"We've been expecting y'all."
Today we’re heading to the deep South for our student tour Spotlight. We’ve already “visited” Atlanta. Now let’s talk about it’s more charming coastal neighbor, Savannah.
It’s spring in the South and you’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful time to visit. The azaleas are blooming. The birds are chirping. The weather is perfect…not too hot, not too cold and none of the humidity the South is famous for in the summer months. All of this combined with the variety of activities and sites available to your student group makes for a city worth considering for your next tour.
1. Historic District (Downtown Savannah)
When you see pictures of Savannah, with it’s ancient oak trees and Spanish moss, you are most likely looking at the Historic District. This area of the city is laid out in a grid and is home to 22 squares (small parks), each unique in name and feel. Beautifully restored 18th century homes line the streets , making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Savannah is famous for it’s history, both charming and creepy. Many of the squares and homes are rumored to be haunted! It’s a good idea to take a guided walking tour of the district in order to learn the history of the squares and the buildings that surround them. Local tour companies offer various themed walking tours, from haunted tours to movie themed to Civil War themed. Your student group will be able to find a tour that matches your curriculum.
2. Tybee Island
Tybee (tie-bee) Island, located East of Savannah, is a wonderful way to mix up your days during our Savannah student tour. You can opt to relax and spend the day at the beach, a good choice for groups who’ve never been to the beach, or choose from a myriad of activities available on the island. For STEM programs, check out the Tybee Marine Science Center. The Center offers various programs including marsh walks, where your group can get dirty trekking through the marsh and checking out the wildlife that call it home, and turtle talks, where your group can learn about the sea turtles that nest on Tybee. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the river’s friendliest creatures, consider taking a dolphin tour with Captain Mike’s Dolphin Tours. And if you’re just looking for an activity to get the wiggles out, the Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum is a good option.
3. Massie Heritage Center
Massie Heritage Center is Savannah’s only museum that highlights local history. It opened in 1856 as Georgia’s first public school and today continues to provide fun and interactive programs for children and student groups. Its exhibits include a maritime gallery, a 3D model of Savannah’s squares, and an exhibit highlighting the Black community’s struggle for the right to an education, among others.
4. Fort Pulaski
Located at the mouth of the Savannah River, Fort Pulaski was originally built to defend the bustling port city of Savannah. It briefly fell into Confederate hands during the Civil War, but fell to Union troops during the siege of Fort Pulaski in 1862. Today, visitors can take guided tours of the fort or explore the grounds on their own. There is a large park surrounding the fort, with many hiking trails, and the area makes a great spot for a picnic lunch. Many groups will combine Fort Pulaski with a visit to Tybee Island, for a full day excursion from Savannah.
5. Eats and Sweets
Savannah is home to some of the best food in the South. Whether you’re looking for traditional Southern cuisine or a quick treat, your group will not be disappointed. One spot that can’t be missed is the historic Pirate’s House. The restaurant was an inn for visiting sailors back in the 1700s and became a rendezvous point for pirates during that time as well. The food is decidedly Southern in nature, so it’s a great place to experience history and cuisine at the same time. If your group is interested in trying fresh seafood, head to Tybee Island and the world famous Crab Shack. This laid back spot is perfect for a dinner stop after spending the day at the beach. Views of the river and top notch food make it perfect for a group visit. If you’re looking for something sweet after dinner, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. For homemade ice cream, check out Leopold’s, where they’ve been serving up delicious treats for over 100 years. Want to try a praline or salt water taffy? Head over to River Street or City Market and check out Savannah Candy Kitchen or River Street Sweets.
Having trouble choosing a tour company? Check out our tour company worksheet to help you narrow down your options!