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Jesse Weber | 12.06.2017

Savannah, as one of the country's most historic cities, is firmly on the map of must-see destinations in the Southeast. Most visitors come to admire centuries-old architecture, cobblestone streets, art galleries, and numerous historical landmarks. The city has long been a favorite of photographers as a place where everything from bricks and stones to water, trees, and sky paint wonderful aesthetics. Sunset on the river and moss in the trees are just a taste of the natural beauty of this coastal region.

Though urban attractions get most of the attention in Savannah, there are actually plenty of outdoor adventures to be had nearby. Forests, rivers, beaches, and islands await just outside the city. Here are some of the best places you can explore in a day or less out of Savannah, plus camping options to extend your trip.

1. Hiking and Camping on Skidaway Island

Skidaway Island State Park is a favorite local retreat. Only about 30 minutes from downtown is an island of surprisingly lush forest with trails, campsites, boating nearby, and plenty of chances to see wildlife. Take an easy stroll on Sandpiper Loop, or a bike ride on Big Ferry Loop and spend the night among the trees at Skidaway Island Campground.

2. Sightseeing at Wormsloe Historic Site

Though most famous as a historical attraction, Wormsloe also offers a few miles of scenic trails among maritime forest. You can explore the ruins of a colonial plantation, gaze up at the moss-draped tunnel of trees on Oak Avenue, and find solitude at the edge of the marshland, all in the same hiking loop.

3. Beaches and Surfing on Tybee Island

Tybee Island is the place to go for beaches close to Savannah, with miles of white sand and crashing waves. North Beach is has a lighthouse that you can climb to the top, South Beach has a fishing pier, and both are good for surfing or casual beach lounging. The secluded Back River Beach has calm water and sublime sunsets. Camping is available on Tybee at River's End Campground, so you can spend a few days and do it all.

4. Sea Kayaking to Little Tybee Island

Just a mile of water separates Tybee Island from it's neighbor Little Tybee, which is completely undeveloped. With a kayak or paddleboard you can leave the crowded beaches of Tybee and find a deserted stretch of sand all to yourself. 

5. Wildlife Viewing on Pinckney Island

Savannah is actually located in a hotspot for wildlife. Because river deltas and salt marsh surrounding the city are rich in marine life, they function as a haven for birds and as stopovers for migratory species. Multiple wildlife refuges are near the city, and though it is not the closest, the most visitor-friendly is Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge near Hilton Head, South Carolina. Here you will find marshes with egrets and ibises, freshwater ponds with alligators, forests with white-tailed deer, butterfly gardens, many miles of trails, and a remote beach at White Point.


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