South Carolina

Need help getting to Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day? How about a cruise or party bus?

Heading to Savannah for St. Patrick's Day? Know these rules first

From fines that could be issued by the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department to helpful tips from the same, there are plenty of things to be aware of before heading to the Savannah St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
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From fines that could be issued by the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department to helpful tips from the same, there are plenty of things to be aware of before heading to the Savannah St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Savannah claims its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the third largest in the country. They’re expecting a crowd of more than 300,000 people to fill the city’s streets this weekend.

Between the huge crowd — and all of the people who’ll be drinking at the festival — driving to and from the event could easily turn into a nightmare.

But it doesn’t have to.

Bluffton and Hilton Head residents and visitors have a few options to get there safely — and without the headache. Here they are:

If you plan to drink:

▪  Vagabond Cruise is offering two roundtrip options from Harbour Town to Savannah on Saturday. Both trips cost $65 per person, including children, and reservations can be made online at vagabondcruise.com. Alcohol will be available for purchase on the boat.

Parade Cruise: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Twilight Cruise: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

▪  The Hottest Spots is providing multiple party buses to and from Savannah. The buses leave from Hilton Head and Bluffton. Roundtrip tickets cost $50 per person and can be purchased online at thehottestspots.com. Riders can bring their own alcohol on the bus and drink on the way down to Savannah. All riders must be 21 or older. Wristbands, which are required to drink at the festival, can also be purchased on the bus for $10.

▪  YellowCab offers trips from throughout Beaufort County to downtown Savannah. Fare rates will be set by the city and have not yet been determined as of 9 a.m. Monday. Trips can be booked at yellowcabsavannah.com or through the reservation line at 912-224-3298.

▪  Uber is another option. However, the popular ride app is known to have price surging during big events, and there’s no way to know what the price of your ride will be ahead of time.

If you’re not drinking or have a designated driver:

▪  Avoid driving through the crowds by taking a shuttle from Pooler. Kelly Tours is offering multiple shuttles from Molly MacPherson’s to downtown Savannah throughout the weekend. Shuttles cost $20 per person roundtrip for adults; $10 for children 10 and under; and $15 for active duty military. Cash and credit card will be accepted on site, or tickets can be purchased ahead of time by calling 912-748-0110. More information can be found at kellytours.com.

▪  Savannah’s CAT public transporation system will offer $5 roundtrips from Whitemarsh Island, Garden City, the Savannah Mall and Rice Creek Elementary. Shuttles will head to the festival from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and return from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wristbands to ride the shuttles can be purchased at shuttle locations.

▪  CAT also operates the Savannah Belles Ferry, which offers a free ride across the Savannah River from Hutchinson Island. The ferry will run from 7 a.m. to 12:20 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

▪  For the first time, Savannah is offering pre-sales of parking spots for lots and garages downtown. Spots are $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Parking spot options can be viewed on the city's website. The spots can be reserved by calling the Bryan Street Parking Garage at 912-651-6477 or 912-651-6470. Note: Many of the garages are along the parade route, so those reserving those spots need to arrive well before the parade starts at 10:15 a.m. You won’t be able to exit until the parade ends.

For more festival information, check out savannahga.gov/1165/St-Patricks-Day.

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