Exploring Georgia’s Unforgettable Detours Off I-95 Part II

Tom & Karla Talleur
The Entrance at Wormsloe State Historic Site, Savannah, Georgia
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Editor’s Note: This post is written by a member of LTV’s sponsored content team, The Leisure Explorers. Do you own a Leisure Travel Van and enjoy writing? Learn more about joining the team.

Discover the Heartbeat of the Hidden Georgia Coast

Tales of civil, colonial, and revolutionary war battles; ghosts, gravestones, and mystical events; piracy and the exploits of Blackbeard; prohibition era bootlegging; and soaring stories of revolutionary war heroes are as thick as the Spanish Moss that drapes Coastal Georgia and the 15-barrier islands that protect its coastline from the sea. Yet, you won’t see any of it when you drive along Interstate I-95.

When you take a jaunt in your LTV from I-95 toward the Atlantic, you’ll uncover the Georgia Coast, an obscure world under a canopy of oak, palm, and marsh scrub so different from the bland pine and hardwoods along the interstate that you’ll feel, if only for a moment, you’re the first to discover an odd, lost horizon-like world in the United States unknown to all but those who live there. Discovery can lead to fascination as you traverse endless maze-like detours around the nooks and crannies of the coast if only because it presents a hodgepodge of quirky, novel sights wrapped in an aroma of salty air as pristine beaches and nook getaways reveal themselves, uncluttered as they are all year long.

We live on the Georgia Coast. There’s much to say about where and what to do here. In this second part of our series about unforgettable detours off I-95, we’ll begin our journey at the Georgia and South Carolina border. You can see part one of our Coastal Georgia series here.

Savannah and Tybee Island

When you drive south on I-95 and cross from South Carolina into Georgia, you’ll soon see signs that beckon you to visit two Georgia tourism destination giants: Savannah and Tybee Island. These locales are a perfect complementary pair in one geographic area for travelers. In one visit to the Savannah-Tybee area, you can bask in the rich history and cultural tapestry of Savannah city life until your senses invoke sensory overload. Yet, at any time during your visit, you can zip away from the urban environs for a 20-minute drive to Tybee on the Atlantic coast and soak up all a beachside town offers.

Your first stop as you cross the border into Georgia can be the Georgia Visitor Information Center. It’s the first major building on the right side of the interstate at the border of Georgia with either South Carolina or Florida. You’ll find plenty of free parking space for your LTV and public restrooms. It’s a first-rate facility for travelers. Best of all, you’ll get to ask questions (between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm daily) and gather brochures that interest you before you enter Savannah.

Home near Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia
Home near Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia

Savannah Unveiled: Feel the Pulse of Art, History and Eccentricity

Built in 1733 as the Colony of Georgia in British Colonial America, Savannah oozes civil war, colonial, Native American, and an old southern cultural charm. Fact and fantasy blend here where legend, myth, mysticism, and mystery converge with a spooky past, all wrapped in the cloak of a mini metropolis that grapples to graft slices of modernity onto a unique and resilient American southern culture.

Home on Monterrey Square, Savannah, Georgia

John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, said, “For me, Savannah’s resistance to change was its saving grace. The city looked inward, sealed off from the noises and distractions of the world at large.” The irony of Berendt’s statement strikes us as we drive through Savannah in our LTV. Just as Savannah hangs on to its past while it grapples with modernity, change at LTV is evolutionary, focusing on good old-fashioned handiwork and customer-centric service regardless of realities elsewhere in the RV industry.

Step into Savannah’s Historic District: A Walk Through Time

The city’s historic district, with its cobblestone streets along the Savannah River waterfront and antebellum mansions throughout, presents evidence of its evolution over time.

  • It’s the oldest city in Georgia and the first planned city in the United States.
  • The city was built around 24 public squares, 22 of which still exist.
  • It’s notorious for its ghostly inhabitants: Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in America.

    Dusk at Nightfall at Forsyth Park Suggests The Haunted Savannah
    Dusk at Nightfall at Forsyth Park Suggests The Haunted Savannah
  • It’s the birthplace of notables such as Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, and famous lyricist Johnny Mercer. You’ll find Mercer’s gravestone and burial plot at the St. Bonaventure Cemetery, a famous tourist destination built over a former plantation.
  • It’s near the site of the largest single sale of enslaved Americans of African descent (1859), second only to a similar event in Charleston, South Carolina—the First African Baptist Church and the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters present evidence of this history.
  • You’ll find the famous Waving Girl statue at the city riverfront. For 44 years, Florence Martus (1868–1943), lived on nearby Elba Island with her brother, the lighthouse keeper, and no ship entered or left Savannah between 1887 to 1931 without her waving a handerchief by day or a lantern by night. Over the years, vessels looked for and saluted her. She became the source of romantic legends when seafarers told her story at ports worldwide. You may wonder if her story is the source of inspiration for the #1 hit song Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by the 1970s era band Looking Glass, but the band’s leader and songwriter claims he drew inspiration for the song from a former girlfriend.

