Craving some beach time? Just 15 miles east of Savannah’s National Landmark Historic District sits Tybee Island, a laid-back island stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean like a shimmering jewel. Named after a Native American word for salt, Tybee has been a popular vacation spot since the late nineteenth-century, offering six miles of public beaches, a fishing pier and plenty of wildlife, from dolphins swimming just offshore to pelicans soaring overhead.
Part of what makes Tybee so appealing is its wide range of water sports. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, local companies offer parasailing, Jet Skis and even hydrofoil waterski rentals. For a more eco-friendly experience, Sea Kayak Georgia offers guided excursions through local saltmarsh habitats and to nearby barrier islands connected by a maze of tidal creeks. Keep your eyes open for dolphins, sea turtles, and otters.
On land, Tybee features plenty of historic sites, scenic places, and educational activities. Learn about Georgia’s coastal ecosystem at the Tybee Marine Science Center, which has a touch tank outfitted with spider crabs, whelks, and other invertebrates. Don’t miss the baby alligators, sea turtles, Atlantic octopi, and polkadot batfish. The center offers seasonal beach discovery walks and turtle talks.
History buffs will want to check out the Tybee Island Light Station, which has the distinction of being one of the nation’s oldest and tallest lighthouses, originally built in 1773. Climb its 178 steps to enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in Georgia. For another great view, stroll along the Tybee Pier and Pavilion, one of the island’s best free attractions. Located on the island’s south end, the pier juts out into the Atlantic, serving as a perfect spot for fishing and people watching.