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Located just 18 miles east of the Hostess City of the South, Tybee Island is colloquially known as Savannah Beach, which was its former name. This amazing tourist destination offers something for every visitor. Boasting a rich history and natural beauty, Tybee Island also features a variety of exciting outdoor recreational activities for individuals and families. The following is a list of the top 10 things you can do on Tybee Island.
In addition to swimming and relaxing on the beach, you can participate in exciting water sports like parasailing, surfing and riding personal watercraft. Located just south of the main shopping and dining district, South Beach is the center of the action. While locals enjoy Mid-Beach, Savannah River Beach is popular with families. North Beach offers the opportunity to observe dolphins as well as seagoing vessels entering and leaving Savannah harbor.
Open year-round, the science center sponsors a variety of nature walks that showcase the island’s wonderful interconnected ecosystem. After viewing the galleries and exhibits inside, visitors accompany guides on hour-long treks through the dunes and marshes as well as along the beach. You will discover the wide variety of flora and fauna that live on and around the island, such as salt grasses and the endangered sea turtle. Walks also focus on sharks, whales and jellyfish.
Built between 1829 and 1847, Fort Pulaski was constructed to defend the entrance to Savannah Harbor. Seized by Confederate forces at the start of the Civil War, the bastion was recaptured by Union troops in 1862 after a 30-hour battle. Explore the ramparts, cannons, casements and other features of this well-preserved, 19th-century masonry fortification. You can attend reenactments, cannon firings and other demonstrations that bring the history of the fort to life.
The dock provides marvelous views of the ocean as well as an excellent spot for onshore fishing. The pavilion is a popular setting for dances, musical performances and other special events. The nearby stores and restaurants help make the area a shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Located on the south end of the island in the main business district, it is one of Tybee’s most visited attractions.
Get a closer look at shrimp boats and sailing vessels in the harbor as you head out to sea on a dolphin-watching cruise. Experienced tour guides will lead you to the best dolphin viewing sites in the area. You will pass by Fort Pulaski and the historic Cockspur Light as you head out on an hour-long cruise to view dolphins frolicking in their native habitat. Enjoy the sights, like the Tybee Island Lighthouse, as bottlenose dolphins play alongside the boat.
The small marina with its docks and boats has the charm of a small fishing village. While serious anglers can seek elusive game fish, there are also relaxing excursions for families. Charters can go inshore or just offshore for whiting, redfish, flounder and spotted sea trout.
Tybee Island is situated on the Colonial Coastal Birding trail and the Atlantic Flyway. The island hosts over 200 indigenous and migratory species. It is a safe haven and destination for wintering shorebirds, such as the piping plover. Along with the bald eagle, observable species include the purple sandpiper, black-bellied plover and the American oystercatcher.
Little Tybee Island is a pristine undeveloped barrier island. This serene bird and nature preserve is only accessible by boat, canoe or kayak. It is the nesting ground for several endangered and at-risk animals and birds. The amazing facets of this 700-acre wilderness jewel include unspoiled beaches, rich coastal salt marshes and natural dunes as well as subtropical forests of pine, palm and live oak trees. Along with the endangered wood stork, the island is home to Georgia low country wildlife species like the egret, heron and osprey. Bald eagles and spoonbills have also been spotted. You can make your own way to the preserve or take one of the many year-round boat, kayak and paddleboard guided tours. Canoe and kayak excursions enable visitors to explore the island’s inland creeks.
Located on the northern tip of the island, the Fort Screven Historic District is the setting for several buildings that were once part of this coastal defense fortification. A former gun emplacement and ammunition magazine, the concrete Battery Garland now houses the Tybee Island Museum. Visitors can observe the cottages and other buildings ensconced atop the fort’s walls, which have sweeping views of the ocean. These include the historic Post Theatre and the Surf Song Bed and Breakfast that occupies a building that once served as the Fort Screven’s officers’ quarters.
Children can swing, slide and climb on a variety of age-appropriate structures. The parks host lighted tennis and basketball courts as well as several ball fields, jogging paths and scenic nature trails. They also have covered pavilions, barbecue pits and restrooms for outdoor gatherings. Featuring a decorative fountain, the Park of the Seven Flags is a tribute to the history of Tybee Island. The park also marks the eastern terminus of Highway 80 that runs across the country to San Diego.
Sun, sand and salty sea breezes combine with a dash of history and pristine nature to create an idyllic haven on Tybee Island. It is all available just a few minutes’ drive east from Savannah.