Bonaventure cemetery is more than just another roadside stop during a vacation. It’s a much deeper experience. There are few places in my travels that have left such an impression on me. Located in the suburbs just three miles outside of downtown Savannah, you feel transported to a much older time when you step through the gates. The over one hundred acres of plots and headstones is overgrown with ancient trees, climbing vines, and flowers. Despite its location, the atmosphere is peaceful with just the sound of birds chirping to reassure you that all is not dead there. Bonaventure absolutely must be on your list of attractions for any Savannah vacation.
Originally begun as the private Evergreen cemetery on part of the Bonaventure plantation, the land was purchased by the City of Savannah in 1907. It is still in use today, though most new graves are in a newer section. The current cemetery encompasses 103 acres and is open to the public.
The cemetery is open to the public and you are free to tour the grounds; just always be respectful of your surroundings. The cemetery is typically open from 8am to 5pm. Mornings are more comfortable in terms of temperature and bugs. Plan for an hour or so to wander around and see the myriad of different headstones and monuments. I suggest looking through one area, then driving to another spot. This cemetery is huge and it’s easy to get turned around. On my first stop I hadn’t walked more than 100 feet and then spent 15 panicky minutes trying to find my car.
The Bonaventure Historical Society conducts free guided tours on some weekends and also offers guide apps for iOS and Android devices. Visitors can pick up a beautifully illustrated map for a small donation. A few local guides are also for hire for around $25-$30. Check the Internet for available guide services and reviews before your visit. If you’re into photography, this is an excellent location to spend a day.
Bonaventure Touring Tips
- Very easy to get lost, so use a map, GPS, or app and remember where you parked.
- There are a few porta-johns scattered around and no water fountains, so plan accordingly.
- It’s Georgia, it’s overgrown, it’s almost always very hot and humid. Bring plenty of cool water and monitor how long seniors and kids are wandering around.
- Sunscreen and bug spray come in handy.
- Again, it’s low country, keep an eye out for snakes and even alligators with the nearby river.
- Looking for the famous girl statute from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil? Sorry, it’s now housed at the Jepson Center in downtown Savannah due to its popularity.
- Avoid rush hours, it’s in a suburban area.
Enjoy the slideshow video below to get an idea of the beauty of Bonaventure cemetery. For more information, click here to visit the Historical Society website.