I have lived in the state of Georgia for the majority of my life. Over the past 29 years, I’ve had some great experiences throughout Georgia, including riding a scenic train in Blue Ridge, checking out the many attractions in Atlanta, and even meeting former President Jimmy Carter in his hometown of Plains. While I have seen a lot of the state, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that it took me 29 years to experience the city of Savannah.
Technically, I have visited Savannah before, but it was only for a softball tournament, so I didn’t get to truly experience it. And let’s be honest, you haven’t properly explored Savannah until you’ve eaten your weight in fried green tomatoes, right? Right!
A few weeks ago, I finally had a few days to see what all of the Savannah hype was about. I’ve heard for years that Savannah is a must-visit southern city, but to be completely honest, I worried about accessibility. As the oldest city in the state of Georgia, Savannah is known for its cobblestone streets and old buildings, but I was curious to discover exactly how wheelchair accessible Savannah is.
From seeing the actual bench that Forrest Gump sat on to going on a ghost tour in America’s most haunted city, I had a fun few days in Savannah and I can’t believe that it took me so long to visit. Here’s my wheelchair accessible Savannah travel guide, showing you the best things to do, where to eat (and indulge in fried green tomatoes), and where to stay –
Savannah Riverboat Cruises
If you’ve read my blog for a while, then you know that I take every opportunity that I can to be on or near water. As soon as I arrived into Savannah, I immediately headed to the riverfront and was ready to enjoy a ride with Savannah Riverboat Cruises.
Savannah Riverboat Cruises offers several different options, including dinner cruises, sunset cruises, and even gospel cruises. The cruise that I did was the Narrated Harbor Sightseeing Cruise.
My cruise was on the Georgia Queen ship, which was very accessible. Boarding was a breeze with long ramps and the main decks of the ship were wheelchair friendly. There was a passenger elevator and accessible restrooms as well.
During the hour and a half cruise on the Savannah River, I enjoyed seeing the sights and learning about the city. One interesting fact that I learned is that Savannah is the fourth largest port in the country for cargo. On the cruise, we were able to see some of the behind the scenes action and view a cargo ship at one point.
The coolest part of the cruise though, in my opinion anyway, happened when we reached Fort Jackson. It’s a nineteenth century fort and when we got to it, we saw and heard a cannon firing near the fort. It was a unique experience and one that I didn’t expect to happen during our sightseeing cruise.
I enjoyed rolling around the outside of the ship and seeing everything, but to beat the summer heat, there were plenty of places to relax inside and look through windows. Snacks and drinks were available to purchase from the bar.
If, like me, you enjoy being on the water and want to learn a bit about the interesting history of Savannah, this is a terrific way to experience the river. Whether you’re a wheelchair user or not, Savannah Riverboat Cruises is sure to be a fun time!
Explore Savannah’s Squares
Some of Savannah’s best attractions are its squares. And the best part? There are 22 of them scattered throughout Savannah and they’re completely free to visit.
Among the many businesses and houses in downtown Savannah are 22 peaceful, and beautiful, squares. All of them have the Instagram-worthy live oak trees with the famous Spanish moss hanging, and the squares are the perfect place to lounge, read a book, play, or have a picnic on a nice day.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit all 22 squares, but I did visit five of them over the course of a couple hours. Monterey Square, Madison Square, Chippewa Square (Chippewa Square is where Forrest Gump sat on the bench, but the bench is now in the Savannah History Museum), Wright Square, and Johnson Square are on Bull Street and it’s only a couple blocks from one square to the next.
I would recommend parking your car near Monterey Square (you could use the address for Folklorico (440 Bull Street) in your GPS) and then just roll along Bull Street visiting all five squares. Each one offers something different, but they are all stunning in their own way.
The squares were all very wheelchair accessible, but some of the sidewalks on Bull Street were a bit bumpy. For portions of the journey, I just rolled in the street instead of on the sidewalk. I visited early in the morning, so there wasn’t much traffic, but definitely use caution if you do this.
After checking out some of Savannah’s squares, you could explore the city’s most famous park – Forsyth Park. The park’s north entrance is just a couple blocks from Monterey Square at the corner of Bull Street and Gaston Street.
