Thinking of going on a Savannah vacation with kids for your next family vacation? If so, here’s a list of things to do (and not to do) with your kiddos!
Last year’s family vacation was a bit different than past vacations. We knew we wanted to visit both Savannah and Tybee Island in northern Georgia, but we wanted this vacation to be more relaxed and less planned out than in years past. And with four young-ish boys in tow, Dean and I knew we needed to bridge the gap between relaxation and fun on this Savannah vacation with kids!
While we mostly wanted to spend time on Tybee Beach, we also knew we wanted to explore a bit of Savannah as well. There’s so much history in this area, and since we homeschool, we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to do a little bit of learning while we were there.
Now, there’s plenty to do in both Savannah and on Tybee Island, but we didn’t want to be on the go the whole time we were on vacation. We’ve had those kinds of vacations where we needed a vacation from our vacation once we got home. Have you been there too? We didn’t want this vacation to be that way.
So, we ended up splitting our time between the two locations, and we had a fantastic vacation. Today, I’d like to share a list of places we visited that I’d recommend going to (and not going to) on your next Savannah vacation with kids.
Before I get into the favorites (and not so favorites) of our trip, be sure to hop on over to Instagram and give me a follow there! It’s where I’m most active, and I’d love to connect with you there.
Savannah Vacation with Kids: Things TO Do
It goes without saying that visiting the beach is the number one thing to do when going on a Savannah vacation with kids. Now there are plenty of beach areas in this area, but the most well-known is Tybee Beach. There are two main beach areas to visit in Tybee — North Tybee Beach and South Tybee Beach — and many other more secluded beach access points.
We visited North Tybee Beach on both days we spent at the beach, which was great. There were places to eat, restrooms nearby, lifeguard stands, and beach rentals where we were. Plus, the beach was quite clean in my opinion! You do have to pay for parking if you want to park close to the beach, but you can park for free farther from the beach and walk to it if you’d prefer.
Biking on Tybee Island
One of my kid’s favorite things to do was to bike around Tybee Island. You can rent bikes from several places on the island, and you get to keep the bikes for a full day. You can bike around the island on a bike trail that is mapped on most Tybee Island maps, or you can bike on the sidewalks along all the main roads if you wish. This makes it easy to visit restaurants, shops, and other fun places while you’re out and about. Just don’t forget to chain all the bikes together when you go into a shop or restaurant because people WILL steal them!
Now, if you’re worried about your kids on bikes on the side of the road, I get it. I was too! My three oldest had their own bikes and helmets, and my youngest rode on a bike trailer behind Dean. A bike trailer is basically a tandem-style bike that connects to an adult bike but doesn’t affect the adult doing the biking. The child can choose to peddle or not peddle depending on what they want to do. There are also pull-behind child carriers for the little guys if you need that as well. Also, most people on Tybee are aware of bikes and watch out for them. And while that doesn’t erase all the what-ifs that may be going through your mind when biking next to cars driving down the road, it does help a wee bit.
Overall, biking around Tybee was a fun time and worth the money.
We rented from Tim’s Bike & Beach Rentals, and honestly, I wouldn’t recommend them. However, I have no experience with the other bike rental shops on Tybee, so I can’t recommend you to another one. The first bike they gave one of my kids hadn’t been greased, and it was very difficult to peddle, so they switched it out for another one. Then a chain came off another bike as we biked alongside the road. Turns out the chain was completely rusty, and they didn’t give us a chain repair kit with our rentals so that we couldn’t fix it. Dean had to walk the bike back to the shop to get a new one. However, after that, we had no more trouble with them the entire day.
My last recommendation for biking around Tybee Island. Wear light, airy clothes, or do go on a cool, overcast day. It was hot there in mid-August, and being in the sun all day can really take a toll on you. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
Tybee Lighthouse & Museum
Taking an hour to visit the Tybee Lighthouse was a fun outing for my boys. None of us had ever been in a lighthouse before, so touring it was a memorable experience. There are several smaller buildings you can go through in addition to the lighthouse to show you how the lighthouse keeper lived and how things were run back then. The actual lighthouse tour was quite quick, but it was fun to go out onto the deck at the top and oversee the island. It’s a perfect place to get some great photos as well.
When you tour the Tybee Lighthouse, you also get access to a museum as well. However, we didn’t get time to go through it. It looked interesting and was something we intended to do, but time got away from us that day. And while I think the museum would have been something Dean and I would have enjoyed, I doubt the kids would have enjoyed it. Too much reading! LOL!
Ice Cream at The Sugar Shack and Leopold’s Ice Cream
The Sugar Shack is a must-stop place if you’re looking to cool off while on Tybee Island. It’s right on the main drag on the island’s north end, and they have plenty of ice cream treats to curb your sweet tooth.
The same goes for Leopold’s Ice Cream in Savannah. Leopold’s is an iconic ice cream shop that has been serving the community since 1919. They have some fun flavors and a lot of movie memorabilia as well. The only downside to Leopold’s is that the line is always long, so expect a wait. It will be worth it!
If you’d like to get some fishing in on your Savannah vacation with kids, there are plenty of options — pier, onshore, offshore, inland, deep sea, and so on.
