A day in Savannah, Georgia

Roadtripping through Florida and Georgia to the beautiful city of Savannah

In Christmas, FL, visiting ‘Swampy’

After 2 nights in Miami and an exhaustingly full on few days at Walt Disney World, our road trip through some of the Eastern States of the USA was now about to begin in earnest as we picked up our car from the Alamo terminal at the Disney Swan Hotel. Maybe because it was a smaller terminal with fewer cars on site, but we go upgraded from the small size car we’d booked to a larger SUV.

With neither of us having any experience at driving something which seemed pretty huge to us (but seems a pretty standard car size in the US!), we were a bit wary at first but were soon cruising along the freeway towards our final destination of the day, Savannah, Georgia.

A quick stop in St Augustine at the Fountain of Youth

As with our previous US road trip, we had tried to plan regular stops along the way on each drive day at road side attractions and sites of interest. Today’s first stop was in the Floridian town of Christmas which, as well as having a Christmas tree on display all year round, is also home to Swampy, the World’s Largest Alligator (sculpture!). The huge sculpture sits outside the Jungle Adventures Animal Park and while we didn’t visit the park itself, it was fun to pose alongside – and in the mouth of – the sculpture!

Already running late on our rough schedule after delays picking up our hire car and our first stop, we soon hot roadworks causing us to divert. Finding ourselves in St Augustine, we stopped to grab lunch and supplies at a Walmart then followed signposts to Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth, deciding it might be a good place to sit and eat lunch at.

If we’d had more time, it would have been fun to pay the entrance fee and actually see the fountain but after eating and stretching our legs, it was time to get back on the road again and cross the border into the state of Georgia.

Crossing the state line into Georgia

We had booked a dolphin-watching sunset boat trip out of Tybee Island, on the outskirts of Savannah for that evening thinking we’d have plenty of time to make it but as we were till running late and hit more diversions around roadworks, it was looking less and less likely we would. Not having any access to the internet or being able to ring the company with the cost of calls from our UK phones, we had to make a decision whether to see if could make it or just give up and head straight to our Savannah accommodation. It could have gone either way so we decided to continue to Tybee Island and hope for the best.

Above, a disappointing visit to Tybee Island, and below, exploring Savannah including a visit to Chipewa Square

Arriving at the departure point right around the time of departure, we quickly found a parking space and ran to the dock only to see the boat pull away and sail down the river without us.

Disappointed but not surprised, we drove into Savannah and checked into the hotel we’d be staying at for the next couple of nights, briefly venturing into the city to grab a snack before returning to our room.

The historic Savannah Theatre

The next morning,we were up early to get out and explore the city. Being early August, it was a hot and humid day as we wandered along the streets and through the pretty squares. We stopped at Chippewa Square, famous for being where the Forrest Gump bench scene was set. The bench he sat on in the film isn’t actually in the Square, it was a prop but the Square itself is very recognisable.

After passing some other Savannah landmarks including the historic Savannah Theatre and the huge Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, we found ourselves in Forsyth Park with its canopy of oak trees leading to its pretty fountain.

Above, a replica of the Forrest Gump bench at the Savannah History Museum, and below, visiting the Savannah History Museum and the Jepson Centre

Next, deciding we needed to get out the heat and into some aircon, we walked to the Savannah History Museum to learn a bit more about the southern city.

We bought a combo ticket which also gave us access to the Jepson Centre, a contemporary art museum, which we made our next stop, and Owen House, one of the city’s historic homes.

Above, the gardens at Owen House, and below, touring the house

Our tour of the large house was really interesting and our guide even gave us some recommendations for our upcoming stay in Charleston, SC.

Following our tour of the historic home, we walked down to the waterfront, strolling along the banks of the Savannah River and visiting some of the shops there.

Above, strolling along River Walk, and below, the waterfront and Savannah’s City Market area

We then walked through the busy City Market area with its many shops and restaurants before returning to our hotel to once again cool off in some air-con!

That evening, we returned to the waterfront, visiting one of the River Street restaurant bars for dinner.

While the heat had taken some getting used to, Savannah had been a really beautiful city to spend a day exploring! We’d be briefly leaving he state of Georgia the next day to visit Charleston in South Carolina but we were looking forward to returning later in our trip to spend some time in and around the city of Atlanta.

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