A Weekend Guide to Tybee Island
Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Savannah's historic downtown area is the charming little beach town of Tybee Island. Often referred to as "Savannah's Beach," Tybee is a great, natural escape from the urban lifestyle that is only about 15-20 minutes away. It's a fantastic place where you can ride your bike through the streets while ogling at the colorful cottages; hit the beach for some surfing, picnicking, or relaxing; and finally, unwind at the end of the day by watching the sunset over the ocean. It's the perfect beach getaway *and* extension to your trip in Savannah!
It's time to clock into "Tybee Time," as the locals call it. Let your hair down, grab your flip flops, and get ready to relax because we're taking a break from the skyscrapers of the city to enjoy the vibes of the island. Use this weekend guide to Tybee Island to see where you can eat, sleep, and play on any budget during your visit.
Don't be fooled by the size of Tybee Island because the flavors this beachy town certainly pack a punch. There are plenty of great places to eat and enjoy the island when you're staying in Tybee. The best part is that you don't have to break the bank eating in town because there are tons of affordable places in the area.
*One tip of advice if you're eating somewhere near the water, especially in the evening: DO. NOT. FORGET. BUG SPRAY. I made the horrible mistake of doing this when I stayed and woke up the next day paying the price. Don't be silly like me!
Ok...now to the food...
- The Breakfast Club, $$, 1500 Butler Ave -- Good local spot to grab breakfast in the morning or a juicy burger
- A-J's Dockside, $$, 1315 Chatham Ave -- I love this place for so many reasons. First, there is an awesome dock in the back of the restaurant to catch the gorgeous sunset, which I highly recommend. Make sure to get there early enough if you want to see it because it gets crowded. The food was also a great surprise because what seemed like a "typical bar food" menu was actually full of delicious southern flavor in all the dishes I tried. Definitely a great place to check out!
- Sundae Cafe, $$$, 304 1st St -- An unpretentious cafe with a wide variety of really great dishes on the menu. Plenty of seafood, meat, and other hearty meals.
- Fish Camp, $$$, 106 S Campbell Ave -- If you're craving fresh seafood alongside a romantic, upscale dining experience, this is your place. The restaurant is in a charming, renovated cottage complete with modern decor and a lovely back patio area.
- The Social Club, $$, 1311 Butler Ave -- This spot is notorious for their shrimp and grits, Bloody Marys, and brunch menu. If you're in the mood for a lively brunch with some local music, head there for their Bluegrass Brunch every Sunday from 12-3pm!
- Sweetie Pies, $, 1209 Hwy 80 -- Located right next to the adorable, local shop, Seaside Sisters (worth stepping inside for a look at everything they have!), is the little vintage trailer of Sweetie Pies. Stop by for some tasty gelato and other sweet treats on a hot summer day.
- The Crab Shack, $$, 40 Estill Hammock Rd -- Seafood lovers rejoice at this place. This restaurant is known for its seafood boils (meaning they don't just deep fry everything like you would imagine for a casual seafood place) and large platters, making it a good place for larger groups.
- CoCo's Sunset Grille, $$, 1A Old Us Hwy 80 -- Another great, casual spot to enjoy the Tybee sunset over drinks and food
- 80 East Gastropub, $$, 725B 1st St -- Like any terrific gastropub, this place serves up quality drinks, a lively atmosphere, and delicious food. It's right next to a gas station, which makes it quite [pleasantly] surprising when you step inside to experience this place.
- Huc-a-Poos, $, 1213 US Hwy 80 -- If you're looking for a low key spot to grab some pizza, head to this cool, dive-y spot
The Vacation Rental
- Mermaid Cottages, Various Locations
While you'd normally think to stay at a hotel or resort when you travel to an island or beach destination, my recommendation when coming to Tybee Island is to opt for a vacation home rental. What better way to experience the area than living like a local in an adorable beach house or cottage?!
My personal favorite rental group is Mermaid Cottages--partially because I really love mermaids and partially because of how great their properties are. Just take a look at this one that is *literally* beach house goals in every way.
The cottage I stayed in (Doyle's on the Dunes) was pretty much a stone's throw away from the oceanfront and came with all the comfortable amenities of home. You can have your own privacy, a full kitchen/living room/dining room to utilize, multiple bedrooms, and even a deck to hang out and enjoy the views by choosing to stay at a vacation rental like Mermaid Cottages. I recommend this style of accommodations if you're looking for the full Tybee experience.
Also try: Tybee Vacation Rentals, Desoto Beach Terraces, Oceanfront Cottage Rentals
The Beachfront Hotel
- DeSoto Beach Hotel, 212 Butler Ave
If you do want the convenience of staying at a hotel near the water, check out Desoto Beach Hotel, which has been voted the Best Place to Stay on Tybee many times over. Guests can enjoy a private beach access and a convenient location to the downtown area.
Also try: Hotel Tybee or Beachside Colony Resort
- Surf Song Bed & Breakfast, 21 Officers Row
Stay in this historic, renovated Victorian home that is over 100 years old, where you'll be steps away from the beach and many other attractions in the area. In addition to the elegant interior of the B&B, guests can also enjoy a private pool, fresh breakfast in the morning, and beautiful views of Tybee from each room.
Also try: Hotel Beachview Bed & Breakfast, Tybee Island Inn, or The Georgianne Inn
- Rent a bike to get around town. Of course having a car is convenient to get from place to place; but if you want the real Tybee experience, you absolutely need to rent a bike. There's nothing quite like biking through a beach town with the wind blowing in your hair and the smell of sea salt in the air... You can get one from bike rental companies around town, like Tim's Beach Gear.
- Spend a day at the beach. Take a picnic, go for a romantic walk, or just lounge around and relax on the shore all day. You're on an island after all...
- Swoon over the beautiful cottages around town. All of the colorful beach homes around the island are so adorable that you can't miss out on seeing them! Bonus points if you do it while riding your bike!
- Catch a sunset over the water at places like A-J's or CoCo's (both listed above in "EAT")
- Walk along the Tybee Island Pier to see the view from the water
- See the view of Tybee from the Tybee Island Light Station. It's a decent walk up to the top of the lighthouse (wear comfortable shoes to climb the stairs), but the view is killer.
- Hit the waves and take a surf lesson. If surfing isn't your thing, you can still do kayaking, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, and tons of other fun water sports.
- Visit some local boutiques like Seaside Sisters (my fave! and has lots of great things from house goods to souvenirs and clothing), Swizzle and Shake (perfect for gifts for those who love to entertain at home), or Kelly & Company (for custom essential oils, bath products, and other natural beauty products)
- Spend some time in nature by going on a dolphin adventure tour, taking a Tybee Beach Ecology Trip, or visiting the Marine Science Center
- Experience life on "Tybee Time." Being on Tybee is all about relaxing and taking in the island life at your own pace. Everything starts to move a little slower as you leave your cares behind you when you drive into this charming beach town. Indulge in a little R&R, grab a drink (drinks are insanely cheap here compared to city prices--winning!), let your hair down, and take a deep breath to soak it all in. You're on the island time now!
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO TYBEE ISLAND? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO EAT, PLACES TO STAY, OR THINGS TO DO? COMMENT BELOW WITH MORE RECOMMENDATIONS!
Thank you to Visit Savannah and Visit Tybee for hosting my visit to Savannah. All opinions are my own.