Sports and Activities in Savannah
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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 even a full bar. Gnate the Gnat, the team's goofy mascot, is popular with kids. A fireworks display follows every Saturday-evening game. Check the website for listings o other theme nights, which change each season. 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.
Bicycle Link. Rent single-speed beach cruisers for $20 for a full day or $40 for three days. The shop provides helmets, locks, and trailers that will hold one child. A deposit of $150 is required, and all major credit cards are accepted. The shop will sometimes pick up and deliver to the inns, but they prefer that customers pick up bikes at the shop. 210 W. Victory Dr., Savannah, GA, 31405. 912/233–9401. www.bicyclelinksav.com. Mon.–Sat. 10–6.
Mogo's Uptown Cafe and Scooter Rental. This establishment has recently expanded to include a full-service cafe and coffee bar, but it's still the go-to service if you want to scoot your way around Tybee Island. Rent scooters by the hour, starting at $25, or day rentals are available for $75. Grab a latte or cappuccino to really start your engines. 1213 US Hwy. 80 E., Unit N, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–8640. June–Sept., daily 8:30–8; Oct.–May, daily 8:30–6.
Motorini. See the sights of Savannah aboard a Vespa, a fun, stylish, and efficient transportation alternative. Motorini rents Piaggio scooters, an iconic Italian company that includes Vespas among their classic fleet. Rates start at $30 for the first hour; overnight rental is $90. 236 Drayton St., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. 912/201–1899. www.vespasavannah.com. Daily 10–6.
Tim's Beach Gear. Tybee Island offers visitors a bike-friendly environment with ocean-view trails at half the cost of biking downtown. Tim's Beach Gear rents bikes for adults and kids as well as pull-behind carriers and offers free delivery and pickup on Tybee. Rates are $12 for one day and $10 a day for multiday rentals, including helmets. Truly full service, umbrellas, beach chairs, towels, and games like bocce ball and horseshoes are also available. All manner of baby gear can be rented, from umbrella and jogging strollers to baby monitors. 1101 U.S. Hwy 80 E, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–8467. www.timsbeachgear.com. Daily 9–5.
Savannah Bicycle Campaign. Savannah's foremost bicycle advocate, this nonprofit membership organization helps to educate cyclists, motorists, and elected officials about bike safety and promotes improved bicycle facilities in Chatham County. They also host weekly rides, like Bike 2 Beer and Bike 2 Gelato, and annual special events, such as the Midnight Garden Ride and Concert over Labor Day. Many events are family oriented and open to the public. Visit their website for information on upcoming activities. Savannah, GA. www.bicyclecampaign.org.
Boating and Fishing
Bull River Yacht Club Marina. This is your one-stop-shop for all your boating adventure 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 lighthouses, forts, and historic River Street; or on a 90-minute dolphin tour. For the more adventuresome, inshore and offshore charters start at $325 and $525, 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 Adventures. 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 Good Morning America, The Discovery Channel, 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–September). Captain Mike's has a 32-foot cabin cruiser in his fleet, so they also offer inshore and offshore fishing charters. This business is family owned and operated, and kids are welcome. Lazaretto Creek Marina, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 800/242–0166. tybeedolphins.com.
Dolphin Magic Tours. Explore the natural beauty and wildlife 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 sightings are guaranteed; tickets are $27. Call for departure times, which vary according to the tides and the weather. 313 E. River St., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. 800/721–1240. www.reelemn.com/dolphinmagic/.
Miss Judy Charters. Captain Judy Helmey, a longtime fishing guide and legendary local character, heads up Miss Judy Charters, which provides packages ranging from 4-hour sightseeing tours to 16-hour deep-sea fishing expeditions. Inshore rates start at around $350 for two people for four hours; offshore rates start at $500 for up to six people for four 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 kayaking experience than many of the tour and rental companies on Tybee. Paddling Turner's Creek, Skidaway Narrows, and Johnny Mercer's Moon River gives a more inland perspective rich with sightings of spectacular birds such as ospreys and eagles. Be sure to bring your binoculars. Rodney J. Boat Ramp & Park, Skidaway Island, Savannah, GA, 31406. 912/897–3474 kayak rentals; 912/344–1310 kayak tours. www.moonriverkayak.com.
North Island Surf & Kayak. Sit-on-top kayaks are virtually unsinkable and are available for rent at North Island Surf & Kayak. Stable and safe on inland rivers, they allow you to navigate the shallowest of creeks where no other boats can go. 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 camp overnight on one of the islands. If you've always wanted to learn how to surf, $50 will get you a board rental and a one-hour lesson. 1C Old Hwy. 80, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–4000. www.northislandkayak.com. Daily 9–6.
Savannah Islands Expressway. Savannah Islands Expressway provides boat ramps on the Wilmington River. Adjacent to Frank W. Spencer Park, Whitemarsh Island, Savannah, GA, 31410.
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 full-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 shark. Fully licensed and insured, a four-hour trip starts from one of several pick-up/drop-off locations. The trip starts at $325 for two people and includes bait and licenses. Captain Rose also offers island shuttles, nature and dolphin tours, and boat-to-picnics. Children are welcome. Savannah, GA. 912/308-4622. By appointment.
Tybee Jet Ski & Watersports. In addition to a wide selection of Jet Skis for rent, this shop offers full sea kayak set ups. Rates for a single kayak start at $40 for a full day, $55 for daily tandem rentals. If you'd like a guided tour of the coastal marshlands and tidal streams, prices are $40 for 90 minutes. 1C Old Hwy. 80, Tybee Island, Savannah, GA, 31328. 912/786–8062. tybeejetski.com. June–Sept., daily 9–sunset; Oct.–May, daily 9–6.
Bacon Park. Savannah's municipal club offers three 9-hole courses played in different 18-hole combinations. 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. Live Oak Course: 9 holes. 3428 yds. Par 36. Green Fee: $12–$20. Cypress Course: 9 holes. 3268 yds. Par 36. Green Fee: $12–$20. Magnolia Course: 9 holes. 3355 yds. Par 37. Green Fee: $12–$20. Any combination of 18 holes: Green Fee: $30–$34. Facilties: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro-shop, golf lessons.
The Club at Savannah Harbor. Savannah's only PGA course, this is the resort property of the Westin Savannah Harbor resort on Hutchinson Island, 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 Savannah. 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. 2 Resort Dr., Hutchinson Island, Savannah, GA, 31412. 912/201–2007. www.theclubatsavannahharbor.com. Reservations essential. 18 holes. 7288 yds. Par 72. Green Fee: $95–170 (seasonal). Facilities: Driving range, putting green, pitching area, golf carts, rental clubs, pro-shop, lessons, restaurant, bar.
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 well as a driving range. 232 James Blackburn Dr., Savannah, GA, 31408. 912/966–1909. www.crosswindsgolfclub.com. Reservations essential. Championship Course: 18 holes. 6572 yds. Par 72. Green Fee: $22–$59.50. Par-3 Course: 9 holes. 1126 yds. Par 27. Green Fee: $15–$20. Facilities: Putting green, pitching area, golf carts, pull carts, rental clubs, pro-shop, lessons, restaurant, bar.
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-oak trees 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. Reservations essential. 18 holes. 6650 yds. Par 71. Green Fee: $25–$34. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, pitching area, golf carts, rental clubs, pro-shop, lessons, restaurant, bar.
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.southbridgegc.com. Reservations essential. 18 holes. 6990 yds. Par 72. Green Fee: $30–$50. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, pitching area, golf carts, rental clubs, pro-shop, lessons, restaurant, bar.
Wilmington Island Club. Designed by Donald Ross in 1927, this gorgeous property is dotted with palms and live oaks. It's located just east of downtown across the Wilmington River. 501 Wilmington Island Rd., Wilmington Island, Savannah, GA, 31410. 912/897-1615. thewilmingtonislandclub.com/. Reservations essential. 18 holes. 6715 yds. Par 71. Green Fee: $69. Facilities: Putting green, pitching area, golf carts, rental clubs, pro-shop, lessons, restaurant, bar.
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 $69 per hour for early birds (by 10 am), or regular rate of $89 per hour. Renters must be 16 years or older with valid photo identification. Kayaks and boats are also available. 1C Old Hwy. 80, Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–8062. www.tybeejetski.com. June–Sept., daily 9–sunset; Oct.–May, daily 9–6.
Kiteboarding and Paddleboarding
All Out Kiteboarding & Watersports. Tybee Island's newest sport is fun for all ages. Stand-up paddleboarding, also called SUP, is a low-impact board sport that is quick and easy to learn. All Out Kiteboarding & Watersports offers SUP rentals, lessons, and tours. Rentals start at $35 for a half day and beginner lessons are $30. Tours venture to Little Tybee Island, up Lazaretto Creek or Chimney Creek, or down the Savannah River. 1510 Butler Ave., Tybee Island, GA, 31328. 912/786–8080. www.alloutkiteboarding.com. Daily 10–6.
All Out Kiteboarding & Watersports. Though the sport is young, 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 All Out Kiteboarding (AOK). AOK is a full-service water- and action-sports shop that offers kiteboard and land kiteboard lessons beginning at $90 per hour. As a rule, beginners can anticipate a minimum of four to six hours of lessons before they can ride and two hours for land kiteboarding results. AOK also offers gear rental to experienced riders with Level 3 or above PASA or IKO certification. Call for rates. The 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.alloutkiteboarding.com. Daily 10–6.
Savannah Derby Devils. Women's flat-track roller derby came to Savannah in 2006. Their spitfire 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. Those looking for wild sports action should not miss a chance to see the Devils do their thing. The truly daring might try "suicide seating," on the edge of the rink, just inches away from bone-checking, jaw-dropping action. Visit their website for full schedule. Savannah Civic Center, 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. No phone. www.savannahderby.com. $16.
Bacon Park. This complex is one of two manned facilities operated by the City of Savannah. Be sure to call in advance to reserve one of the 16 lighted asphalt courts. Fees are $5.35 per person. 6262 Skidaway Rd., Southside, Savannah, GA, 31406. 912/351–3850. Mon.–Thurs. 9–9, Fri.–Sun. 9–5.
Daffin Park. The second of the City of Savannah's manned tennis facilities is the Daffin Park Tennis Complex, with three hard courts and six clay courts. Because the facitilies are heavily trafficed with USTA league play, reservations are suggested to secure a court. Call ahead for rates. 1001 E. Victory Dr., Midtown, Savannah, GA, 31404. 912/351–3851. Daily 8:30–7.
Forsyth Park. Tucked into the southside of Savannah's central park, the Forsyth tennis courts include four unmanned lighted courts. There is no charge to use them, and it's "first come, first serve." Drayton St. at Park Ave., Historic District, Savannah, GA, 31401. 912/351–3851. Daily sunrise–10 pm.
Lake Mayer Park. Operated by Chatham County Parks & Recreation, Lake Mayer has eight lighted hard courts 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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