With a rich history that reaches back nearly three centuries, Savannah is the oldest city in the entire state of Georgia. About 20 million visitors each year flock to Savannah thanks to the amazing historic districts, gardens, monuments and museums. While you can easily spend an entire week (or month) taking in everything from ghost tours to food tours, Savannah's central location allows intrepid explorers such as yourself to venture out and see everything that Georgia and neighboring South Carolina have to offer.
Hilton Head Island
Less than an hours drive away from Savannah is fabulous Hilton Head Island. Sure, Savannah has its share of local oceanside attractions — such as the piers and lighthouses found on nearby Tybee Island — but nothing's stopping you from taking in even more. Hilton Head is a resort town at its very core, meaning there's a ton of interesting things to see and do.
For example, Hilton Head is home to no fewer than two dozen world-class championship golf courses. Serve up a day of tennis at one of the more than 350 courts found there. Put your feet up at luxurious escapes that include Arum Spa, Heavenly Spa, Namaste Spa or Ocean Tides Spa. Score some bargains at one of the many open-air shopping venues, some of which offer rich views of local salt marshes, wildlife, lagoons and magnificent oak trees. The sprawling Tanger Outlet Center alone offers nearly 100 stores for your perusal.
If you prefer spending time in the great outdoors, there's no better way to enjoy Hilton Head than on the seat of a bicycle. In fact, the American League of Bicyclists has graced Hilton Head with its coveted "Gold Level" designation for its bike-friendly community. Rent some wheels at one of the dozens of rental shops and explore about 60 miles of multi-use trails that take you from town to beach with ease. There are literally hundreds of miles of shared-use roadways on this relatively small island.
The Golden Isles
Located a little over an hour south of Savannah off mainland Brunswick is a truly magical destination known as the Golden Isles. This quartet of barrier islands is so named mostly due to its radiant beauty, but also because it was landed by Spanish explorers seeking the precious metal itself. They didn't find any gold, but discovered much, much more.
The natural wonder of the Golden Isles is a spectacle unlike any you will ever experience! The four Golden Isles are flawless stretches of ocean marshland that encompass smaller islands (known as "hammocks"), glimmering bridges, clear-flowing rivers, oaks draped with moss, and an astounding array of wildlife.
St. Simons Island
Of the four Golden Isles, St. Simons is the largest. It features the wonderfully family-friendly Neptune Park located at 550 Beachview Dr., a historic lighthouse and museum, tons of water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding, top-notch boutique shops and upscale dining venues. This is the most fun-filled destination, though it's a lot busier than the other three.
Sea Island is reachable only by causeway. This privately owned slice of paradise provides incredible resort experiences that include top-flight golf courses that host PGA tour events. Only members, residents, and guests are allowed on the island. A stay at one of their exclusive world-class resorts must be planned far in advance.
Little St. Simons Island
For nature-lovers seeking an escape hatch from urban life, Little St. Simons Island is for you. It's accessible only by boat, and most of the island is the very definition of "unspoiled wilderness." The Lodge at 1000 Hampton River Club Marina Dr. is the only place to stay — it accommodates a maximum of 32 guests per night. Tours are guided by naturalists, and the island has won many distinguished awards for its sustainability.
For family entertainment without the crowds, check out Jekyll Island. You'll find plenty of beaches and biking here, but you'll also have access to Summer Waves, a water park that your whole clan will enjoy. There's also an incredible historic district with buildings over a century old.
While Savannah has its own unique "big little city" vibe, there are still about 150,000 people who call it home. If you truly want to embrace Americana, head about 30 minutes northeast and spend the day in Bluffton. Many consider Bluffton to be the only true Southern coastal village left in the United States. Huffington Post even placed this charming town at the top of its list of "Amazing Non-Beach Getaways."
Seafood lovers will especially enjoy Bluffton. The village boasts a vibrant shrimping and fishing industry, and their fantastic restaurants serve up the freshest chow(der) the sea has to offer. It's worth the drive from Savannah simply to enjoy a meal.
Savannah is a remarkable destination for you and your clan, but why stop there? Cross the boundaries of the city and enjoy even more delights of the American South.
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