Tag Archives: Tybee Island

Back in Time: Escape to Tybee Island

30 Apr

“When you go to Savannah, you must go to one of the barrier islands,” we were told by friends who had been there.  We chose Tybee Island for its historic sites, its lovely beaches and its historic lighthouse.  I love lighthouses.  (See link to post below.)

The drive from Savannah to Tybee Island is easy.  You cross over a few little islands along the one road that goes to the sea.  Along the way we saw the cut off to Fort Pulaski, where we stopped on our way back.

Let me tell you in advance, parking is a nightmare in Tybee Island. It was horrible in March.  I cannot imagine what it would be like in the height of summer tourism.  You have to pay for parking everywhere.  In fact, we chose our lunch spot because it had a parking lot, where you could park for free and there were spaces.   But beyond that, it is fun.

We did find a spot in town to park with a meter.  And we actually had some quarters.  DO NOT GO to Tybee Island without quarters!


The pier at Tybee Island.

Having found a spot on a side street, we were able to walk to the beach and over to the pier. When we were there, they were having a mermaid event. I had a great time just looking at the Atlantic Ocean.  We saw some ships in the distance and watched the waves. At the end of the pier, people were fishing, mainly catching stingrays and then throwing them back into the ocean.


People were catching stingrays.

I felt really badly for those stingrays!  On the way up, they were pulled by the fishing rod and put into a net.  Then they were subjected to photos with the person who caught them. However, the way down was way too scary, the stingrays were just thrown over the pier, where they tumbled back to the ocean.  UGH!

We did walk up the street filled with shops.  I was amazed at the number of people there!  It was only about 65 degrees, but people were on the beach sunbathing and some had even ventured into the ocean.


The light house and the support buildings.

Next stop the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum…the Lighthouse.  We were in for a surprise.  It is not just the lighthouse that remains on the island, but all the houses used by the head keeper and his assistant.  You can even climb to the top of the light house!  All 178 steps!

The first lighthouse was built on Tybee Island in 1733!  It was too close to the ocean, so a second one was built.  During the Civil War, the confederates burned it.  After the war, in 1867 it was rebuilt and made taller!  Now it is a hybrid.  The bottom 60 feet are original, the top 85 feet were added in 1867!

It was a beautiful day to walk around and visit the historic buildings,  and watch a short movie about the lighthouse.

Across from the lighthouse compound are the remains of Fort Screvens.  One of the remaining batteries, Battery Garland, is now a museum as well.  Built in 1899, the battery was part of the US Coastal Defense System until 1945.  There are great views from the top.


Unfortunately we could not enter the fort.

Our next stop was Fort Pulaski.  We had to cross over to McQueens Island and then across the South Channel of the Savannah River to Cockspur Island.  Unfortunately, last year’s hurricane season had not been kind to this area, and the fort itself was closed for repairs.  Also, we had to leave much earlier than normal because the road also was under construction and closed at a certain time.  We really only got to visit the Visitor’s Center and did not have time to walk the Lighthouse Overlook trail to see the Cockspur Island Lighthouse.  I was disappointed, but gives me a reason to go back!

History buffs, go!  I think you will enjoy these two sites.   And beach lovers, Tybee Island has lovely beaches for all to enjoy!