To reach Tybee Island from Savannah, take Bay Street to Hwy. 80 and continue for 18 miles through the marshlands of the lower Savannah River until the road dead-ends at Tybee's South Beach parking area.
Tybee Island has been labeled as "a shabbily genteel seaside community blessed with two long, wide beaches...a central business district that exudes a tawdry Coney Island-esque charm" OR " Tybee exudes an old-fashioned, Coney-Island-type appeal, complete with a rickety-tik amusement park, putt-putt golf, corn dog stands, and clapboard cottages"...OR "a small resort and residential island."
Regardless of how one views it, the island has a long sandy beach, activities that kids adore, a lighthouse to climb, and an old abandoned Army Outpost & Battery that serves as a museum now. Most of the activity centers on Butler Avenue where a pier juts out into the surf, and on the pier is a pavilion.
Of all that the island offers, I liked the Tybee Lighthouse the best. It's located at the northern tip at 30 Meddin Drive, (912)786-5801.
The second beach (which is popular with the locals) is along Pulaski & Taylor Streets. and it is dominated by the Lighthouse which is one of two operable lights on the Georgia coast. Tybee Lighthouse guides shipping through Tybee Roads at the approaches to the Savannah River. Built in the late 19th century, this lighthouse is about 150 feet tall, and there is a museum next door.
You may climb it any day 10:00 am-6:00 pm during the summer. There are Candle Lantern Tours on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of June, July, and August for $1.00.
Located approximately 10 miles southeast of downtown Savannah, the plantation was established in 1737 by Noble Jones, one of the first British colonists who arrived in Georgia with General James E. Oglethorpe. A plantation house built in 1828 stands at the site, as does the remains of the original house built by Noble. A museum displays artifacts.
The entrance to Wormsloe Plantation is probably just what most Americans think of when talking about a Southern Coastal plantation. The picturesque arch leading to quiet country lane lined with live oak trees.
Wormsloe Plantation is worth the drive if only to see the welcoming mile-long driveway lined with huge live oak trees.
State Historic Site
7601 Skidaway Rd
Savannah, GA 31406
Take I-16 to exit 164A (I-516 / W. F. Lynes Pkwy). Take I-516 to the end, where it becomes S.R. 21, then continue on to Skidaway Rd, a total of 6.6 miles. Turn right on Skidaway and continue for 2.8 miles to the entrance to Wormsloe on the right.
Tuesday–Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday 2–5:30 p.m.
Closed Monday (except holidays), Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.
For Civil War buffs, one might want to visit another Fort (best-preserved earthwork fortification of the Confederacy) within a state park called Fort McAllister State Park.
It extends over 1725 acres on the banks of the Ogeechee River. This fort was the location of the last line of resistance for the Confederacy against General Sherman's march on Savannah. (South of Richmond Hill on Highway 144).
The fort withstood seven attacks by Union gunboats, and the port held. Then, Sherman's ground force stormed the fort and closed down trade through Savannah's port, a severe loss for the Confederacy. Why? Because now the Union had a route to ship supplies to it troops.
The fort was restored by Henry Ford in the 1930s. This Fort is in Fort McAllister State Park, and you can follow the path around it to the entrance.
While walking along this parapet, you see the river on one side and a huge cannon on the other. There are informative signs along the way that includes information about both the sea and the land battles. It also tells about life in the fort and about General Sherman.
Deep within the mound are the baricks for the men stationed at the low-tech fort. Visitors may tour the mound and walk through. This is a very interesting place to visit. The Museum on site has artifacts from Confederate Gunboat, Nashville.
If you wish, you may picnic on the high bluff above the River near the fort.
Note: Just off Genesis Point lie the remains of the Nashville, a privateer sunk during a battle in 1863.
Besides the fort and museum, there is a 3.1 mile trail through a typical low-land marsh. (Bring insect repellent!) There is a viewing tower that overlooks a small creek. There is also a nature trail in the campground and a fishing pier. In addition, there are 65 campsites with water and electricity.
Genesis Point, east of Richmond Hill
You'll recognize it the minute you walk on the property....made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil The book cover made this cemetery one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Savannah area.
"Haunting" describes Bonaventure Cemetery...Hauntingly beautiful .. Victorian statuary mingled with overhanging branches of large trees draped in Spanish Moss.
Danny Hansford (the character called "Billy Hanson" in the John Berendt book) is not actually buried in Bonaventure. He is buried in Forest Lawn, next to Bonaventure.[ VT tessh (Sam) says that these two cemeteries are separated by a road and an iron fence but that both cemeteries are owned by Bonaventure.]
Bonaventure is not as old as Colonial Park Cemetery, but it certainly is larger & more attractive. It was founded on property that used to be a plantation. At one time, called Evergreen Cemetery, its name was switched to Bonaventure (the name means "good fortune" in French)about 1907.
