7 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Savannah
Before we move on to posts about our move and how things fair in Hawaii, I want to make sure I finish sharing all the fun we had this summer! If you're new to the blog, check back HERE to see how this crazy adventure began.
So picking up from where I left off...
Before we left Johnson City, we unhitched Bettye the Camper and locked her up safe and sound in the ASP parking lot, which is a very cool non-profit that inspires hope and service through volunteer home repair to those in need in the central Appalachia area. Then we crammed all of our necessary belongings into our car, and headed south.
We stayed with one of my sisters in north Georgia for a long weekend, playing with my nieces, having a sisters night (with both my sisters), and swimming at Lake Lanier. And apart from Foster trying to prove his male dominance over his cousins, we had a blast!
Then on to Savannah, my hometown, where my dad lives. It's been several years since I've gone home, because I've lived so far away that I usually just fly into Atlanta, stay with my sisters, and my dad drives up to visit. This time, however, both Chris and I were determined to make it all the way to the coast.
And as always, Savannah did not disappoint. Now it was HOT of course, and it definitely made me laugh to try to explain to my Arizona kids what humidity is...the water on the outside of their cups, the wet grass in the morning that wasn't from rain, and the general damp feeling when they walked outside. But we had such a great time hanging out with my dad and stepmom, and taking the kids to the beach and other must see places.
So from a local, here are 7 kid-friendly things to do in Savannah. Because if you haven't been, you need to!
1. SAVANNAH'S CANDY KITCHEN ON THE HISTORIC WATERFRONT
There are several places to get pralines in Savannah, and let me tell you...the pralines in this town are better than any praline anywhere else. No lie. But when it comes to getting your praline fix and impressing your kids with delicious sweets, this is the place. And to top it off, it's on the historic River Street, which is also a must see for anyone visiting this beautiful town, so two birds and a stone...
2. TYBEE ISLAND
My kids have only ever lived in Arizona, so the beaches they know best are in southern California. The beach in Savannah is very different, and they loved it! For one thing, the word "crowd" is not even comparable between the two places. Parking at Tybee is easy to find, as well as a spot for your umbrella and chairs, where you can easily keep your eyes on your kids as they play. Also, the water is so nice and warm! It's still cool enough to be refreshing in the heat that is inevitable in July, but not so frigid as to make you regret stepping out of the water the second your skin hits the air. We went to the beach a few times during our stay, and we had a blast every time!
3. VINNIE VAN GO GO'S
This is the best pizza!! We used to come here all the time back in high school, and although many cool restaurants and stores come and go in Savannah, this one has stood the test of time. One slice of pizza is the size of their menu, their dough is hand tossed in an open kitchen where you can watch, and it's just incredibly delicious. It's one place that Chris knows we will visit every time we step foot in Savannah. And to add to its appeal, it lies in City Market, an area with art galleries, unique restaurants, and cool trendy shops. If you love pizza, (I'm not sure who doesn't), you have to eat at Vinnie's! And for the record, Harper's slice pictured below was actually cut in half...
4. THE SQUARES
If you've never heard of the quaint squares that pop up on so many streets in downtown Savannah, they are a trademark. With beautiful Spanish Oak trees stretching into a wooded canopy draped with their signature tendrils of moss that overlook brick walkways and old fountains, you just have to take a day to find your favorite one. I have a few favorites, but one of them is Johnson Square. This square is just two blocks from where my dad's camera shop used to be, and I would sometimes take my lunch breaks there back in the days when I worked for him, developing pictures and working in a dark room and watching my dad recite the name of every customer that came through the door. So many memories...
5. LEOPOLD'S ICE CREAM
Although Leopold's has been around for almost a century, it has just in the last few years become exceedingly popular. And even though it's just a block away from my dad's shop, I had never tried their ice cream until this trip. My only disappoint is that I didn't know about the goodness contained in this ice cream shop 20 years ago! Not only is it quite possibly the best ice cream I've ever tasted, but kids eat free if they are able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Chris and I went at night on one of our date nights (thanks daddy!), and everything looked so good I had to order two things: the hot fudge sundae, and a cup of their classic chocolate ice cream served affogato style (with a shot of espresso on top). Chris got a cone of vanilla with chocolate chips, and we both devoured these cold treats within minutes! It was so good, we realized it would border on child neglect if we didn't take our kids to try their favorite flavors. And they were so happy that we did.
6. BONAVENTURE CEMETERY
Some may argue that this isn't one they would list on a kid-friendly post, but I disagree. The cemeteries in Savannah are beautiful and peaceful in the daytime, so much so that we used to have picnics there when we were growing up. It also led to great conversation with our girls about life, love, and loss. Although the cemetery we often visited growing up was actually Laurel Grove Cemetery, we visited Bonaventure this time because, along with its historic fame, it is the resting place for my grandparents, David and Marian Bellmoff. They are buried in the Jewish section of the cemetery, and it was nice to bring my kids there and take some time to remember them.
7. FORSYTH PARK
This 30 acre city park was built in 1840, and it is one of my favorite places to walk around. Some aspects of the park are just as I remember them 30 years ago...the many sidewalks, the flowers, the oak trees, the iconic fountain. Even the playgrounds, while updated recently, are in the same spots from before. Now, however, there is a splash pad and cafe there that didn't exist last time I visited. So naturally my kids were in regular clothes with no bathing suits or towels at hand. But it was HOT. (Have I mentioned that yet??) And they begged. So they kicked off their flipflops and ran into the water, clothes and all. Some passersby may have seen some bare cheeks in the parking lot after we got back to the car, preparing to drive home...
If you've never been to Savannah, GO. If you have been, go again! I love it so much. Not only is it one of the coolest cities, but one of the coolest guys I know lives there, and I can't wait to see my dad again. Until next time...