A journey from the bustling cityscape of Atlanta to the historical charm of Savannah is an experience steeped in cultural richness and scenic beauty. It is the perfect distance for a long weekend or a relaxing, local weeklong trip.
It’s a trip that offers a delightful blend of urban sophistication and historical allure, culminating in the city of Savannah, where places like the Hamilton-Turner Inn add a unique touch to your Southern sojourn.
This article will guide you through the quintessential Southern journey. We’ll look at how far it is, the best way to get there, where to stay, and much more.
- How far is it?
- Driving from Atlanta to Savannah
- Other ways to get there
- What's the fastest way to get there?
- What's the safest way to get there?
- What's the cheapest way to get there?
- What's the most environmentally friendly way to travel there?
- Where to stay in Atlanta
- Where to stay in Savannah
- Things to do
- The Bottom Line
How far is it?
The most direct route covers a total distance of approximately 248 miles and takes around 3 hours and 35 minutes hours by car.
The straight line distance, or “as the crow flies,” is a little shorter, at 214 miles. That is also the flight distance, because it’s the most common route direct flights will take between the two cities.
Driving from Atlanta to Savannah
There are a couple of different routes you can take when driving from Atlanta to Savannah. Let’s look a little more closely at them.
Route 1: I-75 to I-16
The most direct route and shortest distance is to take I-75 South to I-16 East. Get on I-75 South in Atlanta, then take exit 165 to get on I-16 East. You can then ride that all the way into Savannah.
Route 2: I-20 to I-16
An alternative route is to take I-20 to I-16. To drive this route, take I-20 East to Madison. Then get off at Exit 114 to get onto I-16. You can then ride I-16 into Savannah.
This route completely avoids I-75, so it is a less stressful drive. The total drive time is a little longer, at around 4 hours and 15 minutes. But there is often either a wreck or construction on I-75, and if that happens, then I-75 can actually take more time.
So in many ways, this could be the best driving route – you avoid highways and in doing so can avoid the delays from bad road conditions.
Route 3: I-20 to I-16 Alternate Route
Instead of getting off at Exit 114, you can also take I-20 get off at Exit 154 to take I-16. This route takes almost exactly the same amount of time as getting off at Exit 114. So you can choose to take either route to avoid highway driving.
Other ways to get there
Other than driving, you can also fly, take a bus, or take a train from Atlanta to Savannah. Let’s look at these options a little more closely.
There are also direct flights between Atlanta and Savannah. Delta Airlines offers nonstop flights between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV).
The flight time is about 1 hour and 6 minutes. However, by the time you get to the airport, park, go through security, fly, get out at the other end, and get a rental car, your total travel time will be considerably more than that. And remember, the Atlanta Airpot is one of the busiest in the world, so you’ll need to get the a little early to account for how large and busy it is.
The earliest flight leaves at 8:20AM. The last flight leaves slightly different times depending on the day of the week, but usually leaves after 11PM. You’ll probably fly on a Boeing 737, and on this airplane the economy seats have 31 inches of legroom. Free wifi and onboard entertainment is also offered.
Another option is taking a Greyhound bus from Atlanta to Savannah. The bus trip times vary, depending on the exact station and other factors. But the shortest bus route currently on Greyhound’s website takes only 4 hours and 10 minutes. That’s just a little longer than it takes to drive. The longest route currently on the Greyhound website is 4 hours and 35 minutes.
With a bus trip, you can sit back and relax, without worrying about driving. Greyhound is also the most affordable option. They also offer onboard entertainment and free wifi.
These are the Greyhound stations in Atlanta and Savannah:
6000 N Terminal Dr
Atlanta, GA 30296
Atlanta Bus Station
232 Forsyth St
Atlanta, GA 30303
Savannah Bus Station
610 W Oglethorpe Ave
Savannah, GA 31401
Unfortunately, despite all these enormous benefits, Greyhound Bus is poorly rated. At the time of this writing, there are 19 reviews on Yelp for the Savannah Bus Station. They are overwhelmingly negative reviews. Overall, Greyhound Charlotte is rated 1.5/5.
The Greyhound Atlanta Bus Station hasn’t fared any better. There are currently 173 reviews on Yelp, with a rating of 1.5/5.
There are not really any Amtrak trains between Atlanta and Savannah. While Amtrak does service both cities, they are on different lines – Atlanta is served by the Crescent Line, which connects New York, Atlanta and New Orleans, and Savannah is served by the Silver Service/Palmetto Line. The Silver Service Line connects 7 major cities but does not stop in Atlanta.
What’s the fastest way to get there?
You’ll need to factor in a few things to determine what the fastest way of getting there is. Driving will usually be the fastest.
