When we moved to Charlotte, there were a plethora of exciting destinations within a few hours’ drive that we promptly added to our “New to the South” bucket list.
Asheville, Charleston, Raleigh… the majority of the places we were looking forward to exploring were here in the Carolinas. But from the start, I was most excited to visit Savannah. A historic (and spookily, haunted) city bursting with Southern charm, complete with open container laws? Count me in.
So, two of my best girlfriends and I sat down to plan a Galentine’s Day Getaway to Savannah – without breaking the bank. We set a budget of $150 per person, and we were pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to build an itinerary within those financial parameters
Accommodations, gas and parking
The first – and most expensive – part of the planning process was figuring out where to stay. We planned to arrive early Saturday and stay through Sunday afternoon, so we just needed accommodations for one night.
We settled on a self-proclaimed “Crazy Cool Downtown Apartment” on Airbnb for $164 (so, $54.66 each), which was one of the most affordable options we were able to find. The best part of this place was the location; we were within walking distance of everything on our itinerary, so we didn’t need to spend money on rides from place to place. Still, simply staying anywhere in Savannah seems to be on the expensive side.
Next, we filled up my gas tank for $23.50 (so, about $7.80 per person), which got us through the drive to and from Savannah. Thank goodness for dependable and energy-efficient four-door sedans, am I right?
From everything we read when researching what to do during our getaway, parking in Savannah can be a) tough to find and b) expensive. Unfortunately, our “crazy cool downtown apartment” Airbnb didn’t include a parking space, so we were a little nervous about where we’d find a spot and how much it might cost. But luckily for us, we found free street parking at the corner of Lincoln St. and Liberty St.
So, for gas, accommodations and parking overall, we ended up at $62.46 per person.
Thankfully, we were able to find free or inexpensive activities to fill up most of the remainder of the weekend.
Forsyth Park – We learned that Forsyth Park in Savannah’s Historic District hosts a Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings until noon, so we listed that as the first stop on our trip itinerary. Fruits, veggies, honey, bread and more were available for purchase throughout this weekly market. We made sure to stop and snap a photo at the iconic fountain at the entrance at Bull St. and Gaston St. while we were in the park, of course. You can explore the market and the park free of charge, but obviously there would be a cost if you purchased items at the market itself. – Free.
Lunch at Soho South – This trendy, eclectic restaurant was just an eight-minute walk from Forsyth Park. The menu had a wide selection to choose from. I went with the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich ($9), while one of my gal pals ordered the Fish Tacos ($12) and the other the Fried Goat Cheese Salad ($10). – $12.50 each on average, including tip.
City Market – Nestled between two of Savannah’s iconic squares, the Savannah City Market features more than 45 shops, restaurants, bars and galleries. You can wander through this open-air market for free if you’re just window shopping and snapping photos, which is what we opted to do. – Free.
Peach Sangria (To Go) from Cafe at City Market – We had to take advantage of the open container laws in Savannah’s Historic District, obviously! We stopped at the Cafe at City Market and ordered three cups of their infamous Georgia Peach Sangria to go, sipping happily as we wandered through the market. – $7.09 per person, including tip.
Ride for Free on the Savannah Belles Ferry – When we were researching things to do on a budget in Savannah, one of the first things we found was that you could ride the ferry for free. From the Savannah Belles Ferry, you have a great view of the Historic District, as well as Hutchinson Island and the Talmadge Bridge. The ride itself is only about five minutes long round-trip, but it’s still a great photo opportunity and an easy way to see all the sights of Savannah from the water. – Free.
Dinner at The Olde Pink House – Admittedly, this was probably the most expensive place we could’ve chosen for dinner, but this restaurant set in an 18th century mansion is so iconic of Savannah that we couldn’t resist. My friend and I split the Habersham Platter, which came with shrimp and grits, crab cakes, and seared scallops for $34.95. We were extra boujee and also ordered drinks – I got The Proper ($10), one of my pals got The Pink Lady ($9), and another ordered the Woodford Mule ($11). – $30.50 each on average, including tip.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for somewhere less expensive to eat, Treylor Park is a great option. You could get their PB&J Wings for $10, then anything off of their cocktail list for $10, for a total of about $24 each per person, including tip.
