Savannah Car Rental in Savannah, GA: The Ultimate Guide to Exploring the City on Wheels

Are you planning a trip to the charming city of Savannah, GA? Look no further for your transportation needs! In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of Savannah car rentals, providing you with all the information you need to make the most out of your visit. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie, having a rental car in Savannah will give you the freedom and flexibility to explore everything this beautiful city has to offer.

From the iconic cobblestone streets of the Historic District to the breathtaking beauty of Forsyth Park, Savannah is a city that begs to be discovered. And what better way to embark on your Savannah adventure than with a reliable and affordable rental car? In this article, we will guide you through the process of renting a car in Savannah, highlighting the best rental agencies, providing tips on navigating the city, and even suggesting some must-visit destinations that are easily accessible by car.

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Choosing the Right Rental Agency

Summary: Learn about the top car rental agencies in Savannah, their offerings, and customer reviews to make an informed choice for your rental needs.

1. Researching Rental Agencies

When it comes to choosing the right rental agency in Savannah, it’s important to do your research. Start by browsing online and reading reviews to get a sense of the reputation and customer satisfaction of different rental companies. Look for agencies that have a wide selection of vehicles, competitive prices, and positive feedback from previous customers.

Additionally, consider factors such as the location of rental agencies. Are they conveniently located near the airport or in the city center? This can make a difference in terms of accessibility and ease of picking up and returning your rental car.

2. Comparing Prices and Rental Policies

Once you’ve narrowed down your options to a few rental agencies, take the time to compare prices and rental policies. Look for any hidden fees or additional charges that may be included in the rental agreement. Some agencies may offer lower base rates but tack on extra costs for insurance or mileage, so be sure to read the fine print.

Consider your specific needs as well. Do you require a specific type of vehicle, such as an SUV or a convertible? Make sure the rental agency offers the options you’re looking for. Additionally, check the rental duration and any restrictions on mileage or geographical boundaries if you plan on taking day trips outside of Savannah.

3. Customer Reviews and Recommendations

Before making your final decision, take the time to read customer reviews and recommendations for the rental agencies you’re considering. These reviews can provide valuable insights into the overall customer experience, including the quality of vehicles, customer service, and the efficiency of the rental process.

Consider reaching out to friends, family, or fellow travelers who have visited Savannah and ask for their recommendations. They may have firsthand experience with rental agencies in the area and can provide valuable insights and advice.

Understanding Rental Car Insurance

Summary: Navigate the world of rental car insurance options, understand what coverage you need, and how to avoid unnecessary expenses.

1. Rental Car Insurance Options

When renting a car in Savannah, it’s important to understand your options for rental car insurance. Many rental agencies offer their own insurance coverage, but you may already be covered by your personal auto insurance or credit card benefits.

Before deciding on rental car insurance, review your personal auto insurance policy to see if it extends coverage to rental cars. Additionally, check with your credit card company to determine if they provide any insurance benefits for rental cars. Knowing your existing coverage can help you avoid unnecessary expenses.

2. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

One of the most common types of rental car insurance is the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). This coverage protects you from financial liability in case of damage to the rental car. However, it’s important to note that CDW may not cover all types of damage, such as damage to tires or glass.

Consider your comfort level with assuming the risk of potential damage and weigh the cost of the CDW against the potential expenses you may incur if an accident were to occur. If you have comprehensive coverage on your personal auto insurance policy, you may already be protected.

3. Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is another important aspect to consider when renting a car. This coverage protects you in case you cause damage to another person’s property or injure someone in an accident. While liability insurance is typically required by law, rental agencies may offer additional coverage options to increase your liability limits.

Review your personal auto insurance policy to determine if it includes liability coverage and check with your rental agency to see if they provide any supplemental options. It’s important to ensure that you have adequate liability coverage to protect yourself and your assets.

4. Personal Accident Insurance

Personal Accident Insurance covers medical expenses in case of an accident while operating the rental car. However, it’s important to note that you may already have medical coverage through your personal health insurance or travel insurance policy.

Before opting for Personal Accident Insurance, review your existing coverage and consider whether additional coverage is necessary. If you have adequate health insurance, you may not need this additional expense.

5. Roadside Assistance

Another aspect of rental car insurance to consider is Roadside Assistance. This coverage provides assistance in case of mechanical breakdowns, flat tires, or other non-accident-related issues. Having roadside assistance can provide peace of mind and ensure that you’re not left stranded in case of an emergency.

However, before purchasing roadside assistance from the rental agency, check if you already have coverage through your auto insurance or through a membership with organizations such as AAA. Duplicate coverage can lead to unnecessary expenses.

Navigating Savannah’s Streets

Summary: Get insider tips and tricks for driving in Savannah, including parking information, traffic rules, and the best routes to explore the city.

