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Planning the Perfect, Budget Friendly, Family Vacation in Savannah, Georgia for Family With Young Kids.

Updated on August 14, 2010
The different views of the picturesque historical area of Savannah, Georgia. Public domain (
The different views of the picturesque historical area of Savannah, Georgia. Public domain (

According to USA Weekend Magazine, Savannah, Georgia is one of the “top 10 Most Beautiful Places in America.” As a 23 year resident of this richly diverse city, I tend to agree.

If you and your family are considering vacationing in the “Hostess City” of the south, then here are some things to help you plan the perfect, budget friendly, family vacation day with young kids (children 7 years of age and under).

1.) Location, Location, Location!

If you are so fortunate to know someone to stay with during your visit to Savannah, Georgia, then you will save a bundle on a hotel stay. However, if you are in need of a place to stay, there are a variety of excellent hotels that are family and budget friendly.

The downtown, historic area of Savannah, Georgia, offers a wide range of family oriented activities therefore it is advisable to choose a hotel that will place you in the “heart” of it all. The site, provides a full list of kid friendly hotels either near or right in the heart of downtown Savannah.

*A side note: if you desire to stay in the historic district, any hotel that is labeled “Midtown” usually entails about a 15 to 20 minute drive to the downtown area. In addition, it is always best to check with hotel rating sites such as the one listed to view the most recent critiques and commendations since ownership does tend to switch hands.

2.) Transportation on the Cheap.

Depending on what hotel you and your family will stay in, save money and time by taking advantage of the free Cat Shuttle the city of Savannah has to offer.

If the hotel of your choice is downtown, simply locate the nearest shuttle stop and get on; if the hotel is quite a distance from the downtown area, leave your car in one of Savannah’s 5 parking garages for a fee of $1 to $2 per hour, and either walk, make use of the free Cat Shuttle, or alternate between both.

The site provides a detailed listing of shuttle stops and times for the free-fare shuttle services, and the site provides a detailed listing of parking garages, prices, and hours.

Ships of the Sea Museum
Ships of the Sea Museum
Ships of the Sea Museum - Interactive Exhibit.
Ships of the Sea Museum - Interactive Exhibit.
Savannah History Museum
Savannah History Museum
Savannah History Museum
Savannah History Museum
Savannah History Museum
Savannah History Museum
Ellis Square (interactive fountain)
Ellis Square (interactive fountain)
Forsyth Park - Water fountain - public domain
Forsyth Park - Water fountain - public domain

3.) The Perfect Vacation Day Itinerary In Savannah, Georgia for Families with Young Children.

Breakfast: To start your day off on the right foot, save money and time by enjoying a hot breakfast in your hotel’s lobby. Most hotels’ complimentary breakfasts began at 6:30 a.m. and end at 9:30 a.m. so make sure you are up early.

Tip: If you can get there at least 10 to 15 minutes after breakfast has been set up, you will usually beat the crowd.

10:00 - 11:00A.M. Ships of the Sea - Maritime Museum : Located in Savannah’s historic district at 41 M.L. King Boulevard, Savannah, Georgia, for as little as $8.00 per adults (children 7 and under are free), you and your toddlers can spend as little or as much time as you desire in this self-guided tour through a huge collection of handmade replicas of ships of the sea, as well as sea voyage artifacts (a few are hands on) that literally bring the sailor’s world to life. The bottom floor of this multilevel museum provides kids with fun, interactive, hands on display of what it would be like to “captain” an antiquated ship of the sea.

The museum is small enough to easily keep up with your toddlers, yet it is full of fascinating artifacts and a quaint gift shop that offers keepsakes that anyone can afford.

* Tip: This is not the most stroller-friendly due to the stairs; if you opt to bring one along, an umbrella stroller will be best. In addition, the museums’ garden area provides a great place for your restless toddlers and youngsters to run and stretch their legs. Bathrooms are available on the bottom floor.

Visit the Website, to get acquainted with hours, special events as well as directions.

11:30 A.M. - 12:15 P.M. Lunch Time at Panera Bread: Beat the lunch crowd by making your way to the bakery/café known as Panera Bread around 11:30 A.M.

Located right in downtown Savannah, at 1 West Broughton Street (912-236-0275); a couple of blocks away from Ships of the Sea - Maritime Museum; for under $40 a family of four can enjoy a healthy meal in a comfortable, friendly, and relaxed environment.

