One of my favorite moments traveling alone in Savannah, Georgia, took place one evening at the Olde Pink House. Since I was dining alone, they would seat me at the bar.
“Oh,” I thought, disappointed. “I kind of wanted a table…but I guess that’s okay.”
The Olde Pink House is legendary in Savannah. This is the nice restaurant, the special occasion restaurant, the restaurant where you go all out. Despite having been to Savannah before, I had never splurged here before.
Then I sat at the bar — and to my surprise, it was the best place I could have been. All the solo female travelers were here, and I was sitting between two of them! What a lovely surprise! Right away, the three of us introduced ourselves and exchanged stories. Soon we were swapping bites of our meals!
Shrimp and grits with a grit cake. BLT salad. She-crab soup. Everything was sensational. The other women agreed. For various reasons, we had decided to travel to Savannah on our own, and each of us couldn’t have been happier about it.
Savannah is one of my favorite cities in the world. I fell hard for it quickly, and every time I come back, I fall in love with it a bit more. I also think it’s one of the best cities in the United States for solo travel.
What makes it so great? Read on, dear ones.
Why Travel Solo to Savannah?
Savannah is pure joy! I can’t believe it was a barely known travel destination until the 1990s. It’s so beautiful, so unique, so magical, that it seems like it should have been welcoming tourists since the beginning of time.
Savannah is a feast for the eyes. The city is laid out with a grid of squares, each of them with different features, and they are surrounded by historic homes.
Some of those homes are open to visit, and you can experience the homes and gardens as they’ve existed for centuries. On top of that, the city is home to the Savannah College of Art and Design, filling the city with young, creative energy.
And SO much southern goodness! Food that will knock your socks off. Writhing oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Ancient cemeteries topped with statues. Ghosts (wait, what?). And friendly, welcoming people.
Also, Savannah has no open container laws — meaning that you can order a cocktail to go and the bartender will put it into a plastic cup that you can sip from as you walk through the streets. Yep. Savannah is a popular spot for bachelorette parties, and on St. Patrick’s Day the whole city celebrates with joy.
I have one VERY strong recommendation: please read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt before you visit. I think this nonfiction novel is the best book ever written about a place. Just reading it will get you excited to visit Savannah!
Is Savannah Good for First-Time Solo Female Travelers?
Savannah may be one of the best places in the world for a first-time solo female traveler. I recommend that women test drive traveling solo in a place where you speak the language — perhaps somewhere close to home or within your home country to start.
Savannah fits the bill for many American travelers. It’s a very easy city to navigate, there are lots of things to do, it’s safe, and it’s so tourism-driven that you won’t be the only tourist there, even if you visit in January.
Finally, Southerners are friendly in general — and that goes double for the people of Savannah. At one point I was walking down the street and taking photos of the historic homes and a woman who was jogging actually stopped to tell me where some especially beautiful houses were. Who stops their run to give a tourist photography tips?!
Savannah is a great place for a first-timer.
Is Savannah Good for Experienced Solo Female Travelers?
Absolutely! The first time I visited Savannah, I had been to upwards of 40 countries, and I was thoroughly delighted. In fact, traveling so much probably gave me an increased appreciation of the city. There is no other city in the world that looks like Savannah, and when you realize that, you appreciate it more.
At the time when I was visiting Savannah the most, I was living in New York City. I felt like Savannah was the perfect foil to New York. So much easier. So much cleaner. People who would stop what they were doing to find out how you were enjoying yourself.
If you’ve been traveling in challenging countries, Savannah is so easy by comparison. And sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to an easy destination.
If you’ve done a lot of travel, you might appreciate exploring the surrounding area — perhaps some of the islands like Tybee Island (which you’ll see more on below), Jekyll Island, Cumberland Island, or heading north to South Carolina.
Best Things to Do in Savannah for Solo Female Travelers
There are so many amazing things to do in Savannah! While you could pack your day with nonstop sightseeing and tours, I feel like Savannah is a city that lends itself to casual wandering. Here are some of my favorite things to do in the city:
Explore the squares throughout the Historic District. One of the best things to do in Savannah is just walking around and admiring your surroundings. Despite the orderliness of the city, every square is different from the others! One of my favorite streets with beautiful homes is Jones Street, and don’t miss Forsyth Park.
