Savannah is one of America’s oldest cities, established in 1733, but, like any Southern belle, she’s embraced modern times without sacrificing her values. A trip here is a step back in time with an edge: The antebellum mansions, moss-draped trees, and Southern manners coexist with hip restaurants, a lively nightlife, and younger culture provided by the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Miles from Naples: 492
Where to Stay: Situated across from its namesake park, the Mansion on Forsyth Park is a Marriott property with a AAA Four-Diamond award. The redbrick Victorian exterior hints to its 1888 foundation, but the interior houses modern and eclectic decor, a luxury spa, a cooking school, and an art gallery with some 400 works.
Good Eats: Start the day at B. Matthew’s Eatery for a brunch of fried green tomato Benedict, duck and waffles, and a “mixed-mosa,” a twist on the traditional morning cocktail with apricot or black cherry. The lunch crowd is known to stand in line to enter Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room for its family-style concept, but if you’re too hungry to wait then head to Sisters of the New South for similar heapings of comfort food. In the evening, the dining debate boils down to traditional versus modern: The Olde Pink House is a Savannah classic, serving upscale Southern fare in a circa-1771 mansion, while The Public Kitchen & Bar gets creative with dishes like risotto with rabbit confit and bacon-cheddar grits with shrimp.
Souvenirs to Stockpile: For conventional shopping, Broughton Street is lined with mainstream and independent boutiques, including Palm Avenue for Lilly lovers. Off the beaten path, discover handmade gifts like jewelry, art, or handbags at the shopSCAD store, which sells artisan items created by the university’s students. And for a truly buzzworthy souvenir, pop into one of the three locations of the Savannah Bee Co. for honey-based finds, including beauty products, edible honeycomb, and flavorful varieties of the sweet nectar.
For a Nightcap: Enjoy a cocktail with a view at Rocks on the Roof, the lounge atop the Bohemian Hotel overlooking the Savannah River and the historic district.
Day Trip: If you have a day to spare, Tybee Island is a relaxing beach getaway 18 minutes from Savannah that’s home to Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse, a museum housed in an 1898 artillery battery, and a family-friendly science center.