Skidaway Island State Park
I was in Savannah recently for work, but had very little time to do any sightseeing. I've been to Savannah a few times over the past 10 years, but admittedly haven't spent much time along coastal Georgia. One evening I decided to go to Skidaway Island State Park, which is only a short drive from the city. Wormsloe Historic Site is also nearby, but I didn't have time to do both. As much as I would have loved to go to the beach, it was too far of a drive to justify.
Skidaway has a lot of offer in a relatively small package. There are several different picnic and day use areas, 3 main trails, and camping areas. I chose to do the Big Ferry Trail because it was the longest and had a lot of interesting features, such as a observation tower. The Big Ferry trail ended up being about 2.7 miles, but it can be connected to the other trails to form a longer hike. Since it was a weeknight and I didn't have a lot of time, 2.7 miles was just about right.
Although I grew up in Florida in very similar environs to Coastal Georgia, I'd kind of forgotten how neat the forests and marshes can be. It's been a while since I've seen moss, palm trees, and marshy critters. I was pretty much the only one on the trail, so I had plenty of space and quiet to look out for animals. I saw at least 7 deer, a snake, lots of different birds, and probably hundreds of crabs. According to the park brochure, alligators are also in the area but I didn't see any.
The Big Ferry Trail also features the remains of some man-made structures, such as a old liquor still. There are interpretive signs along the trail explaining each feature, but honestly, there's not much to see. The natural environment has grown back over things. Probably the best feature of the Big Ferry Trail is the observation tower. A boardwalk extends over the marsh to the tower, so you're kind of out in the marsh. This seems like it would be a great place to watch the sun set, but there are signs stating no hiking after dark.
Obviously there is a lot to do in the Savannah area, no matter what your interests, but if you only have time for a short visit and want to get outside, Skidaway Island State Park is a good option. There is a $5 entrance fee, so be sure to either stop by the park office to pay or use one of the self-service stations. And as always, leave no trace!