Hey there! Looking for a relaxing low key weekend with friends or a charming romantic getaway? Then look no further than Tybee Island!
If you haven’t been to the South, you may not have ever heard of this tiny hidden gem. It’s so small that you can explore most of it in just a couple of days, making it the perfect weekend getaway. I’ve done the research for you and created a guide + downloadable mini itinerary to help you plan for your visit!
This little beach town is full of happy memories for me. I’ve been here a handful of times in my life and each time it’s been an amazing experience. There’s something about this town that gives it this really down to earth and homey vibe that makes it hard to leave. In my opinion, Tybee is a good place to visit pretty much year-round. It can get busier in the summer but it’s a small island. Even during peak season, it’s not as super packed as you’d expect, making it a good option for a summer vacation with kids. Regardless, I prefer to visit during the off season. The best time to visit when you still want warm weather but you’re trying to avoid people is anytime between March and May or August and Mid-November. ☺
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Where to stay
Since it’s a pretty small island there are no resorts and many hotels are small, but just about everywhere has close access to the beach. Even if you stay at a rental in the residential area, most places are still less than a 20-minute walk to the beach!
I always suggest staying in a rental if you can! Personally, I feel like it provides a more authentic experience than a hotel and I live for the privacy, comfort, and freedom that comes with it. It’s easy to find local rental agencies too (See Desoto Properties below), but Airbnb is always my go-to when searching for local stays. I can always find listings for every price point as well as a wide range of styles from southern contemporary to nautical themed homes.
Hotels and Inns
I’ve stayed at a few hotels here and let me tell you, the southern hospitality is real. Everyone is polite, there’s always a friendly face at the counter, and they really try to make you feel at home. As far as comfortable hotels go through Tybee Island kinda seems to be a hit or miss… So here are a few of my top picks to help you out.
– Desoto Properties – A family-owned business well known in Tybee and my fave on this list. They actually have 3 main properties: a hotel, a B&B, and an inn, along with a bunch of rentals. All their properties have a relaxed and plush vibe making them my top pick.
– Sea and Breeze Hotel – Cute and colorful 3-star hotel with a quaint beach town vibe. It’s located on Tybee’s lively Tybrisa Street, just minutes from the beach.
– Surf Song Bed & Breakfast – Located on the north beach, this gorgeous inn is set in a beautiful historic Victorian home.
Tip: If you’re between a rental or a hotel, go for the rental. They’re often at similar or better prices than hotels and offer a lot more comfort and privacy.
I’ve stayed at all types of accommodation on the island, my first couple of times I went camping with friends! There’s only one camping and RV park on Tybee, so if you want to stay here make sure you book in advance even if it’s the off season, just to be safe. River’s End Campground is a nice little site with plenty of space, cabins, warm showers, a pool, and close access to Tybee’s north beach. Access to the beach is somewhat hidden but easy to find if you know where to look. On the west side of the campground, head northwest on Polk Street, and at the end of the street, you’ll find a cool sandy path to the beach. Easy.
This island is where my love of crab cakes began LOL. Tybee Island has some of my favorite places to eat and the food is part of the reason I love this place. The majority of Tybee’s restaurants have a great casual vibe consistent with the rest of the island and are uniquely designed, many with beautiful wide views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Huc-a-poo’s Bites and Booze – DON’T judge by the name OR their website, they have an awesome roadhouse style atmosphere and great food, I eat here at least once every time I visit. Get the nachos, they’re crazy (bring friends). No ocean view here, but they’re located at the end of this vibrant wooded shopping area, it’s a great spot for pics actually!
A-J’s Dockside – Casual eats. This colorful riverside restaurant is in the perfect location to witness some beautiful golden sunsets. They have a cool outdoor deck on the water, you can even come by boat or rent a kayak!
Fannie’s on the Beach – Hard to miss! Fannie’s shows off its fun atmosphere the moment you lay eyes on it and its funky interior is sure to draw you in. Right by Tybee’s most popular street, it has a great beach view and is welcome to all ages.
Seaside Sweets – Lovely little candy and ice cream shop, my favorite ice cream shop on the island. They switch up their flavors from time to time, but I recommend cookie monster if they have it, I’m drooling just thinking about it…
I love this place, it’s such an adorable beach town absolutely perfect for some R&R. Feel free to download the itinerary at the end of this post or just take notes and do your own thing!