Sadly, the statue that graced the cover of the novel ("Bird Girl") was moved to Telfair Museum of Art because so many people came to Bonadventure simply to see & photograph it.
Another reason that tourists go to Bonadventure is to see the tomb of Gracie Watson. Gracie was born in 1883 & died of pneumonia when she was six years old. Because she was an only child & absolutely adored by her father, he had the famous sculptor, John Walz, carve a likeness of Gracie from a photograph. He did a life-sized statue out of marble, & visitors are entranced by the beauty of the child & of the sculpture. Legend says that Gracie's ghost haunts many of Savannah's buildings; thus, people are curious about her.
Sadly, this statue has taken abuse, so a tall iron fence was constructed around the statue. People still climb the fence to touch "Gracie"!
There are so many gorgeous statues & plaques as well as inspiring epitaphs that it takes a good 3 hours or so to really appreciate this place.
The Gryphon Tea Room is right in the heart of downtown Savannah, on the edge of some cute square (I'm terrible with names). Regardless, it's on Bull Street. The visit is worth it for the decor alone. Fabulous tiffany lamps, brass and oak bar fixtures, a huge glass ceiling panels - it's absolutely gorgeous. They have a sizable collection of different teas, and will just brew you a pot or will do the whole enchilada of afternoon tea. It was too hot for coddled cream and such so I just got a pot and my friend got a cool drink.
The tea was quite good and well brewed. The service was a little snippy. Just ignore them, it adds to the ambience.
TIP: walk around the area taking in the townhouse architecture to build up your appetite for smoky seductive tea. Savannah is so cool.
We've only seen Bonaventure Cemetery from the Wilmington River. It is easily reached by driving out Wheaton Street to Bonaventure road.
Bonaventure ("good fortune" in French) was the good fortune of John Mulryne and Josiah Tattnall. Both were large landholders in Georgia, but they had much more in common than owning the land that became the cemetery. Mulryne, who built the third Tybee Lighthouse in 1773, was Tattnell's father-in-law. Bonaventure was his plantation home. The family cemetery on the plantation formed the nucleus of the present-day Bonaventure Cemetery. When Naturalist John Muir wrote about Bonaventure Cemetery in his 1867 book A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, it was mostly the family cemetery today known as "Old Bonaventure."
Famous people buried here include
Conrad Aiken (poet)
Robert Houston Anderson (Civil War CSA Brigadier General-after the war was a police chief in Savannah),
Eugene Booth Jr. (nuclear physicist involved with the Manhattan Project)
Duncan Lamont Clinch and Charles Edward Gorden (US Congress),
Dr. Brodie Strachan Herndon (Civil War Confederate Army Officer - Chief Surgeon of the Confederate Army from 1862 to 1865. A graduate from the University of Maryland Medical School in 1829. He was the first person to perform a Caesarean operation in the United States)
Henry Roots Jackson (Civil war general CSA)
George Jones (U.S. Senator)
Robert Alexander Lawton (Brigadier General, CSA)
Rufus Ezekiel Lester (U.S. Congress),
John T. McFarland (assistant surgeon of the Confederate Georgia Infantry and Sharpshooters)
Hugh Weedon Mercer (Brigadier General, CSA)
Johnny Mercer (Songwriter)
James Neill (silent era actor)
William Wiseham Paine (US Congress),
Edward Fenwick Tattnall (US Congress),
JosiahTattnall (Confederate Naval Officer. He commanded the Confederate ironclad "Virginia" (ex-"Merrimac")
Edward Telfair (delegate to Continental Congress and Governor of Georgia)
Thomas Telfair (United States Representative from Georgia, 1813-1817; son of Governor Edward Telfair)
Of course a trip to Savannah is never complete without visting Tybee Island..This place is definitely off the beaten path..However, it's VERY well known so it does get crowded on the weekends..The one thing about Tybee that's kind of sad is that there isn't enough night life there..Oh you have your local bars etc..but it's not same as having a fun night club to go to..Also it seems like EVERYTHING just closes right up around 9:00pm..If you want Quiet then Tybee is the place to go..I'll have more on Tybee in my other destinations section.
If you want antiques and other old stuff, head to Universe Trading Co. and check out the deals. Not all are antiques, but if you look you can find real gems of a deal.
Located at 27 Montgomery Street, 1 block west of the City Market in historic downtown Savannah!
fort pulaski is located on cockspur island at the mouth of the savannah river. it was named after the polish count, casimir pulaski who fought with general george washington during the revolutionary war. construction on fort pulaski began in 1833 and was finished in 1847. in 1860 the fort was taken over by the governor of georgia and was later turned over to the confederacy. in 1862 union general david hunter was ordered by general w.t. sherman to retake the fort. on april 10th 1862 fort pulaski fell to northern forces after a 30 hour seige. a very interesting place to visit in the savannah area. to get to fort pulaski take hwy 80 east about 10 miles from downtown savannah.