Forsyth Park is a must-see for any visitor to Savannah, as it is over 30 acres large and has, what seems like, an endless supply of Spanish moss draped oak trees. As I rolled through the park, I was constantly in awe at its beauty. There’s truly nowhere else like it.
Due to its incredible beauty, the park does get crowded, so the earlier you visit, the better photo opportunities you’ll likely have. And trust me, there are limitless opportunities for great photos in this park.
The park has a Confederate memorial, a cafe, tennis courts, basketball courts, and more, but the most notable attraction is the Forsyth Fountain.
If you’ve researched anything about Savannah before, there’s a 99% chance that you saw a photo of the fountain. It has been in Forsyth Park since 1858, but here’s a fun fact for you: it was actually ordered from a catalogue. You’ll find similar fountains in New York, Peru, and France, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it is something to admire while in Savannah.
Another must-see place within Forsyth Park, especially if you’re a wheelchair user, is the Rotary Club of Savannah Children’s Playground. It’s a huge, wheelchair accessible playset and even though I’m 29 years old, I still had a blast rolling up and down the playset and I’m so happy that Savannah has this for kids with disabilities.
American Prohibition Museum
If you’ve sat through any kind of American history class, then you’ve definitely heard of the prohibition era. If you’re like me though, high school history classes probably bored you to near death and you don’t really remember the details of prohibition.
The American Prohibition Museum in Savannah is not your high school history class. Sure, it’s educational, but it’s also incredibly interactive and there’s even a retro speakeasy in the museum serving authentic alcoholic drinks from the era for an additional cost. Why can’t history classes be this fun?!
As America’s only prohibition museum, it does a great job of teaching visitors about what life was like in the 1920s and 30s under prohibition. From moonshine to gangsters and the rise of speakeasies, I certainly learned a lot.
The entirety of the American Prohibition Museum is wheelchair accessible. An elevator is available to get you from floor to floor and the museum is quite spacious, so I found it easy to maneuver around each exhibit.
Another great thing about the museum is its location. It is beside Ellis Square and inside City Market, with an array of eateries and shops nearby. If you have a sweet tooth (and who doesn’t?!), I would highly recommend getting an item or seven at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. Yum!
Savannah History Museum
When visiting any city, I think that it’s important to learn about its history. Doing this gives me a greater appreciation for the city and a better understanding of its people. While in Savannah, I visited the Savannah History Museum to learn more about Georgia’s first city.
The Savannah History Museum is inside the Visitor’s Center (at 303 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard) and it is open daily from 9am to 5:30pm. Admission is only $9 per adult and the museum is fully wheelchair accessible.
The museum has over 10,000 artifacts on display, including one of the most famous movie props of all time – Forrest Gump’s bench. As someone that has seen the movie probably 100+ times, it was really cool to see the bench in person. Unfortunately, visitors cannot sit on it for a photo op.
I spent about an hour exploring the Savannah History Museum and learning about the city’s history from its founding in 1733 to today. If you’re a history buff at all, or even just want to see Forrest’s bench or Johnny Mercer’s Oscar, this museum is worthy of a visit.
6th Sense Savannah Ghost Tour
Savannah is frequently referred to as America’s most haunted city. As someone that loves all things haunted, whether it’s haunted houses around Halloween, horror movies, or just telling ghost stories with friends, I had to see for myself how haunted Savannah really is.
A few different companies offer ghost tours in Savannah, but I ultimately chose 6th Sense World because they’re one of the most reputable. They’ve been featured on Travel Channel and have been doing haunted tours for more than two decades.
When I called to inquire about the accessibility of their tours, they were very friendly and happily said that they have taken plenty of wheelchair users on tours in the past with no issues. The tour’s total distance is about half of a mile, and it was easily rollable in a wheelchair.
I did the adults-only 9:30pm tour and it lasted two hours. Over the course of those two hours, our group visited six different haunted locations, including the Old Candler Hospital, Forsyth Park, and The Mercer House just to name a few. I don’t want to give any details away and ruin your own ghost tour in Savannah, so I’ll keep the haunted details to myself.
Our guide, who introduced himself as “The spirit formerly known as Prince”, did a remarkable job of describing each haunt and keeping it spooky, but still throwing in some laughs every now and then. He also went at a good pace, so it was easy to keep up with the group.
6th Sense World also offers a 7pm all-ages tour, but if you’re an adult, I would recommend the later tour for the ultimate haunted Savannah experience. The darkness of the night totally made it scarier.
