12 Best Day Trips from Savannah, Georgia

Known as “the hostess of the South”, the beautiful city of Savannah is one of Georgia’s most charming destinations, and with its trademark southern hospitality, it seems like you can just stay here during your trip. However, Savannah is also close to and surrounded by a number of equally wonderful destinations – from riverside parks to gorgeous islands, headlands, and beaches to a bustling metropolis. Most are just quick drives from downtown Savannah, and worthy to spend a day in. Here’s a list of some of those destinations to help you plan perfect day trips from Savannah, Georgia.

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12 Best Day Trips from Savannah

day trips from Savannah

1. Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

 

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A 10-minute drive across the river from downtown Savannah quite literally takes you into the wild. Welcome to Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, a former site of rice plantations in the 1800s and now a wide expanse of woodland and marsh. The place is ideal for a scenic drive, a canoe ride, a picnic, and checking out a variety of animals — making it one of the best day trips from Savannah.

Here you can spot alligators, and sightings are almost guaranteed. There are also bald eagles and otters, deer and squirrels and if you’re lucky you might just see the rare feral hog. You can also hike along the scenic trails which are well marked, so there’s little danger of getting lost.

2. Golden Isles

Golden Isles is made up of the barrier islands to the south of Georgia that juts into the Atlantic. These make up the gorgeous coastline that has secluded sandy beaches and beautiful, ancient forests. The most popular and easily accessible islands are Jekyll Island, St Simons Island and Sea Island. A great day trip from Savannah, this place is easily reached via a short drive where you’ll pass by stunning scenery down the coast. Make sure you check out one of the best spots known as Driftwood Beach, named after the intriguing arrangements of driftwood that can be found there.

3. Bluffton, South Carolina

 

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Bluffton in South Carolina is less than an hour by car northeast from Savannah and the place to be if you want to enjoy a relaxing but filling day, as this place is a hot spot for good food. Bluffton is situated along the May River and a place that exemplifies the heart of Lowcountry river town living.  This quaint town depends on the river for much of its livelihood which includes seafood markets and oyster farms.

The streets of Bluffton are lined with shops selling things like creations from local artists as well as fun Lowcountry souvenirs. There are also a few small craft breweries around town, such as Salt Marsh Brewing which also shares a space with a great burger joint called Fat Patties.

4. Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Crossing the border into South Carolina, you’ll find Hilton Head Island. It’s only 40 minutes from the city of Savannah, this is the ideal day trip if you’re looking for a nice place to both relax and enjoy.

The island has some of the best beaches in the country, as well as some of the best golf courses in the world. Head on to the popular Coligny Beach, where you can enjoy a game of volleyball, rent bikes, or simply relax at one of the many seafront bars.

5. Skidaway Island

Skidaway Island

Skidaway Island is only 25 minutes away from downtown Savannah, a great day excursion as it has so much to offer. It is home to the wildlife-laden Skidaway Island State Park, which is strangely situated on salt flats and marshlands slightly inland from the coast.

Deers and waterfowls and crabs are just among to see in Skidaway and you can observe them from the various trails and viewing platforms built around the state park.

6. Palmetto Bluff, SC

 

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A more upscale community situated among thousands of acres of wild forest, Palmetto Bluff is divided into various neighborhoods of luxury homes. Check out the activities along the May River such as canoeing, paddleboarding, fishing charters and trips on the resort’s ow antique motor yacht, “Grace.”

You can ride bikes or golf carts while exploring Palmetto Bluff, where you can see tree houses nestled in the woods. There are also tennis and croquet clubs, or you can just wander through the scenic trails that wind through the forest.

7. Tybee Island

Savannah may be short on great beach areas, but you can always go on a thirty-minute drive to Tybee Island. An easy day tour from Savannah, Tybee has wide beaches, fun restaurants, and bars spread in its cozy downtown.

A popular stop is The Original Crab Shack,  located off a side street from the main highway, which also has a gator pond you can look at. Closer to the main pier are other fun dining options, or you can buy some light drinks to go which you can bring while you stroll along the beach.

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8. Atlanta

Atlanta

One of the more exciting day trips from Savannah, a visit to vibrant Atlanta should be on your list. It’s a city that still resonates with that unmistakeable southern spirit and hospitality, and just a three-hour drive from Savannah so make sure you set out early.

Atlanta offers everything, from its diverse food scene to probably one of the most dynamic arts cultures in the southeast. The city also has music for practically every taste, it’s impossible not to stay entertained while in Atlanta, even for a day.

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9. Beaufort, SC

Beaufort, SC

A gorgeous waterfront town that’s rich in history, Beaufort is the second oldest town in South Carolina. You can download a map and go on a self-guided tour but it’s best to hire a local to take you around. Visit and marvel at stately homes and hear the intriguing stories behind each one. Walk through avenues lined with live oak trees, with moss dramatically hanging in them. You may also check out activities such as sports fishing and horseback riding.

10. Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC

Located northeast of Savannah is the charming town of Charleston. Steeped in history, the town is home to beautiful colonial architecture, particularly in some of its churches, such as the gorgeous Huguenot Church. It’s a nice day trip from Savannah if you want to experience being in another town in Georgia. Stroll through the Waterfront Park and admire the picturesque fountains. There’s also Folly Beach if you want to relax on the sand after exploring the town. Also called  “the edge of America” here is where you’ll find surf spots and quaint bars.

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11. Francis Marion National Forest

Francis Marion National Forest

Less than three of hours drive from Savannah is the Francis Marion National Forest — named after a revolutionary war hero. This haven shares the same coastline as Savannah and where you’ll find done stunning natural wonders – mountains, waterways, and waterfalls that are all easily reached through hiking, biking or rafting down the Chattooga River.

12. Isle of Hope

Isle of Hope Savannah

Originally a summer resort for the wealthy in the 1840s, the charming community of Isle of Hope is now a showcase of rural antebellum life. About 10 miles south of downtown, Isle of Hope is the perfect place for a lazy afternoon stroll, an ideal Savannah day trip if you want to just relax. The place is home to authentically restored cottages and beautiful homes, as well as the best views of the Wilmington River.

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