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Jewel of the Georgia Coast: Top 5 Things to Do in Savannah

The oldest city in the state of Georgia, Savannah seamlessly blends its position as a strategic port city with its overgrown natural beauty and southern charm. Each year millions of visitors vacation here, intent on observing the city’s architecture and historic buildings. To make the most of your holiday, add these attractions to your vacation itinerary plan.

1. Savannah Historic District

Savannah Historic District

Harshil Shah

Meander down tree-lined avenues marked by wrought-iron railings, towering brick residences, sweeping staircases, and gas-lit alleyways as you soak up the southern ambiance of Savannah Historic District. Reflecting 18th- and 19th-century architecture, the area was named a National Historic Site in 1966 and has since preserved and showcased Savannah’s rich cultural heritage and southern charm. The district is a well-known shopping haven, where you’ll find boutique shops with classic storefronts. As a cultural hub for the city, you’ll also find an abundance of cafes, dining, art, and music. Grab a coffee and pause at a moss-covered patio to rest, or stroll–drink in hand–through the area on a leisurely tour of the historic sights.

2. The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

Will Thomas

Georgia’s oldest Catholic church, the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist can be recognized by its two twin spires and gold exterior accents. The picturesque white 19th-century Gothic church features famous stained-glass windows made by Austrian Tyrolean glassmakers on the interior, as well as murals painted by local artist Christopher Murphy. You can join the congregation for a service inside this Savannah landmark, or choose to use a trip planner and explore the church on your own time.

3. Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Cemetery

Ann Baekken

On a scenic bluff overlooking the Wilmington River you’ll find Bonaventure Cemetery, a peaceful setting of oaks, sculptures and dripping Spanish moss. The cemetery covers almost 40 hectares (100 acres) of land, and since its opening in 1846 has been known for romanticizing death. The lush greenery and ornate sculptures contribute to the cemetery’s eerie beauty. The cemetery became well known in 1994 when it was the set of the Clint Eastwood movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” Stroll past the famous graves of poet Conrad Aiken, lyricist Johnny Mercer, and governor Edward Telfair.

4. Forsyth Park

Forsyth Park

Dizzy Girl

Marked by a grand 19th-century fountain, which was installed to mimic Parisian urban planning, Forsyth Park features over 12 hectares (30 acres) of land. After admiring the fountain, stroll the park’s wide stone walkways beneath treed canopies, and wander through its lush gardens. You’ll find a cafe, many playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball courts. Stop by the Fragrant Garden, a garden spot built for the visually impaired. You may even stumble across a farmers’ market or public concert.

5. Fort Pulaski National Monument

Fort Pulaski National Monument

Ken Lund

A pivotal site in the American Civil War, Fort Pulaski National Monument preserves the fortress that was used as a prisoner-of-war camp, ideal because of its strategic location on Cockspur Island. It was here that the Union Army successfully tested the rifled cannon in combat in 1862, rendering brick forts obsolete. The commander of the confederate garrison, Colonel Charles H. Olmstead, refused to surrender at the Union Army’s request, thus the army’s use of rifled cannon ended in a siege after just one day. Explore the fort’s sleeping quarters in your Savannah tour itinerary for the prisoners-of-war or see the room where the colonel eventually signed his surrender.

Julia Nugent is a professional based in Toronto, Canada. Having traveled extensively throughout Europe and North America, she’s looking to cross a few more continents off the bucket list.