Fall is one of the best times of year to visit Georgia’s most beautiful city, cooler and calmer than summer and, for the quality and frequency of its seasonal events, an easy rival to the more flamboyant months of spring.
At this time of year, the crowds of vacationing families are long gone. The heat and humidity of summer fades away, replaced by the more gentle weather of the autumnal months, whose frequently clear skies and warm sunshine provide perfect sight-seeing weather in which to explore Savannah and the surrounding lowcountry.
On account of this good weather, many of the city’s best-attended festivals and events are scheduled for September to November.
Labor Day is the last big weekend of Savannah’s summer, giving way thereafter to the (mostly) more sedate cultural and culinary events of fall, from outdoor concerts and the city’s most popular food festivals to the annual pirate-themed parade at nearby Tybee Island.
After Thanksgiving, the tone of Savannah’s event calendar changes abruptly, with light shows and holiday programming marking the start of the city’s festive season.
For great sightseeing weather, fall (along with spring) is the best time to visit Savannah, especially the more properly autumnal months of October and November.
September is the tail end of the summer season, with average highs around 85°F (30°C) and lows in the mid to high 60s (20°C). Rainfall too is higher than average (but substantially less than the summer months of June to August), with some risk of heavy rain and thunderstorms. The temperature still often tops 90°F.
By October and November, the weather is more consistently warm and dry. Average highs are in the 70s (21-26°C) and average lows around the low 50s (10-15°C). Expect sunshine on most days throughout fall (although around a third of days will be mostly cloudy). By the end of November, there is a chance of some cooler days, with occasional daily lows dipping into the 30s, so pack accordingly.
Both October and November are amongst Savannah’s drier months; November is the driest of the year. However, as Savannah has no actual “dry season” there is still a chance of rain, which on average falls on around one out of every four to five days at this time of year.
The warm autumnal months are a great time of year to explore Savannah’s outdoor attractions, from the beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery to its many little downtown squares and parks. Once the oppressive heat of summer has passed, you can more comfortably enjoy the city’s architectural and historic charms too, whether just strolling through its tree-lined streets at your own pace or on a guided tour.
Lovers of outdoor music will enjoy the free concerts given in Forsyth Park in late September and early October, part of the Savannah Jazz Festival and the Savannah Philharmonic’s annual Picnic in the Park. Later fall, when the nights begin to draw in earlier, is a popular time of year to take one of the city’s dozens of ghost tours, especially in the weeks around Halloween.
On any cooler or rainy days, Savannah offers dozens of indoor attractions too: several museums exploring the city’s history; collections of contemporary and traditional European, American and African art; and restored historic homes. Alternatively you can spend an afternoon either browsing the Historic District’s dozens of art galleries, antique-hunting or shopping in Savannah’s varied boutiques and stores.
September is still great weather for the beach, but the summer crowds have fallen off substantially with the end of the school vacations. At Tybee Island, Labor Day – with its annual Beach Bash and fireworks – heralds the end of the busy summer period, after which life on the island returns to its out-of-season calm, with far fewer other visitors to fight for beach and parking space.
Through most of fall, daily air temperatures are usually at least warm, and can often remain quite hot. This is also the time of year at which water temperatures are at their warmest, making the months of September and October a particularly good time to try out a new water sport such as surfing or paddleboarding.
Kayak tours of the area’s saltwater creeks and barrier islands or of the enchanting blackwater cypress swamp at Ebenezer Creek are also ideal activities for an autumn visit.
Fall is one of the best times of year for birdwatching, when the annual southerly migrations of song birds, waterfowl and birds of prey sweep down Georgia’s coast. The migrations start as early as August, peaking in the weeks from late September to early October, with the many sites along the state’s Colonial Coast Birding Trail providing excellent opportunities for spotting the lowcountry’s seasonal birdlife.
Georgia’s warm fall weather is also perfect for exploring the lowcountry by bike or on foot, with nearby state parks and wildlife refuges offering dozens of trails through a mixture of forested and salt marsh environments.
Many of the biggest festivals in Savannah and nearby are scheduled for the agreeable weather of fall, with something on over most weekends through the autumn season.
October is Savannah’s month for international cuisine, with the Savannah Greek Festival, Oktoberfest, and the Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival. Also this month is one of the southeast’s largest celebrations of seafood, the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival, at nearby Richmond Hill. In November, the city holds its biggest food-related festival, the Savannah Food and Wine Festival.
Arts and music events in fall include the Savannah Jazz Festival in September, and later the Savannah Film Festival and the Tefair Art Fair. Other fall events include Savannah Pride and one of nearby Tybee Island’s biggest annual events, the Tybee Island Pirate Fest.