South’s Greatest Places 2023

Pack your bags and stay a while. Experience the southeast like never before with the Greatest Places to visit, from the historic streets of Savannah to the breathtaking beaches of Florida. With a wealth of natural wonders, historic sites, soulful cuisine, and friendly faces, there’s no shortage of unforgettable experiences in the South.

Photo / Plant Riverside District

Iconic Moments Await at Plant Riverside District

From inspired restaurants, bars, and lounges to galleries and boutiques to a completely redesigned former power plant serving as a showcase of remarkable global finds, Plant Riverside District is inspiring, artful and electric.

From inspiring restaurants and lounges to art galleries and clothing boutiques, experience non-stop energy at Plant Riverside District. Once an abandoned power plant, the reimagined district represents the beauty of progress with three unique buildings enriched in history.

From chic architecture in the Power Plant to romantic styling in the Three Muses and contemporary maritime accents in the Atlantic, countless details throughout this riverside retreat. Discover live music at Plant Riverside District with performances in its District Live concert hall by renowned artists from all over the world or enjoy exceptional riverside performances under the stars. Soak in the views at Myrtle & Rose Rooftop Garden, experience electrifying cocktails that ignite your soul at our rooftop bar Electric Moon, or savor legendary dishes at the high-end chophouse, Stone & Webster.

With a different scene to discover every visit, it has never been so easy to experience all that Savannah has to offer.

400 W River St, Savannah, GA | 912.373.9100 |

Photos: Tiffany Goggin

Bringing New York Food to Savannah

Whether you’re looking for pastrami on rye or the perfect everything bagel, Bill Vissicchio has you covered.

When it comes to sandwiches, owner of Rocky’s NY Deli and Italian Catering Bill Vissicchio doesn’t mess around. His pastrami and corned beef sandwich is a two-week labor of love made in-house, something that nobody else is doing in Savannah. Actors from The Sopranos are fans of Rocky’s, with Joe Gannascoli creating The Vito Spatafore sandwich (breaded chicken, soppressata, provolone, roasted peppers, arugula, and red wine vinaigrette on a hero) exclusively for the deli.

Vissicchio grew up on Long Island, where he loved learning Italian cooking from his grandmother, and eating roast beef sandwiches from his favorite Italian delis. He has worked in the restaurant business for 35 years. His work brought him to Savannah in 2006, and despite his love of his hometown, he couldn’t be happier here.

In 2016, Vissicchio felt the itch to start a business, so he launched his own Italian catering company. After much success with that, he opened the deli in 2018. The deli, featuring a wide variety of Italian food, has grown year after year, and now Rocky’s is expanding with retail goods, selling cheeses, meats, oils, various desserts, beans, olives, and more.

7360 Skidaway Rd H-3, Savannah | 912.354.2914 |

Photo: Steven Visneau

Take a Joy Ride and Get Away at The Alida Hotel

Nothing is overlooked during a stay at The Alida. Treat yourself to a bottle of bubbly or chocolate-covered strawberries in the comfort of your Riverfront suite and relish all the Hostess City of the South has to offer.

A combination of modern sophistication with Southern hospitality, The Alida is a hotel unlike anything Savannah has seen before. With its location on iconic River Street, fun and entertainment are cobblestone steps away and make the most of your trip to The Alida with our customizable experiences and in-room amenities.

Explore the beautiful city of Savannah in the open-top Alida Moke, or if biking is more your speed, The Alida offers complimentary pedal power to get around town, but if stationary is more your speed, a Peloton Pass ensures bikes be delivered to your room for your health and wellness needs. After a workout, head to the rooftop for drinks and small bites at The Lost Square or meander down and relax at Rhett over coastal favorites for dinner.

Every detail of the hotel has been carefully considered and no two rooms are the same. Whether it’s for a day in the sun, a long weekend escape or a celebration, no matter what your trip to The Alida is for, the experience will be chic, unique, and all about you.

412 Williamson St., Savannah, GA | 912.715.7000 |

Is Tybee calling your name? Perfect for soaking up the sun and escaping the world for a few peaceful days come stay in a little piece of heaven by the Sea.

