Sports and Activities in Savannah
Sports and Activities
Savannah Sand Gnats. The Class-A Savannah Sand Gnats play at Grayson Stadium, one of the oldest minor-league ballparks in the country. (Babe Ruth played a few games here back in the day.) Since this is a New York Mets farm team, you might catch sight of a future star on the diamond. Much more affordable than catching a big league game, this is good old-fashioned family fun with on-field activities, traditional ballpark refreshments, and a full bar. Gnate the Gnat, the team's goofy mascot, is popular with kids. A fireworks display follows every Saturday evening game. 1401 E. Victory Dr., Daffin Park, Savannah, GA, 31405. 912/351–9150. www.sandgnats.com.
Savannah is table-flat—bad news indeed for any mountaineers who find themselves in coastal Georgia but great for bicyclists.
Forsyth and Daffin parks are favored by locals. Rails-to-Trails is a 3-mile route that starts 1 mile east of the Bull River Bridge on Highway 80 and ends at the entrance to Fort Pulaski. Tom Triplett Park, east of town on U.S. 80, offers three bike loops—3.5 miles, 5 miles, and 6.3 miles. You can explore quaint Tybee Island by bike for nearly half of what it costs to rent a bike downtown.
Sunday is the best day for riding downtown, but be aware that throughout much of downtown there are restrictions for bikers. Riding through the middle of squares and on the sidewalks of Broughton Street is illegal and carries a stiff fine if you're busted. In general, cyclists should be careful to avoid the opening of car doors. Bikers should always ride with traffic, not against it, and obey the lights. Night-riding requires bicycles to display a white light visible from 300 feet on the front and a red reflector on the back. Helmets are legally required for riders and passengers under the age of 16 and strongly recommended for adult riders. Be sure to lock up your bike securely if you're leaving it unattended, even for a few minutes. The City of Savannah has added a number of new bike racks around the Historic District to make it easier for cyclists to find adequate parking without having to block foot traffic.
Motorini. See the sights of Savannah aboard a Vespa—a fun and stylish scooter. Rates at Motorini start at $30 for the first hour. 236 Drayton St., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. 912/201–1899. www.vespasavannah.com. Daily 10–6.
Tim's Bike & Beach Gear. Filled with ocean-view trails, Tybee Island offers a bike-friendly environment and rentals at half the cost of downtown. Tim's Beach Gear rents bikes for adults and kids, as well as pull-behind carriers and jogging strollers. The shop offers free delivery and pickup on the island. Daily rates are $10 and include helmets and cup holders. And talk about one-stop shopping: umbrellas, beach chairs, towels, and games like bocce ball and horseshoes are also available. 1101 U.S. Hwy 80 E, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–8467. www.timsbeachgear.com. Daily 9–5.
CAT Bike. Keeping pace with booming metropolises like New York and Washington D.C., the City of Savannah and Chatham Area Transit introduced a public bike-share program in 2014. Two solar-powered stations are located at Ellis Square and Rivers Exchange. Rates start at $5 for a 24-hour pass or $20 for a weekly pass. Historic District, Savannah, GA. 912/233–5767. catbike.bcycle.com.
Perry Rubber Bike Shop. At the pulsing corner of Bull and Liberty streets, Perry Rubber is the go-to shop for repairs and your best bet for rentals. It offers trendy Pure City or Pure Fix bikes at $20 for a half-day or $35 for the full day—helmet, lock, and basket included. 240 Bull St., Downtown, Savannah, GA, 31401. 912/236–9929. www.perryrubberbikeshop.com. Mon.–Sat. 10–6, Sun. noon–5.
Sekka Bike. Stop by this popular storefront shop for hourly or daily bike rentals. Take an afternoon spin at $10 for three hours, or opt for a weekly rental for only $60. 206 E. Broughton St., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. 912/233–3888. sekkabike.com. Mon.–Sat. 10–6, Sun. noon–6.
Boating and Fishing
Bull River Yacht Club Marina. This is your one-stop-shop for all your boating needs. Bull River offers rentals, tours, and charters in boats big and small. Starting at $20 per person, expert guides will take you to hunt sharks' teeth; on a sightseeing tour of area forts and lighthouses; or on a 90-minute dolphin tour. For the more adventuresome, inshore and offshore charters start at $325 and $475, respectively, for four people. If you prefer to captain your own boat, pontoon rentals start at $175 for two hours. Kayak rentals are $30 for a half day. 8005 U.S. Hwy. 80, Wilmington Island, Savannah, GA, 31410. 912/897–7300. www.bullrivermarina.com. Daily 8–6.
