Although separated by a relatively short stretch of coastline, colorful Jacksonville and historic Savannah couldn't be more different. This Southeast journey will take you through a scenic corridor where the relaxed, sun-soaked beaches transition into Savannah's genteel, moss-draped charm.
The 160-mile road trip from Jacksonville to Savannah will take about 3 hours to drive. On the way, you can visit Brunswick, St Simons Island, Osceola National Forest, Valdosta, Warner Robins, Tifton, Macon and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
Even though this will be a quick road trip, you're going to have plenty of adventures and fun along the way. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, best places to stop, top highlights, and the best seasons to travel.
How to drive from Jacksonville to Savannah
The map below shows two great route options for your road trip from Jacksonville to Savannah. Click on the star icons for headline details, and scroll down for much more information below.
* Always remember that drive times can be impacted by traffic, closures, weather and other conditions. It's best to double-check while planning and before starting out on your trip.
|2 hours 50 minutes
|6 hours 30 minutes
How far is Savannah from Jacksonville, and how long will the road trip take?
The Direct Route from Jacksonville to Savannah covers approximately 160 miles and takes around 2 hours and 50 minutes to complete.
Alternatively, the Inland Detour is a longer route, spanning 440 miles with about 6 hours and 30 minutes on the road without accounting for any further detours.
While you can easily drive both routes in a day, we recommend taking at least two days to enjoy all the amazing stops and experiences along the way.
Best road trip route from Jacksonville to Savannah
While both routes from Jacksonville to Savannah offer their own unique appeal, which route you choose depends on what you want to see the most.
The Direct Route is a swift and picturesque coastal journey, crossing from Florida into Georgia. As you travel nearly the entire coastal width of Georgia, you'll feel inspired by the mighty Atlantic Ocean, especially around Brunswick and St. Simons Island.
You'll get to experience one-of-a-kind destinations like the Turtle River on the Sidney Lanier Bridge, Georgia's tallest cable-stayed suspension bridge. You'll also eat some of the best seafood on the planet.
The Inland Detour is a scenic adventure through lush landscapes, including national forests like Osceola. After leaving Jacksonville, the route leads to Valdosta, the heart of South Georgia, before reaching Macon.
You'll get to experience the small towns and rural communities that make Georgia such an appealing place to travel to. Plus, if you love nature, few places in the American South have as many beautiful forests and wildlife areas to explore.
Starting your journey in Jacksonville, Florida, head north on Interstate 95 (I-95). Further along, you'll approach the Georgia state line.
Nearby, don't miss the St Mary's Railroad Express before making a slight detour to Jekyll Island, famous for its landmarks like Driftwood Beach and the historic Horton House.
Rejoining the main route towards Brunswick, you will head towards St. Simons Island, the picturesque St Simons Island Lighthouse Museum awaits, along with the historical Fort Frederica National Monument.
Your final stretch on I-95 takes you through scenic coastal landscapes. If you have time, don't miss a detour to Skidaway Island State Park, a gem just before your destination. Your drive ends as you arrive in the historic and charming city of Savannah.
Begin the Inland Detour route from Jacksonville, Florida, but this time, head west on I-10 towards Lake City.
You'll soon find yourself amidst the natural beauty of the Osceola Wildlife Management Area and Osceola National Forest, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking and wildlife spotting.
Once you reach Lake City, take a turn onto I-75, heading north towards Valdosta, Georgia. In Valdosta, don't miss the Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum and The Annette Turner Center for the Arts.
Your journey will continue north on I-75, through rural farmland and forests, to Macon, where you can visit the Cannonball House and the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park.
The final leg of your journey on I-16 takes you through the heart of Georgia, ending in the historic and charming city of Savannah.
Best places to stop between Jacksonville and Savannah
Even though you won't be driving very far on this road trip from Jacksonville to Savannah, we recommend staying in one of the destinations below. This way, you'll stay well-rested and ready to explore this incredible part of the country.
An oceanside retreat in St Simons Island
St Simons Island, located just about an hour and 20 minutes into your drive along the Direct Route from Jacksonville to Savannah, is an idyllic place for an overnight stop. This charming island boasts a rich history within its small area and is famous for its breathtaking beaches.
