One hundred seventy eight steps to the most beautiful views of Tybee Island beach and the marshes, but it was the light house glass, and the stories of the Tybee Island Lighthouse keepers and their families that had me fascinated.
A visit to the Tybee Lighthouse is a great way to get a feel for the history of the island, and a sense of the place. Similarly, a hop-on, hop-off trolley tour in Savannah is a perfect way to start your vacation, and set the stage to choose between the many Savannah Ga. points of interest, because there is no way to get to everything in a single trip. Believe me, we tried.
Thank you to Visit Savannah for sponsoring our trip and this post. Here are some of our great finds.
Where to Stay on Tybee Island, Ga.
You won’t find lots of chain hotels in Tybee Island, which is one of the charms of the area. Tybee Island rentals and Tybee Island hotels are all different, from the only beachside hotel the Desoto Beach Hotel, Tybee Island, Ga. to the historic Hotel Tybee, to the budget friendly Royal Palm Motel.
There are lots of Tybee Island rentals and even beach vacation rentals available from local companies like Mermaid Cottages and several VRBO Tybee Island homes.
Five Things to do in Tybee Island
The Pavilion and Pier at Tybee is good old fashion beachside fun, but there is a lot to do on the island in addition to playing in the sand or shopping on the boardwalk. Here are a few of our favorites.
Georgia Sea Kayak
The kayaks put in along the creek behind Georgia Sea Kayak, a rare treat delivered by high tides. Under the shade of trees, we paddled quietly through the watery path into the marsh, leaving our cares on the shore.
Tybee beach is one of the most popular beaches in Georgia, and may be the main draw of the island, and the Tybee Lighthouse is a popular attraction, but exploring Georgia islands by the water is the real treat.
As the rain clouds of the morning disappeared, we found ourselves surrounded by marsh grasses. Our guide Marcia expertly navigated us past an area called Chimney Creek where we watched dolphins swim, and watched egrets flying above.
We were brought back to civilization by the drone of a speedboat motor coming from across the grassy fields where Baywatch the Movie, due out in 2017, was filming. It’s not unusual to find crews filming in Savannah or on Tybee Island. We ran into crews setting up for a lifeguard tryout scene on the beach, and a crew staging area on our way to lunch at the Crab Shack.
My favorite part of our Georgia Sea Kayak trip was the paddle past oyster beds the size of football fields to a brief stop at Little Tybee Island, an undeveloped barrier island. Within five minutes on the beach, we found a softball sized jelly ball in a tidepool, lots of oyster clusters on the beach and a few shells.
Pro Tip: Be liberal with the sunscreen and wear a heat and sunglasses. The tour is three hours long and it’s difficult to get away from the sun. It’s a good idea to bring plenty of water too, as well as a snack. Each Georgia Sea Kayak tour is unique and the guide will judge your group’s ability to ensure everyone can participate. We had the tide with us most of the time, but there were a few instances, especially on the way to Little Tybee where a bit of muscle behind the paddles was needed.
Fort Pulaski is part of the National Park Service. The day we went they were having a special event that included a Civil War campout and cannon demonstrations. Cannons are always a draw for my boys. Pro Tip: Ask at the Ranger station for a set of FREE trading cards.
Savannah Bee Company Tour
On Wilmington Island is the headquarters for the Savannah Bee Company. For a few dollars, you can put on bee hats and take a tour of the hives out back.
I wanted to go just for the bee hats, but I left with some tea honey that I’m now in love with and am going to have to go buy more.
We found about about this at the Savannah Bee Company store on River Street (where adults can sample meade).
Pro Tip: Feel free to sample all the different flavors of honey for sale, you’ll be amazed all the different flavors.
Tybee Island Marine Science Center: By the time we headed to the Pavilion and the beach after the Tybee Island Lighthouse, the Marine Science Center was closed. This is definitely on my list for next time.
Oatland Island Wildlife Center: We saw the signs for this on our way from Savannah to Tybee and each time we passed, I was intrigued.
Where to Eat on Tybee Island
Shoes and shirts are required, but it’s a casual atmosphere at the restaurants on Tybee Island. Here are a two we enjoyed, as well as a few suggestions from readers.
Crab Shack: The Crab Shack is a bit off the beaten path if going by car, but along the main drag by boat. We arrived by car and had to go through a sea of production trucks for the movie crew of Baywatch the Movie to get to the restaurant, which kind of added to the allure.
The Crab Shack definitely has the quirkiness of a shack, but it’s actually a pretty big complex with entertainment, as well as food. We sat outside on the deck and enjoyed flavorful fresh shrimp, both steamed and in a refreshing shrimp salad, as well as relaxing marsh views. Afterwards we took a look at the gators that live on property. Who needs Gatorland when you can view the gators at the Crab Shack. A little further down, there is a room full of rescued exotic birds. Some say hello, others do a dance to My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean. I guess they have them indoors because there are also a cat condo, and lots of signs letting folks know the kitties are well cared for and not strays, never a dull moment at the Crab Shack. Pro Tip: Purchase food pellets to feed alligators using fishing poles.
Gerald’s Pig & Shrimp: I like a place that is what it is, and does what it says. Gerald’s Pig & Shrimp is such a place. This roadside bar with patio seating is a true Island establishment. It may not have a lot of frills, but it does have yummy fried shrimp that is ever so lightly breaded. The restaurant gets the shrimp fresh each day off the docks about a block away. I preferred the shrimp to the BBQ, but apparently stars in town for local productions love it. Pro Tip: Wash down your fried shrimp with freshly squeezed limeade.
More great restaurants on Tybee Island, Ga
Huc a Poos: Field Trips with Sue reader Beth Phillips says don’t miss Huc a Poo’s for awesome pizza.
Tybee Island, Ga
When we visit a Georgia town, I like to share the restaurants and activities from our visit over a series of days, weeks, or months. “An idea a day….” the tagline says. But…I have my limits. I try to keep the suggestions on this “Atlanta” blog within a 3-hour radius of the city. Tybee doesn’t fit that description.
But how could I go to Tybee Island and not share it with you?? That’s just wrong!
Our trip was not a media trip like most of the adventures you read about on our blog. We didn’t see all the sites or try all the restaurants. We spent most of our time with a group of friends at the Burton 4H Center learning about beach ecology, marsh ecology, island critters, and more. If you have an opportunity to try out one of their camps, I highly recommend it. It is worth every penny.
So, in lieu of a normal 365 Atlanta Family post, I thought I would whet your appetite for a bit of Tybee Island with some photos I took during our adventure. Your regularly scheduled program will resume tomorrow.
Disclosure: No one paid me, I didn’t get any compensation. Heck, when I went here, no one even knew I was a blogger and it was awesome! As always, if I didn’t think it was killer, I wouldn’t write about. #keepingitreal