    Florence Martus, Savannah's Waving Girl
    Florence Martus, Savannah’s Waving Girl

Savannah’s Artistic Pulse: A Symphony of Creativity and Heritage

Savannah’s soul presents vibrant strokes of art and culture. Here, creativity simmers yearly, bubbling over in galleries, film, music, and arts festivals nestled among historic buildings. Movie-centric Savannah is so iconic that producers and screen actors from the filmmaking capital of the East–Atlanta–shoot footage in the city all year. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) and Forrest Gump (1994) are two notables.

Artsy town Savannah presents over 1,000 significant historic buildings, all symbols of a bygone era. The Savannah College for Art and Design (SCAD) is central to renovating historic sites throughout the city. The Telfair Museums recount the stories of architecture, art, and history of the city.

A Home on Forsyth Park Converted by SCAD
A Home on Forsyth Park Converted by SCAD

Savannah’s myriad festivals, like the quirky SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival, reflect the city’s cultural diversity. Party town Savannah hosts one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the United States annually and a thriving performing arts scene such as the annual Savannah Music Festival.

Savannah, there’s so much to see and do; the choices for you, the traveler, can be bewildering. Here’s what we suggest.

Tips: What To Do and See

Getting into Town and Parking Your LTV

Access to Savannah poses a challenge like what you’ll find around most waterfront cities. You must drive around the water on roadways around the coastline to get to the city. We suggest you refer to your GPS or cellular maps applications for routing and updates to avoid traffic jams. Most roads around Savannah are in good condition.

The old train station in Savannah at 301 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd is home to the Visitors Center. It’s open from 8:00 am – 6:30 pm daily. The center manages a large off-street daily fee parking lot next to the building. It is safe and the only reliable parking source for an LTV in the downtown area for the cost of an all-day pass. This lot features RV-only parking spots.

An LTV Unity MB next to a Historic Tours Trolley at the visitors center parking lot in Savannah, Georgia
Our Unity Murphy Bed in the parking lot at the Savannah Visitors Center

Street parking in Savannah can be a challenge with a car. Try to avoid parking your LTV on the street. The parking police are aggressive. You’ll see under and over-the-ground parking garages in the downtown area, but the ceilings are too low for passage with an LTV.

Do not drive your LTV along the riverfront at the Savannah River. The streets are cobblestone and railroad ties and will shake your LTV, much to your displeasure.

Visit the Savannah Visitors Center

Savannah oozes of history and deep southern culture. The city visitors center can provide information that may not be available at the Georgia Visitor Information Center on I-95.

Savannah: Eclectic Sources of History Abound
Savannah: Eclectic Sources of History Abound

Take the Historic Tours City Tour

If you don’t have a specific activity in mind after a stop at the Visitors Center, take the Historic Tours of America (Historic Tours) Old Town Trolley hop-on hop-off city tour (the Orange and Green Trolleys, not the “other” trolleys in town). We recommend this tour to family and friends.

The Old Town Trolley is the best offering for this type of tour and, in our view, the best value for your money and the fastest way to gain a sense of where to go and what to do. You can visit all the places you’ll see on the tour in the historic district for the cost of a one-day pass. So, doing so reduces the need to take taxis, Uber, or Lyft to get around the city.

You’ll find comfort in knowing your LTV will be in the Visitor Information Center parking lot all day as you explore the city. The Historic Tours ticket office is directly across the street from the visitor’s center.

Partial view of the Historic Tours Trolley's
Partial view of the Historic Tours Trolleys

Historic Tours personnel at Savannah know city history and play the roles of oral historians well. Trolley operators will regale you with endless details about each stop and area on a tour. SCAD students majoring in film and history work as role players at The American Prohibition Museum, the Ghosts and Gravestones, the Ghost Town Trolley, the Savannah for Morons Trolley, and the Ghost Hunters of Savannah tours—all run by Historic Tours.

Our personal favorite is The American Prohibition Museum. If you’re curious about how and why America almost became a totalitarian state between 1920 and 1933, a tour of this museum is a must. Brand new in 2017, this museum is the first of its kind in America and is replete with videos, photos, memorabilia, and an entire speakeasy bar.

