A Night in Savannah, Georgia: Camping Downtown

RV Road Trip Note:

This is part of the series of blog posts on a fourteen day road trip from St. Petersburg, Florida to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania with stops along the way north and south with no real planned itinerary.  We did this trip in our 30 foot class A motorhome with two bicycles strapped to the back.  

Downtown Savannah, Georgia

We had heard of people being able to spend the night boon-docking, or dry camping as some call it, in the parking lot of the Savannah Visitor’s Center in their RV.  Well, true enough and easy enough it can be done and it was something like $7 if I remember.  It was a phenomenal deal and easy to park.  We were the only overnighters there – it was a Saturday night in July.

RV parking spaces at the Savannah Visitors Center on King Blvd.
RV parking spaces at the Savannah Visitors Center on King Blvd.  You can see the trolley and transportation stop in the distance near the entrance to the Visitors Center.

We fired up the generator and had plenty of water and really enjoyed the hell out of where we were located.  Just so there is no confusion it is the visitor’s center on King Blvd. just off the expressway and fairly easy to find.

We had our bicycles with us so we used them to get around.  However, if you don’t have any transportation, then there’s about every type of tour you could ever want stopping right here.  There’s also city transport too.  There’s so much to do here that there is no way I could go into all the options.  The visitor’s center is filled with friendly people who are glad you’re here and are happy to help.

There's plenty of bicycles for hire in the Bike Sharing program in historic Savannah.  This location is near the City Market.
There’s plenty of bicycles for hire in the Bike Sharing program in historic Savannah. This location is near the City Market.

This isn’t to an attempt to give you everything there is to do in Savannah, but if you are looking for a place to “camp” for the night and find yourself anywhere near here, this is definitely the place to stop.  And we assure you that you will want to return if you’ve never been before.

On arrival you’ll pull into the visitors center and pay for your parking overnight.  They’ll give you a parking receipt that you display on the dash.  There’s probably about 10-15 spaces for RVs and we were the only ones there this Saturday night in July.  Tour buses and rubber wheeled trolleys come and go from the parking lot.   None of the noise bothered us with the gentle hum of the generator and air con going.

City Market

It is a short distance to the city market from the visitors center.  By that, probably five minutes by bicycle.  From there we stopped and grabbed a beer and enjoyed an open air concert by a group that was entertaining the crowds there.  This is a fairly touristy area and there’s s fun little art gallery nearby along with some great pubs.  From here you can either rent a bicycle from the nearby racks or hop your own and start your own bicycle tour of historic Savannah.

Forsyth Park in Savannah is beautiful and easy to ride around, however, beware of strange and random spots in the park where you are required to dismount your bicycle and walk.  This is ignored unless there is a police presence according to one native we asked.  Nonetheless, it is a very strange law.
Forsyth Park in Savannah is beautiful and easy to ride around, however, beware of strange and random spots in the park where you are required to dismount your bicycle and walk. This is ignored unless there is a police presence according to one native we asked. Nonetheless, it is a very strange law.

Forsyth Park

It is an easy ride around town though the squares are a bit challenging.  And Forsyth Park is easy but bicycling is prohibited in certain sections and that appears to be quite random.  So while there are bike route signs and maps, it isn’t the most bike-friendly town.  Still, we had no problems and enjoyed it so don’t let that worry you at all.  Grab a map here and you’ll see it is pretty simple.

Plenty to stop and visit along the bike trail in historic Savannah such as the SCAD store.
Plenty to stop and visit along the bike trail in historic Savannah such as the SCAD store.

On bike you can enjoy the squares and things in between.  The park itself is delightful and worth exploring.  There are a few shops and restaurants at the far side of the park or pick up something for a picnic.  Then cycle back round toward the town and meander a bit more – pass the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and SCAD’s fabulous store.

The Lady and Sons

We took a chance and stopped at The Lady And Sons to see about some dinner and we managed to get seated in thirty minutes on a Saturday night (it did unexpectedly start raining) and I can tell you it was well worth it.  It is excellent food that has the taste like you’ve not had before.  Definitely I would go back.  There is also the gift shop with loads of fabulous tacky things to pick up.  We did.

The Lady and Sons retail store has loads of Paula Deen merchandise and we couldn't resist and bought a few things.
The Lady and Sons retail store has loads of Paula Deen merchandise and we couldn’t resist and bought a few things.

The Riverfront

The point of the cycle round the town is to soak it up and enjoy it, not go from A to B.  Eventually you’ll end up on the riverfront probably and that can be quite challenging for a bicyclist.  if you want to ride down you can (we did) but when going back up I’d head north along the river where the road rises up a bit and eventually meets King Blvd.  You can also use this route to descend by.

The historic riverfront is stunning and filled with lots of shops and restaurants and no shortage of beautiful architecture in historic Savannah, Georgia.
The historic riverfront is stunning and filled with lots of shops and restaurants and no shortage of beautiful architecture in historic Savannah, Georgia.

If you want to spend the night in Savannah, this is the way to try it.  I guarantee you’ll be back.  It is really a spectacular destination with the right mix of locals and tourists with plenty of indoor and outdoor things to do.  There are sufficient bars and restaurants to keep you occupied for days (weeks if you really want to stay that long), and it is a clean city with friendly people.

There are lots of ghost tours of Savannah and it does photograph quite eerily at night.
There are lots of ghost tours of Savannah and it does photograph quite eerily at night.

I can’t wait to return and I hope we’ve inspired some people to give it a try even if you do what we did – park overnight and experience the town briefly.  It works and we wish more historic downtown areas has similar offers.  So far, we’ve found downtown camping in New Orleans, Little Rock and Savannah but know it also exists in New York City.  Urban camping is great.  We’ll be back Savannah!

 

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