Style: Casual, Active
Features: Local food and shopping, Biking, Beach, Relaxation
6 am – Start your day early so you can catch one of the island’s cotton candy-colored sunrises! Wake up at like 5:30 am and head to the beach, the pier on south beach has a lovely view. Feel free to chill on the pier, lay out a blanket, or hang your hammock under the pier! A hammock is my personal preference hehe. I think it’s the perfect way to lay back, watch the sunrise, and lazily enjoy the morning.
Important: South beach is always open, but make sure you pay for parking when necessary! Parking must be paid between 8 am and 8 pm every day. To pay for parking find one of the pay stations on the sidewalk in front of the beach and make sure your parking ticket is visible on your dash.
9 am – Once you feel ready to start doing things again, take a moment to dip your feet in the Atlantic Ocean before heading to breakfast. 😀 Across from the pier you can explore around Tybee Island’s popular Tybrisa Street and enjoy a meal at one of the area’s quaint cafes. The Breakfast Club on the corner of 15th Street is a popular option but be prepared to wait, there’s always a line out the door in the mornings! Then, take it easy with a stroll and some time to admire the area’s small-town charm. There’s a nice variety of shops around including boutiques, fun souvenir shops, and an art gallery.
11 am – Warming up now so it’s time to spend a couple of hours at the beach! Remember to wear sunscreen. Btw here are some basics that never fail to make my beach experience an awesome one; peep the wine tote.
1 pm – Switch out your beach stuff for a backpack and go find one of the island’s bike shops. The only place I’ve rented from is Fat Tire Bikes on Butler Avenue, their daily rental is very affordable and no not all of their bikes have fat tires lol. Tybee is a very bike-friendly community, basically, completely flat making it my ideal way to get around the island. I feel like biking really helps you get a more intimate and better feel of a place plus it’s a great way to explore the island quickly without polluting the environment by driving a car back and forth (you’re doing your part!). Once you have your bike, I recommend you start riding towards the island’s north beach so you can check out that shopping area I was talking about earlier too.
2 pm – Keep on the main road and soon you’ll come upon an art gallery on your right (and a gelato place I love, it’s in a little camper). Just past the art gallery is a colorful little shopping area called Tybee Oaks. Beautifully draped with coastal Georgia’s classic oak trees and Spanish moss, it’s made up of unique locally-owned shops selling handmade souvenirs. You’re probably pretty hungry by now, luckily you’ll also find Huc-a-Poos here! Make sure you stop by for some of their awesome pizza before you continue adventuring.
4 pm – From here, you’re not far from discovering some of the area’s local history at the Tybee Island Lighthouse Museum. You can see the lighthouse from the road, so it makes the entrance easy to find. Standing at 145 feet, it was originally built in 1732 and claims to be Georgia’s oldest lighthouse but it’s actually had to be moved and rebuilt more than once!
6 pm – After some light shopping and museum-going, I like to bike through the residential area and admire the plants and small homes that make up the neighborhood. I actually have my eye on a lovely modern villa. ☺
7 pm – Right next to the lighthouse, enjoy a sunset dinner at North Beach Bar and Grill! Another great colorful restaurant with a beautiful beach view and the delicious Caribbean inspired food.
9 pm – After a fulfilling and busy day, it’s time to unwind with a relaxing night in. Or… Head back out to Tybrisa Street and check out Tybee’s nightlife! Fannie’s is fun and lit up like a Christmas tree, Rock House Original Bar & Grill is really popular for drinks, and there are plenty more lively bars to meet locals and dance the night away.
- Fort Pulaski and Cockspur Lighthouse – The fort is a historic landmark and was used by the confederate army during the civil war. Right next to the fort is Cockspur Lighthouse. You can walk to the monument but can’t access it due to conservation efforts.
- Little Tybee – Yes, there’s a little Tybee, but it’s actually bigger than the main attraction! Only accessible by water you can rent a kayak or jet ski to cross Tybee’s back river and explore the uninhabited island.
- Back River Fishing Pier
- Tybee Island Marine Science Center – Popular for school trips, this center offers educational programs about coastal Georgia’s marine life.
- Charter tours
Spending time in Savannah? Tybee Island is an easy 25 min drive, a great addition to your vacay.