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A Day in Savannah: History, Sun and Southern Snacking

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

Savanna, Ga., is a history buff’s dream come true. But that doesn’t mean everyone else is just along for the ride.  Beneath the ancient oaks, there are plenty of modern attractions and fun for most everyone.

Any travelers heading southward for the winter is probably looking for a little sand and a lot of sun.  While the Savannah area isn’t nearly tropical, the beach is still sandy and the view is still stunning.

Tybee Island has long been a place of respite.  Pirates often sailed to the island to find safe haven and bury their treasure and find fresh water. When the Industrial Revolution clouded the skies with and dusted the streets with soot, the island became a place of refuge.  City dwellers sought the saltwater breezes to treat ailments such as asthma and allergies.  When railways and roadways connected the island to the mainland, throngs of summer vacationers turned the sleepy coastal town into a tourism juggernaut.

The five miles of beachfront are still a major tourist attraction, but summer is when the real crowds come.  Snow birds and winter wanderers, however, should have no problem finding a great spot for a bit of sun worship or a dawn picnic — though swimming may be a tad chilly.

The wide beaches and scattered attractions such as the Revolutionary War-era lighthouse, the ruins of Fort Pulaski and the Tybee Island Pier are all within walking distance.  The area also boasts great fishing and wildlife spotting.  And if you’re traveling with a metal detector, who knows, you may just come home with some pirate booty!

All that lounging in the sun makes for a powerful hunger.  Luckily, Savannah has no shortage of delectable goodies.  Fried chicken, grits and mashed potatoes are great, but you can get those just about anywhere.  Zunzi’s sandwich shop, however, is a Savannah treasure and a must-stop location.

Zunzi's - Pat Hawks

The local sandwich superstar can get crowded, so get to Zunzi’s early and come hungry.

The owners claim their sandwiches are a melange of Swiss, Italian, South African and Dutch tastes, but most visitors are too busy noshing to discuss the international flavors.   The Conquistador sandwich is a local favorite, as is the Godfather (known to “Whack” an appetite).  All sandwiches are a hearty pile of fixings on fresh bread, so come hungry.  The vegetarian options are also fantastic, the falafel sandwich is light and fluffy with a nice kick of Southern heat.

The line at Zunzi’s can get pretty long, especially in the summertime, but come early and chat with the locals in line to get the inside scoop on what’s good.  Seating can be tight too, but the beauty of the sandwich is its mobility.  Head down a block to the historic Oglethorpe Square for a downtown Savannah snack.

With all that sandwich energy coursing through your body, it’s high time or a walk.  Sure, you could meander around town shopping, but wouldn’t you rather hang around a cemetery?

If you didn’t watch or read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil before driving into town, then you just didn’t do your homework. The Southern tale focused on many eccentric characters foam Savannah’s past, but it made one cemetery a famous local haunt.

Bonaventure Cemetery - Britt Reints

The Bonaventure Cemetery showcases local history in a beautiful, if slightly macabre way.

Not many places capture the beauty of Southern oak trees, a deep American history in a meditative atmosphere (depending on the crowd) like the Bonaventure Cemetery. The gothic cemetery offers amazing photography opportunities, and a wealth of fascinating glimpses into Southern history.  The headstones of songwriter Johnny Mercer and other local celebrities are on most visitors’ lists, but a simple stroll through the cemetery is well worth the trip.

After a full day in and around Savannah, the River’s End Campground & RV Park is a lovely spot to rest up.  Butted up against Tybee Island, the park offers Good Sam discounts and has plenty of amenities for a day around the RV. And come morning, it’s just a stone’s throw away from another morning picnic.

Looking to stick around another day? Head over to our sister site, MotorHome, for another day in Savannah.

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