Walking the winding paths of Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, one can’t help but feel a sense of wonder at the serenity of the place.
The rustling of leaves and the distant chirping of birds are the only sounds that break the stillness, while the moss-covered oaks and the large marble sculptures tower over us.
This historic cemetery is a beautiful and mysterious place, where each tombstone and monument tells a unique story.
Here is some information and tips for planning your visit to Bonaventure Cemetery.
In this article
- How to plan your visit to Bonaventure Cemetery
- Some facts about the Bonaventure Cemetery
How to plan your visit to Bonaventure Cemetery
Bonaventure in a nutshell
Bonaventure Cemetery is a 15-minute drive from historic downtown Savannah.
A day trip to the cemetery can be combined with a visit to the Wormsloe Historic Site or if you are driving to Tybee Island.
- Entrance: free
- Services: Few services on site. There are restrooms and a welcome desk at the entrance. Parking is at the back of the cemetery.
- What to bring to visit Bonaventure? Good walking shoes, a bottle of water, a hat and sunscreen.
- Lunch tip: Less than a 10-minute drive from the cemetery is Wiley’s Championship BBQ. We recommend that you take a lunch break there and enjoy an excellent BBQ meal.
Getting to Bonaventure by car
If you come by car, please note that the parking lot is at the very back of the cemetery. You have to pass the entrance and cross the site to leave your car.
To avoid walking back and forth, make a first stop at the entrance desk to pick up a map of the site.
Should you take a guided tour to visit the cemetery?
The cemetery is magnificent and it is impossible not to be captivated by the beauty and solemnity of the place.
However, there are no signs or directions so if you are interested in learning more about the people buried there, the anecdotes related to the cemetery, the guided tour is a good idea.
The Bonaventure Historical Society offers free guided tours on the second weekend of each month, and a cemetery’s mobile app is available on their site for a small fee.
The Savannah Tour Pass* is probably the best value option as it gives you full access to over 30 Savannah tours, attractions and historic sites, lets you save up to 40% and cuts through the lines.
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Some facts about the Bonaventure Cemetery
Originally located on private property and called Evergreen Cemetery, Bonaventure Cemetery was purchased by the City of Savannah in 1907 to become the fourth of five cemeteries the city currently owns.
Since then, it has grown to over 100 acres.
Fun fact, although it is a cemetery, it was common for families to meet and picnic there. This is obviously prohibited today.
Bonaventure Cemetery in Popular Culture
The cemetery was made famous by the novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil* by John Berendt and the film adaptation directed by Clint Eastwood.
By the way, the Bird Girl sculpture on the cover of this novel was originally located in the Bonaventure Cemetery. But due to the high traffic this caused, as well as the damage to the statue, it was moved to the Jepson Center in Savannah.
Other films and series that have been filmed in Bonaventure include Forrest Gump and The Walking Dead.
Some famous residents of the cemetery
Like any large cemetery, Bonaventure is also home to some famous residents.
What is the most famous tomb of Bonaventure? It is that of little Gracie Watson, a six-year-old girl who died in 1889 and is said to haunt the cemetery.
She died a few days before Easter. Her monument is based on a photograph and was created by sculptor John Walz.
Also included are the graves of Johnny Mercer, an American singer-songwriter, as well as poet Condar Aiken and Georgia’s first governor, Edward Telfair.
The cemetery also pays tribute to the soldiers and veterans who marked the history of the country with a section where Confederate soldiers are buried, another with 100 of the 1300 veterans of the American Legion and a section, the largest in the country, dedicated to the soldiers killed in the Spanish-American War.