What to do in Savannah’s most beautiful parks and open spaces

Century-old statues, maritime forests teeming with wildlife, giant oak trees for shelter from the scorching sun, the city parks of Savannah are for both quiet times and loud adventurers. Whether you crave history, outdoor recreation, or just great views, you’ll find them in these parks.

There is a relaxed atmosphere in Forsyth Park © Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

Forsyth Park

Best park for people watching

Forsyth Park covers 30 acres in the heart of the city and is one of the largest parks in downtown Savannah – think of it as the city’s answer to New York’s Central Park. Locals and visitors alike love Forsyth’s relaxed atmosphere. At the north end of the park, you can pose for a photo in front of the 150-year-old statue of Forsyth.

It is the ideal place for a picnic under the trees. The south end is designed for active types with basketball and tennis courts. Here you can also visit farmers’ markets on Sundays, watch a concert, soak up the sun or play football.

Savannah has an open cup policy, so if you’re planning a reunion with friends, grab a bottle of wine. There are also some great restaurants and B & Bs within walking distance of the park, such as The Collins Quarter, Kitchen 320, a.Lure, B. Matthews, and The Mansion on Forsyth.

A red and yellow kayaker slides through the water surrounded by reeds and rushes
Escape to the unspoiled habitats of Skidaway Island State Park © Jon Lovette / Getty Images

Skidaway Island State Park

Best park to get away from it all

Explore Georgia’s maritime forests, salt marshes and intra-coastal waterways in the 588-acre Skidaway Island State Park, located approximately 15 miles south of Savannah on the Intracoastal Waterway of Georgia. The Skidaway Wildlife Management Area offers stunning views, trails and camping in unspoiled habitat. Wildlife here includes deer, fiddler crabs, reptiles, egrets, and migrating birds. A view of the entire island can be seen from an observation tower and interpretation center.

A gray wolf stands on its hind legs next to a trainer in a wildlife park
A zookeeper walks up to wolves in the Wolf Wilderness on Oatland Island © Rose Waddell / Shutterstock

Oatland Island

Best park for animal lovers

The Oatland Island Wildlife Center is both an educational facility, a park and a nature trail. Located about 10 minutes from Savannah, the park offers an unforgettable outdoor adventure for all ages, combining the intimacy of a zoo with the rugged beauty of nature.

See bald eagles, cougars, hawks, bobcats, red foxes, bison, and alligators on the three-kilometer hike through marshes and maritime forests. It is especially popular with little adventurers, who can walk around the farm and watch wolves up close at the Wolf Wilderness exhibit. There is also an 185,000 square foot educational building on the island of Oatland that kids will love with over 150 on-site animals such as pigs, ducks, sheep and cows.

An American flag flies above a large open space bordered by tall buildings
Tricentennial Park is home to the Battlefield Memorial Park and three museums © EQRoy / Shutterstock

Tricentennial Park

Best park for history buffs

Tricentennial Park, located in downtown Savannah and near hotels like the Alida and Tryp, is a must-see for history buffs. As the name suggests, the 25-acre park encompasses three centuries of history. History buffs will enjoy exploring Battlefield Memorial Park, a memorial that honors the soldiers who fought in the third bloodiest battle of the American Revolution – the Battle of Savannah.

Kids can spend their energy exploring the outdoor park and later the whole family can take a ride on the antique train. If you enjoy learning history and have kids wanting to play outside, plan to spend an afternoon here.

Old-fashioned lampposts line a path through a rainy city park
Relax in one of Savannah’s many historic plazas © Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images

Daffin Park

Best park for architecture lovers

John Nolen designed Daffin Park in 1907, an 80-acre recreation park on the east side of Savannah near Victory Drive. With two circular nodes and diagonal streets lined with tree trunks, Nolen designed this park in a formal Beaux-Arts style.

Daffin Park has a lake, two miles of eight foot wide paved sidewalks that are also accessible to people with disabilities. There is a shorter walkway (1/3 mile) that circles the lake. The park also includes sports fields, tennis courts, a volleyball court, a swimming pool, picnic areas, a pavilion and a playground. Daffin is the city’s largest amusement park and also accepts dogs.

Explore the savannah on foot

Mayer Lake Park

Best park for fitness fans

Located on 75 acres and about 15 minutes from Savannah, Lake Mayer Park contains a freshwater lake, jogging and biking trail, as well as 18 fitness stations and a 1.7 mile loop.

The complex also includes a baseball and softball field, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, handball fields and a dog exercise area. Two pavilions are available for rent, as well as a large car park and toilets. A fishing pier and boat launch lead to the well-stocked lake where you can fish for bass, catfish and perch.

A large square park with a statue on a pedestal in the center
The bus stop scenes in the film Forrest Gump were filmed in Chippewa Square © Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock

Chippewa Square

Best park for art lovers

Chippewa Square, one of Savannah’s 22 plazas located in the Historic District, is a great place to sit under the shade of holm oaks right in the center of town. Savannah squares are rather small, most measuring 200 x 200 feet.

Part of the 1994 film, Forrest Gump, was filmed on this famous square. You will immediately recognize the scene where Tom Hanks was sitting at the bus stop (if you can’t, don’t worry, there’s a sign).

Architecture enthusiasts should visit the Philbrick-Eastman House. The large Greek Revival style house, which dates back to 1847, features beautiful columns and a fence surrounding it with medallions of historical figures from the savannah.

A long empty path lined with trees that meet in the middle at canopy level to form an arch
Giant oaks covered with Spanish moss line the paths of the Wormsloe estate © Serge Skiba / Shutterstock

Wormsloe Historic Site

Best place for photographers

Wormsloe, located 15 minutes from Savannah’s historic district, is one of the city’s oldest estates. Dating back to the 1700s, the site is set among giant oak trees and Spanish moss. Admire Savannah’s oldest standing structure – Wormsloe Village – as you stroll through this timeless environment.

From the 1500s to the 1800s, Tabby (a substance made from seashells, sand, and lime) was used in the Southeast to build houses, which you’ll see here. A museum dedicated to the history of Wormsloe can be visited by visitors. The beautiful scenery and rich history of Wormsloe is a delight for all ages.

About Ethel Partin

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