Dessert at River Street Sweets – It’s impossible to resist the heavenly scent of fudge and pralines wafting out of the River Street Sweets storefront. We scarfed down the free praline samples that were handed to us as we entered the store, mesmerized by the shelves of homemade Southern candies before us. I ordered a massive dark chocolate peanut butter cup and was too focused on that to remember what my friends even ordered, but their totals came to around the same amount as mine. – $4.99 each on average.
Saturday Total: $55.08 each.
Breakfast at The Funky Brunch Cafe – We’re definitely breakfast people, and we were on a quest to find the best morning fare that Savannah had to offer. We made our way to The Funky Brunch Cafe, a spot known for having tables with griddles in the middle so you could make your own pancakes… but we weren’t really in the mood to cook our own breakfasts, so we got a regular table. I ordered the Black n Bleu Sea Grits – AKA, grits covered in blue cheese Mornay sauce, topped with blackened lobster and shrimp, and finished with a sprinkling of bacon and scallions ($12). My much healthier friends each ordered the Farmer’s Market: an omelet filled with spinach, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and pepper jack cheese ($9). Our orders all came with a pancake included in the price, too, which was delicious and filling. – $12.50 each on average, including tip.
Free Artisan Samples at The Salt Table – This might sound strange, but we loved exploring the hundreds of salts, spices, seasoning blends, dips, oils, vinegars, popcorn seasonings, tea and more at The Salt Table. We probably spent 45 minutes smelling and tasting these samples before each leaving with a few of their best-sellers. The sampling itself was free, though, unless you caved and bought yourself a souvenir! – Free.
A Mead Tasting (and More Free Samples) at Savannah Bee Co. – Just a few doors down from The Salt Table, Savannah Bee Co. offered more than a dozen free samples of different types of honey (I loved the Lavender Honey, personally) in addition to a wide selection of deliciously scented, 100% natural beeswax and honey body care products that we tested for ourselves (I couldn’t resist buying a Georgia Peach-scented lip balm made with beeswax and propolis – it was only $3.50). But we were most excited about the mead tasting bar in the back corner, where we paid $10 for a flight of six different types of honey mead. We learned all about how mead is actually made, so this tasting was as educational as it was delicious. – $10 each.
The Paris Market and Brocante – A little slice of France transported to the streets of downtown Savannah, it’s no wonder this incredibly Instagrammable boutique-slash-café was deemed “The South’s Best Shop 2017” by Southern Living Magazine. We could have spent hours (and all our money) at this Parisian-inspired market, but we opted to window shop and snap photos of every aesthetically pleasing inch of the space instead. – Free.
Leopold’s Ice Cream – We couldn’t wrap up the trip without stopping at the infamous Leopold’s Ice Cream on Broughton Street. As they’ve proudly plastered on their ice cream dishes, Leopold’s has been “a Savannah tradition since 1919.” We waited in line for about 10 minutes, and we still weren’t ready to make a choice between all the homemade, premium ice cream flavors they had to offer. Ultimately, we each got a scoop of whatever flavor spoke to us (for me, it was the Honey Almond & Cream, made using Savannah Bee Co. honey and fresh roasted almonds). – $4 each.
Sunday Total: $26.50 each.
The grand total
So, were we able to keep the trip under $150 per person? Let’s recap.
- Accommodations, gas and parking: $62.46 each.
- Saturday: $55.08 each.
- Sunday: $26.50 each.
Our total came to $144.04 each. So, if you’re looking for an inexpensive overnight adventure to take without spending a fortune, take it from us: a weekend excursion to Savannah doesn’t have to break the bank.
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