St Simons Island is also a paradise for golf enthusiasts, with challenging courses set amidst stunning scenery.
The island's unique attraction includes the St Simons Island Lighthouse Museum, offering both historical insights and panoramic views. Another highlight is the Pier Village Market, which is perfect for experiencing local culture and shopping.
Some quirky sights on the island include the 'tree spirits.' Over 20 trees across the island bear hand-carved faces on their trunks. See if you can find them all during your visit!
After exploring the island, we recommend staying at the luxurious Sea Palms Resort. This resort feels both fresh and remote, offering the perfect blend of relaxing vibes and modern comforts. Each room boasts either a lake or river view, ensuring a serene backdrop to your stay.
Golfers will be delighted with the 18-hole course on-site as well. Afterwards, don't miss the popular and highly-rated restaurant and bar in the resort.
Nearby, you can visit Sea Island Beach, just a 15-minute drive from the resort, for a relaxing day by the ocean. Additionally, the historic Fort Frederica National Monument is a mere 6-minute drive away.
Thrilling adventures in Valdosta
Valdosta, located just two hours into your journey along the Inland Detour, is an ideal stopover. Known as the ‘Azalea City', Valdosta is adorned with these colorful blooms. Whether you're drawn to its historical attractions or seeking thrill at a theme park, Valdosta is a city that won't disappoint.
The city is celebrated for Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts, the perfect place to spend an afternoon. For those interested in local history, the Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum and Lowndes County Courthouse provide a look into the region's past.
Once you reach Valdosta, we recommend staying at the highly-rated Drury Inn & Suites Valdosta, a modern and clean hotel with excellent facilities. Its standout features include a delicious daily hot breakfast and a beautiful outdoor pool.
After exploring the city, unwind with some of the excellent cocktails at the hotel bar, or relax in the on-site hot tub, ideal for soothing any travel fatigue.
Nearby attractions include Drexel Park and Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts. Also, Recoil Trampoline Park is also a mere 15-minute drive away, offering the perfect stop for the young or young at heart.
Where to stay when you reach Savannah
Savannah is renowned for its rich history, stunning coastal landscapes, and beautifully preserved architecture. Among its many attractions, don't miss the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptiste.
Nearby, check out the Savannah Historic District. Here, you'll see some of the oldest buildings and streets in the USA. Also, don't miss Savannah's world-famous food scene. Some of America's best restaurants and bars are located here, so bring an appetite.
When visiting this charming city, we recommend staying at the luxurious Perry Lane Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Savannah. It offers an exquisite stay, blending old-world charm with modern luxury.
To explore Savannah's scenic streets and squares, the hotel offers free bikes for guests, making it easy to delve into the city's rich history and culture.
When it comes to location, Perry Lane Hotel is just steps away from the North Historic District, placing you right at the heart of Savannah's historic charm. Once you are done exploring, enjoy the breathtaking views of the city from the hotel's rooftop terrace for the perfect way to end the day.
Things to see on a road trip from Jacksonville to Savannah
There's a lot to see and do in such a small area on a drive from Jacksonville to Savannah, and it could feel overwhelming when deciding where to go. To help you plan your ultimate road trip, we've included our top destinations below.
- Fort Clinch State Park - A short detour off the route and known for its well-preserved 19th-century fort and beautiful beaches, this state park offers historical insights along with hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge - Spanning over 400,000 acres, this vast wetland is another short detour and offers a glimpse into a diverse ecosystem with opportunities for boating, bird watching, and exploring boardwalk trails.
- McIntosh Sugarmill Park - Home to the haunting ruins of a 19th-century sugar mill, this park combines historical intrigue with a picturesque setting for picnics and leisurely walks.
- St Mary's Railroad Express - A charming heritage railroad offering scenic train rides, this attraction provides a delightful journey through the coastal landscapes of Georgia.
- Driftwood Beach - Famous for its surreal landscape of weathered driftwood, this beach on Jekyll Island offers a unique and photogenic coastal experience.
- Horton House - This historic tabby house ruin, one of Georgia's oldest standing structures, offers a glimpse into the colonial past amidst a scenic island setting.