Beach Living at its Finest at Oceanfront Cottage Rentals

There’s something magical about Tybee Island. The echo of laughs, the smell of the salty ocean air, and the feeling of the sun on your face. Stay with Oceanfront Cottage Rentals and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Oceanfront Cottage Rentals first began offering vacation rentals on Tybee Island in 1997. The first and original “Oceanfront Cottage Rental” vacation home was a directly oceanfront Tybee cottage. With over 24 years of experience offering true Southern hospitality, make the most of your vacation experience with a local team dedicated to exceptional hospitality.

From sunrise to sunset, find out how you can soak up every moment of this paradise. Each spacious home is outfitted with extraordinary amenities, plenty of space, and spectacular views of the Atlantic ocean. Experience the simple luxury of being surrounded by nature, yet a few blocks away from the beach and restaurants that Tybee offers in these sanctuaries by the sea.

When you stay with Oceanfront Cottage Rentals you are not just a guest, you are a friend.

717 1st Street/Hwy 80, Tybee Island, GA | 1800.786.5889 |

Photo: D. Paul Graham

Shake Your Tail Feathers at Jazz’d

When it’s time to kick it up a notch and turn up the romance, look no further than Jazz’d Tapas Bar for a swanky, sultry experience.

Don’t be fooled by the name; Jazz’d features a variety of music from blues and swing to rock and pop to Sinatra and Johnny Mercer-type vocals. Open from Wednesday to Sunday with live music every night and a menu focused on the Americanized version of traditional Spanish tapas.

Per Southern tradition, enjoy mussels or chevre creole tomato dip or for more traditional tapas try the citrus shrimp ceviche or fire roasted tomato bruschetta.

Jazz’d is perfect for a sophisticated night out, or to make merry in the chic, intimate space with its speakeasy vibe. Join the relaxed state of mind, stepping down the stairway and through the doorway finding something truly unique to Savannah.

52 Barnard Street, Savannah | 912.236.7777 |

Photos: Miguel Mightygoodridge

From Savannah Startup to National Name

Talk is cheap. Many brands virtue signal – talking about setting the example, about being a voice for good – but never follow through. Since 2012 the quiet professionals at Nine Line have put their time, money, and energy behind initiatives to set the example for our children to follow and have led from the front in the fight for the American way of life.

In the last decade, Nine Line has grown into the largest veteran owned and operated patriotic apparel brand in America. With multiple store locations in Savannah – on River Street and Fort Argyle Road – and beyond – Charleston, SC and Delray Beach, FL – they are further expanding their retail footprint. An Augusta, GA store will be open in April, and expansion to Key West, FL is in the works for the summer – more locations for customers to experience the brand and support veteran and community initiatives. From first responders and military non-profits to disaster relief, Nine Line is committed to the ongoing support of charitable initiatives that better the communities they serve.

Whether made in the USA, or ethically sourced from countries that pay a living wage, Nine Line Apparel has you covered when it comes to showing off your support for the people who work tirelessly to keep us safe. From apparel & headgear, to backpacks & patriotic homegoods, they offer customers a platform to spend their hard-earned money on apparel that reflects their values. As a lifestyle brand, Nine Line is committed to encouraging others to be their brother’s keeper and answer the call.

Supporting those in need has never looked so good.

Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC and Delray Beach, FL | 912.480.4250 |

Photos: Tiffany Goggin

Choose Your Own Adventure at Salt Island Fish & Beer

Head over to Tybee Island to dine on all this beachy restaurant has to offer.

Salt Island Fish & Beer delivers when it comes to light and fresh beach food made from local ingredients. A restaurant with “beer” in its name better have an amazing selection of the stuff and this place does not disappoint! Owners Emily and Eric Liebtag have created a mouthwatering menu and a gorgeous restaurant a hop, skip and a jump from the water on Tybee Island. Together, the two have more than 20 years of culinary experience. Tybee means “salt” in the Euchee Tribe’s language, a group that lived in the islands in the 14th century. Salt comes in many forms at the restaurant: it’s in the food, the drinks, in the salty water, and in the air.

Some highlights of the menu include: blue crab poutine, Prince Edward Island mussels, brisket grilled cheese, street tacos, country style short ribs, and Salt Island fish stew. One special non-fish dish is kalua pig, a Hawaiian luau food that is smoked, slow roasted, and basted in its own juices. You can also create your own plate by choosing your fish and then picking the seasoning and preparation. The craft beers that are served come from local breweries, and the cocktails menu is crafted as well.

