Family weekend getaways typically bode well during the warmer months. It’s a no-brainer: The better the weather, the more options. Yet, as the summer winds down and temperatures begin cooling, it’s prime time to pile into the minivan.
Savannah’s history practically oozes from its cobblestone streets and signature squares. A batch of three downtown museums known as Tricentennial Park serves as a one-stop shop for a Savannah legacy lesson. The Savannah History Museum & Battlefield Memorial Park schools visitors on the city, beginning in 1733 all the way to today. Inside you’ll find the park bench Tom Hanks rested on while filming Forrest Gump. Walk across the street and step foot into Battlefield Memorial Park, the site of the American Revolution Battle of Savannah. Hop aboard an old-school steam engine or diesel locomotive for a ride at the Georgia State Railroad Museum. Younger kiddos can go wild at the Savannah Children’s Museum with its outdoor interactive activities.
Approximately a ninety-minute drive from Savannah, Jekyll Island blends natural wonders and edutainment with family fun. Head straight to Driftwood Beach located on Jekyll’s north end, where massive, twisted skeletons of driftwood dominate. Children often scale the trees like playground equipment, while couples are known to tie the knot amid the unique surroundings. Sea turtles who are hurt or under the weather get the help they need at the nearby Georgia Sea Turtle Center. Learn sea turtle facts and more at the interactive exhibit gallery. Then walk next door to the rehabilitation pavilion where the patients recuperate in tanks. Elsewhere on Jekyll, mini golf games, slides at the seasonal water park, and play and relaxation on the sprawling beach are just a few of the other opportunities that await.
Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
It’s a virtual safari at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, a 170-acre destination in Columbia, SC. More than 2,000 animals, from the African western lowland gorilla to the Australian red-necked wallaby, call Riverbanks home. Its 20,000 square-foot aquarium reptile complex houses a variety of creatures. Get close with an eastern diamondback rattlesnake or king cobra. Sharks join moray eels and other underwater critters in the 55,000-gallon Pacific coral reef tank. The botanical garden features an array of flora, not to mention Waterfall Junction, a three-acre play area, with a twenty-five-foot waterfall. Special paid attractions include the opportunity to feed giraffes, hop on a carousel, ride ponies, scale a rock wall, and zip line over the Saluda River.
Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park
The folks behind this gargantuan web of ropes, ladders, and bridges describe it as “a jungle gym suspended thirty-five feet in the air.” At Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park, guests swing, climb, and scale their way through this challenging experience. Those ages four to nine can handle the entry level Explorer’s Gateway, which takes them fifteen feet above the ground. Moderate thrills can be had on the Big Sky Challenge. Things get trickier on Holy City Heights with its tight wires and swinging bridges. Wild Blue Yonder finds guests swinging and climbing from one part of the course to the next.
As the fall arrives, be sure not to miss these family weekend getaways perfect for travel in Georgia and South Carolina.