Since the late 1800s, tourists have flocked to Tybee Island for its warm sun, picture-perfect beaches and salty Atlantic breeze. A lot has changed since then, but this small barrier island on the Atlantic coast of Georgia still pulls in families seeking laid-back vacation adventure. From historic structures to beachside boils, Southern living has never been so easy.
Towering 154 feet above the Atlantic coast, Tybee Island Lighthouse is one of the few surviving Colonial-era lighthouse towers. Industrious visitors can climb the 178 steps to the top of the tower, as well as explore the lightkeepers’ cottages, the summer kitchen and the military museum on the grounds. While there, dig deeper into the past at the Fort Screven Battery Garland, a military museum exhibiting artifacts from over 400 years of Tybee Island history. More military history is found to the northwest in Fort Pulaski, a Civil War redoubt whose brick walls suffered devastating bombardment by the first rifled cannons.
Kayak tours are the perfect way to explore the meandering inlets and channels that surround Tybee Island. Classic paddles include Little Tybee Island, where low country nature remains largely untouched, or along Lazaretto Creek to Dolphin Bay where lucky adventurers can catch a glimpse of the area’s dolphins at play. It’s also a great place to stop off for food and drinks during sunset. Try Tybee Creek for a less-traveled waterway that offers more experienced paddlers the chance to explore remote salt marshes and tidal flats. Anglers should book a spot on one of the deep-sea charter fishing boats that leave daily from the marina. The red drum, sheepshead and speckled trout are always biting. Surf fishing also is popular along the shore.
Lots for Landlubbers
Known as Savannah’s Beach, Tybee Island offers 5 miles of palm trees, cool breezes and sand under your feet. North Beach backs up against exquisite eateries and beachside shops, while South Beach has Tybrisa Street, the island’s popular downtown strip. In between, there are miles of sand and swells to enjoy. History buffs and outdoors lovers alike should head to the 6-mile McQueen’s Island Trail that runs adjacent to the south channel of the Savannah River.
The Island’s laid-back Southern hospitality can best be found at its classic eateries like the Original Crab Shack at Chimney Creek. Serving up kitschy vibes, alligator viewing and one of the area’s oldest low country boils, it’s a family-friendly gem that keeps guests coming back year after year. The Deck Beach Bar and Kitchen has true seaside dining, while Tybee Island Social Club offers a can’t-miss bluegrass brunch. End your trip with a visit to the iconic Tybee Pier and Pavilion, where excellent fishing, stunning ocean views and the best people-watching in town come together in one memorable locale.
For More Information
Visit Tybee Island
Georgia Department of Economic Development