Best Free Things To Do In Savannah | We Have 23 Things That Don’t Cost You Any Money!

With at least eight million tourists annually, Savannah, Georgia, is a tourist destination in its own right. And it’s easy to see why.

The oldest city in the state is a Southern charm, where horse-drawn carriages, cobblestoned squares, and gorgeous trees are the norm. From museums to shopping districts plus restaurants and pubs, indeed the city has everything for everyone.

You might be seeing dollar signs while we describe this wonderful city, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to explore the most wonderful parts of this amazing destination. Even the traveler on a shoestring budget can make the most of Savannah, GA.

While Savannah has many tourist sites that charge admission, it is possible to spend the day (or even a weekend or longer) sightseeing without having to pay to get into places.

Most of the attractions and activities on our list are entirely free, but a few (as noted) may require the payment of a parking fee or may request a small optional donation.

Let’s dig into these amazing (and free!) things to do in Savannah, Georgia.

Forsyth Park
Image from: Havediaperswilltravel.com

Visit the Squares of Savannah

When General James Oglethorpe landed in Savannah in 1733, he was the architect of the city streets and planned out the squares. The 22 squares are all free to visit, of course, and provide lush greenery and interesting history. Here are some notable squares to visit:

  1. Forsyth Park: This is where the famous fountain that’s used to represent Savannah is located and is the perfect photo location. There’s also a public playground and large expanses of space to have a picnic as well.
  2. Chippewa Square: This square was made famous by the film Forrest Gump and is where actor Tom Hanks sat on the bench. The bench is no longer there and can be viewed in the Savannah History Museum.
  3. Monterey Square: A large statue of Native American Chief Tomachichi and his grave site are located in this square.
Factors Walk
Source: Gypsynester.com

River Street and Factors Row

River Street
Running alongside the Savannah River is the Waterfront district, a lively area perfect for afternoon strolls with antique shops and galleries to browse. You’ll also find events planned regularly with live music, art shows, and more. Parking can make this not free, so leave a little early and practice parallel parking so you don’t have to pay for a garage.

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Factors Row or Factors Walk
The large brick buildings that rise two and three stories above the riverfront now house many of the businesses that attract visitors to River Street. What many people don’t realize is that these buildings were initially large cotton warehouses, with offices for the cotton brokers or “factors” taking up the upper levels along Bay Street in an area known as Factors row, with a series of iron walkways connecting these offices to the warehouses that line the wharf. The series of iron bridges, walkways, and staircases is known as the Factors Walk.

Photo credit: Freesavannahtrours.com

Free Walking Tour

One of the best free things to do in Savannah is take a walking tour. Free Savannah Walking Tours offers visitors 90 minute tours through Savannah’s historic district.

Two tours are offered daily, one at 10:30 AM and one at 1:00 PM. We recommend the morning tour as it does get hot in the afternoon. There is a short break to get a water and use the restroom, but you should definitely bring your own water as well.

Keep in mind that although this is a free walking tour, guides work off tips so we recommend you have some cash with you. When you reserve your tour online there is a booking fee of $2.85 per person. (The city of Savannah enforces a tour tax for each person.)

Free Savannah Walking Tours
(470) 231-9247
https://www.freesavannahtours.com

The Waving Girl Monument
Picture from: Georgiahistory.com

Statues and Monuments

Another free thing to do in Savannah is to visit its many statues and monuments. Yes, many can be found in the city squares, however, there are a lot more scattered around the city. Many can be found on River Street including the “Waving Girl” and the “African American Monument.”

Laurel Grove North Cemetery

Located on Anderson Street, Laurel Grove North Cemetery gets its name from the oak trees that grew in the area before it was established. This 67-acre cemetery is one of the most popular destinations in Savannah as it features numerous graves and tombstones of various famous people.

Here, you can roam and find the final resting spot of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, USA. Exploring the cemetery, you will find the graves of other notable individuals like James Pierport, who composed “Jingle Bells” and James Moore Wayne, a United States Supreme Court Justice This cemetery is also the final resting place of more than 1500 confederate soldiers.