1. Getting Acquainted with Savannah’s Layout

Before hitting the road in Savannah, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the city’s layout. Savannah is divided into several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and attractions. The Historic District is the heart of the city, with its iconic squares, cobblestone streets, and historic buildings. Other noteworthy neighborhoods include the Victorian District, Ardsley Park, and Starland District.

Take some time to study a map of Savannah and plan your routes accordingly. Familiarize yourself with the major streets and highways, as well as any one-way streets or restricted areas that may impact your navigation.

2. Parking in Savannah

While exploring Savannah, finding parking can sometimes be a challenge, especially in popular areas such as the Historic District. However, with a little patience and planning, you can find convenient parking options.

Street parking is available throughout the city, but be sure to check for any restrictions or time limits. Pay attention to signage and metered parking spots, and keep spare change on hand for the meters. It’s also worth considering parking in a parking garage or utilizing public parking lots, especially if you plan on spending an extended amount of time in one area.

3. Traffic Rules and Regulations

When driving in Savannah, it’s important to follow the traffic rules and regulations to ensure a safe and smooth journey. Some key rules to keep in mind include:

– Obeying the speed limits: The speed limits in Savannah can vary, so be sure to pay attention to the posted signs and adjust your speed accordingly.

– Yielding to pedestrians: Savannah is known for its pedestrian-friendly streets, so always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections.

– Using turn signals: Signal your intentions when changing lanes or making turns to communicate with other drivers on the road.

– Avoiding distracted driving: It’s illegal to use a handheld device while driving in Georgia, so keep your focus on the road and refrain from texting or making calls without a hands-free device.

4. Scenic Drives and Must-Visit Destinations

One of the advantages of having a rental car in Savannah is the ability to embark on scenic drives and explore the surrounding areas. Here are a few must-visit destinations that are easily accessible by car:

4.1. Bonaventure Cemetery

Escape the city and visit the hauntingly beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery, located just a short drive from the Historic District. This historic cemetery is famous for its stunning oak trees, intricate gravestones, and its connection to the book and movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

4.2. Wormsloe Historic Site

Experience the allure of Savannah’s history at the Wormsloe Historic Site. Drive down the picturesque oak-lined avenue and explore the ruins of the colonial estate. Don’t forget to take a stroll along the nature trails to admire the scenic marsh views.

4.3. Skidaway Island State Park

For nature lovers, a visit to Skidaway Island State Park is a must. Located just a short drive from downtown Savannah,this park offers miles of hiking trails, scenic views of the salt marsh, and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. Take a leisurely drive through the park and make stops along the way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

4.4. Tybee Island

A trip to Savannah wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Tybee Island. Hop in your rental car and take a short drive to this charming beach town. Enjoy a day of sun, sand, and surf, or explore the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum for a glimpse into the island’s maritime history.

4.5. Historic Beaufort

Just across the state line in South Carolina, you’ll find the historic city of Beaufort. Take a scenic drive over the Savannah River and immerse yourself in the rich history and Southern charm of Beaufort. Stroll along the waterfront, admire the antebellum architecture, and indulge in delicious Lowcountry cuisine.

Exploring the Historic District

Summary: Discover the rich history of Savannah by car, from the stunning architecture to the famous squares and landmarks that make this district a must-visit.

1. Driving through the Historic District

The Historic District of Savannah is a treasure trove of history, featuring stunning architecture, well-preserved landmarks, and picturesque squares. While walking is a popular way to explore this area, driving through the district can provide a unique perspective and allow you to cover more ground.

As you drive through the Historic District, take your time to admire the beautifully restored homes, ranging from Federal-style mansions to charming row houses. Keep an eye out for notable landmarks such as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the Mercer Williams House, and the Owens-Thomas House. Be sure to stop and explore some of the famous squares, such as Chippewa Square or Wright Square, which are known for their beauty and historical significance.

2. Forsyth Park

No visit to Savannah is complete without a visit to Forsyth Park. Located in the Historic District, this 30-acre park is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Drive to the park and find a parking spot nearby to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of this urban oasis.

Take a leisurely stroll through the park, admiring the iconic Forsyth Park Fountain, which was inspired by Parisian fountains. Relax on the lush green lawns, have a picnic, or simply soak in the atmosphere. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a live music performance or an art festival taking place in the park.

3. River Street

After exploring the Historic District, take a drive down to River Street, Savannah’s bustling waterfront area. Park your rental car nearby and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of this historic street.

Walk along the cobblestone streets, lined with old cotton warehouses that have been converted into restaurants, shops, and galleries. Enjoy stunning views of the Savannah River and watch as cargo ships and riverboats pass by. Sample some local cuisine, browse through unique boutiques, and soak in the rich maritime history of the area.

