A Savannah Winter Vacation Guide
A Savannah Vacation in the winter. What to expect, how to dress, where to go, what to do
Savannah is a magical place to be in winter.
We know, we know. Sunshine and beaches and azaleas and all that.
But in our opinion, there’s something irrefutably romantic about a cool January day accentuated by streets of cobblestone and a steaming cup of coffee. Moody old Victorian mansions bolstered on all sides by moss-draped Live Oaks - there’s something poetic about them in the quiet cold. Windswept ocean whitecaps off the coast of Tybee. Quiet antique stores. Mysterious house museums. Historic book stores.
There are just some parts of Savannah we love a little extra in the winter.
What to Expect
For those not accustomed to Southern winters, the phenomenon of humid cold can be a little new. The air is always humid in Savannah. Always. So even though it rarely dips below 40 degrees, the lingering moisture can actually make it feel much colder. But never fear, it doesn’t take long to acclimate - and there are more than a few cozy pubs, coffee shops, bookstores, and enchanting hideaways around every corner - just waiting for you to stop in and get warm.
Despite cooler temps, Savannah is very often sunny in the winter months. We get our fair share of rain and clouds, but the chances are in your favor for blue skies during your vacation.
Forsyth Park and its glorious fountain, River Street, Tybee Island, and Bonaventure Cemetery are all perfect locations to get outside and enjoy the crisp season.
What to Wear
To be clear - just because Savannah is a southern state near the beach doesn’t mean we don’t spend our fair share of time cuddled up near roaring fireplaces and sporting the layered look for at least three months out of the year. While it hardly ever gets cold enough for serious winter gear, light jackets, faux fur coats, the classic trench are particular favorites for strolling around the Historic District.
Breathable cottons, silk cashmeres, flannels, and even linens are perfect for layering as the temps in Savannah can fluctuate significantly from morning to night.
And while I enjoy a knee-high boot as much as the next girl, you’re much more likely to find me in a pair of jacquard mules or leather pumps.
What to do - our top things to do and places to go for your winter vacation in Savannah . . .
Enjoy a morning biscuit and coffee at Back in the Day Bakery
You know how Saturday mornings used to feel at Grandmama’s breakfast table? The smell of yummy fresh biscuits and pastries . . . that first slow sip of creamy coffee . . . sigh. Back in the Day Bakery is like that. Seriously just as cozy, with a distinctly homegrown vintage, 1950s vibe. Situated squarely in Savannah’s up-and-coming, and astoundingly charming, Starland District, Back in the Day Bakery has been lauded by locals and national publications alike. Make sure you don’t miss this one. Trust us.
Get the Lay of the Land on a Genteel & Bard Savannah History Tour
It may rarely actually look like a snowy winter wonderland, but Savannah is a special kind of beautiful in the winter. It’s definitely one of our very favorite times of year - and especially nice for walking and enjoying the city sights with coffee in hand. One of the best ways to get an introduction to the city, and to get your bearings for the rest of your trip, is on a Genteel & Bard walking tour. Spanning about a mile of the Historic District over a two hour period, you’ll get the chance to learn about the long history of Savannah, from the time of her founding all the way to more modern-day happenings. It’s especially cool to spend your trip knowing from the very start - all about the significant people and places that made Savannah the loved destination that she is today, Click here to book your Genteel & Bard Tour.
Play a Game of Chess and Peruse the Art at Gallery Espresso
Gallery Espresso is Savannah’s oldest coffee shop - and to step inside is like entering into a scene from Harry Potter. An eclectic mix of vintage wooden furniture, cozy upholstered arm chairs and an antiquated fireplace make this cozy cafe the perfect place to hunker down on a cold Savannah day. Windows offer views of Bull Street and the iconic Chippewa Square, while the interior walls are decked with ever-evolving displays of local art. T.C. and I have spent many a breakfast date at Gallery Espresso sipping lattes and playing chess or scrabble. For the coffee or tea aficionado, this stop is basically perfect.
Explore Alex Raskin Antiques
Perhaps the best-kept secret in Savannah - Alex Raskin Antiques will not disappoint. This sprawling Savannah mansion is an unrestored bastion of the past, a fascinating, awe-inspiring jaunt into the unexpected. Situated on the corner of Bull Street and West Gordon Street, Alex Raskin’s sits right off of Monterey Square, neighbor to the famous Mercer-Williams House. You can get lost for hours wandering the upstairs rooms of the old house where antique chairs, tables, wardrobes, beds, photographs, artwork, and all sorts of oddities clamor together beneath flaking plaster ceilings and towering poured glass windows. It’s basically legendary. Go there.
