Savannah, GA is a city with ingrained roots. They have a notable and illustrious history dating back to 1733 and skillfully weave it into their culture today. Travelers to the city feel like they’ve stepped back in time as they take buggy or trolley rides down the cobblestone streets lined with meticulously preserved houses. Restaurants even have long legs, with many around since the city’s inception still packed with people each day. As a traveler, it is refreshing to see a city that truly embraces their past and integrates it so seamlessly into their present.
My family and I enjoyed our time in Savannah by taking advantage of many of the city’s fun activities for kids like the Georgia State Train Museum and Savannah Children’s Museum. We also enjoyed the animals at the Oatland Wildlife Plantation and dolphin watching on Tybee Island. Some of our best times though were just spent relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Tybee Island, where we stayed. For those with kids, I highly recommend doing that if you can. We rented a house literally steps away from the beach on Homeaway.com. Tybee Island is only a twenty minute drive to downtown Savannah and offers tons of family friendly activities and restaurants as well as its gorgeous beaches. Between the two, it’s the best of both worlds equating to the perfect vacation.
Between both Savannah and Tybee I was never hard pressed to find gluten-free offerings. Here are some of my favorite discoveries.
The Sentient Bean
We went here for our Sunday brunch after enjoying the Toddler Playground in Forsyth Park. The cafe is directly across the street from the park and both are must hits during your visit to Savannah. The park has fantastic sensory oriented playgrounds for kids as well as peaceful areas for adults. Once your tummy starts rumbling, walk on over to the Sentient Bean where you can enjoy their Mix and Match brunch options and gluten-free baked goods. The Mix and Match option is a great deal of healthy offerings made with a creative flair. I ordered the green pepper polenta with eggs, hash browns and collard greens and was extremely happy with my choices. Make sure you try one of their frozen drink specials as well. I got the Frozen Vanilla Latte with almond milk—out of this world!
The Five Spot
Five Spot is in a more residential area of Savannah on the outskirts of the city, but is totally worth the ride. For starters, it has a distinctive neighborhood feel with locals coming in on their lunch breaks. They have a basket of toys and books for kids up front so they can play while waiting for food to arrive. The food was fantastic and they offer accommodations like gluten-free bread and burger buns. They also have a separate fryer for their amazing sweet potato fries!
The Pirates’ House
This “haunted” restaurant is a Savannah legend. It first opened as an inn for sailors in 1753 and became the hot-spot for blood-thirsty pirates. It became so well-known it was even referenced in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. The restaurant revels in its history and offers tours along with costumed actors coming around to share historical facts and good humor during your meal. If you’re lucky, they’ll even show you the underground tunnels where unlucky pirates disappeared.
In addition to the great atmosphere and entertainment at The Pirates’ House, they also have amazing food, including gluten-free options and an extremely accommodating staff.
The Lady and Sons
Despite the controversy that surrounds her, there was no way I could go to Savannah and not check out Paula Dean’s famous restaurant. There was the highly unhealthy and gluten-full Southern food buffet, but in addition to that there is also an a la carte menu with much less fattening and even gluten-free options. I enjoyed a flavorful salmon paired with spinach, rice and cherry tomatoes. I did splurge and enjoy the delicious gluten-free chocolate cake though. Totally worth every bite.
North Beach Bar and Grill
Things move slower on Tybee Island and North Beach Bar and Grill epitomizes that idea. This chill restaurant is right on the beach across from the famous Tybee lighthouse. There’s live music weekend nights, making it the perfect place to kick up your feet and relax with some fantastic BBQ and a few drinks. What’s even better is you can truly do that without worries since they serve Redbridge beer and gluten-free bread for your sandwiches. Make sure you check out the pulled pork sandwich! It’s always refreshing to come home fully recharged from a vacation. Savannah is a city that makes that happen. Between the fantastic food, the diverse sightseeing and activity options, Savannah truly is a city that leaves a lasting impression. Enjoy!
By Joyana Peters McMahon