Forsyth Park usually ranks high on the list of “must see” spots in Savannah, so…you know what that means! Today I’m going to share some of my favorite photos of the area to help you see what makes it so special. That way you can decide if you want to add it to your itinerary or not.

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If you’re new around here…welcome! I’m Erin, and I authored the Savannah First-Timer’s Guide. I enjoy helping visitors get to know the city, and I love sharing my photos of Savannah.

The Forsyth Park Fountain

The famous Forsyth Park fountain is probably the most well-known feature of the park; it’s an iconic location for selfies, engagements, and elopements. The surrounding benches are perfect for people-watching.

Forsyth Park fountain at dusk surrounded by gas-lit lamps and trees covered in Spanish moss
This is probably one of the most-used stock photos of Forsyth Park on the web, so I thought I’d post it and give the photographer a few more coins for his (or her) work! It’s a very pretty shot.

I’ve spotted a handful of surprise engagements in front of this fountain through the years, plus more elopements than I can count!

What makes the fountain so famous? Well, it helps that it’s one of the more recognizable symbols of Savannah. It’s also been featured in lots of movies and TV series. For example, here are a few shots I took during filming for the new Amazon series, “Underground Railroad”.

A banner that reads G.I.N.P. Social hangs above a reception area set up in front of the Forsyth Park fountain
Ironically, these scenes were featured in the “Chapter 2: South Carolina” episode of Underground Railroad, not in the “Chapter 1: Georgia” episode, as you might expect.
The fountain at Forsyth Park with string lights set up above it and tables and chairs surrounding it, as if for an event
I walked past about 20 of the actors and actresses as they headed into the park to shoot the reception scenes. They looked very dashing in their fancy suits and evening gowns.

I was in Forsyth Park when they filmed the episode, and it was really interesting to watch! Even though I took these shots during the day, much of the filming occurred really late at night. They shut off all the lights in the park, so it looked rather eerie.

First-Time Visitor Tip: Forsyth Park was also featured in the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, which is based on John Berendt’s book by the same name. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest reading it before your trip! The book is a hundred times better than the movie. (No exaggeration.)

B&W photo of the iconic Forsyth Park fountain in 1904
This historic shot of the fountain is courtesy of the Library of Congress, circa 1904. Compared to recent photos, you can see how the trees have really filled in!

A Brief History of Forsyth Park

In 1841, the park only consisted of 10 acres of land and was known as Hodgson Park. (That explains why the beautiful Georgia Historical Society building facing the park is called Hodgson Hall.) It was conceived by scientist and American diplomat William Brown Hodgson.

In 1851, the park was renamed Forsyth Park after former Georgia Governor John Forsyth, then it was extended between 1867-1869 to include military parade grounds on the southern end. There were a few dummy forts near the center of the park. One currently serves as a restaurant and another as the Forsyth fragrant garden.

Historic marker for Forsyth Park with beautiful old oak trees in the background
I’m slightly OCD, and it annoys me that nearly every historic marker in Savannah is crooked. I wish I could carry a rubber mallet around and knock each one back into place. (I know, I know…I’m weird.)

My research shows the fountain was added around 1858 (I think the historic marker has the wrong date?), and — believe it or not — it was ordered from a catalogue!

It was simply known as the No. 5 design in the “Illustrated Catalogue of Ornamental Iron Work Manufactured by Janes, Goode, and Co.” You can see similar No. 5 fountains in Poughkeepsie, NY and Madison, IN.

The Janes, Beebe, and Co. catalogue of Ornamental Iron Works shows a sketch of the interior of the store filled with iron statues and urns
The Janes, Beebe, & Co. Catalogue of Ornamental Iron Works courtesy of the New York Public Library.
Fountain No. 5 in the Janes, Beebe, and Co. catalogue of ornamental iron works is the fountain in the center of Forsyth Park
There she is: the No. 5 fountain. Who knew she’d turn into such an iconic symbol of Savannah?

The fountain has seen a few minor redesigns through the years. The four tritons were damaged by vandals in the early 70s and had to be reconstructed, and the top statue toppled after an ice storm in 1977 and had to undergo repairs. These days, it looks as pretty as ever!

The Friends of Forsyth group is currently making plans to redesign the park, much to the dismay of many current residents. There is also a contentious debate about whether or not the Confederate Monument should stay or go.

Forsyth Park in the Spring

Spring is easily the most beautiful time of year to visit the park. It’s filled with a wide variety of flowers and trees, and many of which are spring bloomers.

