Though they're certainly adept at standing still, buildings and monuments present their own set of challenges for people trying to take pictures of them. To surmount these complications, the professional photographers at ShutterGuide set out on two-hour walking tours, teaching groups how to best frame the landmarks on their route. For each site, they demonstrate a different camera technique that suits the landscape, such as adjusting the composition or keeping photo-bombing statues out of the frame. Guests can capture snapshots with nearly any type of lens—even the one on their smartphone.
The tours cover photography topics from lighting to metering and depth of field, but they're also a lesson in history. During the walk, guides dole out trivia on the city's past. They take a maximum of eight people in every group and accommodate aspiring shutterbugs of all skill levels.
Ripley's Red Train Tours range from daily explorations of the city to nightly supernatural adventures. Guests can get on and off the open-air Red Train Trolley anytime from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. as it stops at spots including San Sebastian Winery, Mission Nombre de Dios, and the oldest house. Alternately, they can embark on a Ghost Train Adventure to explore the city at night armed with an EMF Ghost-Meter. Other tours include seasonal Sunset Tours that take advantage of the long days of summer, the bay front’s cooler temperatures, and a recent peace treaty signed by the mayor of St. Augustine and the local merfolk. There are also Black History Tours that showcase local spots that were important in the Civil Rights Movement, including Zora Neale Hurston’s former residence and the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1964 arrest.
Daufuskie Discoveries creates opportunities to explore Daufuskie Island's lush, historic habitat with customized guided or private outings. An enclosed or open-air water taxi quickly shuttles small groups from Hilton Head or Savannah to the island's three-mile stretch of sandy beach in 30 minutes, with captains tossing out facts about Calibogue Sound and Cooper River. Customers disembark and board their conveyance of choice—golf cart, boat, or shoes—before bursting through the tree line into specific isle regions, such as Bloody Point, which houses the Bloody Point Cemetery and Bloody Point Lighthouse & Silver Dew Winery. Three-hour private cruises skirt the coastline as a guide artfully describes the sun dipping beneath marshes as a hot air balloon deflated by a stampeding herd of storks.
With more than three decades as a marine biologist tucked under his waders, Dr. Joe Richardson has studied beaches from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas, but he still never ceases to marvel at the diversity of Tybee Island’s shores. The widely published professor emeritus of marine sciences at Savannah State University delights in sharing his knowledge about these lively shores, and to that end hosts walking tours for groups of all ages that incorporate conversation and hands-on activities. As his followers comb their fingers and toes through the sand of the beaches and inlets, they search for fossilized shark teeth and animals that Dr. Joe helps identify. He also discusses the tides, sand layers, local marine life, and which creatures eat with salad forks or soup spoons. Along the rock jetty, groups splash into tide pools to learn about the intertidal zone and the ways animals adapt to this habitat, then help Dr. Joe collect live specimens for a field aquarium by pulling in a 50-foot beach seine net and examining the fish and crabs caught in its weave. Lucky guests can glimpse the sleek fins of dolphins, and curious ones can ask Dr. Joe about his research projects, current ecological concerns, and how mermaids keep their fingers from getting pruny.
Each Wednesday–Saturday, erudite guides steer group and private tours along Savannah's cobblestone streets as they dispense factoids about the city's history—both haunted and not—since its founding in 1733. Departing from Telfair Square, two-hour historical strolls cover up to 1.5 miles as visitors hear tales of famous areas and historical homes while passing sites such as The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist and Chippewa Square, where portions of Forrest Gump were filmed. Meanwhile, the Savannah Spirits tours spends 90 minutes exploring haunted locales such as Colonial Park Cemetery as guides relay tales of voodoo, ghost sightings and demons exorcised from peaches. Lastly, 90-minute Savannah Haunted Pubs excursions traipse through story-clad drinking establishments such as Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pubs, where patrons 21 and older can down spirits before learning about the other kind.
The FAA–certified Cygnet II–powered hang glider bearing the Amphibian Air stamp gives riders a bird's-eye view of Savannah and the outlying Low Country as they zip about during guided lessons. An FAA–certified instructor takes the front seat in the trike's open-air cockpit directly ahead of the student and demonstrates the basics of flying before allowing his pupil to take the controls if conditions permit. A certificate of training documents the flight for the student, which can be used toward a sport-pilot license. Amphibian Air recommends wearing comfortable clothing and making reservations for sunrise or sunset any day of the week, as those are some of the best times for a smooth flight.