Many communities have much to offer in terms of outdoor recreation and public parks. Let me help you get acquainted with the local neighborhoods and their amenities that can greatly affect your quality of living.
Downtown Savannah was originally designed as a grid pattern in the 18th century. Initially there were a total of 24 squares but due to development there are now 22. Most have retained their historic beauty with footpaths, fountains and shaded canopies of live oaks. An interesting modern day note is that all vehicles yield to the square and travel in a counter clockwise direction.
Possibly one of Savannah’s most famous landmarks, Forsyth Park is home to the Confederate Monument and the Forsyth Park Fountain. The fountain, which has been the backdrop for many weddings, is dyed green each year for the citywide St Patrick’s Day celebration. Forsyth is over 30 acres and is host to many sporting events, outdoor concerts and festivals.
Similar to Forsyth Park, Daffin boasts green space on an even larger scale. With 77 acres, Daffin Park is home to the Historic Greyson Stadium, multiple athletic fields, tennis courts, a swimming pool and picnic area around the lake. Currently the 1.5-mile metered sidewalks around Daffin are being refurbished to offer a more complete rubber track for runners.
Lake Mayer is really a step above when it comes to the different community activities available. The lake itself is filled with fish, ducks and geese, while the there are both indoor and outdoor facilities to rent. The lake is also home to the Savannah Sailing Center that offers classes for all ages and skill levels. There is even a remote control race car track!
McQueen’s Island Trail is more commonly know as Rails to Trails and located just past the Bull River Bridge when heading out to Tybee. This 6-mile trail was built on top of a portion of the Savannah-Atlantic railroad line, thus earning the name Rails to Trails. There has been recent talk to expand the trail, but for now it takes you to Fort Pulaski Road.
Ft McAllister, one of Georgia’s many state parks, offers over 70 campsites and cottages. It sits on 1,725 acres located just east of downtown Richmond Hill and has plenty of amenities (boat ramp, fishing pier, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas and playground). Ft McAllister also provides a number of different programs and events. Some of which include Civil War Programs, fishing charters, GeoCaching and various tours.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is located just to the north of Savannah on the Georgia-South Carolina line and can be accessed in Hardeeville, SC. The Refuge consists of almost 30,000 acres and is a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System whose main goal is to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants. There are abundant biking and hiking trails or for those that would rather not be so close to nature (or the gators) a 4-mile vehicle tour.
Just a short drive to the southeastern side of Savannah, Skiddaway offers more camping and activities than any other park around. There are 6-miles of beautiful hiking trails along the marsh where birds, fiddler crabs, deer and other wildlife can be seen. At the interpretive center, visitors to the park are able to find binoculars and reference books for their outdoor investigations.
Wormsloe Historic Site is home to Savannah’s oldest standing structure, the tabby ruins of Noble Jones’s estate. The drive into the site alone is breathtaking and takes you under the grove of live oaks where Forest Gump was filmed. The site also hosts an annual ‘Colonial Faire and Muster’ where vendors hawk their wares and live cannon firing demonstrations are held.
Savannah’s most famous cemetery is the Bonaventure Cemetery located on the eastside. Originally developed as a private cemetery on the historic site of the Bonaventure Plantation, the cemetery is now maintained by the city. It’s not just the ghost stories and lore that draw people to this site; it’s the shear beauty of the place. The cemetery sits overlooking the Wilmington River and has charming pathways, uncommon statuary and needless to say, notable residents.
Certainly not as famous as the Bonaventure, the Laurel Grove Cemetery has quite possibly a more unique history. Originally developed in 1850 when various cemeteries had reached capacity, the cemetery is divided into north and south by highway 204. Rights to lots in this stunning green space have not been available since the Victorian Era and as a result the concentration of Victorian architecture is overwhelming.