Hotel at a Glance: Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Savannah Gateway
A short drive from Country Inn & Suites, historic downtown Savannah provides a glimpse into the South's bygone antebellum decadence. Mossy magnolia trees skirt colorful Greek Revival mansions, many of which have been featured in movies or on Savannah's popular ghost tours. The hotel itself honors the South's reputation for hospitality by treating guests to a decadent, Southern-influenced buffet breakfast each morning, complete with custom breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, and cinnamon twirl french toast.
Go swimming: Indoor pool and whirlpool open year-round
Nifty in-room amenities: Warm earthy decor, 39-inch flat-screen TVs, and wireless and high-speed Internet
Tybee Island: Barrier island about 30 miles away has an abundance of kayaking, parasailing, and jet skiing opportunities, along with a lighthouse nearly three centuries old
Savannah, Georgia: Historical Mansions and a Lively River Walk
Founded in 1733 as Georgia's first town, Savannah is not only one of the most graceful cities in the South but also one the most historic. The old but well-preserved architecture landed it on Forbes_’s 2011 list of America's Best Downtowns, and _Travel + Leisure recently dubbed it one of the World's Best Cities for the way it "reveres its heritage.” You can see this in the city's 22 famous public squares, which play host to some famous landmarks, such as antebellum-era houses framed by moss-covered oak trees. Head to Oglethorpe Square to see the Owens-Thomas House, an English Regency–style mansion completed in 1819 that now serves as a museum; tours here depart from the original carriage house and go past its charming English-style parterre garden.
Another relic of Savannah's past, River Street curves for about a mile along Savannah River's south bank. The cobblestone walkways are lined with 100-year-old cotton warehouses that have been converted into antique shops, brewpubs, and galleries. Explore the riverfront in style aboard one of the Old Town sightseeing trolleys or during a horse-drawn carriage tour. Though the street is tamer than it was a few decades ago⎯when it was overrun with muscle cars and rowdy sailors⎯there's still plenty of energy here, with a lively pub scene and views of large ships lumbering toward the dock.
A five-minute walk west will take you to the City Market, a four-block public meeting space on the edge of downtown. This section of Savannah’s sprawling historic district has established itself as one of the city's top destinations for entertainment and dining thanks to the many artists' studios, open-air restaurants, and taverns found here.