Hiking and Biking
Though hiking in Savannah and the Lowcountry is largely a 2-D experience given the flatness of the terrain, there are plenty of good nature trails from which to observe the area’s rich flora and fauna up close. My favorite trails are at Skidaway Island State Park (52 Diamond Causeway, 912/598-2300, www.gastateparks.org, daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m., $2 per vehicle daily parking fee).
The three-mile Big Ferry Trail is the best overall experience, taking you out to a wooden viewing tower from which you can see the vast expanse of the Skidaway Narrows. A detour takes you past a Native American shell midden, Confederate earthworks, and even a rusty old still—a nod to Skidaway Island’s former notoriety as a bootlegger’s sanctuary. The shorter but still fun Sandpiper Trail is wheelchair-accessible.
An interesting, if hardly challenging, trail is the McQueen Island Trail, more commonly known as “Rails to Trails.” This paved, palm-lined walking trail along the Savannah River was built on the old bed of the Savannah-to-Tybee railroad, which operated during Tybee’s heyday as a major East Coast vacation spot in the 1930s and ’40s. To get there, cross the long, low Bull River Bridge and take an immediate left into the small parking area, being very mindful of fast-moving inbound traffic on U.S. 80.
Most biking activity centers on Tybee Island, with the McQueen Island Trail being a popular and simple ride. Many locals like to load up their bikes and go to Fort Pulaski (912/786-5787, www.nps.gov, open every day except Christmas, fort hours 8:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m., visitors center 9 a.m.–5 p.m., $2 per person 17 and up). From the grounds you can ride all over scenic and historic Cockspur Island.
It’s not a strenuous ride, but pedaling around the idyllic little neighborhoods of Isle of Hope is relaxing fun.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition