We said farewell to our friends as we pulled away from Silver Springs State Park. They were packing up to go home after a week of camping. We, on the other hand, were continuing northward for more adventure. Our destination, 240 miles away, was Skidaway Island State Park in Georgia.
We arrived mid-afternoon, checked in at the office, and found our site nestled under the live oaks draped with long strands of Spanish moss. Our site was a pull-through site. The kind that pulls off to the side of the road like a circular driveway. Most of the sites in this park are pull-through sites. We were on the outside of the loop so the view from our door looked away from the road and toward the woods. It gave us a sense of privacy and a feeling of seclusion.
Located 12-miles south of historic Savannah, Skidaway Island is a barrier island on the Georgia coast encircled by creeks and rivers. The park borders the Skidaway Narrows, part of the intracoastal waterway, where marshes and estuaries are home to an array of waterfowl and seasonal migratory birds.
Within the park, seven miles of scenic hiking and biking trails meander through the forest and salt flats. Bike rental is available at the park office. In the building housing the park office is a camp store, gift shop and interpretive center showcasing the park’s history and local wildlife. A schedule of ranger lead activities is also posted inside. There are picnic pavilions and a playground for the grandkids. A boat ramp is located just outside the park’s gate for the fishing enthusiast. If that is not enough to do, the pamphlet given to us at check-in highlighted a dozen other nearby attractions to visit. It was clear there was more to see than we could possibly get to in the four days we were going to be here.
After setting up the campsite, we took a leisurely walk around the campground. We enjoy seeing all the different rigs and meeting fellow campers. We saw some sites had full hookups, ours just had water and electric. We found the bathhouse and saw there was a laundry room. As we continued around the loop, we passed a doe laying in the grass. She did not move and appeared unafraid, but she fixed those big brown eyes on us as we walked by.
The next morning we had a big day planned. We were going to explore some of the nearby attractions listed in the state park pamphlet. First we went to Wormsloe Historic Site, a large estate established by one of Georgia’s first colonist, Noble Jones. We were greeted by what I believe to be the main attraction as soon as we drove under the arched entrance — a picturesque one-mile long drive lined on both sides by over 400 oak trees. It created that iconic canopy that we have seen in magazines of southern plantations.
We paid the $9.00 senior discount admission to explore and roam the grounds. At the visitor center we looked through the museum and watched a short film explaining the history of the site that provided a glimpse into the lives of the early colonist. Then we walked the trails to the tabby ruins of Wormsloe, the oldest standing structure in Savannah, albeit there is not much left standing. We continued our walk along the bank of the Skidaway River passing gardens and interpretive exhibits.
Next we went to Fort Pulaski National Monument located between Savannah and Tybee Island. We used our National Park Lifetime Senior Pass to get in, saving us $10.00 per person. It was an imposing sight with two draw bridges crossing a water fill moat and cannons aimed from atop the rampart.
Starting in 1829, the fort was built to protect the port of Savannah from foreign invaders. Using an estimate 25 million bricks, it took 18 years to complete. During the Civil War, the fort was tested when the Union army bombarded the occupying Confederate army. The walls did not hold up against the cannon fire and the confederates quickly surrendered. Brick fortifications were considered obsolete after this battle.
We continued our journey and headed for Tybee Island Lighthouse — the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Georgia. I had been there before with my daughter a few years ago and climbed to the top. It was a spectacular view that I was hoping to show Grammi. We were disappointed when we learned it was closed. What! How did we miss that? It says right on their website, closed on Tuesdays. Guess what day it was? Yep, it was Tuesday. Who knew it was Tuesday? But despite it being closed, they could not hide the 145 feet tall tower.
We took some pictures of the lighthouse before crossing the street to eat lunch at the North Beach Bar & Grill. I had memories of fantastic food at this awesome place and would often rave about it when talking about Tybee Island. Funny how I can magnify my expectations to the point of disappointment even though the food was quite good. After we finished eating, we went for a walk on the beach and dipped our toes in the surf.
The next day we went to Savannah. We love Savannah! It is a great place to park your car and spend the day walking the streets. The historic squares amid old homes, churches, and museums are an integral part of the city. Created by the original design when the city was first laid out, they provide an oasis of greenery and cool shade.
We walked through Chippewa Square where Forrest Gump sat on a bench waiting for a bus and said, “my momma alway said life is like a box of chocolates”. If you go looking for that bench today, it is not there. The fact is the bench was not part of the park. It was a movie prop set up for the filming.
We walked hand-in-hand through some other squares admiring the monuments and statues. We walked around Forsyth Park—a majestic 30-acre park where people gather, children play, couples picnic on blankets in the grass, and art students set their easels. There are tennis courts and basketball courts where pick-up games are played. In the center of the park is a fountain and just a few steps away is an amphitheater for concerts. A school orchestra was performing on the afternoon we were there.
Our feet began to ache and our bellies started to growl, so we found a street side cafe for lunch. I don’t remember the name, but there were many to choose from. The young waitress boasted she was experimenting with ingredients and had invented a few new cocktails. We told the waitress to surprise us with two of her best. It was strictly as a remedy for our achy feet. They were refreshing fruity drinks with pomegranate and pineapple and I don’t remember what else. The drinks were good and went down easily. The food, though it took a while to get, was good too.
We went on a carriage ride. Two strong horses pulled us along the streets shared with motor vehicles. The coachman’s narration was entertaining and full of fun facts as he pointed out historic building along the route. It was a relaxing hours ride.
The forth day we stayed near our camp. We visited the interpretive center and rode the trails on our bikes. Along the trail was a boardwalk leading to an observation tower. The view across the flats and tidal creeks was stunning. We passed remnants of an old liquor still from the 1930’s. We saw shell middens—which are mounds of discarded shells left by early natives. And we saw the earthwork mounds built as a defensive system during the Civil War.
This area of Georgia, with all its history, has plenty to see. We only scratched the surface. The campground was nice. It was quiet and shady. Its location was convenient. I would, however, suggest you bring plenty of insect repellant. The no-see-ums were very active at sunset. We enjoyed our stay and would certainly come back again.
So until next time…Happy days and safe travels.