Savannah is a history buff’s dream destination. Its colonial past, role in the Civil War and preserved buildings and parks are more than enough to keep you intrigued and entertained for days. Did we mention the city is rumored to be haunted? There’s plenty of that as well to explore. But whether history is of interest to you or not, the three sites below are a must-see when visiting Savannah.
Fort Pulaski National Monument
The 19th-century fort was held by the Confederate army at the start of the Civil War until Union forces retook it in 1862 after a 30-hour bombardment. Amazingly, the pentagon-shaped fortress remains intact today, complete with moats, drawbridges, ramparts, enigmatic tunnels and shells embedded in the walls. Take one of the tours offered by one of the park rangers, and then explore the area on any of its numerous walking trails that offer gorgeous views of the surrounding marsh and Savannah River.
Wormsloe Plantation Historic Site
Although Southern plantations as tourist attractions have become a controversial topic, Wormsloe should be a site to see because of what it’s not: a recreation romanticizing plantation life. Instead, Wormsloe invites you to explore its history via an interpretive nature trail wandering through its dark and mysterious woods. The trail will take you by the tabby ruins of its 18-century estate, historic gravesites and museum housing period artifacts. Throughout the year, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources-site hosts several annual events, including the “Colonial Faire and Muster” in February that showcases music, dancing, craft and military drills and the “Tools and Skills that Built a Colony” event over Labor Day Weekend. Wormsloe’s big draw though is its picturesque mile-long entryway lined by 400 towering trees overflowing with Spanish moss. Chances are you’ve seen plenty of photos of the entry, but none can do it justice.
No visit to Savannah is complete without a visit to the legendary Bonaventure Cemetery. A true exhibition of Southern Gothic, the 160-acre cemetery features gorgeous but haunting monuments across its grounds. Many of the gravesites date back to the mid-19th century and are as captivating as they are eerie when draped under tentacles of Spanish moss. The cemetery’s popularity rose to new heights after being featured in the novel and film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. You can explore on your own, but consider taking one the free guided tours offered on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 2, 2:30 and 3 p.m.