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Laurel Grove North Cemetery
802 West Anderson Street
Savannah, GA 31415
(912) 651-6772
https://www.savannahga.gov/498/Cemeteries

City Hall & Oglethorpe’s Bench

The gold dome of Savannah imposing city hall is one of the most prominent features of the city’s skyline. Today’s building marks the spot where General Oglethorpe and the city’s earliest settlers made their first camp. The four-story limestone and brick structure was designed by architect Hyman Wallace Wilcover in 1906. On the west side of City Hall you will find Oglethorpe’s bench which marks the approximate location of the general’s humble field tent when he envisioned and planned Georgia’s first city in 1732.

Savannah City Hall
2 East Bay Street
Savannah, GA 31401

Photo credit: Loc.gov

Colonial Park Cemetery

Many well-known people have been buried at the Colonial Park Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in the city, including Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This was also where the Union troops set up camp when in Savannah. The soldiers moved headstones and even changed dates. You might see people who lived to be 400 years old.

Known as one of the most haunted areas in Savannah because many of the buildings around the cemetery (including some roads) are built over parts of the old cemetery and old graves.

Colonial Park Cemetery
200 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 651 6843
https://www.savannahga.gov/498/Cemeteries

Picture from: Duskbeforethedawn.net

Bonaventure Cemetery

This storied 150-year-old resting place of many of Savannah’s glitterati, perched on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, was once the site of Bonaventure Plantation. Striking sculptures, monuments, and elaborate burial vaults adorn the 160 acres dotted by graceful, moss-draped live oak trees. Visitors can explore mid-19th century gravesites with breathtaking views of the nearby river, or venture further to the Greenwich section and hike the area with the reflection pond, river, and marsh.

Something interesting to note is that the city of Savannah frowns upon the association between its cemeteries and spirits. Therefore, ghost tours inside the city cemeteries are forbidden

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Bonaventure Cemetery
330 Bonaventure Road
Thunderbolt, Ga 31401
(912) 651 6843
https://www.savannahga.gov/498/Cemeteries
Note: Bonaventure Cemetery is a little over 5 miles from downtown Savannah

Congregation Mickve Israel
Source: Gallivantertours.com

Bull Street

If you want to see the best of Savannah’s architecture, but don’t know where to start, you can’t go far wrong with Bull Street. Savannah’s most important boulevard since the 19th century, Bull Street is known for the five squares it encompasses and some of the oldest monuments and grandest antebellum mansions in the city.

Historic places of worship along the way include neoclassical Christ Church, the oldest congregation in Georgia, the imposing independent Presbyterian Church, and Congregation Mickve Israel, one of the oldest surviving synagogues in the United States and home to Georgia’s earliest Jewish congregation.

Jones Street

One of Savannah’s prettiest streets and another of the best places to appreciate the city’s centuries-old architecture is Jones Street. Lined with arching oaks draped in Spanish moss, the street was one of Savannah’s most successful restoration projects. Start walking (heading east) at the very western end, between Charham and Pulaski Squares.

Picture from: Vitor-lindo.com

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

One of Savannah’s highlights is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, its whitewashed spheres reaching above Savannah’s low rise buildings and visible from all around.

The outside of the Cathedral is impressive enough, but if you arrive outside of Mass times you can go inside. There you will find an equally outstanding interior, with dozens of stained glass windows and one of the best collections of religious murals in the South. Donations of $3 per adult are welcomed, but optional.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist
222 East Harris Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-4709
https://savannahcathedral.org

Photo credit: Exploregeorgia.org

Savannah Botanical Gardens

Savannah Botanical Gardens, a few miles south of downtown, is a 10-acre, volunteer-run, botanical garden with rose, herb, flower, and vegetable gardens that includes naturalistic areas, a small pond, and the historic Reinhard House, an 1840s German-style farmhouse. Admission is free, and the garden is open daily.

Savannah Botanical Gardens
1388 Eisenhower Drive
Savannah, GA 31406
(912) 355 3883
https://www.savannahbotanical.org

Source: Fws.gov

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

If you want to enjoy some local nature, Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, just a few miles north of the city, is totally free to visit with no parking charges. Please note that dogs and other pets are not allowed.

