If you only have one day to visit this beautiful beach destination, here are our top picks for memorable things to do in Tybee Island, Georgia. Read on to make the most of your trip!
Who would only spend one day on Tybee Island? I know, I know! It wasn’t enough time in this quaint little beach town and it’s definitely a place I hope to revisit sooner than later. But, a day is all we had so we made the best of it.
The only reference I had when it came to Tybee Island in Georgia was from the movie The Last Song, which was based on the Nicholas Sparks novel by the same name. This was the first movie both filmed and set in Tybee Island. I have to say, after seeing some gorgeous beach scenes, I was ready to experience this place first-hand.
Did I watch the movie again before visiting you ask? Of course not. Who am I? A teenage girl who loves romance stories based on a small beach town with a guy who looks like Liam Hemsworth? (Okay, okay…yes, I watched it again before visiting. Let’s just call it research.)
We knew we wanted to do some sightseeing, eating, and of course, have some time at the beach. Here’s how we filled our day in the great place of little Tybee Island, GA.
Favorite Things to Do in Tybee Island
Eat Lunch (or Dinner) at Agave Bar and Grill
We got a little bit of a late start, so when we arrived it was already lunchtime. As always, I was in the mood for fish tacos and found a place that had some great reviews.
As soon as we arrived at Agave Bar and Grill, I knew this would be one fantastic lunch. As you head inside, you pass a small patio area that has limited seating. It’s the perfect place to kick back with a drink and soak in the salty air.
When you walk inside, you’re instantly greeted by their brightly colored walls, tables with a few throw pillows that help make it inviting, and beautiful beach themed paintings hanging on the walls.
We were also greeted with a big smile and welcome from one of the staff and they continued to take fantastic care of us throughout our meal.
I wish I could tell you what the rest of my family ordered for lunch but I honestly don’t remember. Why? Because I was too busy enjoying their incredible, flavorful fish tacos. Definitely the best things to order. Plus the cold, delicious margarita.
I’ve had a lot, and I mean a lot, of fish tacos on our travels. In my personal (near professional-taco eating) opinion, this is the best place to order fish tacos. The reason is that the fish had actual flavor. Crazy right? I’ve had too many bland fish tacos in my life. I keep ordering them hoping I’ll find a dish that has me doing cartwheels. Well, another margarita or two at Agave and I may have done just that. These tacos were that good.
Agave Bar & Grill is located at 401 1st Street on Tybee Island.
THE ORIGINAL CRAB SHACK
Let’s give a shout out to our readers for our next recommendation. When you want fresh seafood, a great meal, and fun atmosphere while visiting the island, find your way to The Crab Shack. Open since the late 1990s, this is a great spot to take your family.
The menu includes fresh seafood, delicious BBQ, and a perfect selection of side dishes.
The Crab Shack is located at 40 Estill Hammock Road, about two miles from the Lighthouse.
Visit the Tybee Island Lighthouse
The Tybee Island Lighthouse is Georgia’s oldest lighthouse. It’s also the tallest, which adds to its charm and makes it so darn photogenic.
Here are some interesting facts provided by the Tybee Island Lighthouse:
We are a complete light station whose history dates back to 1736. The tower stands 145 feet tall and has three Light Keeper’s Cottages nearby. A small 1812 Summer Kitchen holds archaeological finds. Across the street is an 1899 Military Battery that houses the Tybee Island Museum. Exhibits cover the time of the Euchee tribe, the history of Fort Screven, Tybee’s Golden Era and more. A yellow raised cottage adjacent to the property showcases 1900s Tybee architecture.
ADMISSION TO TYBEE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE
The Tybee Island Light Station is closed on Tuesdays, but open the rest of the days beginning at 9 a.m. The last ticket is sold at 4:30 p.m. and current admission prices are as follows:
Seniors (62+): $8
Children (6-17): $8
Children (5 and under): Free
Groups (10 people or more) with a reservation: $8
Military (Must present ID): $8
Coast Guard (Must present ID): Free
Tickets include admission to the Light Station, a Tybee Raised Cottage, and the Tybee Museum in Battery Garland.
Since it would have been around $50 for our whole family of five, we opted not to tour the Tybee Lighthouse. Instead, we stood outside and snapped pictures.
We were also eager to hit the beautiful beaches and dip our toes in the Atlantic Ocean!
Walk Along the Tybee Island Pier & Pavilion
The Tybee Beach Pier & Pavilion is located at the end of Tybrisa Street. It’s the perfect place for people watching and a nice stroll. It’s one of the most visited and visible attractions on the island, so it’s a must-do to check off your bucket list.