4. City Market

Conveniently located in the heart of the Historic District, City Market is a vibrant hub of entertainment, dining, and shopping. Drive to City Market and find parking nearby to explore this lively area.

Stroll through the open-air market, where local artists and vendors display their wares. Enjoy live music performances, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, or sample some of Savannah’s famous pralines. With its lively atmosphere and charming shops, City Market is a must-visit destination in the Historic District.

Venturing into Nature: Tybee Island

Summary: Escape the city and head to the picturesque Tybee Island, just a short drive from Savannah, where beautiful beaches and outdoor activities await.

1. The Beaches of Tybee Island

Tybee Island is known for its pristine sandy beaches, making it the perfect destination for beach lovers. Hop in your rental car and take a short drive to Tybee Island to enjoy a day of sun, surf, and relaxation.

Head to South Beach, the most popular beach on the island, and find a spot to spread out your beach towel. Take a refreshing swim in the Atlantic Ocean, build sandcastles with the kids, or simply lounge under the shade of an umbrella. Don’t forget to explore the nearby Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion, where you can take in panoramic views of the coastline.

2. Outdoor Activities on Tybee Island

While the beaches are the main draw of Tybee Island, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy as well. Drive to Tybee Island and explore the natural beauty of the area.

Embark on a kayaking adventure through the marshes and waterways surrounding the island, or rent bicycles and explore the scenic bike paths. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at paddleboarding or jet skiing. Tybee Island offers a wide range of outdoor activities to suit every interest and skill level.

3. Tybee Island Light Station and Museum

For a dose of history and stunning views, make a stop at the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. Drive to the lighthouse and park your car nearby to explore this historic landmark.

Climb the 178 steps to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the island and the surrounding area. Visit the museum to learn about the rich maritime history of Tybee Island and the role played by the lighthouse in guiding ships along the coast. Don’t forget to snap a few photos of this iconic symbol of Tybee Island.

Uncovering Savannah’s Hidden Gems

Summary: Go off the beaten path and explore some lesser-known attractions in Savannah that are best reached by car, including charming neighborhoods and local favorites.

1. Ardsley Park

Escape the crowds and explore the charming neighborhood of Ardsley Park. Located just south of the Historic District, Ardsley Park is known for its tree-lined streets, historic homes, and picturesque squares.

Take a leisurely drive through the neighborhood and admire the architectural beauty of the homes, which range from Colonial Revival to Craftsman-style. Be sure to stop and explore Hull Park, a hidden gem nestled within the neighborhood, which offers walking trails, a playground, and a tranquil pond.

2. Isle of Hope

For a peaceful retreat from the city, drive to the Isle of Hope, a scenic residential area located south of downtown Savannah. This historic neighborhood is known for its beautiful waterfront views, moss-draped oak trees, and charming cottages.

Take a leisurely drive along Bluff Drive, a picturesque road that winds along the waterfront and offers stunning views of the Skidaway River. Stop at the Wormsloe Historic Site and explore the ruins of the colonial estate, or have a picnic at the Isle of Hope Marina and enjoy the serene surroundings.

3. Savannah’s Secret Gardens

Savannah is home to several secret gardens and hidden green spaces that are worth discovering. Drive to these hidden gems and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Visit the Fragrant Garden at the Isaiah Davenport House Museum, a hidden oasis filled with aromatic herbs and flowers. Explore the Trustees’ Garden, a historic site that was once a experimental garden for growing crops in the 18th century. Stroll through the Bamboo Farm and Coastal Gardens, a tranquil retreat filled with bamboo groves, camellias, and other native plants.

Embracing the Foodie Scene

Summary: Indulge your taste buds and embark on a culinary adventure through Savannah’s vibrant food scene, with recommendations for the best restaurants and food tours.

1. Southern Cuisine Delights

Savannah is known for its mouthwatering Southern cuisine, and no visit to the city is complete without indulging in some local delicacies. Drive to some of the best restaurants in the area and savor the flavors of the South.

Try classic Southern dishes such as shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, or Savannah-style crab cakes. Don’t forget to sample some authentic Southern barbecue, with tender pulled pork and tangy sauces. Visit local favorites like Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, The Olde Pink House, or The Grey for a true taste of Savannah’s culinary heritage.

2. Food Tours and Culinary Experiences

To truly immerse yourself in Savannah’s food scene, consider taking a food tour or participating in a culinary experience. Drive to the starting point of the tour or experience and get ready to embark on a gastronomic adventure.

Join a walking food tour that takes you to some of the city’s best eateries, where you can sample a variety of dishes and learn about the history and culture behind each one. Alternatively, sign up for a cooking class or a food and wine pairing experience to learn the secrets of Southern cooking from local chefs.

3. Farmers’ Markets and Local Producers

For a taste of Savannah’s local produce and artisanal products, visit one ofthe city’s farmers’ markets or seek out local producers. Drive to these vibrant marketplaces and discover a world of fresh flavors and unique products.

