Last Updated on August 14, 2023
On the southeastern corner of the United States, the coastal Savannah, Georgia is a popular vacation spot and weekend getaway destination.
Families planning a family vacation in Savannah will find plenty of things to do with kids – from kid-friendly museums to fun activities, discover how to plan the perfect family-friendly getaway.
The city was established in 1733 and was the Province of Georgia before becoming the first state capital until Atlanta took over in 1868. The city is filled with history, art, culture, and beaches.
Some of the main attractions that draw millions of visitors every year are the historic buildings and landmarks, a plethora of parks, and quaint cobblestone pedestrian streets.
The Savannah Historic District is a popular spot for historians. Some of the buildings date back to the 1700s and include the First African Baptist Church, Temple Mickve Israel, Isaiah Davenport House, and the Old Harbor Light.
One of the nicknames for Savannah is Forest City because of the number of large oak trees in the area.
Another popular spot with both visitors and locals is Tybee Island, which used to be Savannah Beach. With a variety of parks, beaches, and picturesque squares, this is a fun place to gather.
Keep on reading to discover some of the best things to do in Savannah with kids!
Travel Tips – Before heading out, drop off your bags, backpacks, and any extra gear at a Savannah luggage storage site. It’s hard to drag those things onto the beach!
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Things to do in Savannah with Kids – Shopping and Entertainment
Today’s malls are nothing like the ones of the past that only had a few stores and one restaurant. In fact, most malls and shopping centers have more than 100 retailers, dozens of eateries, and there is always some kind of entertainment from amusement rides to movie theaters.
Check out some of the shopping spots in Savannah while you are in town where you can spend the whole day shopping, eating, and playing.
Savannah Mall was once the main mall in town with 110 retailers. However, when Oglethorpe Mall moved into the neighborhood, this mall started shrinking. This may seem like a bad thing but not for those who really do not like crowds. It is still large with more than 50 stores and eateries from American Deli to Xpress Salons & Cuts.
There may not be a ton of stores but there is certainly plenty of entertainment for the kiddos. The TreeHouse Adventures & Putt Putt is really popular with families, but the Hurricane Simulator and South Mountain Kiddie Rides are exciting for everyone.
There is also a public library, a soft play area for toddlers, and AMC Theatres with 11 screens.
Take the kids to the Jurassic Park Simulator while you enjoy some shopping. Besides this fun dinosaur game on the first level by Macy’s, you can also visit the Tot Lot. This is a special space outside JC Penney where toddlers and young children under 42 inches tall can play with all sorts of equipment soft enough for even the littlest ones.
And with over 100 shops from bookstores to trendy clothing stores, you and the kids can find a store for everyone. There are dollar stores featuring toys, clothing, and souvenirs as well as designer shops like Kate Spade and Ugg.
After you work up an appetite, hit the food court for some fast food or dining in style.
Kid-friendly Museums in Savannah GA
There are dozens of museums in Savannah from art galleries to old train stations. It is always a plus when your kids are able to learn as they play, and you will likely be able to get in on the fun too.
Whether the family wants to paint their own masterpiece or learn how to sail a ship, you can find all this and more in Savannah.
ArtZeum Telfair Museums
Located at The Jepson Center, ArtZeum is part of the Telfair Museums and features 14 art exhibits that kids can really get into. Each of these is interactive with opportunities to create artworks of their own.
Two of the pieces let you walk right into the art with 3D reproductions of the Unpretentious Garden and Gari Melchers’ House.
The most popular exhibit by far is the glass wall where kids (and adults) can draw, play with puzzles, use 3D magnetic tiles, and build things with architectural blocks.
While you are there, don’t miss out on the docent-led tours where you and the kids can learn more about the artworks and the artists who created them.
Georgia State Railroad Museum
Located in Tricentennial Park, this unique museum not only holds a ton of historic items, but it also allows you and the family to take a ride on one of the trains. Choose between a diesel locomotive or a historic steam ride. See old railcars, try out a handcar, and take a guided tour to learn more about Savannah’s railroad history.
The museum was built in 1833 and boasts the most complete pre-war railroad exhibit in the world. The younger crowd loves to get hands-on with all the cool equipment from railroad turntables to steam engines. You can even watch a film, take a behind-the-scenes tour, and check out some model trains.
Savannah Children’s Museum
Right outside the Railroad Museum, this outdoor explorama is more like a playground than a museum.
