When visiting coastal Georgia, Forsyth Park is a must-do family friendly, leashed-pet welcome urban park that encompasses 30 acres in the heart of Savannah’s historic district.
- Looking for more travel tips? Head to this detailed guide on things to do in Savannah, Georgia.
Savannah’s council officially created Forsyth Park in 1851, but it traces its history to the 1840s, with its origins rooted in the leisure activities of the city’s wealthier inhabitants. Today, it is enjoyed by many locals and tourists alike.
With plentiful benches to sit and relax in the shade and do some people watching, Forsyth Park is a hub of activity in the historic area of downtown Savannah. On weekends, it’s not unusual to share the park with picnickers, slackliners, skateboarders, dog walkers, parents pushing babies in strollers, and even a few brides as they take their last walk as single women down sun-dappled walkways beneath Spanish moss-draped trees.
The park is bordered by Park, Drayton, Whitaker, and Gaston streets, and is home to the Confederate Memorial, a half shell theatre, tennis courts, basketball courts, a cafe, two playgrounds, and ample room for sporting activities and musical events.
Visitors might even try their hand at playing Kubb, one of my favorite lawn games. However, people from all over come to see its most famous asset: the Forsyth Fountain
The Forsyth Fountain
Perhaps the most well-known feature of Forsyth Park is the large fountain that sits at the north end of the park. The fountain was constructed in 1858 and models the fountain found at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France.
Plenty of benches are located all around the perimeter of the fountain. On any given day, visitors can find many people relaxing, taking in the scenery, and watching other people strolling and enjoying the park.
Every year on St. Patrick’s Day the city of Savannah dyes the water in the fountain green. The ceremony when the water is dyed is a popular event attended by thousands of Savannah locals.
As the most recognized symbol in Savannah, Forsyth Park’s fountain is a much sought-after wedding location. The fountain area is so popular that brides need to book a full year ahead of the wedding date. It’s clear why the fountain is the most desired setting for weddings: the walk to the fountain is lined with large live oak trees, the backdrop scenery is stunningly beautiful, and it exudes elegance and southern charm with all of the Spanish moss gently swaying in the breeze.
For other city-specific itineraries, you might want to check out this site to see what’s happening in other cities around the country.
The Garden of Fragrance
Open only on weekday mornings and early afternoons, this small, enclosed garden in the west of Forsyth Park is easy to overlook but it is worth a visit. The garden was created in the early 1960s as a space for people with visual impairments, its scented and textured plants chosen to appeal to the other senses. Today, it’s a small but pretty garden, filled with scented flowers and plants. Quiet and secluded, the garden provides a peaceful respite from the rest of the sometimes bustling park.
Inside the garden, raised plant beds surround a central lawn, from which a small fountain adds a peaceful ambiance alongside the sweet fragrance of the flowers. A gazebo-shaded bench provides a place to sit and enjoy the beauty of nature. The plants in the Garden of Fragrance include varieties of roses, lilies, irises, violets and rhododendrons. Their names are supplied in English, Latin and Braille.
There are several monuments within Forsyth Park, including the Confederate Memorial, which pays homage to honored local Civil War veterans as well as those who had lost their lives in the bloody conflict.
One of the largest Confederate monuments stands in Savannah’s Forsyth Park, where her soldiers drilled before marching off to war. This impressive monument features a bronze soldier in Confederate uniform standing atop a sandstone base, facing north, following the long-standing tradition of placing a statue to face his enemy.
There are two busts of Savannah Civil War heroes within the iron fence that surrounds the monument. One is a tribute to Major General Lafayette McLaws, a division commander in the 1st Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. The second memorializes Brigadier General Francis S. Bartow, who was killed at the first Battle of Bull Run, leading the first Savannah company of 106 men who responded to Jefferson Davis’s call for troops in May 1861.
The 142-year-old monument is not without controversy, however. It was thrust into the spotlight in August of 2017 after racist violence in Charlottesville, Va., ushered in a new wave of public pushes to address the prominence of such monuments in public spaces.
Forsyth Park is also home to the Marine Monument, dedicated to Chatham County’s Marines and The Hiker, which memorializes Georgia’s volunteers in the Spanish-American War.
Visit Savannah on any Saturday of the year and head to the south end of Forsyth Park at the intersection of Bull Street and Park Avenue and check out the Farmers Market.
Open from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. year-round, visitors can purchase fresh produce, pastured meats, local honey, artisan dairy and cheeses, craft bread, and baked goods and a wide variety of prepared foods from over thirty vendors that offer whole food and carefully selected prepared food items.
Forsyth Farmers Market, operated by Forsyth Farmers Market, Inc., a Georgia not-for-profit corporation, was created to increase understanding and participation in a local food system that supports sustainable production and increases access to local products.
Festivals and Events
Forsyth Park is a great venue for all types of activities and offers something for everyone. No matter what season of the year that you visit, there will be something to do in Forsyth Park. Check out the 2019 calendar of events here.
Getting to Forsyth Park
Forsyth Park is located at the southern edge of the historic district, between Drayton Street on the east and Whitaker and the west. North and south Forsyth Park is bordered by Gaston Street and Park Avenue respectively.
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