the beautiful, historic city of Savannah than from a classic riverboat? Wander just a little further down to 9 East River Street, and you will find the friendly people at Savannah Riverboat Cruises (800-786-6404). Watch the city of Savannah float by as you ride on an air-conditioned, fully restored riverboat. Both the Savannah River Queen and the Georgia Queen offer three decks of comfortable seats with large windows for clear views. Or, passengers can ride on the open air third deck, feeling the wind in their hair and hearing the sounds of the ships as they pass one another on this deep water port. Cruises leave daily at 2PM, so be sure to board early for the best view. Tickets for adults are $18.95 and $9.95 for children 12 and under.


The Pirate's House
No family on vacation in Savannah with tweens can leave without a meal at the Pirate's House Restaurant (912-233-5757). Located at 20 East Broad Street, this inn has been operating since 1734 and has served honest seamen and pirates alike. Said to be the inspiration behind the book Treasure Island, the restaurant boasts rare pages from early copies of the book in the Captain's Room. Reportedly, the Captain's Room also contains a secret passageway used to smuggle unsuspecting sailors out of the inn, so they could be forced onto ships. The Pirate's House has 15 different dining rooms, each with its own theme. Make sure to leave a little extra time to admire the collection of genuine pirate artifacts. True southern comfort food and fresh seafood are served here, but again – leave room for dessert, as dinners here include steaks, pasta, chicken, and, of course, seafood. Prices vary from $16.95 to $25.95. Lunch is served daily from 11AM-4PM with a southern-style buffet available until 3PM; dinner hours are 4PM-9:30PM Sun-Thu and 4PM-10PM Fri and Sat.

Haunted Savannah Hearse Tours
End your perfect day in Savannah with a ride in a hearse. Usually trips in a hearse sound pretty unappealing, but trust me, this is one you don't want to miss. The Haunted Savannah Hearse Tour (912-695-1578) takes its riders to cemeteries, homes, office buildings, and even to the campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, all in a real hearse that was used for its "traditional purpose" for 15 years. The Haunted Savannah Hearse Tour gives guests a bird's eye view of haunted locations all over Savannah as they ride in raised seats in a custom designed hearse. Savannah is considered one of the most haunted cities in the South, and this 90-minute tour explores several dozen alleged haunted sites. Reservations are needed; visit the website or call for tickets. Tickets cost $25.00 for adults and $20.00 for children 12 and under.

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