101 Lovell Ave, Tybee Island, GA | 912.499.4279 |

Taco Tuesday Any Day at Jalapeños

Simple flavors are sometimes the best flavors. Jalapenos is open until 10 or later, with vegetarian options, legendary Quesa-Birria tacos, a full bar, and everything in between.

Savannah area’s favorite place for authentic Mexican food for 20 years, Jalapeños offers an extensive menu of traditional and fusion Mexican food with endless choices. With seven locations across the Savannah area, it’s no wonder Jalapeños Mexican Grill is the neighborhood stop for an authentic taco and Patron margarita.

With an extensive menu—all made with a dedication to using locally-sourced ingredients—Jalapeños serves up a wide variety of both traditional and Mexican dishes. Tired of red enchiladas and want some verde love in your life? Covered with queso fresco, you’ll love their Enchiladas Verde. Cutting down on carbs? Try their keto-friendly shrimp and chicken. But it doesn’t stop there. From chimichangas, tacos, and more, every day at Jalapeños is a true Mexican feast! Just be sure to leave room for dessert; who could say no to churros, flan, sopapillas, or the Chimi Cheesecake? The perfect start to Taco Tuesday, couldn’t get any better!

Downtown  |  Southside  | Sandfly  |  Rincon | Whitemarsh  |  Richmond Hill  | Pooler  |  Godley Station | 912.349.6177 |

Effingham County: Everything you Need Just Around the Corner

Enjoy the wide array of shops, restaurants, and wineries along with bountiful options to get out into nature, courtesy of Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.

The towns that lie between the Savannah and Ogeechee rivers are a special place where you can find everything you need just around the corner yet still have your own quiet place to call home. Devoted to growing and bettering the community, the Effingham Chamber, made up of more than 350 member entities that range from small businesses to large, is dedicated to preserving this distinctly Southern, easygoing way of life.

In Effingham, it’s about more than just living and working in a community. When you call Effingham home, you’ll find that’s what you’ll treasure most, with access to and preservation of its natural beauty, and its close-knit hometown identity.

Their goal is to strive toward a healthy “balance of commercial and residential development” to ensure the residents of the county have everything they need for both work and play.

Come discover for yourself the endless beauty and history of Effingham County. Hometown feel, big city opportunity.

Springfield, GA | 912.754.3301 |

Photography: Michael Hrizuk. Portrait: Abri Kruger. Old Town Bluffton Inn owners Vince Harrison, Danielle Harrison, McLean Harrison and their dog Camo.

True Southern Hospitality at Old Town Bluffton Inn

Immerse yourself in the culture of one of the South’s hidden gems. Located in the heart of historic Bluffton, SC, truly connect with one another amid the fine cuisine and festive atmosphere of Old Town. Tranquil and serene. Bright and bold. Elegant and romantic.

In an effort to create something timeless while nodding to the longstanding history of the location, Old Town Bluffton Inn has become a mainstay. The first and only hotel in Old Town has exactly what guests want when they think of a Lowcountry getaway: stately palmettos sway in the salt air, French doors open onto brick porches and breezy balconies, and haint blue ceilings and heirloom furnishings complete this tableau of simple luxury. The building itself stands as a bastion of elegance with every brick, beam, and board demonstrating as much.

Whether guests are enjoying the stately parlor, the balcony overlooking the local entertainment district, or their own private room, this establishment reflects its environment beautifully. Choose from one of the 14 guest rooms that are each uniquely designed through a thoughtfully curated selection of fabrics, finishes, tones and textures. Need the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person? Bequeath them with a night’s stay and the opportunity to explore the small-town, Southern hospitality that Bluffton has to offer. Escape hurried daily life and become immersed in the culture of one of the South’s hidden gems.

1321 May River Rd, Bluffton, SC | 843.707.4045 |

Photos: Tiffany Goggin

Tequila Loves You at Tacos + Tequila

Tequila’s Town merges authentic Mexican food with Tex-Mex cuisine and the results are an enthusiastic, “Dios mio!”

