Top 10 Family Friendly Things to do on Tybee Island

1. Visit the Beach, of Course!

During our week-long vacation to Tybee Island, Georgia, the first agenda item every morning was to hit the beach. After breakfast, we swapped our coffee for lemonade, loaded up on sunscreen and walked two short blocks over to the beach. While at the beach, we combed for shells, played in the waves, dug in the sand, and did all the usual family beach activities! Being from the mid-west, two hours of sun and sand was plenty of time to wear us out before walking back to our Airbnb for lunch.

People walking on wooden boardwalk towards beach on Tybee Island, GA.

2. Shop at the Tybee Island Farmer’s Market

The only grocery store on Tybee Island is a small IGA, perfectly fine for a few staples but the produce selection leaves a lot to be desired. If you have a Saturday to Saturday rental, I highly recommend stocking up at the Tybee Island Farmer’s market on Monday afternoon. It’s a low-key event held in the parking-lot of the Tybee Island Lighthouse and vendors sell items from fresh flowers and produce, to locally made soap and gifts.

White ten gallon buckets willed with fresh sunflowers from Farmer's Market on Tybee Island, GA

3. Take a Family Surf Lesson

Tybee Island is a great place to learn how to surf because of the small waves and uncrowded beaches. A couple weeks before our vacation, I scheduled a private session for myself, my husband and our 13 year old nephew with Tybee Surf Lessons. During our two hour surf lesson we learned about safety, and how to watch the waves and time our paddling to stand up on the board. The instructors were awesome and we had so much fun and felt so confident after our lesson that we rented our own boards the next day!

Blue and White beach bungalow with kayaks and life vests displayed in front.

4. Grab Coffee at Tybean

Tybean is located in a brightly colored, ramshackle building on the north side of the island. It opens a bit late by city standards (7:30 AM) and immediately fills to the brim with customers, and for good reason! I am a cold coffee snob and the iced Americanos were so delicious that I woke up craving one every morning. I still think about that coffee! Tybean is located across the parking lot from a group of local art and gift shops so we also enjoyed sipping our coffee while exploring their offerings, I found a great handmade ornament at a clay artist’s shop.

Blue painted wooden sign with white letters reading COFFEE from Tybean Coffee shop on Tybee Island, GA.

5. Have Dinner at the Crab Shack

The Crab Shack often appears as one of the top rated places to eat near Tybee, and it’s definitely earned it’s place. Situated in a sandy, palm shaded parking lot on the edge of the marsh, the atmosphere and view are full of southern beachy charm. The food was plentiful and tasty and we giggled at being able to toss our discarded shells in the hole in the table, a novel feature for these midwesterners! The kids also got a thrill from feeding the (caged) alligators while we waited for a table.

Grouping of seven cooked red crawfish on a white paper towel, from The Crab Shack on Tybee Island, GA.

6. Talk a Walk, Jog or Bike Ride

Part of the charm of Tybee island are these adorable old beach cottages. Many are being updated and painted in bright, whimsical colors. If you like local design and architecture, I highly recommend going for a long stroll or bike ride through the neighborhoods. I enjoyed these charming cottages so much, they seriously left me fantasizing about an early retirement on Tybee.

White beach bungalow with pink awning and pink door located on Tybee Island, GA

7. Visit Fort Pulaski

If you enjoy history or even just marveling at old buildings, you must visit Fort Pulaski. I had never heard of this civil war fort, but we were thoroughly impressed. We joined a free tour led by one of the park rangers which gave a wonderful overview of the amazing history of this fort, our six year old also enjoyed the tour!

Fort Pulaski lawn and brick battlements with civil war cannon

8. Take a Dolphin Tour

We took a dolphin tour on our last night in Tybee, it was a bit pricey, but we came away feeling it was worth the spend. Just to be out on the water at sunset touring around the bay makes it worth the price, seeing a pod of dophins was just an added benefit and the kids were thrilled. Be sure to set your camera to sports mode, between the boat and the dolphins moving about, it’s tough to get photos!

Pod of dolphins swimming in ocean at sunset near Tybee Island, GA

9. Visit Savannah, GA

Who needs Paris when you have Savannah!? Savannah, Georgia is truly the most charming city I’ve ever visited outside of Europe. We took a hop-on-hop-off trolley tour of the city, which I highly recommend because it gives you an overview of the history and landmarks of the city. We also splurged on a fancy dinner at The Pink House, arriving in the middle of a thunderstorm when they had just opened for dinner; the dim interior and antique oil portraits were perfectly creepy and felt sort of like eating in an old haunted mansion. I’m sure it doesn’t always feel that way, it was mainly the atmosphere created by the evening thunderstorm.

Side view of historic row house in Savannah, GA with brick steps, black bench, and American flag hanging from the front.

10. Visit the Tybee Island Lighthouse

Beautifully preserved and so charming, the lighthouse is an icon of Tybee Island. It’s located on the northern side of the island and the local farmer’s market is hosted in the parking lot each week. We didn’t go inside the lighthouse, but for those healthy and brave enough, you can climb all the way to the top!

11. (Bonus!) Watch the Sunset from the Beach

Watching a beach sunset is one of the most relaxing activities you can do, and no beach vacation would be complete without watching at least one! During our stay, my mom and I walked from the southern tip of the island up to the middle, where our cottage was located, just talking and marveling at the gorgeous sunset the along the way. You could also bring a light jacket and some wine (in paper or plastic!) to sit and enjoy the beautiful display of swirling pink and peach clouds.

Sunset over Tybee Island, GA beach with pink swirling clouds and blue sky

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