Just 18 miles away from Savannah is Tybee Island. This city is on a barrier island rich in history and natural beauty. Tybee Island is a vacation destination for visitors around the globe. Tybee Island has always been a part of Savannah. In fact, in the past, it used to be called “Savannah’s Beach”. The Native Americans who inhabited the island called it Tybee, which means “salt”. Tybee Island has a long history and has been inhabited nearly as long as the city of Savannah. The island is a great strategic point at the end of the Savannah River. It has played a major defensive role during the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and The Civil War. During the late 19th century, Tybee Island became a resort destination for Savannah residents. They escaped the heat of the city during the summer to enjoy the cooler ocean breezes. Today, Tybee Island is home to nearly 3,000 year round residents and thousands of people who come to visit every day.
There are many things to do on Tybee Island from relaxing on the beach, fishing, enjoying food and entertainment to visiting historical landmarks and learning about nature. One of the oldest buildings on the island is the Tybee Lighthouse . It was originally built on the same site in 1736 to help sailors navigate to the Savannah River. The structure that still stands today comes from a foundation of a building in 1773. The top portion of the lighthouse was added in 1867. It’s light station and outer buildings are historically protected and are a very popular site for visitors and locals. Another popular destination is the Tybee Pier and Pavilion where you can do everything from fishing to people watching to attending large parties. The pier and pavilion are central to most Tybee Island activities. Fort Screven historical district is also on the island. You can see the remains of a Revolutionary War fort or visit the Tybee Museum at the Battery Garland.
Tybee Island is a nature’s lover’s dream. There are miles of reserved wildlife areas to hike, bike or canoe through. The island is a nesting area for sea turtles from May 1 to October 31st every year. The Tybee Marine Science Center helps protect Georgia’s natural resources through education, conservation and research. Tybee Island has 3 miles of uninterrupted public beach for great relaxation purposes. The other side of the island is full of salt marshes and lots of birds and native Georgian wildlife.
There are over 25 different restaurants on Tybee Island ranging from higher end dining establishments to beach bars. There are many different types of places to stay while you are on the island as well from Inns and Bed and Breakfasts to hotels and resorts to renting out vacation homes. After you have visited historical Savannah, take some time to enjoy the sun, the beach and the natural beauty of Tybee Island.