Eat at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room. The ULTIMATE Savannah experience. Mrs. Wilkes serves southern comfort food to tables of 10. You get to meet locals and tourists and feast on outstanding food, from fried chicken to black eyed peas, corn bread, mac and cheese, and banana pudding. Get there early and wait in line — it’s part of the experience! Lunch, Monday to Friday only.
Visit Bonaventure Cemetery. This is the expansive cemetery outside the city with lots of interesting headstones. A great spot for photography and moody Savannah photos. Don’t miss Little Gracie’s grave — I swear I felt her spirit when I looked into the eyes of her statue.
Go on the Dead of Night Tour. Savannah has a spooky history and there are lots of ghost tours. THIS is the one you should do. I’m not ordinarily a ghost tour person, but this late-night, adults-only tour is one of the best tours I’ve done anywhere in the world. Skippy is a superb guide and the stories he tells you will stay with you forever.
Visit the Owens-Thomas House. Savannah is filled with historic homes to visit, but if you’re only going to visit one, make it the Owens-Thomas House. The sheer engineering that they did in the 19th century will blow your mind.
Enjoy the coffeeshops. I love Savannah’s coffeeshops so much, I literally have a hand-drawn map of Savannah coffeeshops in my apartment! My all-time favorite coffee-based treat is the lavender spiced mocha at Collins Quarter. Some other nice coffeeshops in Savannah are Gallery Espresso, Coffee Fox, and Back in the Day Bakery.
Take an architecture tour. If you’d like to learn even more, the Architectural Tour of Savannah teaches you about the hidden details on all those beautiful homes, as well as historical context.
Explore the shops. My favorite shop in Savannah is The Paris Market, filled with interesting housewares, antiques, and jewelry. It may be one of my favorite shops in the world! Some other nice places are Satchel, which makes handmade leather goods; Chocolat, which makes artisanal chocolates, The Spice and Tea Exchange of Savannah, where I once bought jalapeño sugar, and One Fish Two Fish, a nice gift and housewares shop near Mrs. Wilkes’.
Make a pilgrimage to the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace. If you were a Girl Scout, this is a must. Juliette Gordon-Low founded the Girl Scouts and she has quite an interesting life story. Her home is a beautiful place to tour.
Try the birthday cake martini at Jen’s & Friends. I’m not usually a bar-goer when traveling solo, but Jen’s & Friends is such a good place! It’s a small bar with 300 martinis on the menu and the bartenders are really nice. Don’t miss the birthday cake martini. They actually top your martini with a hostess cake with a candle in it!
Spend a day at Tybee Island. Savannah’s beach is just 25 minutes away from the Historic District. You can visit and enjoy the beach for the afternoon — or even choose to base there for your trip!
Visiting Tybee Island
Tybee Island is Savannah’s beach, just 25 minutes away from the Historic District. It’s a relaxing, unpretentious place, and if you’re craving some beach time, it’s a nice component to add to your Savannah trip.
Then again, you could also plan a Tybee-centric trip, staying overnight in Tybee Island and coming to Savannah for a day trip. I did that myself on a solo trip a few years ago. If you’re looking for a lot of beach time with just a little bit of city time, that could be a good option for you!
One nice thing about Tybee Island is that it has a LONG season. I visited in October and few people were there — but it was still perfect summery beach weather! I suppose in the South, “summer” is a relative term.
And while I’m not a sunrise person ordinarily, since Tybee Island faces east, I made sure to wake up for sunrise. WOW. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen — and well worth the early wakeup!
Is Savannah Safe?
Yes, Savannah is a very safe city, particularly in the Historic District. I have never felt in danger in Savannah. However, like many popular destinations in the United States, the data doesn’t paint the same picture. There are crimes that take place in Savannah, though tourists in the Historic District are rarely the target.
While I think “Don’t walk anywhere alone at night!” is eye-rollingly alarmist, I do think it’s smart to stick to well-traversed areas at night when you’re alone in Savannah. If you’re in a place with lots of people, that’s its own form of protection. That’s why I recommend sticking to a hotel in a busy area rather than booking an Airbnb on a residential street where nobody goes at night.
Savannah is a very safe place, and avoiding isolated areas at night is the one major tip I would give you. Want to walk down busy Broughton Street at night while alone? Go ahead, no worries! Want to go somewhere on the other side of town after midnight? Great! Just call an Uber.