It’s not infrequent that the craving for tacos or chips and guacamole takes hold. With multiple locations in the area, Tequila’s Town and Tacos + Tequila is there to satiate those cravings. Their authentic menu features dishes such as empanadas, burritos, enchiladas, and unique taco salads. The leadership team behind this establishment has over 50 combined years of restaurant experience and strive to make every guest leave thinking they found their new favorite taco joint.

If food isn’t the focal point of the day, turn to the extensive drinks list which includes, but is in no way limited to, margaritas aplenty, no matter if you want an original or a flavor or perhaps one with jalapenos. The list goes on to incorporate other popular drinks like palomas, caipirinhas, and micheladas. Take it to the next level with a marga-rona: a margarita and a Corona all in one! Choose from over 100 different tequilas – and mezcals and sotols – to enhance any beverage, knowing that each bottle was hand-picked by knowledgeable staff. So the next time you get a hankering for chips, queso, and a cold marg, you’ll know just where to go.

Tequila’s Town | 109 Whitaker Street, Savannah | Tacos + Tequila | 1611 Habersham Street, Savannah | 912.236.3222 |

The Avenue of Oaks on South Boundary, experience the “horse life”, Rye Patch and Main Street Shopping / Photography courtesy City of Aiken, SC

Aiken, South Carolina

South Carolina’s “Thoroughbred Country”

From tailgating at the steeplechase to watching a polo game to enjoying equine competitions of all kinds, you too can experience the “horse life” of Aiken, SC. The historic equine district in Aiken is true to its roots where the horses rule the road and barns and stables dot the landscape. The charm of downtown Aiken is not be missed with its outdoor art and wide parkways. Add Aiken to your 2023 bucket-list trips.

A railroad town back in 1835, Aiken, SC has the perfect mix of small town southern charm and sophistication. Thoroughbred racing, steeplechases and polo live through the town’s roots, and they are one of very few cities that have two polo seasons. Aiken also boasts one of the largest urban forests in the country, Hitchcock Woods, about three times the size of Central Park in New York, and beloved by visitors and locals alike. The downtown streets are lined with unique locally owned shops and eateries along with the Alley, the center of Aiken nightlife. Stop by the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame or the Train Museum. For more outdoor activities, take a stroll through Hopelands Garden and the Arboretum Trail or simply take in the beauty at The Avenue of Oaks on South Boundary.

The perfect Southern travel destination with something for everyone, and be sure to keep some time for Aiken art and culture scene.

For more information, call 803.644.1907 or go to

Photo: D. Paul Graham

Slow-cooked Staples at Wiley’s Championship BBQ

BBQ champion and veteran Wiley McCrary began his first catering business in Atlanta in 1983, cooking for large and small events with an emphasis on BBQ and grilling.

In 2005 McCrary fulfilled a lifelong dream of moving to Savannah and the catering business morphed into Wiley’s Championship BBQ in 2008.

It did not take long for Wiley’s to get noticed, and in 2010 they began to collect ‘best of’ accolades from all over the South —  America National BBQ, Savannah Morning News Reader’s Choice, and Explore Georgia named Wiley’s the “Best Barbecue Joint in Georgia” — to name just a few.

After handing over ownership reigns to Nate Shaffer — Savannah’s veritable champion of barbecue who needs no introduction — Wiley’s legacy continued strong in East Savannah, winning even more accolades, including five ‘180’ pins, (indicating a rarely awarded perfect score on the competition circuit), a fact that was showcased on CNN’s documentary Hog Heaven. To top it all off, Wiley’s has been named #1 in Georgia and #4 in the U.S. by Tripadvisor.

With two Southern Pride SPK smoking pits that hold 700 pounds of meat each, everyone knows that Wiley’s will continue their storied legacy of providing award winning BBQ. So let South’s Face of Championship BBQ serve you up some gold on a plate, and leave you with a taste of savory St. Louis style BBQ and a side of sweet victory.

4700 Highway 80, E. Savannah, GA | 912.201.3259 |

Photos: D. Paul Graham

Keep the Whole Crowd Happy at Congress Street Social Club

Savannah’s worst kept secret has everything guests need to pump up the party or simply relax and take a load off.

