One of the many reasons Savannah is a preferred vacation spot is its proximity to the small beach town of Tybee Island. Located about 18 miles from Savannah’s Historic District, Tybee features three public oceanfront beaches as well as two river beaches. There are also numerous restaurants to experience, various tours to partake in, and several gift shops to pick up a few souvenirs. Don your beachwear, pack your cooler with plenty of water, get your beach umbrella, towels, and other necessities together, and let’s make our way out to Tybee.
First, you’ll have to decide which Tybee beach you plan to visit. There’s North Beach, which is located at 33 Meddin Drive and is the closest beach to Savannah. It’s certainly the quietest of the three oceanfront beaches, so it’s the perfect place if you’re looking to relax. North Beach is also home to two of Tybee’s landmarks: the Tybee Lighthouse and Fort Screven. This beach does have its own parking lot that changes hourly for parking.
Next up is Mid Beach, which stretches from 1st Street to 14th Street. As its name implies, it is the island’s central beach area. Like North Beach, Mid Beach usually isn’t crowded. This area does feature most of Tybee’s hotels, so don’t expect to find many amenities. Unlike North Beach, there is no designated parking lot for Mid Beach. Instead, beachgoers will use metered parking spots on the street. From there, each street has a walkover to the beach.
Lastly, there’s South Beach, which is Tybee’s most active area and located at 1603 Strand Avenue. It houses the Tybee Beach Pier and Pavilion, where you’ll find a place for beverages and ice cream, restrooms, and lots of people fishing. South Beach is also where you’ll find most of Tybee’s bars, restaurants, and shops. Lifeguards are peppered throughout the beach to monitor those in the water. For parking, South Beach boasts the largest parking lot of the beaches – and for good reason. Like North Beach, these parking spots are numbered and must be paid for. But don’t worry – paying for parking is a breeze with Tybee’s parking app, ParkTYB.
Tybee’s two river beaches are a little tucked away. Savannah River Beach is located a little beyond North Beach, and Back River Beach is located past South Beach at the end of Chatham Avenue. Because these two river beaches are less accessible than their oceanfront counterparts, you won’t see nearly as many people.
Of course, you’ll want to eat while on you’re on Tybee Island. For breakfast, there’s The Breakfast Club located at 1500 Butler Avenue. This busy, “world famous” diner, opens from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day and features standard breakfast fare, including a litany of omelet choices. If you’re at South Beach once lunch time rolls around, then take a pit stop at Fannie’s on the Beach. This casual beachfront restaurant is located at 1613 Strand Avenue and serves up standard seafood fare as well as pizza, salads & sandwiches.
For dinner, take a trip to A-J’s Dockside Restaurant at 1315 Chatham Avenue. If you’re already at Back River Beach, you won’t have to travel far to this seafood eatery that features an indoor seating as well as seating on an outdoor deck that overlooks the river. If you’re at North Beach or the beginning of Mid Beach, then there’s Sundae Cafe at 304 1st Street. This popular upscale Tybee restaurant that used to be an ice cream parlor – as its name implies – specializes in seafood and steaks.
For lighter fare and a caffeine fix, Tybean Art & Coffee Bar at 1213 U.S. Highway 80 offers various pastries and smoothies and, of course, coffee.
Although it’s a small island, Tybee offers plenty of things to do. For your next stay in Savannah, make sure you plan to make a trip out to the beach town.