The Laid-Back Charm of Tybee Island, Georgia
Driving 20 minutes East of Savannah, Georgia brings you to the location of beautiful Tybee Island. Here, the saying “Good things come in small packages” is evident. Only five miles in length, Tybee Island is growing in popularity but has not yet suffered from overcrowding or tourist traps. Even a few celebrities are making it their getaway destination.
Tybee Island’s vast offerings include historic forts, dunes, natural marshes, unspoiled beaches, and charming cottages. You will find local art galleries, trendy restaurants, and bottlenose dolphins waiting to entertain you at this seaside playground. The outdoorsy types can enjoy the kayaking, jet skiing, and fishing at Tybee Island, while those here for relaxation may want to chill on the beach and work on their tan or read a book.
For the nature lover, Tybee Island hosts ecology tours which bring you face to face with some great birds and scenery, including sea turtles in the spring. Be sure to have your camera with you at all times. Tybee Island is the ultimate family destination.
Climbing the Tybee Light Station
A visit to Tybee Island must include a stop by the Tybee Light Station. This original lighthouse, built in 1736, was the highest structure in America for its time. Rebuilt in 1773, the Tybee Light Station has been guiding mariner’s into the Savannah River for 250 years. It is still operational.
After your lighthouse tour, run by to Seaside Sister to browse their adorable treasures. Seaside Sister’s pillows, candles, gourmet foods, a collection of mermaid items, and home decor will surely find a way to make you open your wallet and take home a souvenir from Tybee Island.
Eating Around Tybee Island
Tybee is full of good eats. AJ’s Dockside, a local favorite, offers Back River seating at their outdoor deck. Their menu offers a bit of everything, but nothing beats their cold beer with Hot Wings or a bowl of Gumbo. AJ’s Dockside also rents kayaks and paddle boards if you wish to get out on the river.
My favorite place to go with girlfriends is the Sundae Cafe at Tybee. It is the place to polish off a fabulous meal with creative cocktails or big glasses of smooth wines. Go for the fantastic Lobster Mac n Cheese.
Lastly, the most popular dining spot on the island is The Original Crab Shack, a fabulous seafood restaurant that is as much fun to visit as it is to eat their food. The Crab Shack offers indoor/outdoor seating and the freshest seafood in the area with yummy choices such as oysters, crab of all types, clams, crawfish, mussels, and even Low Country Boil. Seafood enthusiasts will be dazzled by the choices!
Check out the live gator habitats while you wait for your table. The Crab Shack also features nightly live music nightly in a relaxed setting. Diners are known to remove their shoes and sink their toes into the sand which enjoying their meals.
Sleeping in Tybee Island
There are several hotel choices at Tybee Island, but none really wow me. The DeSoto Beach Hotel is oceanfront and affordable, but not very plush. The Ocean Plaza Beach Resort has over 200 rooms and two pools, but I did not feel it was worth the price tag. Whether you have a few days or a week to spend at Tybee Island, I am sure you can find something here to fit your budget and accommodation preferences.
Check the Airbnb offerings for a beach house on the South backwaters. There you can enjoy a low traffic beach with sailboats and friendly dolphin sightings.
The unspoiled beaches of Tybee Island will deliver a fun-filled getaway with your family or friends. Its laid-back lifestyle, convenient location, and affordability are highly desirable, which are some of the reasons I like vacationing there. Consider pairing a few days at Tybee Island with another wonderful Georgia destination for a double dose of vacation adventures.
Interesting Tybee Island Tidbits
Tip: If you forgot your sunscreen or needed to buy a raft, stop by T.S. Chu & Co. on Tybrisha Street. An interesting, yet odd mix of items for purchase, they will most likely have what you need for your beach outing as well as souvenir items. Better yet, they will provide you with some giggles from their unique inventory.
Odd Info: I read that during a 1958 military training exercise, the US Air Force dropped an atomic bomb at Tybee Island by accident. The weapon was a Mark 15 hydrogen nuclear bomb. In 2004, efforts were made to locate the missing bomb, but it never turned up.
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Georgia’s Golden Isles