If you can time your visit to coincide with the azalea blooms, then you’ll see an explosion of colorful flowers throughout the entire park. Here’s some proof from my camera:

Pink azaleas in the foreground and a yellow mansion with a white rotunda in the background in Savannah's Historic District
Pink azaleas in the foreground and a row of beautiful historic mansions with detailed front porches in the background
Best Season to Visit Savannah GA thumbnail image showing a yellow mansion bathed in sunlight with pink azaleas and Southern live oaks in the foreground
A sea of pink and white azaleas against a backdrop of oaks in Forsyth Park
Rows of hot pink azaleas in Forsyth Park with stately homes in the background
Best time to visit Savannah is spring because you'll find pink and white azaleas blooming in front of Forsyth Fountain
The best time to visit Savannah GA is in spring if you want to see thousands of beautiful pink azaleas in front of Forsyth Fountain

It’s truly incredible. Year after year people visit during the spring months and fall head over heels in love with Savannah. When those azaleas are blooming, everything looks extra magical!

First-Time Visitor Tip: Timing a trip to coincide with the azaleas is difficult, since you can’t predict exactly when they’ll look prettiest. The blooming season extends from mid-February to early April. The third week in March is usually a safe bet, but that’s also the week of St. Patrick’s Day — which is the most expensive and most crowded week of the year to visit Savannah. Bottom line: To get accommodations for anytime during the month of March, you need to book months in advance!

Christmas in Forsyth Park

My second favorite time of year in the park is during the month of December. It’s less crowded then than during the busy spring season and you obviously won’t see any azaleas blooming, but it’s still very pretty!

Christmas in Savannah at The Forsyth Inn, a cheery yellow B&B with a white porch decorated with red ribbons and greenery
The Forsyth Park Inn looks festive for the holidays! Since the weather is usually mild in December, it’s nice to sit out on their porch (if you’re staying there) and watch the activity in the park.
The Forsyth Park fountain illuminated by sunlight with greenery and red Christmas bows decorating the lamp posts
The fountain doesn’t need much to look festive for the holiday season…just a few red ribbons and some greenery. It’s a very classic look.

Most of the trees in the park are Southern live oaks, which means their leaves stay green during the winter months. The city also plants some form of winter grass (maybe rye?), so the park looks lush and green all year long.

Notice how green everything looks in the two photos above? I took both of them in December.

The Spanish moss lives on the trees year-round, in case you’re curious!

Related Reading: Christmas in Savannah: Get the Inside Scoop!

Unique Photo Ops in the Park

The trees are by far the prettiest thing about the park, in my opinion. (Heck, the trees are the prettiest thing about Savannah, in general! They’re so beautiful.)

It’s always nice if you can capture images of the Spanish moss when it’s backlit by the sun, and there are plenty of opportunities for that in the park.

Long branches of Southern live oaks covered in Spanish moss shade the walks of Forsyth Park in Savannah's Historic District
The branches of old Southern live oaks always make me think of the term “nature’s art”.

You’ll also find lots of wildlife in the park! In addition to the birds and squirrels you’d expect to see in Savannah, I’ve also spotted lots of owls and hawks. They usually hang out closer to the north end of the park.

Red-shouldered hawk sits on a branch covered in Spanish moss in Forsyth Park
Considering it’s in the middle of the city, it’s somewhat surprising how much wildlife you’ll spot in Forsyth Park! This red-shouldered hawk is often out and about on the north end of the park. I also frequently spot owls flying from tree to tree.

Speaking of fountains in the park, this vintage water fountain always catches my eye! I love the bright green paint and how the rust is taking over in many areas; it looks very timeworn.

An old and rusted green water fountain in Savannah's Forsyth Park
Just out of curiosity, I looked up the price, and it’s worth thousands of dollars.
An old and rusted green water fountain with leaf detailing and a maker label that reads Murdock
The Murdock brand has been manufacturing cast iron water fountains since 1853!

I’ve never taken a sip from it, but then again — I tend to not drink water straight from the tap anywhere in Savannah. The doggie fountain at the bottom makes for a nice bird bath, though!

In addition to the water fountain, there’s also an old-school police telegraph box located in the park. You’ll find plenty of things to photograph if you look around and take your time.

Forsyth Park Farmers’ Market

The Farmers’ Market occurs in the park every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. It’s best to get there early for the good stuff, since many of the most popular items sell out by about 11 am.

