Discover Tybee Island Beaches and Beyond


Tybee North Beach near Lighthouse Inn. Photo (c) Lighthouse Inn

Tybee Island’s North Beach,
Historic Fort Screven (also Fort Tybee). First commissioned in 1899, Fort Screven was the military installation for training and to protect Tybee Island, facing the Savannah River Channel. The North Beach neighborhood of the former military installation conveys the feel of a little seaside village, complete with its oceanfront Lighthouse Beacon.

In June 1862 news, “batteries were placed on Tybee Island, at distances varying from 1700 to 3500 yards….” Named for Brigadier General James Screven, a Revolutionary War hero who was killed in action near Midway, Georgia, in 1778, the Fort served as a valuable part of coastal fortifications and defense until it was decommissioned in 1947.

Tybee Island's Historic Fort Screven camping ground. Photo Library of Congress

Historic Fort Screven Camping Ground

Fort Screven is most notable for one of its former commanding officers, Lieutenant Colonel George Catlett Marshall, later General of the Army George C. Marshall, the architect of the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Western Europe after World War II. Very little remains of the original fort due to redevelopment of the area for housing. One of the most important remaining structures is the Tybee Post Theater which was constructed in 1930. It was one of the first theaters in Georgia to have sound features and was the highlight of recreational activities for the fort. Other remaining buildings include the recently restored guard house, the bakery (now a private home), and barracks (now apartments). The ruins of the beach fortifications are also extant, and of the six original batteries, Battery Garland (built in 1899) is accessible to the public. Battery Garland houses the Tybee Museum and several cannons and other military hardware are on display. Another remaining area is Officer’s Row, an impressive group of original homes that had a sweeping an ocean view.

Historic Tybee Lighthouse, “Tybee Light” and “Tybee Beacon”. Because of its strategic location at the mouth of the Savannah River, General James Oglethorpe, the founding father of Georgia, had a lighthouse built in 1736 to help protect the Port of Savannah against a possible attack. The original lighthouse (the tallest structure in the colonies) was washed away in a hurricane in the early 1800’s and was rebuilt for the fourth time in 1866 and still stands today. The log book of the America’s first steamship, S.S. Savannah, “board of the Ship at 7 A.M. to go to Tybe [sic] with all sail ….” U.S. President Monroe was aboard (February 1877).

On secluded North Beach, beach combers will find the “misty moonlit sea” of which Yeat’s so beautifully described.

Historic Fort Theatre. (See Tybee Island by James Mack Adams from Images of America Series)

Tybee Roads, the Bay nearest Fort Screven, GA.

Goat Point on Tybee Island

South Beach
TYBEE IS RENOWN FOR PURE WATER AND PERFECT DRAINAGE. In 2009, Budget Travel named Tybee Island, GA #1 of “America’s Healthiest Beaches”. Historically, travelers chose Tybee Island to contribute to better health, so Tybee hotels stayed busy, particularly all winter hosting northern snowbirds leaving snow at home. The water tower umbrellas the area along Butler/Hwy 80 and 2nd Street.

Did you know? Yankee: The nickname of Yankee was first applied to American by merchants of Holland. Because of the argumentative traits of certain American captains trading with the Netherlands, Dutchmen jeeringly called them “Yangers” (Wranglers) and the name stuck.

The Strand. Tybee hotels have provided ample hotel accommodations along Tybee’s strand, facing the East Coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Look at the pictorial history of the Tybee Hotel, one of the best beach hotels on the East Coast.

Tybee Pier. Oceanfront vacations with picturesque scenery is synonymous with the Tybrisia Fishing Pier and Tybee Beach strand.

Tybee Island Pier photo. Photo (c) 2010 Shannon Christopher Tybee photographer. Used with permission.

Main Street. Shopping at T.S. Chu’s and a toddy at the infamous Doc’s Bar.

Tybee Island Marine Science Center

Back River or Horse Pen Creek (named Venetician Inlet in the 1920s). The popular spot for boating and yachting parties, the area is the modern day place of the Tybee Marina.

Little Tybee – A Yachting Regatta on Tybee inlet proved a magnificent sight in the 19th Century and modern-day Tybee. The 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic® Games’ Yachting (now called Sailing) held in Wassaw Sound with the multi-million-dollar (temporary) Day Marina on Little Tybee Island. Praise for sailing in The Winds of Savannah: “The conditions for sailing in the summer off Savannah are regularly amongst the best of the U.S. East Coast.”

Hilton Head – 5 miles by water

Daufauski Island – 5 miles by water

Historic Savannah Boutique Shopping near Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room

Historic Savannah – By way of U.S. Highway 80, Tybee Island, GA (also once known as Savannah Beach) is 12-1/2 miles from Savannah, and 18 miles to the Extreme Southern End. “No city of the Union blends more palpably the old and the new than Savannah. The place at a large extent has kept its early individuality. It has broad shaded streets rolling in primitive sand, and lined with old fashioned residences with a stately flavor of the aristocratic about them, and even the new and more elegant home avoid the gorgeous phylactery of modern fashion. The past is a living presence in this beautiful old city….” The City of Savannah by I.W. Avery, Harper’s magazine (ca. 1888)

For more information:

Lighthouse Inn, a Tybee Island bed and breakfast inn
Historic Tybee Beach Bed and Breakfast Cottage, Celebrating 100 Years! |
16 Meddin Drive | Tybee Island | Georgia | USA 31328
912-786-0901 | Twitter @Rockinporch | Facebook

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