Tybee Island technically isn’t in Savannah, but it’s so close that it’s a must-do while in the area.
Just 15-20 minutes away from Savannah, Tybee is the perfect beach getaway if you’re in need of some Vitamin Sea. I always am, so I had to check out Tybee’s accessibility. Wheelchair accessibility at beaches tends to be a bit hit-or-miss, but I was very impressed with Tybee Island.
I visited North Beach and there was a beach access mat, also known as a Mobi-mat. There are a few of these available in Tybee at different beaches.
If you’d like to get a beach wheelchair during your visit, they are available for free on a first come first served basis at the Ocean Rescue Center. They have amphibious wheelchairs that can roll in the sand or go in the water, so you won’t have to worry about getting too hot on the beach. Just take a dip in the water whenever you feel the need.
Another place that I loved visiting was the Tybee Pier. It is located across from the Ocean Rescue Center and it’s free to go on the pier. Whether you like fishing or just want to admire the views from the pier, this is a fun spot to hang out, complete with bars and eateries in its pavilion.
Read my full article about accessibility in Tybee by clicking here.
Front Porch Improv
After a fun day in Tybee Island, I headed back to Savannah for some more fun! I always love comedy shows and live theater, so attending an improv comedy show sounded like my idea of a fun night.
Front Porch Improv provides some of America’s best improv comedy in Savannah. They have shows year-round and no two shows are the same, so even if you’ve seen one of their shows in the past, it’s worth seeing them again.
The performers were excellent and hilarious. They made the show interactive and even pulled an audience member on stage, so you very well could be part of the show if you’re lucky.
The show that I went to was at Ghost Coast Distillery, which was wheelchair accessible, but the location for the shows can change. Just call beforehand to book tickets and let them know if you use a wheelchair.
To be honest, I’ve never really been a fan of visiting cemeteries. I’ve always thought that it was kind of weird, but Bonaventure Cemetery was highly recommended to me by several people on my Facebook page, so I decided to see what all the hype was about. And WOW, I’m glad that I did.
Bonaventure Cemetery was established in the 1800s and encompasses more than 160 acres of space. The cemetery is free to visit and my mom and I chose to just explore it on our own, but there are tours that you can go on from a variety of companies, including 6th Sense World, if you’d prefer a guided visit.
The cemetery gained international fame when it was featured in the 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and in the film of the same name, directed by Clint Eastwood. The entire cemetery is hauntingly beautiful just as it was depicted in the movie, with Spanish moss hanging from the many oak trees.
You can walk/roll around the cemetery or drive your own vehicle. Since Bonaventure Cemetery is so large, I would suggest driving and then getting out of your vehicle at certain spots to walk around a bit. If you decide to walk/roll, plan at least a few hours (but probably more) to explore, but if you drive, plan at least one hour or so to see the highlights.
Some of the must-see graves are the ones of singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer, Supreme Court Justice Samuel B. Adams, and Gracie Watson… just to name a few.
Gracie Watson’s gravesite is probably the most popular in the cemetery. She was only 6 years old when she passed away in 1889 from pneumonia. What’s remarkable is the impact that she still has today. Visitors to Bonaventure Cemetery frequently leave small toys at her gravesite and it was nice to see that she’s still being cared for by so many.
Bonaventure Cemetery is an absolute must-do while in Savannah. It’s been said that this is the place “where death and beauty meet”, and you simply have to see it in person.
Jepson Center for the Arts
In every destination that I visit, I try to go to a local art museum or gallery if at all possible. I think that you can learn a lot about a place through its local art, whether it’s the Dali Museum in Catalonia, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, or the Jepson Center in Savannah.
The Jepson Center for the Arts is fully accessible and open seven days per week. Admission is $20 per adult, but with each ticket, you also get admission to two other Savannah attractions – Telfair Academy and the Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters. What a deal, right?! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit the other two Savannah attractions, but the Jepson Center was well worth a visit on its own.
There are fascinating permanent exhibits at the Jepson Center, but I particularly enjoyed the temporary exhibitions. When I visited, there was an exhibit by Michael Kolster called “Take Me to the River” and another one called “Suzanne Jackson: Five Decades”. Both exhibits made me a new fan of each artist’s work.
