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Amidst grand mansions, Victorian architecture, cobblestone streets and riverfront cafés, the natural beauty of Savannah thrives in its country squares and public parks. A visit to this charming southern city is incomplete if you don’t make time to discover the area’s most beautiful outdoor spaces.
Top Savannah Parks
The largest park in historic Savannah, Forsyth Park spans 30 acres and is known as a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. The famous Forsyth Fountain, which sits at the north end of the park, is made of cast iron. Placed in the park in 1858 as a centerpiece, today it remains a focal point. Patrons enjoy relaxing amid the shady trees and benches that surround it. There are many paths for walking, jogging, and cycling and places to picnic, play sports or just watch as others stroll by. Inside the park is a monument-style structure dedicated to the confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War. There’s also a Visitor Center, a café and snack bar.
Address: Between Drayton Street & W. Gaston Street
Set on the Great Ogeechee River, Fort McAllister is popular among locals and tourists for its natural beauty and historical significance. It’s here that visitors can see the earthwork fortification of the Confederacy that is known to be the most well preserved of its kind. Roam the grounds; see the cannons, furnace, bombproof, barracks, palisades, a Civil War museum and more. Towering oak trees, Spanish moss and salt marsh make this park the ideal spot for fishing, boating and enjoying a picnic. Events take place throughout the year including educational programs about the Civil War, soldier life, medicine, weapons and more.
Address: 3894 Fort McAllister Road
Top Savannah Squares
Located on Barnard Street between Taylor and Gordon Streets, Chatham Square is one of the more distant squares in the city. That is perhaps a reason why it is a favorite among locals. Laid out in 1847, Chatham was one of the last squares to be developed and is named after William Pitt, the First Earl of Chatham. Gordon Row is bordered by a series of identical four story homes, the Barnard Street School, and other historic buildings. Ancient oaks provide a shady retreat for visitors to this peaceful spot.
Picturesque and peaceful, Chippewa Square was designed in 1815 and named after the Battle of Chippewa in the War of 1812. In the center of the square stands a bronze statue of General James Oglethorpe, the founder of the colony and creator of the country squares in Savannah. Referred to as the Forrest Gump Square by many, Chippewa is the site of the famous bus bench scene from the even more famous movie. Interestingly, the bench was never actually in the square, simply a movie prop that now resides in a museum. But there is still much to see and enjoy in this historic spot, from the lovely trees and places to sit, to the historic Savannah Theatre, the First Baptist Church and the Moses Eastman House. Located on Bull Street between Hull and Perry Streets, Chippewa attracts many visitors throughout the year.
This Savannah square can be found between three other squares that align Congress Street. Designed in 1733 and known as one of the three “lost squares”, this space held four different public markets all the way until the late 1950s, when it was demolished to create a parking garage. In 2005, the garage was destroyed and Ellis Square was restored as a public space for recreation in Savannah. Today you’ll find a splash park for kids, picnic tables and a life-size chess set. Also, the entrance to City Market can be found here and around the corner, a popular Savannah Museum dedicated to Prohibition history.
Also a stop on the Old Town Trolley route, Madison Square is surrounded by a slew of historic Savannah buildings, with various styles of architecture such as Gothic, Greek Revival & Romanesque. This square was completed in 1839 and in the center you’ll find a large bronze monument of Sergeant William Jasper, an American soldier in the Revolutionary War. Around Madison Square you’ll notice various Savannah attractions; the Green-Meldrim House Museum, St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Sorrell-Weed House & Andrew Low House.
Commemorating the 1846 Battle of Monterey during the Mexican-American War, this lovely square is located on Bull Street between Taylor Street and Gordon Street. To many, Monterey is the most beautiful of all the Savannah squares with its abundance of trees, flowers, and the Pulaski Monument in the center. Located in the square, the historic Mercer House draws lots of attention, not only for its architectural beauty, but also for its role in the 1994 novel and the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Also here is the Congregation Mickve Israel, the only Gothic-style synagogue in America and one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the country, founded in 1733.