Tybee Island is one of Georgia’s barrier islands and has a laid back, casual atmosphere. Just nineteen miles east of Savannah, Tybee Island is a popular getaway for locals and out of towners alike. It’s a place that is easy to get to, but hard to leave.
There are so many reasons to head out to Tybee for your next vacation or for the weekend, but one big reason is for the beach. This not the blinding white sand and blue water you may be thinking of – this is a beach with more character. A fun, funky, working-class beach if you will.
With Tybee’s mild winter weather, even strolling along the beach can be a winter activity. And, of course, there is nothing better than to relax on the beach during the hot, humid summers here in the south. Tybee has three public beaches and two river beaches, each with its own atmosphere and feeling.
South Beach is the most popular beach and is perfect for families and swimmers. Located next to the ‘big’ parking lot and the Tybee Pier and Pavilion, it is close to shops, hotels, bars and restaurants, and is a great place for your base of operations during your stay. Peaceful Mid Beach is a little less crowded than the other beaches and also has lifeguards. North Beach is quieter and is across the road from the Tybee Island Lighthouse on the island’s north end. This is the best beach for finding shells and shark teeth, for birdwatching as well as watching for bottlenose dolphins.
The two river beaches are much quieter than the public beaches. The Savannah River Beach is adjacent to North Beach and is great for bird watching. Back River Beach (on the south end of the island) with its gentle waves is perfect for starting off on that kayak or paddleboard adventure. Both beaches are good for dolphin and turtle watching.
Tours on Tybee Island, Georgia take many forms. You can take a tour on the water, on boats, kayaks, and paddleboards. There are Segway tours, walking tours and, of course, you can rent a bike to gently ride around this picturesque island. You can find a tour for sightseeing, dolphin sighting, history, fossil hunting, or an ecological tour. With so many different options, there is bound to be a tour that fits your timeline and interests.
The Tybee Island Lighthouse is one of the most popular attractions on the island and is a local landmark. Visit the museum for a little history after you have climbed the tower to experience the amazing view. Try the private moonlight lighthouse tour.
A great place to people watch, the Tybee Pier and Pavilion is in South Beach. You can fish off the pier, watch other fishermen reel in their catch, or just sit and watch for dolphins. The pier is a popular spot for festivals and live music.
The Tybee Marine Science Center is also by the Tybee Pier and Pavilion. There is a small museum, and you can take a guided tour of the beach and surrounding marshes. They have great programs for kids.
Tybee Island is on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail and with its different ecosystems and habitats, it’s a birder’s paradise. Tybee’s salt marshes are home to nine species of egrets and herons, to white ibis and the endangered wood stork. The best way to see these birds is from the water – rent a kayak, paddleboard or charter a boat for a tour.
Accessible from North Beach, the North Beach Birding Trail is a great place to see shore-birds and seabirds, including the purple sandpiper, loons, cormorants, Northern Gannets and the black skimmer.
Little Tybee Island, Georgia is accessible only by boat. A nature preserve owned by the state, it is home to bald eagles, osprey, egrets herons, ibis and storks. The island is a winter stop and a summer nesting spot, and several rare birds have been sighted on the island including the roseate spoonbill, reddish egret and the curlew sandpiper.
Wander down the Sally Pearce Nature Trail, on Highway 80 at 5th Avenue, to find the island’s official bird – the painted bunting. While it winters in Central and South America, it spends its summers here on the island as the most welcome of tourists.
Fishing is a popular pastime for both tourists and residents. Fish from the pier, from the surf, off a paddleboard, from a kayak, or any type of boat. Or hire a charter for a deep-sea adventure or a marsh creek/back water excursion. Whether you are a serious angler, or just out for some fun, Tybee has a fishing trip for you.
The residents on Tybee do like to enjoy themselves, and there is something going on all year round. Here are a few highlights you may want to plan around: Beach Fireworks on New Year’s Eve, Fourth of July and Labor Day, the lively Mardi Gras Parade and Street Party, the Irish Heritage Celebration Parade (don’t worry, it is scheduled not to conflict with the Savannah parade), the Tybee Wine Festival, the Beach Bum Parade (pretty much a giant water fight), the Pirate Fest and the Christmas Parade.
Whether it is the welcoming and friendly attitudes that abound on the island, the combination of old and new, or the strange eclectic mix of people here, Tybee has a fun, quirky feel. To visit is to step back in time, to a slower paced world. A world where relaxing and having fun was just as important as everything else. Whatever it is, Tybee has it. It’s like coming home again, even if you never have been here. So… come on home, we’ll be waiting for you. Browse our selection of Tybee vacation rentals to enjoy the island, and contact us to book today!