Captain Mike's Dolphin Tours. If boat-bound adventure is what you seek, look no further than Captain Mike. Widely popular with tourists and locals alike, Captain Mike's tours have been featured on the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, and in the pages of Southern Living. Choose from a 90-minute dolphin tour from $15 per person, or an $18 sunset tour (available May to September). Captain Mike's has a 32-foot cabin cruiser in his fleet and offers inshore and offshore fishing charters. This business is family-owned and operated, and kids are welcome. Lazaretto Creek Marina, 1 Old U.S. Hwy. 80, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–5848. tybeedolphins.com.
Dolphin Magic Tours. Explore the natural beauty of Savannah's coastal waters on a narrated boat tour with Dolphin Magic Tours. From River Street, you cruise out to the marshlands and tidal creeks near Tybee Island. The search for dolphin encounters lasts two hours and costs $30; sightings are guaranteed. Departure times vary according to the tides and the weather. 312 E. River St., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. 912/897–4990. www.reelemn.com/dolphinmagic.
Miss Judy Charters. Captain Judy Helmey, a longtime fishing guide and legendary local character, heads up Miss Judy Charters. The company offers packages ranging from 3-hour sightseeing tours to 14-hour deep-sea fishing expeditions. Inshore rates start at around $350 for three to four people for three hours; offshore rates start at $400 for up to six people for three hours. 124 Palmetto Dr., Wilmington Island, Savannah, GA, 31410. 912/897–4921. www.missjudycharters.com.
Moon River Kayak Tours. Setting out from either Wilmington or Skidaway islands, Moon River Kayak offers a different experience than many of the tours originating on Tybee Island. Paddling Turner's Creek, Skidaway Narrows, and Johnny Mercer's Moon River gives you a more inland perspective rich with sightings of such spectacular birds as ospreys and eagles. Be sure to bring your binoculars. Rodney J. Boat Ramp & Park, 45 Diamond Causeway, Skidaway Island, Savannah, GA, 31406. 912/897–3474. www.moonriverkayak.com.
North Island Surf & Kayak. Virtually unsinkable and great for navigating the shallowest of creeks, sit-on-top kayaks are available at North Island Surf & Kayak. All rentals include paddles, lifejackets, and seat backs. Prices are $45 per day for a single, $55 for a double. Paddle to the beautiful uninhabited island of Little Tybee or to Cockspur Beacon. Discounts are available for multiday rentals, so you can even camp on one of the islands. Stand-up paddleboards are $40 for the day. If you've always wanted to learn how to surf, $50 will get you a board rental and a two-hour lesson. 1C Old Hwy. 80, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–4000. www.northislandkayak.com. Daily 9–6.
Sea Kayak Georgia. Owned by professional paddlers and instructors Marsha Henson and Ronnie Kemp, Sea Kayak Georgia provides gear, tours, and courses for beginners and advanced kayakers alike, not to mention stand-up paddleboard rentals and the unique experience of teacher-led stand-up paddleboard yoga. Seasoned guides and naturalists lead half-day salt-marsh paddle tours beginning at $55. 1102 U.S. Hwy. 80, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–8732. www.seakayakgeorgia.com. Daily 10–6.
Tele-Caster Charters. Captain Kevin Rose leads fishing excursions on his 18-foot Pioneer flats boat for speckled trout, black drum, redfish, sheepshead, whiting, and even sharks. Fully licensed and insured, his four-hour trips start from one of several locations. The excursions start at $325 for two people and includes bait and licenses. Rose also offers island shuttles and nature tours. Children are welcome. Savannah, GA. 912/308–4622. www.telecasterscharters.com.
Tybee Jet Ski & Watersports. For those who enjoy more fast-paced activities, little compares to the rush of jet skiing on the island waterways or riding the swells of the beach. Tybee Jet Ski & Watersports rents Jet Skis/waverunners starting at $99 per hour. In addition, this shop offers everything you need for sea kayaking excursions. Rates for a single kayak start at $35 for a full day. If you'd like a guided tour of the coastal marshes and tidal streams, the cost is $38 for 90 minutes. 1C Old Hwy. 80, Tybee Island, Savannah, GA, 31328. 912/786–5554. tybeejetski.com. Daily 7–7.
Savannah Canoe and Kayak. Leading you through inlets and tidal creeks, Savannah Canoe and Kayak has highly skilled guides that provide expert instruction for newbies and challenges for seasoned paddlers. You'll also learn about the history of these historic waterways. Half-day tours start at $55 for three hours. 414 Bonaventure Rd., Savannah, GA, 31404. 912/341–9502. www.savannahcanoeandkayak.com.
Bacon Park Golf Course. Completely renovated in 2014, Savannah's municipal golf club offers three 9-hole courses played in different 18-hole configurations. The Live Oak course debuted in 1926, making it one of the area's oldest; the Cypress and Magnolia courses were added in the '70s and '80s. Located on Savannah's Southside, Bacon Park is the best bang for your golfing buck in the area. 1 Shorty Cooper Dr., Savannah, GA, 31406. 912/354–2625. baconparkgolf.com. 9 holes, $21; 18-hole combination, $36. Live Oak Course: 9 holes, 3423 yards, par 36; Cypress Course: 9 holes, 3256 yards, par 36; Magnolia Course: 9 holes, 3317 yards, par 36. Daily 7–6.