If you consider only the actual flight time, flying appears to be the fastest. But when you add in the time in the airport, parking, and getting your rental car on the other end, the total travel time can really add up.
If you’re flying in from another part of the country or even taking an international flight and your final destination is Savannah, and you are planning on laying over in Atlanta, then flying will be the clear winner. It would be far quicker to take the short connecting flight, and then get your rental car, then it would be to rent a car in Atlanta and then drive.
The Savannah Airport is also not nearly as big as Atlanta, so it will be faster to get out of once you land. For those coming in from out of the country, it may be good to know that there is no time difference – both Atlanta and Savannah are on East Coast time.
Greyhound is not much slower than driving, has a station connected to the airport, and is very affordable. So if cost is a concern, then Greyhound may be a good option. This may also be an option if you are flying into Atlanta and looking to save some money traveling to Savannah. You can get out of the airport, get directly on the Greyhound, and ride there.
What’s the safest way to get there?
According to the National Safety Council, your chances of being involved in an accident are significantly higher when driving compared to flying. The tightly regulated aviation industry and the rigorous training pilots undergo make flying one of the safest modes of transportation.
Driving, statistically, is also more dangerous than bus or train too. According to those same statistics, which tracked data over a 10-year period, the passenger death rate per 100,000 miles for driving was more than 20 times higher than buses, 17 times higher than passenger trains, and 595 times higher than flying.
So, by far, flying is your safest option. And keep in mind these are averages – Atlanta has notoriously bad traffic that can lead to a lot of traffic accidents. According to US News and World Report, Atlanta is the 10th worst city in America for traffic accidents.
What’s the cheapest way to get there?
The cost of each way of getting there depends on a number of things, including the fuel efficiency of your car, how many people are traveling with you, and current gas prices. In general, though, driving is going to be the best option to combine both affordability and convenience.
Let’s look a little more closely at the costs of each one.
Costs of driving
At 248 miles, most cars can get there on around one tank of gas, even if you’re carrying several people. Driving also gives you the ability to pack as much as you want without worrying about luggage fees or restrictions. So you might think of two tanks of has as your rough cost – one tank there and one tank to get back.
However, owning a car isn’t only about the fuel costs. It’s also about the cost of ownership, including purchase, registration, and repairs. According to the American Automobile Association’s 2022 report on driving costs, the average cost to own and operate a new car in 2022 was over $10,000. The cheapest car to own was a small sedan, coming in at around 54 cents per mile.
Atlanta to Savannah is 248 miles one way, or 496 miles round trip. That means a round-trip drive between the two destinations would cost at least $267.
Costs of flying
On the other hand, you’ll need to buy a plane ticket for every person in your group. And while you can get cheap tickets between the two cities, direct flights are pricey. The current cheapest tickets on Expedia are over $500.
Add to that the cost of parking, any baggage fees, and a rental car once you get there and flying can get expensive fast for this trip.
Costs of Greyhound
Greyhound may be the cheapest option for traveling between the two cities – it is certainly very affordable. But here again, you’re doing to need a rental car once you get to your destination, which may make the trip more expensive than driving. You may also need to pay for parking at the station during your trip, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Currently, you can get bus tickets between Charlotte and Atlanta for as low as $54.99. The price for the shortest trip is currently only $78.99, but it also leaves after midnight – and only saves you about 10 minutes compared to the cheapest ticket. Of course, ticket prices vary depending on when you are leaving, but overall Greyhound is far cheaper than flying or driving.
You may be able to save some money if you use Savannah’s public transportation system instead of renting a car, but that can also be pretty inconvenient. The Chatham Area Transit has routes throughout Savannah and the surrounding areas in Chatham County.
Costs of Amtrak
There is no direct Amtrak route between Atlanta and Savannah. So this is not a practical option for this trip.
So what’s the cheapest?
Overall, Greyhound could be your cheapest option. But it may also be inconvenient, depending on where you are going. If you take a Greyhound and use public transit when you get to Savannah, you can take a trip dirt cheap – under $100 for the transportation costs.
Driving will cost more for a solo trip, once you account for costs outside of gas alone. But if you’re traveling with a group, you’ll probably come out ahead by taking your own car. It is also by far the most convenient option.
Flying is very expensive, inconvenient, and doesn’t really save you any time unless you are already flying into the Atlanta airport and just need to layover to Savannah.
What’s the most environmentally friendly way to travel there?
While cost is a significant factor in deciding between flying and driving, you may also be wondering about your carbon footprint for each choice.
Driving usually beats out flying, especially if you’ve got several people in the car. Planes also emit carbon dioxide directly into the upper atmosphere, where it’s more harmful.