Browse Savannah’s Boutique District
For the fashionable southern lifestyle connoisseur, Savannah’s Boutique scene is an absolute treat. Stretching from just south of prestigious Jones Street and snaking it’s way up Whitaker, over to Bull, and north to Broughton - there is an exhaustive array of boutiques to fit any and all tastes and desires.
One Fish Two Fish is one of my favorites. Bright and airy Low Country aesthetic lend a luxurious vibe as you browse jewelry and wares by local and regional artisans. Homewares, stationary, pretty odds and ends - this shop is nothing short of fun - and the perfect place for a pit stop on your winter walk in Savannah’s historic residential district.
Harper is another favorite of mine, carrying the latest upscale fashions with classic flare - their selection can easily satisfy your needs from a jumper for brunch on the town, to cocktails.
You can read more about my fave Savannah Boutique picks here.
Get Lost at E. Shaver Booksellers
Besides the fact that they’re amazing at carrying books by local and regional authors - like, ahem - our Hidden History of Savannah book, E. Shaver is about the most charming bookstore you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. The bookstore is Savannah’s oldest, and located off of Madison Square and Bull Street, right in the center of Historic Downtown. With room after room filled to the brim with books, you can easily get lost for hours in this charming old-world shop - and the adjacent tea room, of course.
Experience Artisanal Southern Cuisine at Husk
I have four words for you. Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake. Okay, so there is a LOT more to Husk than the dessert menu, they just happen to have the most delicious sweets selection in town. But I digress, because Husk is in the midst of a literal food renaissance, cultivating and serving up regional dishes with historic flare - not to mention mouthwatering results.
Chef Sean Brock founded the famous restaurant, first in Charleston, then opened bespoke locations in select neighboring cities - Savannah being his most recent establishment.
Aside from the menu, the restaurant is directly responsible for the revitalization of the famous mansion at 12 Oglethorpe Avenue - never mind it’s hailed as one of Savannah’s most haunted locals.
Catch a show at the Lucas Theater
The Lucas is one of Savannah’s oldest working theaters, and an absolute beauty to behold. Hosting live performances, concerts, and the occasional old movie, catching a show at the Lucas is a classic Savannah experience.
Sip a Cocktail at The Peregrin
T.C. and I were so excited when the Perry Lane Hotel made a luxurious splash in Savannah this past spring. The hotel itself is the epitome of class and upscale southern comfort. But it’s the Peregrin rooftop bar that quickly rose to fame among visitors and locals alike. With 360 degree, eighth floor view of the Savannah Historic District, the river, Talmadge Bridge, an array of architecture and the marsh beyond - The Peregrin is an enchanting opportunity to take in Savannah from a slightly elevated angle - even in the winter, as heated lanterns and cozy nooks make the rooftop a sure pleasure year round.
Experience a Tour at the Harper-Fawlkes House
The Harper-Fawlkes House is a Greek-Revival style Savannah mansion originally built in 1842. Visitors to the house get the privilege of touring the impressive and historically important space that once played home to Alida Harper Fawlkes, the namesake for Savannah’s luxury Alida Hotel. It was Alida who was at the forefront of Savannah’s early and unofficial preservation movement. If not for her influence, many of Savannah’s historic architectural treasures might not be here today.
The house is a particularly fun and interesting way to spend the afternoon. On the tour guests will have the opportunity to see not only gorgeous architecture and interior design, but also see period antiques and get an inside-look at what life would have been like for the former residents of the grand manor.
Walk Tybee Island’s North Beach and Sip a cup of local SurfPunk Coffee
Tybee Island is enchanting in the winter. There’s something about a grey ocean, tossing waves, and white low country beaches. Searching for shells and sharks teeth (Tybee Beach is actually a little famous for prehistoric sharks teeth!) is one of mine and T.C.’s favorite activities. Romantic morning walks on Tybee, by the way, are especially amazing with local roasters SurfPunk Coffee. Founded by Josh and Nicole Peeples the small, family owned coffee company is taking the region, not to mention the surfing world, by storm with their smooth blends.
You can purchase a bag of SurfPunk Coffee here for a taste of Tybee at home.
Take home a piece of Savannah with a handmade candle by local artisanal candle company, Salt & Shore
Scents are so central to memory for me. I really truly can be transported back to a place, or remember a person in such beautiful detail when prompted with a scent. It’s one of the reasons I love my very good friend, Mandy’s candle company, Salt & Shore. I did an interview with her about her inspiring entrepreneurial journey that you can read here.
This artisanal candle company is grounded in southern heart and low country-inspired scents. Check out Salt & Shore’s website here, where you can peruse scents like, Midnight Oaks, Amber Dusk, and Salty Kisses. You can even join her monthly subscription club to have a new candle at your door every month! A perfect way to bring back the memories of your time in Savannah.