The small city of Tybee Island, Georgia, is on a barrier island surrounded by wide stretches of unspoiled sandy beaches and sandwiched between the Savannah River and Tybee Creek. The array of vacation rentals at Tybee Island is ideal for beach-loving families as they occupy oceanfront locations. Imagine falling asleep to the sound of the waves, and spending the morning watching your kids playing on the beach while you relax on your own front porch. Opt for a condo or home with its own pool for even more splash-time fun. Nature lovers enjoy the area’s proximity to marshes and nature reserves, while city slickers get their fix in the nearby cultural center of Savannah, a 30-minute drive to the west. Check out some of the top things to do with kids while you’re visiting the island.

1. Have Fun at the Beach

The five miles of wide sandy beaches contain some of the best sand for building castles. This super-fine sand washes down from the Appalachian Mountains, and it’s great for taking long walks barefoot. At low tide, you can take a family bike ride along the water’s edge. A beachfront vacation rental lets you and the kids enjoy this magical outdoor playground from your own front door. There’s no need to worry about packing up the car and searching for parking; just pack some drinks in the cooler, grab the buckets and spades, and you’re good to go.

2. Try a Spot of Pier Fishing

The Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion is a wonderful place to visit with the whole family. Picnic tables and rest rooms mean you can spend the day there, and it’s a short stroll to the local shops and restaurants. Pack the rods and reels, and introduce the kids to the fun of pier fishing. Stay around in the evening to enjoy fabulous sunsets and live music.

3. Take a Kayak Trip to Little Tybee Island

Little Tybee Island, which is actually more than double the size of Tybee Island, is an uninhabited nature reserve that you can only reach by boat. Take a kayak trip across the water to enjoy the island’s natural salt marshes and pure beaches, and to explore the subtropical forests. Keep a watch out for rare bird life such as spoonbills and wood stork. Take a pair of binoculars so you can get close up views of heron, egret, osprey, and bald eagles. You can even camp out there if you can bear to spend a night away from your fabulous vacation rental.

4. Learn About Sealife at the Marine Science Center

Teach your kids about conserving Georgia’s natural coastal resources with a visit to the Marine Science Center, located by the pier. The center includes the Coastal Georgia Gallery and a Discovery Shop that sells books, toys, and T-shirts. The Center also runs guided beach walks and marsh treks designed to teach visitors about the creatures that live in and around the estuary and ocean. Tybee Island’s beaches are also nesting areas for sea turtles, so be sure to teach your kids what to do if they come across any turtle activity.

5. Head out to the Fort Pulaski National Monument

Located on Cockspur Island, just inside the mouth of the Savannah River, Fort Pulaski was constructed to protect Savannah from attack by sea. The entire monument is an outdoor exhibit with drawbridges, ditches, and live cannon firing. The surrounding area is full of trails. Take a stroll along the half-mile Fort Perimeter Trail, and show the kids the battle scars on the eastern walls. Several shells from the April 1862 battle remain embedded in these walls. While you’re there, enjoy a two-mile hike along the dike system for great views of Cockspur Island and the Savannah River.

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6. Climb to the Top of Georgia’s Oldest and Tallest Lighthouse

The Tybee Island Light Station is 145 feet tall. Tickets include entry to the Light Station, a traditional raised cottage, and the Tybee Museum in Battery Garland, which features exhibits from the time of the Euchre tribe. For an extra special treat, join a small, private 90-minute sunset tour. You’ll climb to the very top of this lighthouse, and enjoy the amazing views as the sun sets over the ocean. Book ahead as these tours fill up quickly, but keep in mind, the tour isn’t for children ages 12 or younger — it’s for teenagers and adults only.

7. Go for a Family Bike Ride

Park the car at your vacation rental home, and head out to Tim’s Bike & Beach Gear to equip the family with bikes to get around during your stay. The island is just 2.75 miles long, and its flat terrain and safe streets make cycling an easy way to get around the neighborhood. For a longer ride, follow the scenic six-mile McQueen’s trail along US-80.

8. Learn a New Water Sport

With so much water surrounding the island, there are many opportunities to learn new skills. Try stand-up paddleboarding. It’s a great way to get close to nature. East Coast Paddle Boarding delivers your boards to the beach or your vacation rental home for free. Rental costs include a brief water safety instruction, board, paddle, and leash. With a variety of boards to meet all styles and sizes, you and the kids can get out on the water with ease.

9. Take a Dolphin Tour

Book a charter trip with a knowledgeable guide, and set off to spot bottlenose dolphin in their natural environment. Captain Mike’s Dolphin Tours set out daily from the Lazaretto Creek Marina and head off into the Atlantic passing by the Cockspur Lighthouse, Fort Pulaski, and Tybee Lighthouse. The friendly and inquisitive dolphins often come right up to the boat, giving you and your kids a memorable day out.

10. Head into Historic Savannah for Some Retail Therapy

No vacation in this area is complete without a trip to Georgia’s oldest city — Savannah. Stock up on supplies at the farmers market, and take back a memento of your trip from one of the many gifts and souvenir shops. Take a stroll through the historic streets to enjoy the stunning architecture, and spend time browsing at the famous outdoor City Market, which is popular with both locals and visitors. The Oglethorpe Mall is your one-stop shopping area, and it has a food court to satisfy hungry family members while you shop ’til you drop. There’s also a free soft play area and a carousel train the little ones can ride, making it a fun day out for the whole family.

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