If you’re traveling solo, then driving may be closer to in emissions to flying. But this would only be the case if you took a direct flight and if the plane were full. These short regional trips have especially high emissions. That’s because they typically fly smaller planes, which are less fuel efficient per person. And they may not always fill the planes up.
Your carbon footprint obviously depends greatly on the type of vehicle you own too. Fuel-efficient and electric cars are obviously much better for the environment than gas-guzzlers. But even if you have an average car that isn’t the most eco-friendly, driving can still be the greener option if you’re traveling with a group.
Overall, Greyhound will likely be your most environmentally friendly option. A bus that is even half full will get a lot of miles per gallon, per person. In fact, for regional trips one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to take a bus or train instead of fly.
Where to stay in Atlanta
Atlanta is one of the largest cities in the U.S., and so of course also has plenty of options for accommodations. Because there are so many options, you’ll want to do your research before booking a hotel. But this list can get you started on your search.
If you’re visiting Atlanta, be sure to check out my post on the Best Hotels Near Truist Park for more great recommendations.
Luxury option: Four Seasons Hotel
For a grand experience, consider staying at the Four Seasons Hotel located in the heart of Midtown. Their location puts them just a 10 minute walk from Piedmont Park, and a little over a 20 minute drive from the Atlanta International Airport.
Four Seasons offers luxurious rooms, fine dining, and are in proximity to popular attractions like the High Museum of Art and Atlanta Botanical Garden. Amenities include free wifi, a pool, a hot tub, and an onsite bar, restaurant, and spa.
They are also pet friendly. Pets are welcome for $100 per pet, per stay. Service animals are exempt from pet fees.
Budget Option: Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown
The Hampton Inn & Suites Atlanta-Downtown provides a comfortable stay in a prime location without breaking the bank. They are in a pretty good location, too: an 8 minute walk from the World of Coca Cola, a 15 minute walk to the Mercedes Benz Stadium, and a 20 minute drive to the airport.
Hampton Inn provides basic amenities, including free breakfast, laundry onsite, and free wifi. Coffee and tea is available in the common areas.
Hampton Inn is also pet friendly. Both dogs and cats are welcome for a fee of $75 per accommodation, per stay. You may bring up to 2 total pets, and service animals are exempt from pet fees.
Great Camp Spot: Stone Mountain Park
For the nature lovers, Stone Mountain Park, located on the outskirts of the city, offers both campgrounds and cabins. This allows you to relax and rejuvenate amidst nature after the long drive from Charlotte, while also being just a short drive from all the action in Atlanta.
Where to stay in Savannah
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Savannah, you’ll be pleased to know there are lots of charming, beautiful hotels and plenty of choice in this historic city. Here again, be sure to do your research before booking. But I wanted to give you a sampling of hotels to get you started in your search.
Luxury Option: The Hamilton-Turner Inn
The Hamilton-Turner Inn, tucked away in Savannah’s historic district on Lafayette Square, is a romantic and luxurious inn that offers a unique blend of history and southern hospitality. Built in 1873, this magnificent mansion, once featured in the popular novel and film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” promises a memorable stay with its 17 individually designed rooms, each offering a distinct experience.
This award-winning inn, celebrated for its full Southern breakfast and captivating ambiance, put you right in the center of Savannah so you’re right there at all the attractions. In addition to the scrumptious breakfast, other amenities include free wifi and amazing garden and terrace areas for sitting and relaxing.
Hamilton-Turner is pet friendly. They welcome small pets, up to 25 pounds, on their garden level rooms. There is a $50 pet fee per stay, per pet.
Budget Option: Days Inn by Wyndham Savannah Gateway I-95
The Days Inn is right off I-95 and is a great, clean budget option. The rooms are actually surprisingly modern in design, with light grey walls and really cool decor. There is a mini fridge and flat screen TV in all the rooms, as well as a safe to keep your valuables in.
Amenities include free breakfast, free wifi, and a pool. Days Inn is also pet friendly, and welcomes dogs only for $15 extra per night. Service animals are welcome and are exempt from pet fees.
Cool Hostel: The Isetta Inn
The Isetta Inn is a really unique, boutique hostel that is by far the most affordable place to stay if you want to be right in the middle of Savannah. Isetta House is located just south of Lafayatte Square, giving you a place to just walk out the door from your room and start enjoying Savannah’s historic charm.
Parking is included, which is a real benefit for this part of Savannah. Free Wifi is available in all the rooms and common areas as well.
Keep in mind this is a hostel, so Isetta Inn is a for a particular kind of traveler and it may not suit your taste.
Things to do
There is no shortage of things to do in either Atlanta or Savannah, so no matter which way you’re planning on going you’re sure to have a great trip. Be sure to check out the Visit Atlanta and Visit Savannah for comprehensive information.