Congress Street Social Club is nestled on, you guessed it, Congress Street and stands as Savannah’s “unofficial Uber drop-off spot” but it’s so much more than just that. Offering a wide array of drinks – from cocktails and craft Georgia beer to an extensive bourbon list – this establishment will keep anyone happy, no matter their beverage of choice. On Saturdays and Sundays, indulge in $4 double mimosas and enjoy the weekend the way it’s supposed to be spent.

With Spring in full swing, it’s no surprise that everyone will want a patio to enjoy the weather. Look no further; Social has the patio space dreams are made of. The beer garden, complete with a live oak tree to remind guests of just where they are, is an inclusive space for anyone and everyone. Even dogs (as long as they don’t get too friendly with the oak tree) are allowed on the patio!

Come for leisurely drinks in the garden but stay for the late-night grill. Social serves food until 3am, so dig in to that beer brat or burger you’ve been craving all day. To top it off, there’s often live music from a variety of genres that grace their stages. It suddenly makes sense why this is Savannah’s worst kept secret.

411 West Congress, Savannah, GA | 912. 238.1985 |

Photo: John Alexander

Say Sláinte Year Round at McDonough’s Restaurant & Lounge

Partake in goodhearted shenanigans and start or end your night at McDonough’s! Or both! We won’t tell.

When a bar is considered a local favorite that also endears itself to visitors, it’s sure to be an instant hit.

A well-known spot during St. Patrick’s Day festivities, the lounge is also a place to meet up for a beer, watch the game in front of one of the 32 TVs, or sing your heart out during karaoke, any time of the year.

McDonough’s offers an extensive menu, featuring everything from Irish egg rolls to fried fish and a variety of burgers. The kitchen even stays open until 2am so if you’re hankering for some Celtic inspired cuisine after some dancing, McDonough’s has you covered.

Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 2-6pm and karaoke at the “Best Karaoke Bar in Savannah” happens Thursday through Monday starting at 9pm. Round up a few friends and head to McDonough’s to make even more!

21 E McDonough Street, Savannah | 912-233-6136 |

Deep Sea & Off Shore Fishing

Charter your next sea-worthy adventure with the guidance of knowledgeable professionals in the quest for finding a really “big fish.”

For over 50 years, Captain Judy and her team have provided unforgettable fishing experiences around Savannah, Tybee, and adjacent waters. Offering both inshore and offshore excursions, each trip is customized to meet the needs of each angler. No matter if clients have only ever caught seaweed before or if they’re an expert fish-whisperer, Captain Judy can guarantee fun for all. Their floating fleet is outfitted with the newest technology and accommodations and bait and tackle is provided. Guests will have everything they need to valiantly pluck a fine specimen from the deep and revel in their success.

124 Palmetto Drive, Savannah, GA | 912.897.4921 |

Photo: John Alexander

Gourmet Bistro: Touch of Home

Great food, desserts, and wine, oh my! Everything that you’d expect from a cozy, corner bistro, and then some, at the Wright Square Bistro.

A charming European bistro might be a far commute for most Savannahians, but look no further than the Wright Square Bistro. Dedicated to making its guests feel like they’re at home, having a nice luncheon with friends or reading a good book. Wright Square’s menu names many of the dishes after owners’ Michael Higgins and Tod Whitaker’s beloved Corgis. Delight in the Clark, a roast beef sandwich named so because Clark himself is “a beefy guy,” the chicken sandwich Gertrude because she can be “a little bit of a chicken,” or a grilled cheese named after Fredo who could be very “cheesy.” With a distinctly Southern flair, the Wright Square Bistro has something to satisfy every appetite.

21 W York Street | Savannah, GA | 912.238.1150 |

“Places to Love” at Coastal Heritage Society

Bringing Savannah’s past and present to life.

The mission of Georgia’s Coastal Heritage Society (CHS) is to provide educational experiences for the public through the preservation and presentation of the historic resources of coastal Georgia and its adjacent regions. A 501(c)3 nonprofit founded in 1975, CHS operates six historic museums for adults, kids, and families to explore as well as special events to immerse guests in the South’s unique culture!