One activity I recommend is the Dead of Night Tour, which starts at 11 PM. That’s fine; you’ll be with a group. It meets in one of the popular squares. You may choose to get an Uber on the way back.
I should also mention that on two separate occasions, local women warned me to be careful when I headed to the neighborhood south of the Historic District, the area around Back in the Day Bakery. I didn’t feel like anything was off in this neighborhood, but because two separate local women warned me — and because one of the women was Black, so it likely wasn’t racism passing for genuine safety advice — I think it’s worth mentioning here.
Overall, most of staying safe in Savannah comes down to using common sense. Don’t use the open containers law as a reason to stumble around drunk while alone.
Savannah Travel Tips and Safety Advice
Savannah doesn’t need any more detailed safety advice beyond common sense. Keep an eye on your surroundings. Lock up your valuables in your accommodation. Keep in touch with someone at home who knows where you are.
Beyond that, here are some tips:
Know that Forrest Gump’s bench and the Bird Girl statue are not where they used to be. Forrest Gump’s bench was originally on Chippewa Square; today it’s been moved to the Savannah History Museum.
The Bird Girl statue, a symbol of Savannah famously on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, now lives at the Jepson Center for the Arts. You can definitely take a selfie with her if you’d like.
Stop at Back in the Day Bakery on your way to the airport. This is a wonderful retro cafe with delicious baked goods — and the workers dress like Rosie the Riveter! Since it’s a bit south of the Historic District, I drop in to buy a bunch of cookies and bring them home.
Consider bringing a Speakeasy Travel Supply scarf. These beautiful scarves are designed and sewed by my friend and have a hidden passport pocket in them. I love these scarves (I even designed my own!) and they are so good at keeping your valuables hidden.
Never leave your bags anywhere unattended. Take your belongings with you. If you’re keeping your bag under the table or otherwise out of sight, keep it between your feet or hook the strap around one of the chair legs.
Don’t carry tons of cash around with you. You can use credit cards at most places in Savannah, and carrying lots of cash leaves you vulnerable to theft. Don’t be the traveler who gets her wallet stolen with 500 dollars in it.
Keep your valuables locked up in your accommodation and only take with you what you need that day. I do this with my Pacsafe Travelsafe and I consider it the most important thing I pack. Keep an extra debit card and at least $100 hidden in obscure parts of your luggage.
Get an extra debit card. You should have two debit cards to two different bank accounts. If you only have one, I recommend you get a debit card from Transferwise. Keep a few hundred dollars in your account, hide the card deep in your luggage, and use it if your primary debit card is stolen.
Spend extra money on staying safe. If you’re not comfortable walking home at night, spend money on a cab or Uber. If you’re hesitant on spending money on a not-as-nice-looking Airbnb, pay for a nicer place. It’s worth the peace of mind. Don’t pinch pennies on your safety.
Be careful about your drinking. Drink less in Savannah than you ordinarily would at home — two drinks is a good limit. Only take drinks from bartenders, never take a drink from a stranger, and always keep it with you and keep an eye on it.
Most importantly, you have no obligation to be nice to anyone. Women often feel the need to be nice and please people at all costs. You don’t have to anywhere — especially so in Savannah. If anyone is making you feel uncomfortable, just leave. Trust me, you won’t be the rudest person they meet that day. And so what if you were? You’re never going to see them again.
Where to Stay in Savannah as a Solo Traveler
If you’re traveling solo in Savannah, I recommend staying within the northern part of the Historic District, as that will place you close to everything, but it’s also a busy area. Much of Savannah is residential and quiet, and I prefer staying in busier areas when I’m traveling on my own.
You’ll find that Savannah’s Historic District is full of chain hotels, but a little bit of extra research reveals the gems.
My favorite place to stay in Savannah is the Andaz Hotel, a beautiful design hotel that feels like it was designed with solo female travelers in mind. I liked that it was on a well-lit square in a very well traversed area; I liked that you needed a key in order for the elevator to work; I liked that the decor was artsy and interesting rather than generic and corporate.
Some of the top-rated hotels in Savannah’s Historic District:
Worth the splurge: The Andaz Hotel ticks all the boxes and feels like a special experience, down to the rooftop pool.
