You can fill a day or a week in Coastal Georgia with activities tailored to your interests. Get off the beaten path and discover the nooks and crannies of our remarkable coast as you look for rare birds, explore museums, see Colonial and Civil War forts, taste our coastal dishes, explore African-American heritage, or photograph lighthouse after lighthouse.
More than 140 years of military history can be experienced through visits to Georgia’s coastal forts. The forts built in along the Georgia Coast protected the colonists from Spanish, French and Indians, and later attempted to protect Savannah and its port from Union forces during the Civil War. Many of the forts or their sites can be visited today, exhibiting such things as intact earthworks and re-created structures that allow you to imagine military life in previous eras.
Day 1 - Colonial Forts
Morning: The English knew the need to protect their new Georgia lands from the Spanish in the early 1700s. From 1721 until 1736, Fort King George in Darien was the southern outpost of the British Empire in North America. General James Oglethorpe brought Scottish Highlanders to the site in 1736. Today you can spend a morning exploring replicas of the cypress blockhouse, barracks and palisaded earthen fort at this Georgia State Historic Site.
Have a lunch of Wild Georgia Shrimp at one the restaurants in Darien or 30-40 minutes south on St. Simons Island.
Afternoon: Explore the archeological remnants of Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island, protected by the National Park Service. Georgia's fate was decided in 1742 when Spanish and British forces clashed on St. Simons Island. Fort Frederica's troops defeated the Spanish, ensuring Georgia's future as a British colony.
Late Afternoon: Travel about an hour’s drive north of Fort Frederica to the fort known as Fort Morris, Fort George and Fort Defiance. Our young nation had to avert threats from the British during its earliest years, so Fort Morris was fortified and garrisoned by 200 patriots in 1777 on the Medway River at Sunbury. The British captured this fort in 1779, renamed it Fort George, but then abandoned it later that year. Fort Defiance was constructed at the site in 1814, as the need arose to again defend Sunbury and the river from the British during the War of 1812. Fort Morris and Sunbury played a minor role in the American Civil War, with Union troops removing some of the fort’s cannons to be taken to Union-controlled forts on the coast.
Make your way back to Savannah for an family meal at The Lady & Sons, then to your room in one of Savannah’s comfortable hotels or bed-and-breakfast lodgings.
Day 2 - Civil War Forts
Morning: After breakfast, make your way to Fort Pulaski National Monument, a marvel of 19th-century engineering that saw battle during the American Civil War. Explore the fort, take a tour, or enjoy the scenic marsh and water views of Cockspur Island.
Have lunch on nearby Tybee Island. Share a Low Country Boil platter big enough to feed a bus full of hungry travelers, sample crisp salads topped with fresh seafood, or dig into a classic cheeseburger. Tybee restaurants offer it all!
Afternoon: On the other side of Savannah from Tybee, Fort McAllister sits on the banks of the Ogeechee River in Richmond Hill. This scenic park showcases the best-preserved earthwork fortification of the Confederacy. The earthworks were attacked seven times by Union ironclads but did not fall until 1864 – ending General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea.” Explore the grounds with cannons, a furnace, bombproof, barracks, palisades, and a Civil War museum with artifacts, a video and gift shop. If you reserved one of the cabins near the marsh or a spot in the shaded campground, you can relax at the end of the day, make s’mores and look at the stars in the night sky.