Road Trip Near Savannah: Drive on to the Drive-In!

Are you a fan of all things vintage, including entertainment? You’re in luck! Your unerring retro instincts guided you to the Thunderbird Inn, the hippest hotel in Savannah. Not all the attractions in and around Savannah date to the teenage centuries (you know, 18th century, 19th century. . .) We’ve got a soft spot for the middle of the 20th century, which is understandable since the Thunderbird was built in 1964. And we can steer you to places where the beat goes on for the Swingin’ Sixties.

Now, Savannah has enough charm and action for not one but several vacations. That’s why we don’t often steer our guests anywhere else but our own fair city. But if you are a real hardcore retro buff, you should know that staying at the Thunderbird’s retro hotel puts you within striking distance of a big ole slice of Americana that you thought was literally gone with the wind – not one but two drive-in theaters. It’s a bit of a drive to either Jesup (that’s in Georgia) or Beaufort, South Carolina, but don’t worry: your parking space and your cool retro room will be waiting for you when you return.

The Jesup Drive-in is 60-something miles away, as the Google googles, and you’ll need an hour and a half to get there. Google tells us there are three routes to reach the Highway 21 Drive-In in Beaufort, ranging from 49 to 61 miles and each taking just over an hour. We skip the interstate option and go for the marsh views instead. Both have websites –, – so put the Thunderbird Inn’s free Wi-Fi to work and plan the expedition from the comfort of your room.

A funny thing happened to the drive-in theater while it was flirting with extinction – it grew up. No more scratchy speakers hooked to your window – the sound now comes through your FM radio. No more B movies or sleaze – these are the same first-run national release movies playing in your standard multiplex, only you get to watch them under the stars. But the good stuff hasn’t changed – the concession stand is a virtual time machine and your kids are welcome. Thunderbird Inn patrons know a bargain when they see one, too: $7 for adults, $3 for kids up to age 12, and those 4 and under are free – and that’s for a double feature!

Drive-ins had their heyday in the Fifties and Sixties, and we remember those decades fondly. If you do, too, you might want to save one night out of your Savannah adventure to go back to the future at the drive-in.


Declaring itself The hippest hotel in Savannah™, the delightfully quirky, Thunderbird Inn (42 rooms) is where the historic downtown Savannah location and hip motel eccentricities meet up. Featured in New York Times, Southern Living, Miami Herald,,, Dog Friendly magazine, the Telly Silver and Telly Bronze award-winning, downtown inn-hotel recaptures the southern retro spirit of the Swinging Sixties. The youthful General Manager, Mark Thomas, has directed the much-touted marketing toward a bold, free-spirited and young again approach, making the most of the popular resurgence of retro in the United States. Discounted Savannah lodging was never so much fun! Ask about discount local coupons, Staff Picks, MoonPie® on your pillow, and dog friendly / pet-friendly vacation accommodations. 611 West Oglethorpe Avenue, Savannah, GA USA 31401. Toll Free Reservations (866) 324-2661; International +1/912-232-2661; Fax 912-233-5551. Twitter: @TBirdInn; E-mail; Web:

Copyright (c) 2012 The Thunderbird Inn / Betty Darby