94. Don’t Miss Tybee Island
Tybee Island is Savannah’s beach.
Tybee meant “salt” to the Native American Euchee Indians, but today the name of this low-key seaside resort means “sun and fun.”
Located 18 miles east of Savannah, this small barrier island boasts a wide, three-mile long beach that’s backed by sea oat-covered sand dunes. It is perfect for sunbathing, people watching and frolicking in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The Island’s south-end pier and pavilion is a splendid venue for strolling above the ocean and listening to the music of the live bands.
Although vacationers are lured to Tybee mainly because of what it provides in the way of recreation, those with a love of history won’t be disappointed. Tybee offers Fort Screven, The Tybee Island Lighthouse (dated 1773) and its museum, as well as Fort Pulaski, just west of the Island on US 80.
The original Tybee Island Lighthouse was ordered to be constructed by Savannah’s founder James Oglethorpe and was completed in 1736. Made of brick and cedar piles, it stands 90 feet high, making it the tallest structure of its kind in America. It is this country’s third oldest lighthouse, and one of only 19 complete light stations. It continues to function nightly.
With a small admission fee, you can climb the 178 steps and view all of Tybee Island. Be sure to see the keeper’s cottage and Tybee Museum and Gift Shop. The lighthouse is closed Tuesdays and on some holidays. Call ahead to check on the schedule at 912-786-5801.
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