River Street is one of Savannah’s most popular areas, and for good reason… it’s absolutely beautiful. Running along the Savannah River, this street has many restaurants, shops, and every wheelchair user’s worst nightmare – the dreaded cobblestone.
I’ll be honest, the cobblestone on River Street is rough. It’s almost up there with Tallinn, Estonia on my list of roughest cobblestone, but it’s still absolutely possible to enjoy River Street without getting bumped around too much.
I went down to River Street from the Marriott Savannah Riverfront, but there’s also an elevator to get down to River Street next to the Hyatt Regency Savannah. This will allow you to skip much of the cobblestone to get down there.
Once I was on River Street, I stayed predominantly on the sidewalk closest to the river, as it was perfectly smooth. If you want to cross the street to go in any shops or restaurants, there are plenty of curb cuts available, but you might encounter a cobblestone or two while crossing the street.
Many of the businesses on River Street do have a step to get inside, but there are a lot of accessible ones as well. I loved rolling around the River Street Market Place and would recommend checking it out if you need that perfect souvenir.
While accessibility on River Street could definitely improve, I still had a fantastic time rolling down this popular street and would encourage every visitor to Savannah to give it a go.
Okay, now let’s get to the part of this article that you’ve been waiting for… THE FOOD! Savannah is heaven on earth for a foodie. From fried green tomatoes to seafood and delicious desserts, here are some places that I fell head-over-heels in love with during my Savannah trip –
The Pirate’s House
I did not expect to like The Pirate’s House anywhere near as much as I did, but I’m confident in saying that it quickly became my favorite restaurant in Savannah. Before going, I thought “How good can a pirate themed restaurant be?!” Well, it turns out that it can be DELICIOUS!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
The Pirate’s House is inside one of Savannah’s most historic buildings, established in 1753, but despite being old, it’s wheelchair accessible with a ramp at the main entrance.
My favorite food item at The Pirate’s House was the fried green tomatoes. I’m a huge fan of fried green tomatoes and ordered them everywhere that I went in Savannah, and these were easily the best. They were fried perfectly and served over pimento cheese. Holy southern goodness!
I visited The Pirate’s House for lunch, where a southern luncheon buffet was available. You can order from a menu as well, but the buffet had all of the southern cooked foods that make a trip to Savannah complete, including fried chicken and fish, macaroni & cheese, collard greens, and the world’s best squash casserole.
If you visit The Pirate’s House during your wheelchair accessible Savannah trip, please send me photos of everything you eat so that I can reminisce and pretend like I’m there again.
Soho South Cafe
For Sunday brunch, I was told that there’s no better spot than Soho South Cafe, so I had to try it out. It was a close runner-up for my favorite Savannah restaurant for a few different reasons, such as the unique decor, ambiance, and fabulous food.
As soon as I entered Soho South Cafe, I knew that I was in for something special. A man was playing the piano and the restaurant was bright and chic. I felt like I was in a hip New York City cafe.
The menu had a large variety of foods, but I ultimately chose the fried green tomatoes as a starter with a grilled cheese and cup of tomato soup for my entree. The fried green tomatoes were served with tomato jam and fondue, and they were beyond excellent. The grilled cheese and tomato soup were tasty as well.
Whether you’re looking for a Sunday brunch location or any other meal, Soho should be on your list of accessible restaurants to try while in Savannah.
The Lady & Sons
Celebrity chef Paula Deen is undoubtedly the Queen of Savannah, so I couldn’t leave the city without trying her signature restaurant, The Lady & Sons. Several people told me that it was overhyped, but I have wanted to try this restaurant for quite a while and I’m glad that I finally did.
To dine at The Lady & Sons, a reservation is strongly recommended. Due to its popularity, it can quickly get booked up, especially on weekends.
A buffet is available with all of Paula Deen’s southern classics, but I opted for the a la carte menu. Of course, I had to try the fried green tomatoes. They were good, but more average than the exceptional ones at The Pirate’s House and Soho South Cafe. For my entree, I had the crab cakes and they were delicious.
Overall, I would recommend The Lady & Sons if you’re looking for a classic southern meal. And be sure to go in the gift shop before you leave to buy some goodies for when you get back home.