Read, before you go to Savannah, the novel "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". The point reading this book is to acquaint you with the places and characters from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It’s fun for everybody who has reading the book and wants to see its printed pages come to life. Some place you're are going to see along the way are the Mercer House, Jim Williams Antique Shop, Armstrong House, Clary’s café, Hamilton-Turner House and Club One. There are about 22 places in Savannah that you recognize in the book. Go walking around in Savannah and search for these places. It’s a nice way to discover Savannah.
This is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Georgia and seat of the Catholic Diocese of Savannah. It was organized in 1799 and erected its first house of worship on Liberty Square. A second and larger church was built on Drayton Street, at Perry, in the 1830's. In 1876, the first rendition of the current Victorian Gothic Cathedral was built. This structure was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1898. The cathedral was rebuilt, based on the original design, by architects Baldwin and Price within the framework of the original walls. The cathedral has several notable elements including magnificent stained glass windows from Innsbruck Austria, wall murals, Sarouk Persian rugs, a high alter of Italian Marble and coats of arms of Pope John XXIII and Bishop Thomas J. McDonough
Tybee Island is only minutes from the Savannah Historic District. Offering some of South's best beaches and fantastic family values, Tybee is the eclectic jewel of the Georgia Coast. Enjoy boating, biking, hiking, or soaking up the rays on the beach. Combined with historic attractions, great shopping and extraordinary dining, Tybee is Georgia's small beach town.
During the War of 1812, it became clear that the United States needed a defense system. On March 15, 1830, the United States government took 150 acres here in Chatham County GA for the construction of a new fort. Construction began in early 1829, initially overseen by an ailing Major Samuel Babcock of the Army Corps of Engineers. Babcock's failing health made it necessary for a new West Point graduate, Robert E. Lee, to oversee the construction of the main drainage ditch, an earthen embankment and dikes, and buildings.
The fort had to sit on a firm foundation; a very difficult task in such a marshy environment. Workers drove the pilings on which the fort sits 70 feet into the soft mud of Cockspur Island. Brick arches were then built on top of these pilings to support the dirt, cannons, and platforms of the terreplein. Fort Pulaski was initially designed to be a two-story fort with three tiers of guns, but conditions made such a design impractical. Fort Pulaski was constructed as a masonry fortification with 5 walls, each of which was from 7 to ll feet thick and 32 feet high. It was built to include 67 arched casemates, used for housing soldiers and storing supplies, that supported a 30 foot wide terreplein on which the cannon platforms were placed.
Because he was so familiar with the strengths of the fort, General Lee advised the young Confederate fort commander to pull his troups back from Tybee Island because he thought they would be safer inside the fort..
But in April of 1862, Union troops on Tybee Island directed rifled cannon fire at the fort breaching the southeast angle and giving them immediate access to the gunpowder magazines. A cannon shot that landed there would blow up the fort and kill everyone in it, so the commander surrendered. The accuracy and range of the rifled cannon rendered brick fortifications obsolete. The damage from that cannon fire has been left visible.
$3.00 - 7 Days for 17 years of age and older
SCHOOL GROUPS and Golden Age Pass holders Free
Savannah is inhabited by more dead perpersons than alive ones. Where can we meet more easily the gosts : at the cemetery. Though we are fans of the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" we skipped the Old Bonaventure cemetery which is featured in the film.
We were curious to see the Gracie Watson's statue. She was the charming daughter of the Pulaski hotel manager and was friendly considered by the patrons of the hotel. Unfortunately, she died from pneumonia in April 1889. The statue of her grave was carved from a photographe as it is shown by her behaviour.
The grave is fenced by railings to protect it from the visitor cheek. For the same reason, the famous statue, " the Bird Girl" has been moved from the cemetery when the family encountered tourists having a pick nick on the their grave.
The Gracie's grave is signaled by wooden signs and it is located in section E number 98.
The other occupiers of the graveyard are also interesting. Fort examples : Johnny Mercer and Conrad Aiken (both in section H).
One thing more : the cemetery is not close to the city center. You need a map and a car except if you are in a tour.
Florence Martus was living in the lighthouse on Elba Island which was at the Savannah Harbor entrance.
During 44 years, she greeted the arriving boats and said hello to the ones which were living the harbor with a white handkerchief. By night, she was also here with a lantern. She did not miss any ship. When she had been interviewed, she said : "I was never too sick to get up when one was coming and I could always hear them coming."
So she was known by all the sailors who called her the Waving Girl.
She received letters from all the word but she never married.
She died in 1943 and a ship received her name in her honor.
The statue features her with her collie waving a ship. The monument is on East part of River Street.