Bundles of carrots in a basket with a hand written sign reading Organic Carrots
Baskets of organic yellow squash and zucchini at the Forsyth Park Farmers' Market
Small blue baskets of fresh sugar snap peas at the Forsyth Farmers' Market

The market is a nice place to purchase local fruits, veggies, nuts, and honey. My favorite booth to visit at the Farmers’ Market is Farmer Joe’s booth. I always purchase a few baggies of fresh pecans from him whenever I visit. He’s a total sweetheart who always has a smile on his face!

Get More Info: Forsyth Park Farmers’ Market website

FAQs

Is Forsyth Park safe at night?

It’s better to visit during the day or in the early evening hours. The park is fairly empty after dark, particularly during the winter months. It’s also very dimly lit, especially along the interior of the park. If you go late at night, try to go with someone who is familiar with the area. It’s better to stay on the outskirts of the park at night than to venture into the interior section. There are SPD security cameras located throughout the park, both in full view and hidden.

Where do you park for Forsyth Park?

There’s a small lot on the south end of the park that offers off-street parking. The entrance is located on the zero block of E Park Avenue, across from The Sentient Bean. There is an even smaller lot on the Drayton Steet side, across from The Mansion on Forsyth. Street parking south of Gaston Street is free, so you can also park on any of the east/west side streets surrounding the park. The only streets you can’t park on are Whitaker and Drayton, which are the two busy north/south streets bordering the park.

Are there public restrooms in Forsyth Park?

Yes, there are public restrooms near the center of the park. They’re located next to The Collins Quarter restaurant. They’re currently open from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days per week.

Can you picnic in Forsyth Park?

Yes! The park is a great spot for picnics. The southern end has wide open fields where you can enjoy the sun while you eat, while the northern section is nice and shaded.

Where to Eat Near Forsyth Park

There aren’t a lot of restaurants directly surrounding the park, but you’ll find a few places where you can grab a bite to eat or drink if you get hungry.

  • The Collins Quarter – Located in the center of the park, The Collins Quarter makes a great spot to grab a cup of coffee or have brunch. The original restaurant is my favorite! It’s located on Bull Street. (The two restaurants don’t have the exact same menus, so keep that in mind.) The one in the park has lots of outdoor seating, and sometimes they offer live music on the weekends, so that’s a perk! My favorite item that I’ve tried at the park location is their Raspberry French Toast.
  • The Sentient Bean – This coffee shop is adjacent to the south end of the park. It makes a nice place to grab coffee or small snacks. You can also grab to-go items at Brighter Day Natural Foods, which is located next door.
  • The Black Rabbit – This little restaurant is a hidden gem. They have limited seating indoors and a few spots out back, as well. I love going there for a toasted sandwiches on a cold or rainy day. It’s located just a few blocks to the southwest of the park, so you can walk there in five minutes.

Where to Stay Near Forsyth Park

If you want to stay in a hotel or inn directly overlooking the park, you have two beautiful options:

Tours of the Park

I’m not aware of any tours specifically focused on the park, but the trolley tours stop at the park and offer up a bit of history along the route. You can see each of the three trolley tour companies on my Best Savannah Tours page.


Banner requesting a vote for this business as the Best of Georgia 2021 with blue background and a Georgia peach
This site was recently nominated as a “Best in Georgia” business for 2021. If you find it helpful and would like to vote, it’s in the “Hotel & Travel” category under “Vacation Destinations”.

Savannah Travel Guide

If you’re currently planning a trip to Savannah, I’ve created a few resources to help you out…

  • When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Savannah?
  • Savannah First-Timer’s Guide – This is my ebook, and it’s by far the easiest way to plan your trip. It has all of my best insider tips in one place! When you purchase, you’ll also gain access to my (very active) private Facebook group about Savannah. It’s the best place to pick my brain about your travel plans, get insider tips, and read trip reports from others who have recently visited.
  • Savannah FTG Free Resources Library – When you join my email list, you’ll get a free printable list of 50 Things To Do On-Foot in the Historic District, plus more goodies. I’m terrible at staying in touch via email, so I promise I won’t overwhelm you with messages!

Are you just here for the pretty pictures of Savannah? No problem! You might want to check out these popular posts…

As always, if you have any questions for me about Forsyth Park, feel free to drop them in the comments section below! 

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Pinnable graphic of pink and white azaleas with huge oak trees in the background with text overlay that reads The Top Photo Spots in Forsyth Park
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Historic Photo Citations

Forsyth Fountain: Detroit Publishing Co, C. C. & Detroit Publishing Co, P. (ca. 1904) Fountain in Forsyth Park, Savannah, Ga. Savannah United States Georgia, ca. 1904. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2016799770/.