The Olde Pink House
Before visiting Savannah, literally everyone that I talked to told me that I had to eat at The Olde Pink House. It’s Savannah’s most popular restaurant by far and more upscale than the other restaurants that I dined at.
The Olde Pink House Restaurant is in an 18th century mansion in downtown Savannah. An elevator is available to get wheelchair users from floor to floor on the inside, but the main front entrance has stairs only. Wheelchair users need to enter from the left side of the building.
I had the fried green tomatoes to start (are you surprised?! Haha!) and they were served over sweet corn. They were good, but out of all of the fried green tomatoes I tried in Savannah, these were probably my least favorite.
For my entree, I asked the waitress what she recommended. She said the crispy scored flounder had been on the menu since the restaurant opened and she highly recommended it. I decided to trust her and while the flounder was tasty, my favorite part was the grits and collard greens on the side. They were delicious and the best part of the meal.
Honestly, I didn’t love The Olde Pink House as much as I thought I would, but would I go back? Absolutely! Next time, I’d love to try some different items that caught my eye on the menu.
Lulu’s Chocolate Bar
If you have a sweet tooth or 32, like me, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar is a must-visit. This is a dessert restaurant with cocktails and they have rightfully won Savannah’s award for best desserts 11 years in a row. I would not only give Lulu’s the award for best dessert in Savannah, but probably in the entire country… no joke. It was mind-blowingly great.
Lulu’s Chocolate Bar does have a step to get inside, but they have a portable ramp that they can lay out upon request. The staff was friendly and I was inside within seconds of them seeing me.
The toughest part of visiting Lulu’s is deciding which item(s) to get. There are a plethora of cakes, cheesecakes, pies, brownies, chocolate fondue, and more to choose from. I went for the white chocolate-chocolate chip cheesecake and within the first bite, I was in love. Hands-down, the best cheesecake I’ve ever had.
If you’re in the mood for something sweet or a good drink or both, be sure to check out Lulu’s. I’m already dreaming of my next trip to Savannah just so that I can get that heavenly cheesecake again. YUM!
Leopold’s Ice Cream
As one of the most popular spots in Savannah, Leopold’s Ice Cream is the perfect place to indulge on a hot summer day… or really, any day of the year would do.
Leopold’s has been serving homemade ice cream since 1919. A whole century! The recipe hasn’t changed since they started because it’s that good!
I waited in line to order, outside and then inside, for about 45 minutes. Leopold’s always has a line apparently, so be prepared to wait if you visit. But know that the wait will be worth it!
Dozens of ice cream flavors are available at Leopold’s, including their signature tutti frutti ice cream, but I chose the vegan strawberry ice cream. It was excellent, but I need to go back to Leopold’s and try all of the other flavors.
While in Savannah, I stayed at the Marriott Savannah Riverfront. As the name suggests, it’s a riverside hotel and is within walking/rolling distance of all of the action on River Street.
The hotel was very nice and had a spa, a bar, and a breakfast restaurant. There was an outdoor pool as well, complete with a pool lift for wheelchair users.
I stayed in a wheelchair accessible room. It had a king sized bed, a desk, a smart TV, and a sofa. The room was spacious, but unfortunately, a hoyer lift could not roll under the bed, as there was a platform underneath. The staff was nice and accommodating though, so if you need to use a hoyer lift, just let them know and I’m sure they can figure out a solution.
The bathroom was perfect with a roll-in shower, a pull-under sink, and grab bars beside the toilet.
The Marriott Savannah Riverfront was the ideal place for my stay while in Savannah. With nice accessible accommodations, great food, and a brilliant location, I would certainly stay here again and recommend it.
Check prices for the Marriott Savannah Riverfront by clicking here.
As you can see, my time in Savannah was packed with fun things to do, delicious places to eat, and more. While accessibility could improve in some areas, as it could with nearly every city, I was overall impressed with how accommodating and wheelchair accessible Savannah was.
Whether you use a wheelchair or not, Savannah is one of the best cities to visit with so much fun to be had. It offers something for everyone and I cannot wait to experience it all again one day. I’ll never wait another 29 years to explore this southern gem of a city.
*Thank you to Visit Savannah for showing me the best things to do in Savannah and working with me for this trip. While my experiences were covered, all opinions are authentic and my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through on a link, you won’t pay a penny more, but we’ll receive a slight commission which helps us keep this information available to you. Thanks!