Visit the Forsyth Farmers’ Market, held every Saturday in Forsyth Park, where you can find a wide array of locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as homemade baked goods, artisanal cheeses, and handcrafted items. Explore the City Market Art Center, where local artists display their work and you can find unique souvenirs to take home.

Don’t forget to support local breweries and distilleries, such as Southbound Brewing Company or Ghost Coast Distillery, where you can sample craft beers and spirits made right here in Savannah.

Day Trips from Savannah

Summary: Discover the surrounding areas of Savannah and take day trips to nearby cities and attractions, such as Hilton Head Island and the historic city of Beaufort.

1. Hilton Head Island

Just a short drive from Savannah, Hilton Head Island offers a perfect day trip destination. Hop in your rental car and cross the state line into South Carolina to explore this beautiful island.

Enjoy the pristine beaches, go golfing on one of the many championship golf courses, or take a leisurely bike ride along the scenic trails. Visit Harbour Town, known for its iconic lighthouse and charming shops, or explore the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, where you can spot a variety of bird species and other wildlife.

2. Historic Beaufort

Located just across the state line in South Carolina, the historic city of Beaufort is a gem waiting to be discovered. Drive to Beaufort and immerse yourself in the rich history and Southern charm of this coastal town.

Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, lined with antebellum homes and picturesque views of the Beaufort River. Explore the historic district, with its beautifully preserved architecture and charming shops and restaurants. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a guided tour of some of the famous movie locations, as Beaufort has served as the backdrop for films such as “The Big Chill” and “Forrest Gump.”

3. Oatland Island Wildlife Center

For a unique day trip experience, drive to the Oatland Island Wildlife Center, located just outside of Savannah. This 175-acre nature preserve is home to a variety of native animals and offers educational programs and interactive exhibits.

Take a self-guided tour along the trails and see animals such as wolves, alligators, and birds of prey in their natural habitats. Visit the Wolf Wilderness exhibit, where you can observe the social dynamics of a wolf pack, or explore the marsh boardwalk for a chance to spot marsh birds and other wildlife.

Tips for Renting a Car on a Budget

Summary: Save money on your Savannah car rental with these budget-friendly tips, including booking strategies, discounts, and avoiding unnecessary fees.

1. Book in Advance

One of the best ways to save money on your car rental in Savannah is to book in advance. Rental rates tend to increase as the pick-up date approaches, so make sure to secure your reservation as early as possible. By booking ahead, you’ll have a better chance of finding lower rates and more vehicle options.

2. Compare Rental Agencies

Don’t settle for the first rental agency you come across. Take the time to compare rates and offerings from different agencies to find the best deal. Utilize online platforms and comparison websites to easily compare prices, read reviews, and find exclusive discounts and promotions.

3. Consider Off-Airport Locations

Renting a car from an off-airport location can often result in lower rates compared to renting from the airport. Consider picking up your rental car from a location near your hotel or in the city center to potentially save on airport fees and surcharges.

4. Check for Discounts and Coupons

Before booking your rental car, check for any discounts or coupons that may be available. Many rental agencies offer special promotions for AAA members, military personnel, or frequent travelers. Additionally, some credit cards offer rental car insurance or discounts as a cardholder benefit, so be sure to check with your credit card company.

5. Avoid Additional Fees

Be mindful of additional fees that can quickly add up. For example, returning your rental car late or not refilling the gas tank can result in hefty charges. Take the time to read the rental agreement carefully and familiarize yourself with the agency’s policies to avoid any unnecessary fees.

Returning Your Rental Car

Summary: Ensure a smooth return process for your rental car by following these guidelines, including filling up the gas tank, checking for damages, and returning on time.

1. Fill Up the Gas Tank

Before returning your rental car, make sure to fill up the gas tank. Most rental agencies require that you return the car with a full tank of gas, or they may charge you a higher rate for refueling the vehicle. Plan your route accordingly and locate a gas station near the drop-off location to avoid any last-minute stress.

2. Check for Damages

Before returning the rental car, carefully inspect it for any damages. Take note of any scratches, dents, or other issues and inform the rental agency if you notice anything out of the ordinary. Taking photos or videos of the car’s condition can serve as evidence in case of any disputes regarding damages.

3. Return on Time

Return the rental car on time to avoid any late fees or additional charges. Plan your day accordingly and allow for ample time to drop off the car and complete any necessary paperwork. If you anticipate any delays, notify the rental agency in advance to make alternative arrangements if possible.

In conclusion, renting a car in Savannah, GA is the perfect way to explore the city and its surroundings at your own pace. With this ultimate guide, you now have all the tools and information you need to make the most out of your Savannah adventure. So buckle up, hit the road, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in this enchanting southern gem!