The borders of the Southside neighborhood of Savannah are hard to define. If you are a transplant, city-dweller, Southside is basically anywhere …well, south. To Savannah natives though, the location is important. There’s Vernonburg, a separate enclave that happens to be south of the city. There’s White Bluff, Wilshire, and Windsor Forest, all distinct neighborhoods in the southern vicinity.
Google Maps defines it as the neighborhood east of White Bluff Road from Skyline Drive to Vernonburg Road, but there doesn’t seem to be much neighborhood within those tight borders. Visit Savannah defines it as “the busy commercial district surrounding the Vernon River,” but does that include Vernonburg, an incorporated town of its own? It can be confusing.
Suffice it to say, Southside is a nebulous idea of a neighborhood, nevertheless with a strong identity among residents and plenty to attract visitors and potential home-buyers alike. Check out these five reasons to visit or live in Savannah’s Southside.
1. Shop Till You Drop
Oglethorpe Mall, Savannah Mall, and a massive commercial corridor along Abercorn Street are all located in what could be considered the Southside of Savannah. Whether you are in for a day of shopping or just need to cool off for a little while, there’s lots of options available. Add to that all of the restaurants, big box stores, and chains that come with a typical commercial corridor, and there’s an abundance of choice when it comes to spending money.
2. Treat Your Sweet Tooth
You can get Byrd’s Cookies in almost every tchotke store and gift shop in downtown Savannah, but Southside is home to the flagship factory where you can taste every one of their 17 flavors of cookies and check out how their made. Grab a coffee and a seat in their cafe and get ready for a sugar-fueled, caffeine-charged day of hitting the malls.
3. Visit Wormsloe Historic Site
Cruise down the iconic live oak-lined drive to visit the Wormsloe Historic Site and get immersed in the history of the Southside. The tabby ruins of the historic plantation home on the property are the oldest standing structures in Savannah. Once at the home, visitors can hike through trails with marsh views and wander through the museum onsite to see relics and artifacts from the past centuries.
4. Soak Up Nature
Skidaway Island State Park is just a few minutes from Southside proper and offers miles of hiking and biking trails along the marsh. If you’re not accustomed to the landscape, take a hiking partner (always a safe idea) or go with a group and plan to spend the night at one of their 87 camping and RV sites, all outfitted with a concrete pad, shore power and water hook-ups.
5. Makeover a Midcentury Ranch
Southside is full of low-slung, brick-built, retro-cool ranches begging for a buyer to give them some love. It is only a 15 minute drive from downtown Savannah, but that distance makes the area more affordable and the lots and homes larger. Find a place to put that Eames chair you’ve been coveting all these years. These homes will go perfectly with that set of etched tumblers you found at Picker Joe’s.
Savannah’s Southside might be hard to define, but that’s why it begs discovery. Whether you are visiting for some history, nature, or shopping or looking for an affordable home in a suburban neighborhood, the Southside delivers.