There are also some great things to do along the way. Below, I’ve got a short list of attractions and top spots to get you started in your search.
The Allman Brothers Band Musuem, in the Big House in Macon, is a tribute to the iconic band, preserving their rich history. The band, formed in 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida, rented this house from 1970 to 1973.
Kirk and Kristen West later bought the house intending to turn it into a bed and breakfast, but due to extensive renovations, it ended up as a museum. Today, it houses the world’s largest collection of Allman Brothers Band memorabilia, under the ownership of the Big House Foundation, and is a great place to go if you’re a fan of classic rock and roll.
The museum showcases a variety of artefacts from the band’s journey, including instruments, clothing, and handwritten lyrics. Following the deaths of band members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, fans began donating collectibles, further enriching the museum’s collection. Annually, it attracts around 20,000 visitors, making it a popular pilgrimage site for fans of the Allman Brothers Band.
The historic districts of downtown Savannah are a treasure trove of Southern charm, brimming with centuries-old architecture, beautiful squares, and cobblestone streets. The Historic District, one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States, is a delightful labyrinth of magnolia-blossomed parks, pre-Civil War era historic homes, and awe-inspiring churches.
Walk through the oak-lined streets, visit the meticulously preserved Forsyth Park, or immerse yourself in the haunting beauty of the Bonaventure Cemetery. The district’s unique blend of history, culture, and art makes it an unmissable part of any Savannah itinerary.
Venture out to the Victorian District, where grand old homes with intricate designs showcase the architectural legacy of the Victorian era. Don’t miss out on the Starland District either, a vibrant neighborhood that houses a thriving arts community, eclectic boutiques, and locally-owned restaurants and cafes.
To truly experience the richness of Savannah’s history, a visit to the River Street, a nine-block stretch along the Savannah River with century-old buildings, converted into antique shops, galleries, and pubs, is highly recommended. Savannah’s historic districts offer a captivating glimpse into the past, set amidst a landscape of natural beauty and southern hospitality.
The Georgia Aquarium, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a marvel of marine life and conservation. Recognized as the largest aquarium in the United States and one of the largest in the world, this expansive facility is home to hundreds of species and thousands of animals, categorized into seven major exhibits. The vast variety of marine life includes notable iconic creatures such as whale sharks, beluga whales, manta rays, and tiger sharks.
Funded by a generous $250 million donation from Bernard Marcus, the co-founder of The Home Depot, the Georgia Aquarium opened its doors in 2005. Since then, it has exceeded attendance expectations, attracting millions of visitors and becoming an Atlanta landmark.
Beyond entertainment, the aquarium is highly involved in animal care and conservation efforts. It has even partnered with leading networks like Animal Planet and Discovery+ to produce engaging content about animal experiences and conservation.
This is the big tank you can go diving in!
One of the times I went there went diving in their biggest tank. It’s expensive, but it is a very cool experience. It’s about the only place I know of where you’re guaranteed to dive with whale sharks. And of course, you’ll be diving with everything else in the tank too, from sharks to rays to huge schools of fish.
Tybee Island, a coastal gem just 20 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, is an enchanting retreat for peaceful relaxation and natural beauty. This small barrier island boasts a picturesque lighthouse, one of the oldest and tallest in America, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Tybee’s pristine sandy beaches stretch over five miles, providing ample space for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. As a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, the island is home to a variety of bird species, making it a prime location for birdwatching. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center is a must-visit for families, offering interactive exhibits and guided beach walks that educate visitors about local marine life.
Tybee Island’s historic district, with its charming cottages and vibrant storefronts, is a delightful blend of the old and the new. The island’s dining scene offers everything from fresh seafood to traditional Southern fare, with many restaurants offering stunning ocean views.
If you’re looking for adventure, Tybee Island offers water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, and charter fishing. The laid-back, friendly atmosphere, combined with the island’s natural beauty and recreational activities, makes Tybee Island a perfect destination for a memorable vacation.
Tybee Island can make a great day trip if you’re staying in Savannah. But it’s also worthy of its own trip, so you may want to check it out as a place to vacation the next time you head to this part of Georgia.
The Bottom Line
The distance from Atlanta to Savannah is 248 miles and takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes by car. That’s a great distance for a long weekend trip, and it makes for a really easy, relaxing weeklong vacation too.
Whether you’re venturing out to the Historic District, Victorian District, Starland District, or planning to stroll along the bustling River Street, the journey from Atlanta is well worth it. Not forgetting the exceptional stay at places like the Hamilton-Turner Inn, that add a unique touch to the overall Savannah experience.