One of my favorite ways to get oriented in a new city is to take a narrated bus tour. In Savannah, you have more choices than I have ever seen anywhere. In the parking lot adjacent to the history center, you will find all the trolley/buses lined up. The only difference that I could see was the color of the buses and a dollar or two in price. We opted for the Grayline Tour for no other reason than it was the first one in line. They offer an AAA/AARP discount. As it turned out, we were the last tour of the day at 4pm. In the summer, the last tour is 4:30pm. The bus will hold a maximum of 34 people. As it was, we were the only three people to take the tour. This is an open-air trolley with wooden seats, and the tour is narrated by the driver. From the visitor center, we drove to the Boundry Street office to take care of the finances.
The tour takes 90 minutes. You can opt for just the 90-minute tour for $19. For $21, you can choose to get off and on all day, or for $25, you can get the addition of one of the historic houses. For an additional $15, you can also take a riverboat cruise. That will be the first decision you have to make. The bus makes 14 stops as it travels around the 2.5 miles of the historic district; you can get on the bus at anyone of these stops and purchase your ticket from the driver.
Our driver’s name was Jack, and he had a great sense of humor. He had us laughing a good deal of the time. Along with the humor, he had a seemingly endless flow of trivia and gossip about the city of Savannah. He took us to many of the squares. We learned about the monuments on them, who was buried under them, and the buildings surrounding them. It was the perfect way to get our feet ready for trekking through the city. We bounced down the hill to the Riverwalk, cruised through some of the residential neighborhoods of the city, and circled city market.
We learned that the cotton gin was invented in Savannah, that the cobblestones on the streets of the Riverwalk were originally ballast on the ships that sailed there, that Savannah had the first motorized fire department in the country, and that you can rent some of the squares and many people do so for weddings and social events.
Grayline also offers several specialty tours, including The Book Tour, Low Country Tours, ghost tours, and historic tours. There really is a tour for every taste.