The giant equipment features several slides, a climbing wall, jungle gyms, and more, guaranteed to burn off some of that energy the kids are always full of. It is geared toward children ages three to 10 years old but is fun for all ages.
There are also 12 different hands-on exhibits where the kids can learn while they play. You can find a life-size maze, a sensory garden, water play areas, and a reading nook where they have story time every day.
They can also participate in some arts & crafts, build things with huge Legos, and climb on massive foam blocks.
Family-Friendly City Parks
The city boasts over 70 playgrounds, 40+ basketball, softball, and tennis areas, nine public pools, and 10 spray pads to enjoy while you are in Savannah.
Daffin Park is the largest with 77 acres that feature picnic areas, trails, a pool, athletic courts and fields, and playgrounds. But the most popular is Forsyth Park.
By far, the most popular is Forsyth Park. With 30 acres, the park has everything from athletic fields to spray pools.
Right in the middle of the park, visit the Civil War Monument where you can tell the kids about the parade ground for the troops created in 1859. Also in the middle of the park is the largest playground with covered slides, climbing, and other fun.
Follow your nose to the Fragrant Garden, originally made for the blind. You can smell this garden a mile away.
There are also over 35 buildings in the park, most of which are historic. The Granite Hall on East Gaston was constructed in 1881 and the old hospital on Drayton was built in 1819. But don’t miss the most photographed fountain in Savannah, from 1858.
Where do Savannah locals go to enjoy the beach? You will find most of them at Tybee Island, also known as Savannah’s Beach. This barrier island is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Savannah River, Lazaretto Creek, and Tybee Creek with plenty of green spaces and parks to enjoy.
It is also the home of one of the only colonial lighthouse towers in the world, built in the 1700s.
There are miles of sandy beaches from Tybee Beach Pier to the North Beach and you can rent kayaks, jet skis, and other water fun equipment for a day on the ocean. Or just take a walk on the Tybee Island Pier where you can watch the surfers chase the waves or the locals catch some fish.
The Marine Science Center is also pretty neat with a lot of info on the local wildlife.
On your way there, you can stop and visit Fort Pulaski National Monument – kids will love exploring and walking along the ramparts.
Tours to Take with Kids in Savannah
The city has more than 50 guided tours you can enjoy including walking, riverboat, and trolley tours. You can spend all day on the Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Trolley or take a two-hour trip on the river that includes dinner and entertainment. They even have some walking food tours where you can learn more about the local cuisine or ghost tours you can take with older kids.
The Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour
This unique old town trolley tour adapts to you and your family’s likes and dislikes since you can get off the trolley whenever you see an attraction you enjoy. Or just stay on and listen to the tour guide. More info here>>
There are more than 15 major attractions, and you will learn all sorts of cool info about Savannah’s people, culture, and history.
This 90-minute ride includes stops at all the favorites like Franklin Square, River Street, and the City Market as well as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Old Savannah, and Reynolds Square.
You may even get to see costumed actors like Forrest Gump sitting on his bench in Chippewa Square.
Savannah Riverboat Dinner Cruise
Enjoy two hours on the Savannah River in a stunning and luxurious historic paddleboat. You will get a unique view of historic Savannah as well as Old Fort Jackson, which is home to the oldest artillery in the United States. See Talmadge Memorial Bridge up close and a magnificent view of the skyline.
You also get a delicious meal. Be sure to take advantage of the live music and dancing. Get out on the floor with the kids and have a blast! More info here>>
Savannah Historic District
From the Savannah River and Talmadge Memorial Bridge to Forsyth Park and the Victorian District, this area in downtown Savannah was the original town laid out in 1733 by founder, General Oglethorpe.
The early 1800s buildings are excellent examples of Gothic, Greek Revival, and Georgian styles like the 1795 Spencer Woodbridge House and the 1818 Owens-Thomas House.
There are museums here too, including the Ships of the Sea, Mercer-Williams House, SCAD Museum of Art, and the Telfair Museums.
The Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum is housed in the 18th-century Scarbrough House and features nine galleries of model ships. Mercer-Williams gives guided tours featuring places from a popular book.
The SCAD Museum of Art boasts over 4,500 pieces of art, a theater, a terrace, and a touch table. Make sure you take the kids to see famous pieces done by Picasso, Dali, Goya, and Renoir.
The Telfair Museums features three different places including the Jepson Center, Telfair Academy, and the Owens-Thomas House.
