Just 18 miles from Savannah, Georgia, Tybee Island is a popular family getaway destination. Rich in both history and natural beauty, the barrier island is famous for its seafood and spectacular uninterrupted three-mile beach. Tybee Island's strategic position near the mouth of the Savannah River has made the island's northern tip the ideal location for a lighthouse since Georgia's early settlement period. Families can explore salt marshes that teem with birds and wildlife unique to Georgia’s coast.
Commissioned in 1732, the Tybee Island Light Station has been guiding mariners safe entrance into the Savannah River for over 270 years. The most photographed landmark on the island, the lighthouse tower has 178 steps which you can climb for far-reaching views. Adults and kids age 12 and up can take an evening guided tour of the lighthouse and catch a beautiful coastal sunset from the top.
30 Meddin Ave.
Just offshore, you can see wild bottlenose dolphins frolicking in the waters around Tybee Island. You can get fabulous, up-close views on a cruise with Captain Mike's Dolphin Tours or Captain Derek's Dolphin Adventure; both all three companies also offer sunset cruises, fishing charters, and more.
Old US Hwy 80
US Hwy. 80
For the most delicious cool treat on the island, head to Seaside Sweets for its homemade Italian-style gelato ice cream, smoothies, and milkshakes. You'll also find old-fashioned candies, pralines, fudge, and yummy homemade lemonade.
18B Tybrisa (16th St.)
At the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, families can learn all about the Tybee Island Sea Turtle Project and take a guided beach walk. Sea turtle nesting season is May-October. You can visit a young loggerhead sea turtle and enjoy the new aquatic display designed by the Georgia Aquarium.
1509 Strand Ave.
Bicycling is a wonderful way to explore Tybee Island. You can rent bikes from Fat Tire Bikes and take one of their self-guided bike tours, often traveling places that cars, mopeds, and scooters cannot go. There are several kinds of bikes available, from beach cruisers to kids' bikes to bikes with trailaway cars and child seats.
1403 Butler Ave.
A key battlement in the Civil War, Fort Pulaski National Monument offers families daily guided tours and musket demonstrations and weekend cannon firings. Fort Pulaski also has a Junior Ranger Program for kids aged 6-12 years.
Fun fact: After graduating from West Point, a young Robert E. Lee worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers and was instrumental in planning the construction of Fort Pulaski.
US Hwy. 80 East
Learn all about local beach critters from marine biologist Dr. Joe Richardson, who offers two-hour beach ecology walks that are fun and educational for all ages. Beach trips include high and low tide beachcombing, exploring tidal pools and sandy intertidal habitats, and learning about the animals you encounter.
Tybee Island isn't just popular with beach lovers; birds flock here, too. Grab some binoculars and take your kids for a walk on the North Beach Birding Trail, a popular birdwatching spot. Year round, you should be able to spot the black skimmer and oystercatcher.
Seafood is a Tybee Island specialty, and the Crab Shack is a must-stop for lunch or dinner. Located right on the water with a fabulous view, the Crab Shack is famous for its steamed seafood samplers. Before you eat, you can feed the alligators in the lagoon and spy some exotic birds. Is there someone in your family who doesn’t eat seafood? There are plenty of options for landlubbers, too.
40 Estill Hammock Rd.