Your Guide to Free Things to do by Bike in Savannah

You’ve come into Savannah On Wheels and rented your bike for the day (or week); you’ve got all the gear you’ll need for a great ride—so the only question is: where to? If you’re a traveler on a budget, you can ride easy knowing there’s plenty to see in Savannah without a single fee. Put the wallet away and join us for a ride through some great free options in town.

General Oglethorpe statue in Chippewa Square

See all 22 Historic Squares

When you rent bikes from Savannah on Wheels, you’ll receive our recommended route through all 22 Historic Squares in downtown Savannah. The ride can be done in about an hour and a half if you don’t stop, but feel free to take it slow; you’re on vacation, after all. Walk the bikes into moss-draped squares like Chippewa, famous for its statue of one of our founders, General Oglethorpe. Or, make a loop around Madison Square and take in all the military history that Square has to offer. The squares themselves serve a military purpose, and you can learn more about that on one of our guided tours. Keep the good times rolling with a short ride to Washington Square, where you can see some of the oldest still-standing homes in town. With 22 squares to choose from, you can’t go wrong. Ride out there and find your favorite!

Forsyth Park Fountain in springtime

Forsyth Park

Just a short ride from our shop is the biggest square (rectangle really) of them all—Forsyth Park. The park dates back to the early 19th century when it was a modest 10 acres; today, it boasts a sprawling 30 acres brimming with moss-drenched Live Oaks, a modern restaurant, and the showstopping fountain. The fountain in the park has an interesting history, as it was ordered from an iron foundry catalog and has three sisters in Madison, Indiana, Poughkeepsie, NY, and Cusco, Peru. Ours was the first and certainly the top five of its kind! Bike riders are free to ride around the entire perimeter of the park and on some of the sidewalks throughout the park. Try riding a loop around the fountain for a spectacular 360-degree view.

Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist

Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Another amazing historical site to enjoy for free ($3 suggested donation) is the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, located beside Lafayette Square. Lock up the bikes across the street at the charming café called Mirabelle, then step across the road and across the ocean into the ornate French-Gothic cathedral. The Cathedral is one of the two most photographed sites in the city, rivaled only by the above fountain. Construction started in 1873 but only lasted a quarter-century before a major fire burnt most of the Cathedral and Drayton St. Only the picturesque spires survived, and what you see today is rebuilt around them. A major change occurred between the construction of the first and second cathedrals; who worshipped there. Originally, the Cathedral served the small but growing Catholic community from France and Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). When you go inside, look for a statue to reveal the ancestry of today’s parish. 

Louisa Porter grave marker at Laurel Grove cemetery

Laurel Grove Cemetery

While Bonaventure gets all the love and attention—deservedly so, it was in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—Laurel Grove Cemetery is closer to downtown and offers an unparalleled experience. The best way to get there is to ride down Jefferson to 31st St. and turn right until you get to Burroughs St. Take a right turn there and left onto Anderson and the entrance to Laurel Grove North is straight ahead. Once inside, stop by the interactive station on your right to locate a particular grave. Any current or former Girl Scouts can look up Juliette Gordon Lowe’s memorial and leave behind a badge or a box of cookies. Some of Savannah’s leading figures from the 19th century are buried inside Laurel Grove. Inside Laurel Grove South, you can find Andrew Bryan, the founder of First African Baptist Church. With so many interesting people and stories all crammed together, it’s easy to spend a day getting lost in Laurel Grove.

Savannah African Art Museum – photo courtesy of Visit Savannah

Savannah African Art Museum

Maybe it’s your third or fourth time visiting Savannah, or perhaps you just like veering off from the Historic District. Whatever the reason, you’ll want to enter the Starland District just south of Forsyth Park. You’ll find the Savannah African Art Museum between Starland’s eclectic bars, stellar restaurants, and oak-lined streets. This free gem of a museum is packed with incredible replicas of art from West and Central Africa. The museum is split into two floors covering two major regions, and guided tours are available from expert volunteer guides. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, and you can check the website for tour times. 

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