Savannah’s Best Nature Trails
Make sure to check out a full list of Savannah’s nature trails and walking paths by visiting our page here.
In Savannah, escaping to nature isn’t out of the ordinary. We’re lucky to live in a place that has access to so many diverse landscapes such as national parks, canal sites, and wildlife preserves. Here are some of our favorite nature trails we like to visit when we’re itching to break away from the busy city.
Remember before you head out to these spots, check the linked websites for admission costs and hours of operation! We’ve tried to note which trails charge for entrance, but these prices are subject to change per each location and this article only reflects prices as of March 2023.
Skidaway Island State Park
If you’re able to find a Savannah local and ask them the best place to go hiking around the city, this is likely where they’ll point you to. Skidaway Island State Park is not far out of the downtown Savannah area (probably about a 30-minute drive). It’s home to a diverse ecosystem of critters like fiddler crabs and raccoons, but also deer, egrets, and other wildlife. The state park is a well-known camping ground for visitors and has over six miles of trails. We have to say, the sunsets across this marshland are pretty unbeatable. There is typically a $5 parking fee to visit the park. Make sure to checkout their website for the details first. If you’re a frequent visitor, we suggest getting an annual pass.
This Whitemarsh Preserve contains 6+ miles of walking paths delighting walkers, runners, and bikers. The 2.4 mile inner loop takes about 45 minutes to complete and is stroller/wheelchair friendly with a hard, dirt-packed trail. We get some pretty great birdwatching done here as well, as it sits only minutes away from the winding waterways of Turner Creek and Wilmington River. An added plus is that it sits within walking distance to the Island’s YMCA so if the objective is to get a diverse workout, we can hit the weights and then hit the trails.
McQueen’s Island Trail
McQueen’s Island Trail sits just before the entrance to Fort Pulaski. It’s a 6-mile gravel hike that’s 100 percent riverfront and sits on a former railroad line that ran from Tybee Island to downtown Savannah. This is probably the most unique trail in Savannah as it is surrounded by water and marsh on either side for the entirety of the path. It’s the perfect opportunity to spot eastern box turtles, alligators, terrapins, bobcats, osprey, pelicans, and even dolphins frolicking in the water nearby. Avid runners and cyclists enjoy this path as well. This is one of those spots that everyone knows about, but it still feels just secluded enough for each of us to enjoy some privacy.
Follow us to Fort Pulaski. The historic fort sits just outside of Tybee Island, so it’s only a 15-minute drive outside of the downtown area. Completed in 1847, it sits on more than 5,000 acres of walking area. Families and children alike walk around, enjoy the weather, and catch some of the best views in Savannah on top of the fort’s ramparts. Not to mention the fort is home to three separate walking trails. The 1.7-mile (out and back) Lighthouse Overlook Trail is really what it sounds like, a walking trail with exceptional views of the historic Cockspur Lighthouse. If you’re looking for something shorter, try the North Pier Trail, which is 2 miles there and back. Lastly, circling around the fort itself is a venture. The Historic Dike System trail offers the very best views of the Savannah River. The cost to enter the fort is $10 per person with children 15 and under being free. They also offer a great annual pass option. Check out details here.
Oatland Island Wildlife Center
The Oatland Island Wildlife Center might be one of the coolest places to go to in Savannah. The center is home to many kinds of rescued wild animals that you don’t typically see roaming around the Coastal Empire. Nature trails bring you to the habitats of animals like wolves, bison, armadillos, flying squirrels, cougars, and bobcats. The property is great for an educational day for young children or a nice shady escape from the classic Savannah heat. The admission fee is $5 per adult, $3 per 4-17 year old, $3 per senior citizen, $3 per military member, and free for children 3 and under. Learn more here.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
This 30,000+ acre Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is slammed with all sorts of animals you’d want to see in the region, but especially alligators. Don’t take us lightly here. It’s hard not to see a gator near the waterways of these trails. While the gators keep a respectful distance from the trail, you’ll want to have your eyes open at all times. Enjoy the green space and enter another world while meandering through several trails filled with beautifully unique trees hanging above. Note that if walking adjacent to gators isn’t your thing, you can always drive through the refuge safely in the confines of your vehicle.
Canal history isn’t at the top of most people’s lists when they come to Savannah, but they’ve never been to the Ogeechee Canal. The canal was home to one of the most important and profitable enterprises during the mid-19th century, providing transportation for goods like lumber, cotton, rice, bricks, and peaches. Commercial activity stopped along the canal in the mid-1900s. Since then, locals have lovingly worked to restore the area to what it is now. Today, the 184-acres serve as a nature center with an over 2-mile walking trail along the beautiful canal, which spans over 16 miles itself. In addition to housing walking trails, it is a designated museum and a part of Georgia’s Colonial Coast Birding Trail with over 146 species of birds calling the area home. Like the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, this area has swampland with alligators swimming and sunning throughout. Admission per person is as follows: $5 for adults, $3 for seniors/miliatry/children 7-17, and children 7 and under are free.
Blue Sky Preserve Trails
The Blue Sky Preserve Trail is a great little trail for those looking to get off the beaten path and wander. Not for too long, as the trail is just under a 1.5 mile walk round trip. The trail sits right off of I-95 and takes about 25 minutes to complete. There’s a chance that you’ll see other people along the trail, but you’re almost always guaranteed a little peace and quiet along this wooded thoroughfare.
Most tourists visit this area for its Instagram-worthy oak trees that line the avenue at the plantation’s opening. However, locals know this state historic site has walking paths with stunning views of the coast. Wormsloe offers two walking trails: the Battery Trail, which is a 3-mile loop that runs along Shipyard Creek and through the Colonial Life area of the plantation and the 1-mile Pine Trail loop, which leads to observation decks overlooking the Skidway River. Entrance fees are as follows: Adults (18–61) are $10.00, Seniors (62+) are $9.00, Youth (6–17) are $4.50, and Children (under 6) are $2.00.
The Old Roberds Dairy Farm
Ok. This one is a true local-to-Savannah secret. Tucked away at the far-east end of Tennessee Avenue in Thunderbolt, is the Old Roberds Dairy Farm. It’s also known as the Old Diary Farm, the Dairy Farm, and the Roberds Dairy by locals. This retired dairy was once a thriving spot for agriculture, but the farm stopped operations in the 1980s. Years ago the cow pastures flooded, making most of the land unusable for its original purposes. Today the land where cows once grazed is mostly marsh flats and beautifully wooded areas with walking paths. It’s still privately owned and is now a peaceful 165-acre green space and event venue. Jim Morekis said it best in his 2010 blog post The Roberds Dairy: “The land remains in the family and they have generously granted a sort of informal easement for local dog owners to walk their pets.” We’re big fans of visiting this spot with fido (respectfully keeping our four-legged family members on the leash).