Prohibition: Protestors

During Prohibition, Savannah was known as the Spigot of the South. If an armchair tour of this place interests you, you can read our earlier story about it here.

Where To Camp

There are many RV parks around the Savannah-Tybee area. RV apps reveal these sites, so we won’t repeat those sources here. Instead, we’ll offer an insider tip. You’ll find the Fort Pulaski National Monument along the causeway that connects Savannah and Tybee Island. A fact that is not well known is that the park facilities manager accepts applications for RVers to stay at a park campsite. But there’s a catch, actually, two:

  1. You must volunteer to get a campsite;
  2. There are only four campsites in the park. Some are on concrete slabs, and some are not. Some offer water and hookups, and others do not.

You might wonder if getting a site and volunteering is worth the effort.

The Fort offers close access to Tybee Island and Savannah. The setting presents spectacular views of the Savannah River, the shipping traffic, Tybee Island, the famous Little Cockspur Island Lighthouse, and the South Carolina border. Hollywood filmmakers use the Fort as a setting for films. It’s a tranquil locale and a notable booking with bragging rights for those who love to chat about unique camping spots or who find joy in keeping a discovery to themselves.

To find out more information, call 912-219-4233. Booking via the website is not possible. You’ll find a link to the website in the links section below.

An LTV Unity MB at Fort Pulaski National Monument, Savannah, Georgia
Our Unity at Fort Pulaski

Create Your Unforgettable Outdoor Adventure on Tybee Island

When you’re ready to get away from Savannah to welcome a drastic change, outdoor adventure awaits you on nearby Tybee Island. It’s just 18 miles due east of the city on the Atlantic Ocean. If fun in the sun and surf are your thing, you’ll be happy at Tybee. You’ll see kayakers, kite surfers, water skiers, paddleboarders, and swimmers all year on the beaches and in the water. Bicycle and golf cart rentals dot the island for those who wish to get wet and sandy at the beaches. You’ll find charter boat tours to watch dolphins, mini-golf spots, and other entertainment outlets.

Here are some more popular activities travelers enjoy:

  • Climb the Tybee Island Light Station: it’s an iconic landmark on the island and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. There’s a museum at the base of the lighthouse.
    The Tybee Island Lighthouse Station at Dusk
  • Explore the Tybee Island Marine Science Center: Get up close and personal with local marine life and learn about the island’s unique ecosystem.
  • Kayak on the sea: Paddle out and explore the waters around Tybee Island for a fun and invigorating activity.
  • Watch dolphins: Take a dolphin cruise and spot these playful creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Check out the beaches: Tybee Island has five beautiful beaches, each with unique appeal.
  • Walk the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion: This spot is at the island’s southern end and is perfect for a stroll, fishing, or simply enjoying the sea views.
  • Try water sports: You’ll find plenty of thrilling water sports, like kite surfing, parasailing, and jet skiing around the island.
  • Go Shopping: Discover shops run by locals for unique souvenirs and gifts.
Mural on home at Tybee Island, Georgia
A mural on a home at Tybee Island

Getting To Tybee

There’s no direct road access to the Tybee from I-95. One way or another, you’ll drive around or through Savannah to get to the island. US Route 80, also known as Victory Drive in downtown Savannah, is one common gateway to the island through the city. Another approach is the Truman Parkway, which bypasses the town. But to get to the parkway, you’ll enter the southern point of the city on the Abercorn extension, which connects with I-95 at exit 94.

Parking is a challenge on Tybee. Parking spots, when you can find them, may not be LTV-friendly. As Georgia’s northernmost and 11th-largest barrier island, the island is a compact two-and-a-half miles long by three-quarters mile wide and hosts a year-round population of about 3,400 residents. Homes and businesses cram together in most places, as you might expect in a beach town. Parking meters adorn the main drag (US 80) on Tybee with spots suitable for an LTV. Parking on side streets is almost impossible.

The Pier and Beach Entrance at South Beach, Tybee Island, Georgia
The Pier and Beach Entrance at South Beach, Tybee Island, Georgia

At the island’s southernmost end, you’ll find a long public parking lot that runs parallel to the beach and offers metered public parking near the pier and pavilion. There is no RV parking in this area. But, those with toads or rental vehicles such as bikes and golf carts will find parking and getting around the island easy. Novelty shops and eateries adorn the island near the public pier and pavilion at Route 80 and Tybrisa Streets.

