Tybee Island is located on the Atlantic coast, roughly 45 minutes from Savannah, Georgia. This modest island comes alive in the summer, and it's a popular destination for locals and east coasters looking for some much-needed sun, sand, and surf. If you are looking for a weekend getaway that exudes small-town island atmosphere and southern hospitality then Tybee Island is the perfect spot to travel.
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I've had my fair share of beach days and beach town culture as a native Californian, so I was eager to see what this East coast coastal town had to offer. This would be my first experience swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, and I can already tell you that the water is significantly warmer! In August, the average water temperature on Tybee Island is around 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and the waves are small enough to enjoy while wading in the water with a cold drink. Not to mention that open container drinking is permitted, so you're free to drink alcohol openly on the beach. Of course, make sure to recycle your cans and bottles!
You may notice a lot of bachelor and bachelorette parties taking over the beaches on Tybee Island, but don't worry, there's plenty of beach real estate to go around! The popular Tybee Pier is the main hub for beachgoers, but there are boardwalks on almost every block along the coast.
Where to Stay on Tybee Island?
Because the island is only 3.36 miles in circumference, getting around isn't too difficult no matter where you stay, however the core center is located at the Tybee Pier. The closer you get to the Pier, the more restaurants, nightlife, and amenities you'll find nearby. When looking for a place to stay on Tybee Island, there are numerous local vacation rentals, charming inns, and B&Bs to choose from, making it a perfect choice for your Tybee trip!
Best Places to Stay on Tybee Island:
We were invited to Tybee Island through some friends who visit Tybee Island every summer. They decided to buy a condo in the Brass Rail Condo complex and rent it out as a vacation rental. The Brass Rail Condos are centrally located and just a block from Tybee Pier, plus the community pool and jacuzzi is a great amenity as well! Since we stayed on Tybee Island for almost a full week it was nice to have a home base to cook and call home during our stay.
Make sure to reserve a few months in advance wherever you decide to stay as the Island accomodations get booked up very fast, especially in the Summer months!
How to Get to Tybee Island?
The closest airport is Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, which is roughly a 45-minute drive from Tybee Island. You can take an Uber or Lyft from the airport, however I strongly advise you to rent a car. This is because it is quite difficult to arrange transportation off of Tybee after you are on the island.
You'll have no trouble finding an Uber within Savannah's city limits, but you might not be able to find any car services while on Tybee Island. Not to mention, the local cab services are unreliable and very limited. We were genuinely concerned that we wouldn't be able to find a ride back to the airport after so many unsuccessful attempts! Luckily we were able to convince a very nice Uber driver in Savannah to arrange for pick up in Tybee for our departure to the airport!
The Breezy Taxi was a great shuttle service on the Island and is a flat fee of $3 per person (Cash Only) for getting around on the island only. It is a mini bus that fits maybe 10 or so people and is a great way to shuttled around solely on Tybee Island.
Another great way to make your way around the island is to rent a Golf Cart, but do note they book up very fast. Some companies will even deliver you a golf cart to your accommodations free of charge!
TIP: Keep in mind that while walking and biking around town is possible, the humid and hot weather in the Summer months may limit how far you can travel by foot. Prepare to break a sweat and stay hydrated!
Things to Do on Tybee Island
You may be tempted to relax and float in the Atlantic Ocean all day, and for that I will not judge you, it's the perfect place to do so! However, if you want to make the most of your time on Tybee Island, try indulging in some outdoor activities or taking a day trip into Savannah, Georgia if you plan to stay for a few days.
Go For a Bike Ride on the Beach
Hands down one of our favorite outings was renting bikes and taking them for a beach cruise on the sand. Low tides tend to be earlier in the day so make sure to account for that if you want to ride on the beach. The low tide provides a wider track of smooth, firm sand to ride on. We rented from Fat Tire Bike Shop and it was a cheap $15 for the full day! Be aware of the Summer heat before you decide to bike out too far as heat exaustion is valid concern. Bring lots of water, get out early and head into the streets to find some shade along your route to stay safe.
Try Paddle Board Yoga
Paddle board a 2-hour tour of the Tybee Islands' creeks and rivers. The tour guide can tailor your session to your preferences, such as stretching and practicing yoga positions on the paddle board. While out on the water, take a moment to look for dolphins and birds!
Visit the Local Art + Shopping Village
Near Tybean and Huck-a-Poos is a beautiful tiny village of unique and eclectic shops, which contains funky little art shops and stores fun for browsing. With all the little shacks and creative art, you almost feel like you're in a tropical location like Jamaica or the Caribbean for a moment. Stop by Glazed and Confused to create custom pottery to take home as a souvenir or dare step into the Inferno and marvel at and taste the hundreds of hot sauces from around the world.
Visit the Tybee Island Lighthouse + Museum
A visit to Tybee Island would be incomplete without seeing the famous lighthouse, which was built in 1736. Three Light Keeper's Cottages, the Tybee Island Museum, and a modest yellow cottage showcasing Tybee's architecture from the 1900s surround the 145-foot tower.
Learn more about the batteries and Fort Screven's involvement in World War I and World War II, as well as their impact on the Tybee Island community, at the museum.
TIP: The museum is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (excluding Tuesdays). At 4:30 p.m., the last tickets are available for purchase at the Tybee Island Light Station.
Take a Day Trip into Savannah
Savannah, Georgia is one of the most charming towns of the South, and is located about 30 minutes from Tybee Island. If you get the chance to explore this historic and cultural city, I strongly recommend doing so! The best way to spend the day exploring is to take a tour, and you're in luck because Savannah has a plethora of fascinating tours to choose from.
We chose a culinary walking tour through Viator and had a terrific time exploring and eating our way through town!
Best Places to Eat and Drink on Tybee Island
Tybean Art & Coffee Bar
For those hot summer days, stop by this lovely little beach hut for some iced coffee, smoothies, and yummy blended drinks. Tybean has an eclectic courtyard and is right next to many shops where you can wander.
Pier 16 is one of Tybee Island's most modern and trendy restaurants, with a rooftop bar and two outdoor decks. Their menu features a wide variety of freshly caught seafood, burgers, salads, and more!
The Deck Beach Bar and Kitchen
For beach front dining The Deck is going to have some of the best views on the Island. Take a walk along the sand and stroll right up onto the deck for a refreshing meal and drink. The cuisine is a mix of Australian, Hawaiian, and Coastal Mexican, so there is a little something for everyone!
Salt Island Fish and Beer
With a well-crafted aesthetic, this modern and rustic eatery delivers a blend of mouth watering local southern dishes and elevated American food. You'll appreciate the beachy vibe and laid-back feel; this was one of our favorite meals during our trip!
Chamaco Tacos & Surf
Don't be fooled by the exterior of Chamacos Tacos, although this beachy taco shop is located next to a gas station, they are serving up some of the best tacos on the island! Grab a seat outside, enjoy a cold beverage and listen to the live music on weekends.
The Crab Shack
You can't leave Tybee Island without stopping at The Crab Shack! They not only serve fresh crabs and seafood, but they also offer a wildlife experience unlike any other. While on the grounds, you can feed the alligators, tour the aviary, and possibly spot dolphins in the distance while dining outside by the marina.
Stop by Wet Willie's for all your favorite frozen daiquiri's! Mix and Match flavors and make way to the beach with your ice cold drink in hand!
Final Tips for Visiting Tybee Island
Rent a Car if you are planning on staying for a few days or want to travel into Savannah!
Pack some Vaseline Cocoa Butter for the humid heat! Rub between your legs before going for a walk. LIFESAVER!!!
Bring Cash as ATM's might charge you a fee while on the Island.