Spending a year in the Southeast has been an eye opening experience for me. I have to say, at least from a Midwesterner's perspective, the Southeast is highly underrated. It's not always easy to get to from the Midwest which might be part of the problem, but it has been a lot of fun exploring the Southeast the past eight months, even with a one year old in tow. People are always asking us for travel suggestions so over the next few months, I will be highlighting some of our favorite Southeast weekend trips - hope you enjoy!
For each one of these weekend trips, we brought our one year old son along. Hopefully this gives parents out there ideas for how to do weekend trips with littles - I swear it's possible! That being said, I always have to change my expectations a bit when we have our little guy. I know we can't have a ton of plans, I might not sleep much and the plans we do have need to be flexible.
So first up is Savannah, Georgia. An easy 3.5 hour drive from Atlanta, Savannah is a fun town. It's got historic charm but is more laid back than Charleston. It is open container in the historic district so that definitely attracts bachelor/bachelorette parties but the city's laid back nature also makes it a great place to take a toddler. Another thing to note about Savannah is their food scene does not rival Charleston's so setting that expectation from the beginning is important. However, there were plenty of good choices for a weekend visit.
What to Do
Walking around historic Savannah
The walk along Bull Street from Bay Street to Forsyth Park is a great one. Oh the trees - I absolutely LOVE them - if only I could get some for my backyard! You will pass through several squares full of beautiful trees and surrounded by old houses, restaurants and shops. You can grab lunch along the way at one of the market's and have a picnic in the park. Also, there is a farmer's market at the far end of the park on Saturday's from 9am-1pm.
River Street runs along the River and while it is very touristy, you have to a least take a stroll down it while you are in town if you have never been.
As you walk through town you will come across cute boutiques and shops. A few of my favorite's are Shop SCAD which is Savannah College of Art and Design's shop where they feature designs from member's of their community as well as the Paris Market. The Paris Market is on Broughton Street which is the main shopping street in town, but much more commercialized.
During the day, the bars and brewery we stopped in were all kid friendly. There are a lot of pubs around town that are unique and fun to stop in. A few of our favorites were The Distillery, Six Pence Pub, Crystal Beer Parlor and Southbound Brewing Co.
If tours are your thing, there are several tours of the historic district, as well as ghost tours, food tours and beer tours. I always think food tours are a great way to combine history and eating and are kid friendly. While we didn't get to it on this trip, Savannah Taste Experience has great reviews online.
Tybee Island is about 30 minutes from downtown Savannah and Hilton Head SC is about 45 minutes. If you are looking to put your feet in the ocean, this is an easy drive while the little one naps.
Where to Eat
The Collins Quarter
We ate brunch here which was great - this was easily the best meal we had in Savannah. It is also a really cool space inside. They serve dinner as well which I would try if we went back.
This was a fun restaurant on Bay Street and a good Friday night spot for us when we got into town. Nothing fancy, in fact, the food is not healthy at all (but some unique things on the menu). It's a fun space, great for a little guy and the food was good.
Based on online reviews, this is one of, if not, the best restaurant in Savannah. It was a really cool space and the drinks were great but honestly the food was just okay. We knew going into it they don't love kids based on other reviews, but they were beyond not friendly and for just okay food I wouldn't recommend it.
Lunch in the Park
For a picnic in the park, there are several markets around town, but we thought Parker's Market was cute and had a good selection.
A Few Others
The Distillery and Crystal Beer Parlor are good choices for bar food and great for littles and for dessert you can't miss Leopold's Ice Cream. We also grabbed some good coffee and a light breakfast at The Coffee Fox on Saturday morning. And finally, while we didn't get to it on this trip, Cotton & Rye is on my list for next time.
Where to stay
The Marshall House
On this trip, we decided to stay at the Marshall House as I absolutely love the charm of well renovated old hotels. This hotel is in a great central location and has a lot of history. As with most old hotels, the rooms were small, a little noisy and nothing fancy but the details and history were incredible.
This is a great modern hotel with lots of amenities in the middle of the historic district.
There are several other hotels right in the historic district - in particular, a Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn on Bay Street which were pretty affordable when we looked. Some of the nicer hotels in Savannah do say no children so just be mindful when booking. My only recommendation about location of hotels in Savannah would be to stay in the main historic district as opposed to the hotels which are on the outskirts of it.