There’s one RV park on Tybee: the Rivers End Campground and RV Park at the island’s north end. If you don’t have a toad, leave your LTV at the park and rent bicycles or golf carts to get around the island. The campground is three blocks from the north beach on the island and offers sites for tent campers, RVs, and cabins.

When To Visit

Fairweather awaits you in the Savannah-Tybee area all year long. A few years ago, we took a stroll on the beach at Tybee on Christmas Day–it was 85 degrees. Snow and ice are a rarity during the winter. We’ve seen snow twice over the last 20 years. Snowflakes evaporate as they hit the ground. We’ve never seen ice on Georgia coastal roads.

You can RV on the coast year-round with almost no need to winterize your LTV. The temperatures may drop into the 20s about two weeks a year in January, but these drops below freezing are atypical and do not occur for lasting periods. However, you may need to winterize your LTV for your trip to the area during the winter months, depending on the areas of the country through which you travel.

Our LTV Unity MB in front of the 1899 Tybee Island Battery Garland in December 2023.
Our Unity in front of the 1899 Tybee Island Battery Garland in December 2023

How to Get There

If you’re on I-95 near Savannah, any exit off the interstate due east will route you to Savannah and Tybee. Common exits are 109, I-16, 94, and 87. However, you can also access the island on secondary routes such as Route 17, south of South Carolina, or north of Richmond Hill, just south of Savannah.


You’ll note we don’t recommend eateries in the city. As travel writers, we eat in major cities and little towns worldwide and have developed our restaurant price-performance criteria. For us, price-performance is the point of measure. Is the price charged worthy of the quality of food on offer?

Many eateries on the Georgia Coast, including those that operate under famous names, deliver New York prices but not New York quality offerings. High ratings in reviews of some local eateries may stem from locals with a bias toward an establishment. Before trying an eatery, we suggest you look at the reviews from out-of-town travelers and sample the negative reviews for substantive comments.

Yelp and Trip Advisor can be your best friends to help you decide where to go, what to do, and where to eat in Savannah. We cite a few eateries we think meet our criteria in the links below.

Emergency RV Services

Yes, we all think about chassis breakdowns and RV house failures and hope it’ll never happen. But you’ll find excellent services for your RV chassis and house in Coastal Georgia should an emergency arise. Here’s who we recommend.


There are two Mercedes dealerships nearby. One (Critz) is in Savannah, and we’re told by one LTV owner their service is excellent. The other Mercedes dealership is at Hilton Head, South Carolina. The Sprinter Shop foreman at this dealership is a top-shelf professional.

Multiple Ford dealers are in the Savannah area along I-95 and nearby towns. Links for these dealerships are in the links section below.

RV Mobile Technician Service

If you encounter a problem with the house side of your LTV while in Coastal Georgia, you’ll take comfort in knowing there’s an excellent RV Mobile Technician in Savannah who services the Coastal Georgia area.

Tod Burnett runs RV Diversified Services LLC. He brings 27 years of RV technician experience to the business. As of January 2024, our Unity Murphy Bed is in his custody for the slide and service bay repairs.

Tod makes service calls around the Georgia coast in his Super Duty class pickup, pulling a trailer chock full of tools and supplies. He also has a property in Savannah where he can store and work on your LTV should you need to leave your LTV with him. You’ll find Tod’s contact data in the links section below.

Up Next

In part III, the next segment in our series, we’ll venture southerly down the Georgia Coast to focus on the revolutionary and colonial-era towns of Sunbury, Midway, and Darien.

If you missed Part I of this series, you can find it here.


Eateries in the Historic District

Unique Camp Spot

Fort Pulaski National Monument

*Call or check out the volunteer page links on their website. Camping is for volunteers only.

RV Chassis Service


J.C. Lewis Ford:
9505 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA 31406


Critz Mercedes-Benz of Savannah
7000 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA 314vannah, GA 31406
Tel: 1 866 415 2592

Mercedes-Benz of Hilton Head
155 Fording Island Rd
Bluffton, South Carolina 29910
(843) 815-0300

* The Sprinter shop foreman at this dealership is a Sprinter owner and takes a personal interest in service to RV Sprinter owners.

RV Mobile Tech Services (Coastal Georgia coverage)

Tod Burnett
RV Diversified Services LLC
Tel: 706-308-4341
Email: [email protected]

Visitor Information Bureau Links

Nearby State Parks

Local Attractions


The authors thank Historic Tours of America for press pass access to their personnel and facilities in Savannah, Georgia. American Prohibition Museum photos in this story by the authors are also with the permission and courtesy of Historic Tours of America. The assessments in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the official views of Triple E Enterprises and Leisure Vans.

Tom & Karla Talleur

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