The Club at Savannah Harbor. The area's only PGA course, this resort property on Hutchinson Island is a free ferry ride from Savannah's riverfront. The lush championship course winds through pristine wetlands and has unparalleled views of the river and downtown. It is also home to the annual Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf tournament, which attracts golfing's finest each spring. A bit pricier than most local clubs, it's packed with beauty and amenities. Westin Savannah Harbor, 2 Resort Dr., Hutchinson Island, Savannah, GA, 31412. 912/201–2240. www.theclubatsavannahharbor.com. $145. Reservations essential. 18 holes, 7288 yards, par 72. Mon.–Sat. 6:30–10, Sun. 11:30–2.
Crosswinds Golf Club. This 18-hole championship course features parkland-style play in an isolated setting 12 miles from downtown Savannah. Crosswinds has a reputation for being exceedingly well maintained; a nice, lighted 9-hole executive course is available, as is a driving range. 232 James Blackburn Dr., Savannah, GA, 31408. 912/966–1909. www.crosswindsgolfclub.com. Championship Course, $53; Par-3 Course, $20. Reservations essential. Championship Course: 18 holes, 6748 yards, par 72; Par-3 Course: 9 holes, 1126 yards, par 27. Sat.–Mon. 7:30–dusk, Tues.–Fri. 7–9.
Henderson Golf Club. Located 15 miles from downtown, Henderson Golf Club might not be Savannah's biggest course, but its abundance of natural beauty makes it a draw for locals and visitors alike. This lush municipal course is surrounded by live oaks and wandering wetlands. You can rent a cart, or walk it if the weather's cool. 1 Al Henderson Dr., Savannah, GA, 31419. 912/920–4653. www.hendersongolfclub.com. $39. Reservations essential. 18 holes, 6700 yards, par 71. Daily 7:30–6.
Southbridge Golf Club. Nestled within one of Savannah's most exclusive private housing communities, Southbridge is a popular Bermuda grass course. 415 Southbridge Blvd., Savannah, GA, 31405. 912/651–5455. www.southbridgegolfclub.com. $60. Reservations essential. 18 holes, 6922 yards, par 72. Mon.–Thurs. 7–7, Fri.–Sun. 7–dusk.
Wilmington Island Club. Designed by Donald Ross in 1927, this gorgeous property is dotted with palms and live oaks. It's just east of downtown across the Wilmington River. 501 Wilmington Island Rd., Wilmington Island, Savannah, GA, 31410. 912/897–1612. thewilmingtonislandclub.com/. $69. Reservations essential. 18 holes, 6715 yards, par 71. Weekdays 8–5, weekends 10–5.
Kiteboarding and Paddleboarding
AOK Watersports. Kiteboarding has already taken coastal communities by storm. On Tybee Island, you too can learn to kiteboard (on land or in the water) from certified instructors at AOK. Lessons begin at $100 per hour. AOK also offers gear rental to experienced riders. The online shop carries beachwear, sunglasses, and sells top adventure sport gear for kiteboarding, skateboarding, longboarding, paddleboarding, and even snowboarding. 1510 Butler Ave., Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–8080. www.aokwatersports.com.
Savannah Derby Devils. This women's flat-track roller derby team, the Derby Devils, is composed of an all-volunteer squad, coaches, medics, refs, and jeer-leaders. They play in "bouts" several times a year against worthy Southeastern opponents. The truly daring might try "suicide seating," on the edge of the rink, just inches away from bone-checking, jaw-dropping action. Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. 912/220–9744. www.savannahderby.com. $13.
Bacon Park. This complex is one of two staffed facilities operated by the City of Savannah. Call in advance to reserve one of the 16 lighted asphalt courts. 6262 Skidaway Rd., Southside, Savannah, GA, 31406. 912/351–3850. Mon.–Thurs. 9–9, Fri.–Sun. 9–5.
Daffin Park Tennis Complex. There are three hard courts and six clay courts at Daffin Park Tennis Complex. Because the facilities are often used for league play, reservations are suggested. 1001 E. Victory Dr., Midtown, Savannah, GA, 31404. 912/351–3851. Daily 8:30–7.
Forsyth Park. Tucked away in the southern side of the city's central park, these four lighted courts are available for free. Drayton St. at Park Ave., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. 912/351–3851. Daily sunrise–10 pm.
Lake Mayer Park. These eight lighted hard courts are available at no charge. Reservations are always recommended. 1850 E. Montgomery Crossroads, Southside, Savannah, GA, 31406. 912/652–6782. May–Sept., daily 8 am–11 pm; Oct.–Apr., daily 8 am–10 pm.
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