BEST SAVANNAH TOURS

Welcome! If this is your first time here, I’m Erin and I live in Savannah. This is where you’ll find all of my favorite tours to help make your Savannah trip-planning process as easy as possible.

If you have any questions or need help deciding between similar tours, feel free to ask in my private Facebook group or reach out at erin@savannahfirsttimer.com.

TROLLEY TOURS

Unless you have mobility issues, I suggest a 1-day pass only. Start early in the morning to make full use of your day, ride the entire tour around once to get a good overview of the city (make note of your favorite stops), and then on your second go-round begin the “hop-on/hop-off” portion. Focus on hitting your “must-see” places first. Only hop back on when your feet tire or if it gets too hot out.

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TROLLEY TOURS
Old Savannah Tours

This is Savannah’s original trolley tour. Their white trolley cars feature character actors who come aboard to help illustrate the history of Savannah. The company is locally owned, small pets are allowed, and they offer free parking at their main shop.

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TROLLEY TOURS
Old Town Trolley Tours

They have a helpful app so you can track the trolleys via GPS. They also offer a coupon book with small discounts to local attractions and restaurants. You’ll get free parking with your hop-on/hop-off tour purchase, and they have 15 stops.

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TROLLEY TOURS
Kelley Tours

Kelley Tours offers custom tours, which is helpful if you’re traveling with an entire wedding party or a Girl Scouts group, for example. I believe this is the only air-conditioned option, which is a very nice perk from June to September. 

There are three main trolley tours to choose from, and they each have something special to offer. The first two listed above offer unlimited hop-on/hop-off access for the day. All three options allow children, are narrated, and currently have social distancing measures in place due to COVID. They’re all ADA accessible, but some require up to 48-hours advance notice for ADA riders. 

WALKING TOURS

For your second day in Savannah, I recommend getting out and walking as much as possible…either on your own or via a guided tour. From May to September, try to plan walking tours during the early morning hours or later in the evening, and then schedule indoor tours during the hottest part of the day. Ghost tours are always spookiest at night! Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and bring water.

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ARCHITECTURE TOUR
Architectural Tours of SAV

I love this tour, which is hosted by SCAD graduate Jonathan Stalcup. He’s passionate about architecture and even wrote a book about Savannah. (I suggest ordering a copy before your trip!)

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FOOD TOUR
Famous Secret East Side Tour

Savannah is for foodies, so it’s ideal to try samples of favorite dishes at various restaurants and then walk between them to burn some calories. This is a very popular tour and sells out quickly!

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FOOD TOUR
First Squares Food Tour

This is another popular food tour that takes you on a leisurely pace through some of the squares. You’ll sample hearty Southern-style dishes like shrimp and grits at popular local restaurants.

GHOST TOURS

Did you know the American Institute of Parapsychology declared Savannah “America’s Most Haunted City”? If you’re interested in learning more, I take a deep dive into Savannah’s most haunted locations in my ebook. I also tell you the location that I personally feel is the most haunted in the entire city. (I get totally spooked if I venture there at night!) Below are a few “Erin Approved” haunted tours.

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GHOST TOUR
Bonaventure After Hours

The gates at Bonaventure close at 5 pm, and the only way to get inside after hours is to go on this tour. Shannon Scott knows the most obscure hidden secrets of the cemetery and is a fascinating storyteller.

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GHOST TOUR
G&B Ghost Encounters

TC offers ear buds and an iPad to make it easy for participants to follow along, which is helpful if you like to slow down to take photos and get separated from the crowd. He’s a charming guide and storyteller.

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GHOST TOUR
Creepy Crawly Pub Tour

Savannah is one of only a handful of cities in the US with open container laws. That means you can explore some of the city’s most haunted areas while walking around with a To Go cup full of booze. Cheers!

If you haven’t joined my email list yet, make sure you sign up! You’ll get access to my free resource library which includes a 2-page printable list of the most haunted buildings and areas in Savannah (plus other cool freebies). You can sign up right here.

BLACK HISTORY TOURS

I insist on these three tours whenever friends and family come for a visit. Each one delves deep into the history of enslaved families and the impact their contributions had on the city of Savannah. If you’re having trouble deciding, I include photos and insider tips for each one in my Savannah First-Timer’s Guide ebook. 

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BLACK HISTORY
First African Baptist Church

Visitors often refer to this tour as a life-changing experience. You’ll learn all about the role FABC played in the Underground Railroad and will be able to explore their archives room. It’s a MUST!

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BLACK HISTORY
Owens-Thomas House

The Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters does an excellent job of portraying what life was like for wealthy Savannahians and the enslaved families living and working within their homes.

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BLACK HISTORY
Pin Point Heritage Musuem

This little-known attraction was founded by freedmen after the Civil War. Learn how the formerly enslaved Geechee people made a living shucking oysters and see where Justice Clarence Thomas grew up.

NOTE: If you purchase the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters Tour, it’s a 3-for-1 ticket that also grants access to Telfair Museum and Jepson Center for the Arts. Also note that Pin Point is not within walking distance of the Historic District, so you’ll need a car for it.

CEMETERY TOURS

Savannah has three notable cemeteries. Bonaventure is known for being one of the most beautiful in the world, and it’s located on the outskirts of Savannah. You’ll need a car to get there. Colonial Park is located in the Historic District. I write about both in my ebook and provide tips on what to look for if you do a self-guided tour of those two. Laurel Grove (South) is where many formerly enslaved and freed blacks were laid to rest from Savannah and the surrounding Lowcountry. I recommend a car to get there, as well. 

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CEMETERY TOURS
Colonial Park Cemetery

Colonial Park Cemetery is located in the heart of the Historic District. Explore it on your own or go with a guide to gain extra knowledge about some of the quirkier details of its famous inhabitants.

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CEMETERY TOURS
Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure Don is passionate about sharing the hidden tales of Bonaventure. He’s so confident in his tours that he offers a “name your price” option. If you enjoy it, pay what you think its worth!

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CEMETERY TOURS
Laurel Grove Cemetery

I’m not currently aware of any guides offering dedicated tours to Laurel Grove South, but it’s free to explore the cemetery on your own. It’s incredibly beautiful and locals will tell you it’s a hidden gem.

My advice for 2+ hours spent exploring a cemetery: wear loose-fitting clothing, take plenty of water, and consider wearing a neck fan. Mosquito spray or lemongrass spray is also helpful during the summer months. Tennis shoes are a better option than sandals. 

GET THE GUIDE

If you’re seeking an in-depth resource that includes all of my absolute best tips for planning the perfect trip to Savannah, you’ll find that in my Savannah First-Timer’s Guide.