Tybee Island Travel Guide
Tybee Island is so close to Atlanta that many locals here refer to it as “Atlanta’s beach”. Depending on where you live in Atlanta it only takes 3.5 to 4 hours of drive time to travel to Tybee Island.
Tybee means salt and was named by the Euchee Native American Indian Tribe. This laid-back barrier island is 18 miles east of Savannah, Georgia. About 3600 residents call Tybee home but during the summer the resort town population increases to over 12,000.
Famous homeowner’s on this intimate 3-mile long island include John Mellencamp and Sandra Bullock. Miley Cyrus has spent most of the summer here for the filming of her most recent movie “The Last Song”.
Although not considered as posh as Hilton Head or St. Simons Island, Tybee Island is a popular vacation spot due to its casual environment. Recent building codes limit the height of structures to three stories creating a low-key warmth not felt in other notable beach communities. Tybee Island also benefits from its close proximity to one of the most beautiful cities on the east coast – Savannah, Georgia.
The most popular tourist destination on Tybee is known as the Tybee Island Lighthouse. This is one of the few 18th-century lighthouses still in operation across the country. Other attractions besides the beautiful 3-mile long sandy beach on Tybee include the Pier and Fort Screven. History buffs shouldn’t miss out on the Fort Pulaski National Monument located just west of the island on Highway 80.
Where to Stay on Tybee Island
On Tybee Island, Georgia, you’ll find accommodations to suit almost every visitor or budget. We have wonderful oceanfront hotels, charming inns and B&Bs, convenient motels, and rental properties. Or, camp out or bring your RV and stay at the Tybee Island-owned campground and RV park, located just minutes from the beach.
Tybee Island Hotels & Motels
Tybee Island, Georgia has more than 500 hotel and motel rooms, all located within one block of the beach. These mostly small, independent properties help to maintain the laid-back charm that has captivated vacationers’ hearts for decades.
During the summer season on Tybee, accommodations are quickly filled by the many who flock to the island for the warm beach, ocean swimming, and Tybee’s many recreational venues. In the off-season, the weather is great and the rates are too – a terrific time to experience Savannah’s Beach.
Tybee Island Vacation Rentals
Make yourself at home during your Tybee beach vacation! We have more than 600 vacation rental properties available –- from oceanfront homes and condos to historic beach cottages and hidden bungalows.
Our island is small, so almost every property is a short walk or bike ride from the beach. Rent by the week or weekend –- you’ll have fun no matter how long you stay.
Inns and B&B’s on Tybee Island
From historic homes to uniquely themed beach retreats, Tybee Island’s inns offer guests an exciting array of choices. A favorite choice for honeymoons, anniversaries and other special occasions, inns are a wonderful way to experience life on Georgia’s Coast.
Attractions on Tybee Island, Georgia
Attractions abound in this unspoiled coastal Georgia community. Among focal points are the south-end pier and pavilion – which is much enjoyed by fishermen and folks strolling above the ocean and listening to live-band music; and the Fort Screven area on the island’s north end, which is the site of the Tybee Lighthouse and an intriguing museum.
Nearby Fort Pulaski offers many activities guaranteed to thrill the nature lover and history buff alike. Check out our dolphin cruises and turtle tour too!
- Tybee Lighthouse
- Tybee Museum
- Fort Screven
- Fort Pulaski
- Cockspur Lighthouse
- Marine Science Center
- Tybee Pier & Pavilion
- Little Tybee Island
- Tybee Turtle Tour
Shopping on Tybee Island
You’ll quickly appreciate Tybee’s artist population when you explore our local art galleries. We also have traditional beach souvenir shops – always a favorite with the kids – as well as a grocery store, sporting good shops, and convenience stores for anything you forgot to pack!
Arts & Culture on Tybee Island
Tybee abounds with artistic, historic, and cultural offerings! Tour a local Georgia artist’s studio or shop for original art at a local gallery. Relax to the sounds of a local musician. Explore 400 years of island history at the Tybee Museum. Take a self-guided tour of Tybee’s historic raised cottages. Enjoy a local event like this fall’s Celebrate Tybee and help us celebrate the island’s 120 years of modern history on Georgia’s Coast.
Those who love the arts and history should take the time to see downtown Savannah’s Historic District. There, the largest urban historic district in the country is home to scores of galleries, historic sites, and museums, including one of the nation’s oldest museums, the Telfair Museum of Art, which now includes the dazzling, new Jepson Center for the Arts.
Outdoors & Recreation
Tybee Island is the perfect destination for the outdoor enthusiast and offers activities from fishing and kayaking to jet-skiing and parasailing. This barrier island on Georgia’s Coast boasts five miles of beach with sea oat-covered sand dunes –- just perfect for sunbathing, people watching, and enjoying Atlantic Ocean views. Even in the off-season, our weather is usually mild enough for nature walks and sunset boat cruises.
Tybee Island Restaurants
Tybee Island is home to more than 25 privately-owned restaurants. You’ll find that although most of our dining spots have a casual, family-friendly atmosphere, we also have some very fine dining on our island. Many restaurants have water views and even more offer outdoor seating.
You’re sure to find something to please your palate – from our exceptionally fresh seafood (think local shrimp!) to American, Caribbean, Southern, and international cuisine. Tybee Island is a change from the typical Savannah Downtown restaurants
Nightlife on Tybee Island
Tybee Island has often been called a drinking island with a fishing problem.
You’ll find that most of our bars are very “beachy” and casual, and many serve food. Others cater to a more upscale clientele. Some are cheerfully considered “dives” and karaoke is usually not hard to find.
Tybee’s bar scene also includes the “To-Go Cup”. Tybee Island allows individuals to possess alcohol outdoors as long as it is in a plastic container — absolutely no glass. So if you would like to take a midnight stroll on the beach with some wine, go right ahead, just pour it in a cup before you go. And remember –- do not drive while under the influence of alcohol. Our laws about that are quite strict.
We also have a few casual nightclubs for those who like to dance. These clubs, as well as bars that do not serve food, are usually closed on Sundays; it’s a Georgia law. Bar closing times differ from bar to bar, but by law, they must close by 3 am. So remember to drink responsibly and have fun on Georgia’s Coast!