On our vacation, we tried several different types of fishing. We fished off the pier at South Tybee Beach. We tried onshore fishing in a couple of different spots. And finally, we fish offshore with a guided fishing trip with Miss Judy Charters.
While we barely caught any fish on our own, but we did help a shark and a couple of stingrays which were carefully removed and tossed back into the ocean. However, on our offshore fishing trip, we caught plenty of sharks with the expert help of our guides.
If you have patient kids who enjoy fishing, I’d recommend taking the time and making the effort to fish while in the Savannah/Tybee area. While there is one place to rent fishing equipment at South Tybee Beach, the business was closed each time we called or stopped by. We ended up heading to Walmart and buying poles and all the gadgets needed for the boys and used these whenever we were fishing on our own during our week there.
Savannah Riverboat Cruise
I think we go on a riverboat cruise nearly every vacation we go on, and the Savannah Riverboat Cruise on River Street did not disappoint. The beautiful paddle-driven riverboat, which is completely decked out in red, white, and blue Southern charm, is docked where General Oglethrope first landed on the river front. Once you get onto the boat, you enter a climate-controlled dining room, one of three on the boat, to be served a delicious Southern-style buffet. Drinks are included with the meal, but you can purchase additional adult drinks if you wish.
Once the meal is over, you set off on a tour of the Savannah river. You can leave the dining room if you wish and sit outdoors on the deck. You can also go to the top floor of the ship, where there is plenty of open-air seating, so you don’t miss a thing. When the tour starts, you head upriver, into the Port of Savannah, and then turn around and head back under the Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge and past the historic riverfront. You continue downriver, passing the world famous Waving Girl, Florence Martus, through the shipyards, and just past the tip of Hutchinson Island and Old Fort Jackson, where they fire an old cannon when you pass. From there, you circle back upriver back to where you started.
It was a lot of fun, and they offer several different types of cruises depending on your needs and interests!
An ever-favorite activity of ours is eating, and the Savannah – Tybee Island region does not disappoint! There are many restaurants to choose from and so many different styles of food!
- North Beach Bar & Grill is right on the beach and is the perfect place to grab a bit when you’re wanting some substance on a beach day, or if you’re like us, ready to get a break from riding bikes for a bit.
- Castaways was a bit off the beaten path in Sandfly, but so worth the drive. It was delicious! I think this was the best seafood meal Dean has ever eaten!
- The Pirates House in Savannah was nostalgic because it’s a historic inn, built when Savannah was first founded for sailors. It is also the opening scene for the beginning of the classic novel, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson — the first ever classic I read to the boys when they were little! It is said the old Captain Flint still haunts the inn to this very day!
- The Crab Shack was a favorite of the boys. We ate outside, right on the water and got a large low country boil that fed all six of us. Afterward, the boys fed the alligators and loved it!
- The Flying Fish was where we took the sharks that the boys caught on their fishing trip to be cooked. I can’t really say how the food there was because we ate the fish we brought (which none of us was a fan of), but the atmosphere was great!
Fun Souvenir Shops
No trip is complete without bringing something back home to remind you of your trip. While we were in Savannah, we stopped by the Savannah Tea Shop to stock up on yummy teas to bring home and enjoy during our afternoon homeschool group work and tea time. Later that day, we headed back to Tybee Island to Glazed and Confused to let the boys paint their own pottery. They had a blast doing it, and they were excited all over again when their box of pottery arrived at our home the week after we got back, all fired and ready to use!
Okay, so before I move on to the couple of things the boys didn’t love on this trip, let me just say, if you have any questions about a potential trip to Savannah, feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message on Instagram (and follow me while you’re there!). I’m more than happy to share what I know with you!
Savannah Vacation with Kids: Things NOT To Do
Tours & Museum Visits
While there are plenty of tours to go on and museums to visit while in the Savannah area, there were the things my kids enjoyed least. I guess it’s their age because Dean and I certainly enjoyed them.
While in Savannah, we visited the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, the Colonial Gardens, Forsyth Park, and Wormsloe Plantation. While Dean and I enjoyed hearing and reading about each of these places and getting photos while we were there to remember these historic places, the boys could care less about spending a lot of time or hearing about their history.
Now, there are plenty of ghost tours in Savannah, and if your kids are old enough (many are 18 and up) and enjoy scary things, that may make history a bit more interesting to them. I know it did for me when I visited Gettysburg, Virginia, in my high school AP US History class!
Another thing Savannah is known for is shopping! However, my boys could care less about shopping, unless they are shopping for a toy or a piece of candy. Since we rarely let the boys eat candy, that’s one less thing to shop for! Also, I’m not much of a shopper while on vacation. Sure, we all enjoyed walking down River Street in Savannah, popping into shops here and there, but it’s not something we spent a lot of time doing.
Will You Visit Savannah?
If you choose to visit the historic town of Savannah, Georgia with your kids or grandkids — and I so hope you do — I hope this article of our favorite things really helps to give you an idea of where to focus your time and money while you’re there with your family.
Be sure to follow me over on Instagram to keep up with all things Growing Up Herbal and to see where we travel to next!
Love and light,