- Lover's Oak - A legendary and ancient oak tree in Brunswick, rumored to be over 900 years old, known as a romantic spot and a stunning example of natural beauty.
- Pinball Palace - A vibrant arcade in Brunswick featuring an extensive collection of pinball machines and classic games, perfect for family fun and nostalgia.
- St Simons Island Lighthouse Museum - This historic lighthouse offers panoramic views of the Golden Isles from its top, along with a museum detailing the region's maritime history.
- Ford Frederica National Monument - A historic fort and town site on St. Simons Island, offering a window into the colonial era with ruins, exhibits, and beautiful surroundings.
- Skidaway Island State Park - A serene park near Savannah known for its maritime forest, salt marshes, and an extensive network of trails and bird watching opportunities.
- Osceola Wildlife Management Area - A natural haven offering diverse wildlife viewing, hunting opportunities, and a peaceful escape into Florida's native landscapes.
- Osceola National Forest - A vast expanse of pine flatwoods and cypress swamps, providing a perfect setting for hiking, camping, and exploring Florida's wilderness.
- Falling Creek Falls - A scenic natural attraction featuring a picturesque waterfall, ideal for a quick stop to enjoy the serene beauty of the area.
- Stephen Foster Folk Center Museum - This museum and park celebrates the life and music of songwriter Stephen Foster, set amidst the natural beauty of Northern Florida.
- Lowndes County Historical Society and Museum - Located in Valdosta, this museum offers insights into the region's history through extensive exhibits and artifacts.
- The Annette Turner Center for the Arts - A cultural hub in Valdosta showcasing a variety of visual and performing arts, including galleries and theater performances.
- Lane Southern Orchards - Near Fort Valley, this working farm offers tours, a market with fresh produce, and a chance to learn about Georgia's rich agricultural heritage.
- Museum of Aviation - Situated near Warner Robins, this museum features a vast collection of aircraft and exhibits on military aviation history.
- Warner Robins - A city known for its Air Force base and the Museum of Aviation, offering a blend of military history and small-town charm.
- ABAC's Georgia Museum of Agriculture - Located in Tifton, this interactive museum provides a comprehensive look at Georgia's agricultural history with a historic village and farm.
- Cannonball House - An antebellum house named for damage it sustained during the Civil War, offering tours that highlight historical Southern life.
- Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park - A significant Native American historical site in Macon, featuring ancient earth mounds, a museum, and walking trails.
- MAS (Museum of Arts and Sciences) - Macon's largest museum offers diverse exhibits ranging from art and science to natural history, catering to a wide range of interests.
Best time to go on a road trip from Jacksonville to Savannah
Savannah, with its rich historical charm and coastal beauty, is a delightful destination year-round, but each season brings its own unique experience.
If you're embarking on the Direct Route, winter offers a quieter and cooler journey, especially around St Simons Island. Temperatures along the coast stay between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit with occasional cold weather once or twice a year.
Georgia's winters are generally mild, with Savannah experiencing average temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit, making it comfortable for exploring.
However, be mindful of the Sidney Lanier Bridge as it can close in icy conditions. This season also gives you the opportunity to join the St. Simons Land Trust Oyster Roast in January, a local culinary delight. February is the perfect time for catching the Savannah Book Festival.
Spring in Savannah and along both routes is a vibrant time, with spring flowers and many events like the Savannah Music Festival and the Valdosta-Lowndes Azalea Festival in March.
During this season, temperatures range from the mid-60s to the high 70s Fahrenheit, ideal for strolling through the historic districts and enjoying the blooming azaleas.
Summer in Savannah can be warm, with temperatures often reaching the high 80s Fahrenheit, offering a great opportunity to enjoy the city's lush parks and riverfront.
Fall brings a slight drop in temperature, hovering around the 70s, making it a comfortable time for exploring Savannah's outdoor attractions. The city, draped in fall hues, creates a picturesque backdrop for your adventures.
Don't miss fall festivals such as the Hahira Honey Bee Festival in October. Here, you can sample various local treats and honey while enjoying arts and crafts shows and family-friendly fun.