Tybee beach is the small island just outside Savannah, Georgia. My wife and I visited Savannah on vacation. I've always been intrigued by the city and wanted to mix some beach fun with exploring a interesting part of the country.
Tybee's location is wonderful. It's a little ways outside the city, which is a healthy barrier so it doesn't get over developed and suffocated by tourism. The drive out to the island is just gorgeous. Arriving at the island, you are welcomed by a street lined with local shops and quaint restaurants, giving the island a neighborhood vibe. There is no boardwalk and the island itself is actually pretty small. Tybee Island has a very slow, laid back feel, unlike other beaches like the Jersey Shore or Ocean City, Maryland.
Pros: Finding parking was never a problem. The streets off the highway going to the beach are actually pretty small, but we never had trouble finding a spot. We visited early June so this may change as the summer progresses and the heat increases, but we got to the beach rather quickly.
Con: Parking is paid everywhere you go on the island. I mean everywhere. Every street, every lot, every back road - somehow has a parking meter. 7 days a week. They have the parking kiosk on the main streets, and then meters lining every inch of the rest of the island. It's almost comical. Prices range from 1 to 2 dollars an hour. Now, most of the country has a problem with this, as do I. Sadly, I come from New Jersey where it costs $15 bucks just to get onto the beach, and the highway to the beach is riddled with tolls... so paying to park wasn't such a shocker for me. I was more impressed the beaches were free.
Pros: The beach itself is pretty huge, depth wise. Almost too big! The town homes and resident building are set extremely far back, giving the beach a lot of space. There is plenty of room to find a comfy spot on the beach and we never saw it extremely crowded. We like to be right up at the water, and never had trouble getting some prime ocean real estate.
Cons: The beach itself is one of the worst beaches I've ever been to, sand wise. It's not sand, it's just simply shards of shells. And I'm not talking some areas, or a certain part - the entire beach up the 50 feet or so where the water rises and falls, is straight up shards of seashells. Forget taking off your sandals - it's so painful - you're basically walking on little shards of glass. This isn't fun for laying down and especially using the sand to build things. the jersey shore, heck, even Coney Island has nicer, more comfortable grains of sand. I was almost shocked while I crunched my way to the water edge.
The Breakfast Club: We visited the two most infamous local places on the island. For breakfast we hit up The Breakfast Club, a main street dive diner that cooks large southern breakfasts. From pecan waffles to massive omelets, the food is plentiful and the crowd is extremely local. The building looks closed or condemned from outside. The windows are black and there are no signs that it's actually in business, so don't be fooled. I felt it was OK. The size of the food increased my pupils, but not my taste buds. I felt it was your classic diner food.
For dinner, we went to the wacky and original Crab Shack, down the backroads of the island. Tons of silly artwork and props adorn the parking lot and restaurant which appears like a run down farm on the river. The buildings look like they could fall down at any moment, and the tables have holes in the center for trash cans. The place is the epitome of backwoods eatin'. there is a gator pool before you walk in where you can feed them. Seriously. Feed some gators while you wait for your table. The food is finger lickin' good and the setting is fun. If you're into seafood, this is a must-stop on your travels around Tybee.
All in all, Tybee Beach falls back on its prime location, beautiful quaint setting, but truly isn't that impressive. It does not have a quality beach, and therefor I would not suggest vacationing for more than a couple days. I would definitely not spend an entire summer here. But if you're in Georgia, you should definitely swing by.
Ever been to Tybee? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments below!