A barrier island near the city of Savannah, Georgia, Tybee Island offers much more to do than just relaxing on the beach. Museums, tours, and multiple historic military and maritime landmarks dot the island’s landscape. Most Tybee Island vacation rentals keep you close to the natural, cultural, and historic attractions in the area. Explore the island and check out several fun things to do.
1. Visit the Tybee Island Marine Science Center
Learn about Georgia’s coastal ecosystem at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. Located in the former police station, the Georgia Coastal Gallery houses roughly 300 creatures in their tanks, including baby alligators, puffers, clown fish, sea jellies, and other creatures. Reach into the touch tank for a hands-on experience. Programs held in the gallery give you more information on the creatures that call the coast home.
2. Climb the Tybee Island Light Station
One of the most popular things to do on Tybee Island is to visit the lighthouse. The oldest and tallest Georgia lighthouse, Tybee Island Light Station is also one of the most complete complexes in the country, featuring the head keeper’s cottage in addition to the lighthouse. Climb 178 steps to enjoy amazing views of Tybee Island from the top of the lighthouse.
3. Visit Fort Pulaski
Built in the mid-1800s to defend Savannah from invasion, Fort Pulaski is a living history museum. The structure is well-preserved and often features reenactments to help tell the history of the location. Take a guided tour, or wander the fort yourself to see the structure and exhibits that provide additional information.
4. Enjoy Captain Mike’s Dolphin Tours
Hop aboard Captain Mike’s Dolphin Tours boats for a fun adventure around Tybee Island. The boats depart from Lazaretto Creek Marina with options for daytime and sunset cruises. Kids and adults alike enjoy watching for dolphins to hop out of the water. The experienced tour guides also point out landmarks and give you some history on the island.
5. Sign Up at Tybee Surf Lessons
Spend some time at the Tybee Surf Lessons surf school to learn how to hang 10. You can choose from private or group lessons, which cover topics like ocean safety and beginner surfing techniques before you head out on the water. If you already have experience, sign up for lessons designed for advanced surfers.
6. Play at Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion
Head to one of the most popular attractions, the Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion, for food and entertainment. Stop by the snack bar while you take in a musical performance, dance, or other special events often held in the Pavilion. This stop is often crowded with people enjoying the entertainment, and it’s near many local restaurants, where you can grab food to go and enjoy it on the pier.
7. Tour Uninhabited Islands
Several barrier islands near Tybee are uninhabited and full of natural beauty. Most require you to take a boat to get to them. One such island is Cockspur Island, home to the Cockspur Island Lighthouse. Accessible only by boat, the trek to the lighthouse can be a bit tricky, but if you can paddle your way there, you can climb the lighthouse. Little Tybee Island is another popular option with pristine beaches and lots of wildlife. Sundial Fishing and Nature Tours offers a number of tours that take you to these islands and other beautiful Tybee Island spots.
8. Take in a Show at Tybee Post Theater
Once a movie house for soldiers, Tybee Post Theater now serves as a community venue for performing arts and movies. Catching a performance at Tybee Post Theater is part entertainment, part history lesson inside the landmark that was nearly demolished. The theater hosts different events, including live music, dance performances, comedy shows, movies, readings, recitals, and educational presentations.
9. Meet an Artist at Tybee Cottage Art Gallery
Shops line the streets of the island, including many art galleries and gift shops. Stop by Tybee Cottage Art Gallery to pick up a piece from a local artist. You may even meet some of the artists in the shop. Mary Ingalls is a Tybee Island artist who creates upcycled glass artwork. She has a home studio, which is open by appointment.
10. Enjoy a Local Festival
Tybee Island serves as home to many popular festivals throughout the year, including the popular SCAD Sand Art Festival and Beach Bum Parade and Street Party, both held in May. The Tybee Island Pirate Fest in October is another popular option with a parade, live entertainment, and plenty of food booths and vendors. Tybee Island hosts festivals throughout the year, so chances are good something fun is going on while you’re there.
11. Explore the Tybee Museum
An old artillery battery at Fort Screven holds the Tybee Museum. It’s in the same area as the Tybee Island Light Station, so it’s easy to fit in both Tybee Island attractions at once. Explore the photos, artifacts, and historical items on display tell the story of the island’s history.
12. Take a Beach Walk or Marsh Trek
Join other nature enthusiasts on a Beach Walk or Marsh Trek through the Tybee Island Marine Science Center. Beach Walks teach you about the dunes, tides, and aquatic wildlife. Marsh Treks take you through muddy marshes to find wildlife inhabitants and learn about the importance of the marshes.
13. Tour with Tybee Airboats
Sign up for a tour with Tybee Airboats for a unique way to check out the island. Zip through the open waters surrounding the islands and the shallow creeks that run through the marshy areas of the island. The airboats let you access parts of the island that are difficult to reach using other methods. The tour includes historical and nature information with the added thrill of a speedy airboat.
14. Go on a Tybee Beach Ecology Trip
Dr. Joe Richardson leads the Tybee Beach Ecology Trips, giving you a chance to learn about the beaches and ecosystems of the island. You learn about the unique habitats on the barrier islands by visiting tidal pools, inlets, intertidal zones, and beaches with Richardson’s expert insight. You might collect specimen, find fossils, or discover other interesting features.
15. Feed the Alligators at the Crab Shack
Stop by the Crab Shack to feed the baby alligators in the lagoon out front. Load up the food on a provided pole, and dangle it over the railing to the alligators in the area below the deck. Head inside for some of the best seafood in the area. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating.
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