In addition to offering freshly baked goods, Panera Bread Café provides kid friendly meal choices that include fruit, organic juices and milk, and fresh baked sandwich breads and cookies. Named “One of the 10 Best Fast-Casual Family Restaurants” by the July 2009 issue of Parents magazine, this establishment is a great lunch-time destination for the entire family.

12:30 - 1:15 P.M. Savannah History Museum: After a healthy lunch, travel a couple blocks to the Savannah History Museum for a self-guided, leisurely tour that begins with an 18-minute video overview concerning the fascinating history of Savannah, Georgia.

Housed in an old railroad passenger train shed, this unique museum houses several hands on, interactive exhibits for children ages 7 and under that include role playing and drawing, an impressive steam locomotive, the bench featured in the movie Forrest Gump , as well as bright and colorful exhibits that show what life was like in Savannah in 1733 up to the present.

Located at 303 MLK, Jr. Blvd., a quick visit will set you back about $5.00 or less for each individual (children 2 years and under are admitted free); you can contact the museum for admission prices and discounts at 912-651-6825 or email them at shm@chsgeorgia.

1:30 - 2:30 P.M. Naptime at the Hotel : If your hotel is only a short distance away from the Savannah History Museum, then it will be in your child’s best interest to stop by for about an hours rest before engaging in any other activities.

* Tip: if you have to travel some distance but your little ones are in danger of a sleepy-time melt down, stop by the Savannah Civic Center, which is in short walking distance from the museum. Located on the corner of Liberty and Montgomery Streets, this multilevel stadium provides visitors a safe and cool place to rest up a bit. Their hours are from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., and they are equipped with restrooms, water fountains, and long benches for a leisurely lounge. While it is not ideal for long rests, 15 to 30 minutes is sufficient for some parents to sit and allow their toddlers to nap. However if more time is needed, visit the shaded and peaceful Elbert Square, conveniently located at the west entrance of the Savannah Civic Center.

3:00 - 4:00 P.M. Watery Fun at Ellis Square: Located in historic downtown Savannah, at Barnard between Bryan and Congress Streets, this newly renovated square possesses several sitting areas (concrete and grassy) for parents to sit and relax as they watch their youngsters cool down by way of an interactive water fountain.

Convenient restrooms are located a couple of feet away, a life-size chessboard with matching chess pieces is available, as well as a hospitality center. All at no cost to you!

* Tip: While the stalls are not that large, with a little finesse the convenient restrooms make for a quick changing area.

4:20 - 5:30 P.M. Dinner, Lunch, or Breakfast at IHop on the Cheap: After a long day full of fun and excitement, it’s time for a filling dinner. Just a ten minute drive will take you to the IHop restaurant off of Victory Drive.

Cost effective and convenient, this particular location allows kids to eat free between the hours of 4 - 10 P.M. every day with the purchase of an adult’s meal. In addition, kids and adults alike can have their choice of eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner. With such good prices, a family of four can easily eat for under $25 (tip included). To get directions to the Victory Drive IHop, ask a local Savannanian or do a search in your GPS system.

5:45 - 6:45 P.M. Evening in the Park: Finish the day off with a visit to one of Savannah’s most beautiful parks, Forsyth Park.

Located between at 621 Drayton Street, this large city park contains a fragrant garden area, a huge water fountain, several walking paths, age appropriate play areas, a newly indoor/outdoor café with clean and spacious restrooms, several tennis courts and basketball courts, an interactive fountain, and 30 acres of lush, green grass to lounge on.

The spacious café’s summer hours are: 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. For more information: Call the Forsyth Park visitor center at 912-233-7848.

Before leaving the area, don’t forget to stop by the small and swanky indoor/outdoor café - The Sentient Bean - for a quick cookie treat. At the cost of $3.00 each, these large, freshly baked cookies are the perfect size for sharing.

Open Mon.-Sun. 7:30 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., this warm and inviting café’ provides families with a casual dining experience and exposes them to the eclectic art of the locals.

7:00 P.M. Time to Retire: After a long day of fun activities, you and your family can return to your hotel of choice to prepare for the next day.

Therefore with a little planning and forethought, you can have the perfect, budget and kid friendly vacation day for your entire family in Savannah, Georgia.

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