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Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
694 Beech Hill Lane
Hardeeville SC 29927
(843) 784-2468
https://www.fws.gov
Note:Temporarily closed

Skidaway Island State Park

If you don’t mind a small parking charge, or you want to bring a pet, Skidaway Island State Park, a few miles southeast of Savannah, is a beautiful alternative, with boardwalks over the marsh and historic sights along its nature trails. Other than the parking fee ($5 per vehicle) admission is free.

Skidaway Island State Park
52 Diamond Causeway
Savannah, GA 31411
(912) 598-2300
https://gastateparks.org/SkidawayIsland

Ferry to Hutchinson Island

Want to get a great view of River Street? Take the free Savannah Belles Ferry across the river to Hutchinson Island. There are two landings on the Riverwalk, one at City Hall and one at Morrell Park near the Savannah Marriott Riverfront. The ferry ride to Hutchinson Island is only about ten minutes long and it runs daily from 7am to 10pm.

The Savannah Belles Ferry fleet is made up of four boats and they are named after important women in Savannah history: Juliette Gordon Low, Susie King Taylor, Florence Martus, and Mary Musgrove

Savannah Belles Ferry
(912) 233-5767
https://www.catchacat.org/getting-around/ride-free-downtown/savannah-belles-ferry/

Photo credit: Wikipedia.org

Talmadge Memorial Bridge

Walk or drive on the bridge and get a good view of the city especially during sunset. It connects Georgia and South Carolina and has scenic views of the Savannah River.

Source: Savannah.com

Tricentennial Park

Tricentennial Park is a great family destination with a collection of 3 unique museums: Savannah History Museum, Georgia State Railroad Museum, and Savannah Historical Museum. It also includes the Revolutionary War Battlefield and a Memorial Walk around the battlefield. The walk is free, but there is a $7 fee for admission to tour the museums.

Tricentennial Park
303 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 651-6840
https://www.savannah.com/tricentennial-park/

Picture from: Savannahfirsttimer.com

City Market

Located by Ellis Square you’ll find the bustling City Market area. With small shops and eateries you can spend the day window shopping and hearing great live music. There are over 50+ art galleries in City Market that are also free to look through.

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City Market
219 West Bryan Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 232-4903
https://www.savannahcitymarket.com

Photo credit: Tybee Island Website

Tybee Island

Tybee Island can be an expensive destination, but if you’re only spending the day at the beach you won’t spend too much. It’s about a 30-minute drive east of Savannah and home to beautiful beaches and one of the best lighthouses on the east coast. The beaches are free, although you will have to pay for parking ($2 per hour). If you’d like to visit the lighthouse tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children (ages 6-17). Tickets also include admission to the Tybee Island Battery Garland across the street from the lighthouse.

Tybee Island
https://visittybee.com

Savannah : African Art Museum

Most of Savannah’s several art museums charge admission with the exception being the Savannah African Art Museum. It houses a fascinating collection of art objects from more than 150 West and Central African cultures.

Savannah African Art Museum
201 East 37th Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 721-7745
https://www.savannahafricanartmuseum.org

First African Baptist Church

Founded in 1773, Savannah’s First African Baptist Church is the location of the first congregation organized by African American Baptists. The church additionally acted as the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement in Savannah and as a meeting place during segregation.

When visiting this historically significant church, you can admire the building’s many original features and the stained-glass windows of Revered Leile, the church’s founder.

First African Baptist Church
23 Montgomery Street
Savannah, GA 31401
(912) 233-06597
https://firstafricanbc.com

Fort Pulaski National Monument

Fort Pulaski highlights our military architecture. With drawbridges, dikes, ditches, shows, and exhibits, you can delve into beauty and history all in one visit. Though the Pulaski National Monument isn’t always free, there are several days a year you can get the whole family in for free including:

Martin Luther King Jr Day (January 18)
Super Museum Sunday (1st Sunday in February)
National Park Week (3rd week in April)
National Public Lands Day (September 24)
Veterans Day (November 11)

Fort Pulaski National Monument
101 Fort Pulaski Road
Savannah, GA 31410
https://www.nps.gov/fopu

Whether you are visiting Savanna, GA, for the first time or looking for something fun to do with family, there are tons of free things to do in Savannah, Georgia.

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