This is a popular spot for fishing, so you might just see someone bring in a catch. We didn’t stay long and watch the fishing because it was incredibly windy.
Fishing is free from the pier. But, you first need to purchase a Georgia fishing license. If you want to spend your afternoon fishing with panoramic views of pristine beaches, buy your license online from the Georgia Department of Wildlife Resources.
Two other great locations for fishing are Lazaretto Creek Pier and Fisherman’s Walk at Back River Beach.
Visiting the Tybee Pavilion is a great way to spend the afternoon. There are many options to find seating where you can have a snack and enjoy live music. Depending on when you visit, they may have dancing, performances, or other other special events.
The pavilion is open daily and it’s free to enjoy. There are also public restrooms for your convenience.
Enjoy the Sandy Beaches!
Tybee’s beaches are absolutely lovely. There is a total of about three miles of beach across five distinct beaches on the island. The five beaches include:
After we had lunch and did some sightseeing, it was time to head to the beach! We did zero research to find out which beach area was the best option, so we simply chose the closest, which was North Beach.
North Beach is closest to the Tybee Island Lighthouse and about a five minute walk from Jaycee Park.
It was a really nice area with a restaurant and clean bathrooms. We took advantage of the umbrella rentals at the beach.
Our son Aaron spent an eternity skim boarding there, while the rest of us sat back, read and enjoyed relaxing and soaking it all in.
While we didn’t spend time at South Beach during our stay, it’s another area to consider when you plan your visit to Tybee. The neighborhood is referred to as the downtown district of the island. You will find numerous restaurants, bars, and local shops.
Tybee Beach Pier & Pavilion is located along South Beach.
LITTLE TYBEE BEACH
I know this post is focused on what to do during one day on Tybee, but allow me to introduce another idea just in case you have extra time. Most of our readers are outdoor enthusiasts. So if you’re looking for a chance to do some camping, check out Little Tybee Island. It’s the perfect location with pristine beaches and amazing views of the natural area.
Located south of the barrier island, this area is an uninhabited nature preserve and accessible only by boat. But I suspect it’s worth the trek to enjoy kayaking, boating, or walking along a quiet stretch of beach. This is a great place to potentially spot wildlife. You may be lucky enough to see bald eagles.
If you’re interested in a guided tour of this small island, contact Coastal Georgia.
Ice Cream at The Sugar Shack
What better way to end our time on Tybee Island than with ice cream?
With one quick search on my phone, I saw that The Sugar Shack was the place to go, so off we went.
The Sugar Shack is a fixture of Tybee Island and has been family-owned since 1971. They are known for their creative ice cream flavors, like banana pudding, and fantastic outdoor seating.
Not only do they have great ice cream, but you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner there. From what I’ve read, they serve up some tasty breakfast and burgers!
Be sure to note their hours, as they do close at 6 pm on some days:
- Sunday-Thursday, 7am-6pm
- Friday-Saturday, 7am-8pm (Grill closes at 7 pm)
The Sugar Shack is located at 301 1st Street on Tybee Island.
Buy a Souvenir at Unique a Gift Shop
We took a quick stroll along the downtown area and saw some really cute shops. There are no chain department stores on Tybee Island, so anything you purchase will be unique to this area. All the shops are privately owned by the locals.
I added this as a bonus activity because we didn’t actually go shopping. I can’t give you any personal recommendations. But, thanks to the Visit Tybee website, you can see that there are some unique shops in the area.
Where to Stay at Tybee Island
At the request of our readers, we are updating this post to include a hotel recommendation so you can find the right place to stay the night if get to enjoy more than one day on this wonderful little island.
DESOTO BEACH HOTEL
DeSoto Beach hotel is part of a group of family-owned properties and is the only beachfront hotel on Tybee Island. You can choose from a variety of room types, including ADA compliant or Garden Suites. Free parking is included with a room rental.
It’s located within walking distance of the beach on the north end of the island. The address is 212 Butler Avenue, Tybee Island, GA 31328.
There are so many amazing and wonderful attractions and activities on Tybee. Let us know if you had a chance to enjoy a dolphin tour, an afternoon on the bike trails, or stand-up paddleboarding! I know we’ll make sure to include one of these in the plans for our next trip.
Please share your Tybee Island experiences with us!
Julie specializes in helping you whip up delicious meals in your tiny RV kitchen, as well as RV organization tips and helping fellow RVers make their RV feel like home. Her favorite RVing spot is in Banff National Park in Canada where yes, the water really is that blue and the people really are that nice.