The city of Savannah has 22 squares that feature parks, memorials, fountains, and gardens as well as shopping, dining, and drinking establishments.
Madison Square was built in 1837 and has a Sergeant Jasper Monument, Johnson Square was the first square created and was designed in 1733. It features several fountains, a monument of General Greene, and Christ Episcopal Church.
Chippewa Square may be the most famous due to the Forrest Gump bench. It was here that the bus scenes for the movie, Forrest Gump, were filmed and where he sat with his box of chocolates. There is also a theater and several monuments.
Telfair is another popular square with the Telfair Museum of Art, Trinity Church, and the Jepson Center.
Other Things to Do on a Family Vacation in Savannah
The city has a vast selection of places to see and you’ll find plenty of things to do in Savannah with kids that the whole family will enjoy.
From art galleries to ziplining, there is something for everyone in this city, literally. Whether you want to go shopping at the City Market, look for ghosts at the Bonaventure Cemetery, or go ziplining at My Adventure, you can do it in Savannah.
If you have the time, check out the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens with its bamboo garden from 1919, Leopold’s Ice Cream Parlor, and the Pirate’s House historic restaurant from 1794.
And if you come at the right time of year, you may be able to get tickets to a game of baseball at Grayson Stadium or football at Tiger Arena.
Visit the Savannah Music Festival if you are there between March 23rd to April 8th.
If your kid is part of the Girl Scoots, she’ll probably love taking a kid-friendly guided tour of Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace. Tours last around 40 minutes and are quite popular so make sure to book in advance. Juliette Gordon Low was the founder of the Girl Scoots.
Wormsloe Historic Site is also a must-see during a Savannah family vacation, take a stroll through one of Georgia’s most beautiful avenues, sheltered by live oaks and Spanish moss and leading to the ruins of a colonial estate.
If you are the outdoorsy type of family and you like hiking and seeing wildlife, check out the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge where you will see plenty of birds and maybe a gator or two.
This historic space has been the main shopping plaza since the 1700s when townsfolk would gather for groceries and other items.
Today, City Market is home to some of the best restaurants, shops, and art galleries – and the courtyard between Franklin and Ellis Squares is a gathering place for locals and visitors. One interesting spot is the American Prohibition Museum where you can learn all about the city’s history.
The kids will love Rhen’s Nest Toy Shop, Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, and Byrd Cookie Company. You can all get some awesome souvenirs at Trolley Shop Gifts and the Woof Gang Bakery is a great place to get some gifts for your canine family members back home.
Hungry for more? Grab some food at Vinnie Van GoGo’s or at the Little Crown by Pie Society.
My Adventure Hilton Head
You can race each other at the GoKarts track at My Adventure in Hilton Head just 20 minutes up the road from downtown Savannah.
Everyone can ride from three years to 100! Anyone under 54 inches has to ride in a double kart with an adult but you will all have a blast trying to pass each other on the tracks.
The Aerial Adventure Course has four levels of difficulty climbing through the trees and hanging on ropes. You’ll balance, swing, and climb through 50 obstacles from 12 feet high for beginners to 36 feet high for experts.
But ziplining is the main attraction here for most. Not only do you get a thrill ride, but you also get the best views in the city.
Talk about a view! The Bonaventure Cemetery is found on a high cliff above the Wilmington River with some stunning views of Savannah and the surrounding areas. With 160 acres, this is one of the largest cemeteries in Savannah and the most well-known since its mention in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
In the graveyard area, you can find quite a few famous burial sites such as the author of the aforementioned book, Jack Leigh. But don’t miss getting a selfie with Bird Girl, the statue from the cover of the book by Leigh. In addition, there are the headstones of Confederate General Hugh Mercer, Commodore and Captain Josiah Tattnall, and a whole section for the Spanish-American War Veterans.
Savannah Family Resorts
Whether you are planning a family weekend getaway in Savannah or a full-week vacation, you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly hotels and resort options, no matter your budget.
East Bay Inn and The Presidents’ Quarters Inn are both highly rated by families and are located right in the historic part of town – for a budget-friendly option, check out Days Inn by Wyndham Savannah Airport (a good option if you have a car).
If you are looking for a family-friendly beach resort near Savannah, DeSoto Beach Hotel on Tybee Island is a great option. The hotel features an outdoor pool and free continental breakfast with comfortable family rooms.
More USA Travel Guides for Families:
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- Best Spring Break Destinations for Families
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