Stop by Savannah History Museum to see the important role Savannah played in the American Revolution in a fun and immersive way, or to learn about the conservation of the 17 Revolutionary War-era cannons found in the Savannah River, delve into Pin Point’s rich and important history at Pin Point Heritage Museum, highlighted in Samantha Brown’s Savannah episode of “Places to Love,” or join in the fun at Savannah Children’s Museum for Homeschool Afternoons, Little Learners, and so much more!

303 MLK Jr Blvd, Savannah, GA | 912.65.6840 |

Photo: Michael Hrizuk

A Fresh Take on Farm-to-Fork at a.Lure

a.Lure believes that “if you want a real, home-cooked, Lowcountry meal, its ingredients should be just as Southern as the dish itself.”

Culinarily speaking, staple dishes become classics when a recipe is as perfectly devised as possible. But who’s to say that these classics can’t take on a new life that lends itself to natural, local agriculture? Daniel Berman is doing just that, with Lowcountry classics and local seafood at a.Lure.

Located in downtown Savannah on West Congress Street, a.Lure features a rustic, modern atmosphere in which to get comfortable and savor dishes such as crab cakes or rabbit ravioli. For the main course, enjoy a Lowcountry boil, a filet mignon or their take on meatloaf.

a.Lure’s farm-to-fork attitude doesn’t end with the food. Try a famous signature Nuts & Grains Manhattan, voted best cocktail in the state of Georgia by Food Network Magazine, and to round out the evening, dig in to one of their house-made desserts.

309 West Congress Street | 912.233.2111 |

Photo: Tiffany Goggin

Enjoy artful relaxation at Andaz Savannah

With its urban vibe and new South sophistication, enjoy locally inspired experiences and the friendliest staff in the city.

A boutique World of Hyatt hotel nestled in Ellis Square, this is the perfect homebase for exploring the city, starting with its showstopping Ellis Square Suites, where guests can relax and watch the world go by through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Recharge at the chic yet simple 22 Square Restaurant and enjoy a feast made of farm-to-table ingredients from Executive Chef Ryan Connors, or set up your night for fun with crafted cocktails at 22 Square Bar.

As a terrific host, Andaz brings guests a rare chance to be a pampered visitor and a total insider. Staying at the Andaz, you’re exactly where you want to be, immersed in modern sophistication.

14 Barnard St, Savannah, GA | 912.233.2116 |

Photo: D. Paul Graham

Skol at Debellation Brewing Co

An outlet for your love of all things Viking, look no further than Debellation Brewing in Richmond Hill. Face paint welcomed.

Ready to let loose, throw back a beer and revel in a lively, friendly environment? Located in Richmond Hill, Debellation Brewing began with the intent to honor the founders’ ancestral roots, while also honoring veterans and first responders. Discover new styles of beer (ever had a Berzerker Viking Sahti?) that use locally sourced ingredients and often harken back to age old recipes. Try beers like a Molten Mango Pepper Pale Ale or a Draugr Black IPA on nitro.

The real heroes of this operation are the staff of Debellation. David Goodell, owner and mster brewer, describes them as engaging, fun and spontaneous. “We pour beer and have a good time.” Debellation may have a small staff but they’re doing a lot of big things, from trivia to karaoke and live music in between.

Stop by for the beer, stay for the high-spirited, easygoing surroundings!

822 Longwood Dr., Richmond Hill, GA | 912.445.4282 |


Find the Dark Side of the Moon. Party people and aliens alike: Eclipse in downtown Savannah is ready to light up your night.

Dancing, playing pool, catching up with friends – enough to make anyone thirsty, but when it’s live music, DJs, and weekly events and specials, anyone is bound to get hungry as well. Eclipse, in the heart of downtown Savannah, has it all.

Enjoy a signature cocktail while listening to a live band or DJ or make your own music and join Eclipse for karaoke on Wednesdays. Their daily menu features Eclipse egg rolls and Orion’s nachos, and also serves late night snacks like cheese bites, wings, and sandwiches. Hungry night owls rejoice!

With three floors, Eclipse is a hotspot to let loose on the weekends, join Eclipse for an unforgettable, out-of-this-world night!

127 West Congress Street, Savannah | 912.665.3326 |

Want more? See the entire list of South’s Greatest places to eat, play, stay & shop in the coastal south, 2023.

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