Nice courtyard: Kimpton Brice has a nice outdoor area with a pool, nice for enjoying a break from exploring.
Good value for money: The Thunderbird Inn is a funky, independent inn in a great location but cheaper than most properties nearby.
How to Get Around Savannah Solo
Most of Savannah is walkable, which is one of the many charms about the city! Otherwise, it’s easy to get around by either the free DOT buses or Uber or Lyft. Some destinations on the outskirts of the city, like Bonaventure Cemetery, are too far to walk and easiest accessed by Uber or Lyft.
Savannah’s DOT transportation lines are an easy and free way to get around the city. Yes, free! There are two bus lines running routes around the Historic District, plus boat rides on the Savannah Belles Ferry to Hutchison Island.
How to get from Savannah airport to Savannah: It’s about a 20-minute drive from Savannah/Hilton Head Airport to downtown Savannah, and the flat taxi rate is $28 to anywhere in the city. Uber and Lyft tend to cost around the same; you can save a bit by doing a shared ride with Uber Pool or Lyft Line.
If you’re going from the airport to Tybee Island, it’s about a 45-minute drive and a flat taxi rate of $53. While you can get an Uber or Lyft there from the airport, you’re better off calling for a taxi when you’re on Tybee Island itself.
How to get from Savannah to Tybee Island: Savannah and Tybee Island are a 25-minute drive apart. An Uber or Taxi will cost you about $30 each way.
In the summer months there is a shuttle on Saturdays and Sundays that leaves Savannah at 9:30 AM and comes back from Tybee Island at 2:30 PM for $20.
Best Time to Visit Savannah
The best time to visit Savannah is when the weather is warm but not hot, with minimal precipitation, when the crowds aren’t at their busiest. And that time is usually during the spring months: March, April, and May.
I’ve asked several Savannah locals when the best time is to visit Savannah, and each time I’ve received the same response: “April. April is lovely.”
Spring is a great time to visit Savannah. The flowers are in bloom, temperatures are pleasant, and it’s not too humid.
Did you know that Savannah has one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States? (As someone from Boston, this shocked me. We’re the most Irish city in America.) Locals dye the fountain in Forsyth Park green and celebrate with a huge parade. This can be a super fun time to visit Savannah.
Late March and early April bring the Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens, when you can visit many of the beautiful homes that are closed to the public for most of the year.
Summer in Savannah is extremely hot and humid, and prices often drop a bit for this reason. August happens to be the rainiest month of the year, but it tends to take the form of brief daily thunderstorms rather than long drizzly days.
You can enjoy so much of what makes Savannah great in the summer, but if you’re sensitive to heat and humidity, you may be better off avoiding it. (Then again, if you’re looking for a beach vacation, this is a good time to base in Tybee Island.)
Summer brings Savannah’s Fourth of July celebration, with performances and fireworks along River Street.
Savannah has been vulnerable to hurricanes in recent years. Hurricane season technically runs from late June through November, but hurricanes are likeliest to hit in September and October.
October is time for Tybee Island’s Pirate Fest! Yes, they have a whole festival about pirates!
Summer temperatures extend through September and even into October, but by November, you’ll be enjoying cool fall temperatures and changing leaves. November is the driest month of the year, making it another pleasant time to visit.
December brings Christmas decorations throughout the city, and in true Southern fashion, Savannah likes to go all out.
Winter is considered low season in Savannah, when temperatures and prices are at their lowest, and while it will be cold out, you can enjoy getting into restaurants without a wait.
Travel Insurance for Savannah
Even if you’re visiting Savannah from within the United States, it’s smart to get travel insurance. You might not be able to find a healthcare provider on your plan here, and travel insurance will often cover you anywhere that is 100+ miles away.
If you get sick or injured on your trip, if you get robbed, or even if you have to be evacuated for a hurricane, travel insurance will protect you from financial ruin. I use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Savannah.
Travel insurance is the kind of thing that seems like a waste until the moment you need it desperately. Don’t underestimate its importance — be sure to protect yourself.
Savannah is Waiting for You!
Savannah is the kind of place that makes you wonder why you waited so long. Such a beautiful place, such a nice place — the kind of city that is good to you and delights you thoroughly. And if you’re traveling solo in Savannah, all the better.
Go enjoy your trip to Savannah — then come back and tell me all about it!
More on Savannah:
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