While the number one reason we are heading to Savannah is for the beer bling races, we need to keep the legs loose. What better way than by taking a tour of the historic city, right?
I first visited Savannah back in 2012 when I tackled the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah marathon and had an absolute blast. We tried to squeeze as much Southern fun in a three-day span as possible — all while hobbling around in head-to-toe compression gear, of course. The amount of tours offered in Savannah seems endless and overwhelming, so I wanted to share my top five (based on personal experience and other racers’ input):
First off, our guide’s name was Hollywood. If you can’t see how awesome this tour is going to be just from that, I don’t know what to tell you.
Even though we’d already seen much of the city by walking around, running the race and going on other tours, the trolley tour offered entertaining stories and fun historic tidbits.
For example, did you know Savannah is known for the 3 Ps: Pecans, Praline and…Paula Deen?
Technically the tour was one of those hop-on hop-off deals, but we had decided to just take it around one full circle: 11) because I had no desire to walk/wait for the next bus and 2) our guide was great and we didn’t want to run the risk of getting on a different trolley and having a dud guide. 😛
How Hollywood managed the trolley around such tiny corners and down a tight steep cobblestone decline without hitting anyone or tipping it over is still a mystery to me.
We made a reservation for an 8 p.m. tour the night of the marathon. Yes, folks, you read that right — we are the people who ran that morning and signed up for a walking tour the same night. Funny enough, we weren’t the only racers in the group that evening. 🙂
Tara Haunted Tours is a walking ghost tour around historic Savannah entitled “Boos and Brews.” You guessed it — you got to carry a beer while you walked around hearing about ghosts. So there were ghosts for the wife and beer for my dad and me.
The tour started at McDonough’s Bar, stopped at three local watering holes and finished two hours later at Moon River Brewing Company.
I don’t like ghosts, but it ended up being a fantastic tour. While I went simply to learn more about the local lore, my wife’s goal was to catch a possible glimpse of a ghost. Did she? You’d have to try it yourself to know for sure.
I cannot wait to try the Savannah Slow Ride in November! I have seen a ton of these group bike rides during my race-cations around the country, and I am ready to take part!
Slow Ride is the original, 100% pedal powered, eco-friendly way to see Savannah. They offer a 2-hour, 15-person bike tour. If you have a smaller group, you can mix-n-match with other smaller groups. There are a variety of tours, but I have my eye set on the “Slow Ride Pub Crawl” post-race.
The Pub Crawl bike tour is a 2-hour tour of Savannah’s classic watering holes and historic local bar scene. Participants can bring a to-go cup back on the bike, receive discounts from pub to pub and enjoy an adult beverage while pedaling to the next destination. A trained and licensed driver will assure your safe travels.
Who is up for joining me for this?
A runner has to eat, right? What better way to carb-load or celebrate a great race than by sampling delicious Southern food while strolling through the gardens and historic, cultural landmarks of the squares of Savannah?
According to their website, “Savannah Taste Experience food tours, which are suitable for all ages and fitness levels, will open your palate through bites and tastings at distinctive restaurants, extraordinary specialty food stores, and other notable eateries while providing a local’s perspective on some culture, history and architecture of Savannah.”
There are two 3-hour walking tours offered:
- First Squares Food: A delicious and fun tasting tour of restaurants and eateries of Historic Downtown Savannah. Food tastings are included in the ticket price and are enough food for lunch. Perfect for a first-time visitor to Savannah.
- Famous & Secret East Side Food: An exclusive off-the-beaten path food tour of Savannah’s quiet east side. Food tastings are included in the ticket price and are enough food for lunch.
Be sure to bring your stretchy pants for this one!
5. Dash Tours
Looking for a sightseeing tour with history, amazing photo ops and round-trip transportation? Dash Tours is your answer.
Their website states: “Southern Hospitality is the norm for us…that is why we provide door-to-door service where and when available. Our climate-controlled shuttle bus is handicapped accessible, pet friendly, has great views and is comfortably appointed. We offer complimentary bottled water, bug spray when needed and umbrellas if it happens to rain.”
This 2-hour walking tour of Bonaventure Cemetery is dedicated to personalizing the history of Savannah. Dash Tours shares the lives of those who lived there before, including Academy Award winning songwriter Johnny Mercer, the tragic tales of poet Conrad Aiken and Gracie Watson, and many more.
So whether you are looking to sample some brews, cuisines, history or gardens, take my advice — sign up for a guided tour and let the locals show you the way. You just might learn a thing or two.