ohn Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – known here simply as “The Book” – may have created a huge buzz, but gay Savannah has been a top-rate tourist destination for generations. Located along Georgia’s coast, a 4-hour drive from Atlanta, and across the border from South Carolina, Savannah oozes romance and intrigue with its antebellum architecture, elegant public spaces, and twisted oaks dripping with Spanish moss. Then, of course, there are the legends, from oral histories to shocking tales of haunted graveyards and many Civil War sites.
Savannah’s main draw is its gorgeous historic district, full of eye-catching 18th- and 19th-century structures and shaded squares surrounded by posh residences, museums, and boutique hotels. The town’s most recognizable landmark is Forsyth Park, a 30-acre green space with a center fountain and walking paths.
When it comes to accommodations, Savannah offers everything from historic bed-and-breakfasts and trendy downtown hotels to affordable chains.
There’s no specific gay neighborhood in Savannah, and gay and lesbian residents are spread throughout town. That makes for a welcoming, inclusive vibe wherever you venture. Head to River Street for gay-friendly and LGBT-owned boutiques, galleries, and bistros, as well as the most lively nightlife options. Part of this thoroughfare’s convivial vibe is thanks to the fact that there are no open container laws here, meaning you can explore the district with a drink in hand. Savannah is easy to explore on foot.
The annual Savannah Pride event here (in October) draws a nice crowd and participants can feel good that proceeds support mental health care, HIV testing, support groups, youth programming and more.
Savannah is a happenin' town full of eccentric, open-minded people; truly the younger, hipper sibling to Atlanta. Within its cobblestone streets and gothic theme is found a thriving community of art students and young, progressive folk, the perfect coming together of the historic with the modern. If you have a choice in your mode of transportation, opt for bicycling. This is how Savannah is best explored. No place is this truer than in the dynamic River Street neighborhood, boasting some of the best shopping and dining, numerous gay-owned boutique B&B's, and a handsome selection of gay bars all situated along the gorgeous Savannah River.
This hotspot of culture is one of the liveliest in the Peach State, come see what makes this city above and beyond your typical whisky town, and make sure to sip a Mint Julip--or there--while you are there.