One of the many things that I noticed the first of the many times that I happened to find myself, almost as if by accident, traveling to Tybee Island, Georgia, is that it is seldom as over-crowded as many of the beaches on the East Coast, particularly when compared to some of the more popular destinations, such as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, or the many beaches along Florida’s coast. Tybee Island is on the Colonial Coasting Birding Trail and features over 200 species of birds, as well as various aquatic sea life forms. Indeed, it is typical to see dolphins frolicking along the coast in the early morning hours, and the area is known for its seafood, much of it harvested and prepared locally.
Tybee Island is about 20 miles from downtown Savannah, Georgia, and is easily accessible by a brief but relaxing car drive through a scenic, winding marsh grass-bordered road. For help in planning your trip to learn the best places to stay, to eat, to shop, and to do besides enjoying the wildlife and beach, you will want to start your trip by contacting Tybee Island’s Official Visitor Center (802 First St., Tybee Island, Georgia. 912-786-5444/800-868-2322).
Tybee Island boasts several miles of beautiful beachfront, a pier, and pavilion at the center of the main beach that offers free admission, great fishing, and also live music events. There are various types of rental housing, from graceful bed and breakfasts, comfortable and private cottages, to bigger chain-type resorts. I have visited Tybee Island many times over the years, and it is still one of my favorite places to visit to unwind and recharge my batteries. While there are numerous places to stay, I have always enjoyed staying at a charming bed and breakfast known as The 17th Street Inn (12 17th St., Tybee Island, Georgia.912-786-0607/888-909-0607). This smaller inn is cozy, decorated with homemade, cotton quilts and an inviting atmosphere that transports you back to a more relaxed, laid-back, bygone era. With just a short stroll, you are moments away from the beach. Rooms start at $135 a night for most of the year, and a free deluxe continental breakfast is provided each morning.
The atmosphere is relaxed all over the island and features over 30 restaurants with various cuisines, as well as many unique shopping opportunities. While visiting, you will certainly want to visit not only the beach, but you will also want to follow the many signs on the island to visit the nearby Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum (912-786-5801), as well as take in Fort Pulaski National Monument (912-786-5787).
There are many restaurants on Tybee Island, but my favorite is A-J’s Dockside Restaurant (1315 Chatham Avenue, Tybee Island, Georgia. 912-786-9533/877-240-5463). A-J’s is located along the back river, offers a great view, as I have even seen dolphins there a time or two, and has a wide variety of moderately priced cuisine, but its seafood is absolutely heavenly and well worth the trip! I personally love their po-boys, gumbo, conch fritters, and jambalaya pasta. My husband’s favorite is the grilled mahi-mahi and their massive portions of fried oysters. They also offer live music on most Friday and Saturday nights and conveniently feature kayak rentals to better experience and enjoy the back marsh.
Tybee Island also hosts a large community of artists and craftspeople, which is represented by the many unique shopping opportunities on the Island. My favorite for unique jewelry finds is Shipwreck Jewels (1601 Inlet Ave, Tybee Island, Georgia. 912-786-0339/866-512-0531). My favorite shop for eclectic souveniers is Seaside Sisters (1207 Highway 80 E, Tybee Island, Georgia. 912-786-9216).
There are many different places to stay, shop, and eat and also many more things to do while on Tybee Island, and this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but this my list of favorite things to see and do while enjoying my visit to this wonderful island retreat.