Are you considering a family vacation to Tybee Island? Learn about this Georgia coast best kept secret family vacation destination. You will get the ultimate Tybee island Vacation Tips as I am sharing Tybee Island kid friendly attractions and what to do with your family during your visit.
Planning a Trip to Tybee Island with Kids
It has been a few months since we took a family vacation to Tybee Island, but it is still a vacation I think about a lot. We stumbled on this cute Georgia vacation destination back in the fall and we were so intrigued by this Island that we decided to make the twelve hour drive to visit.
Tybee Island is located about 30 minutes east of Savannah, Georgia. It is a laid back and unpretentious Island town. You do not need to worry about dressing up for dinner. We encountered very friendly and down to earth locals. You might remember that a few years ago, we visited Rosemary Beach, Florida. Both Tybee and Rosemary Beach are very family friendly locations. But, they are distinctly different from each other.
Tybee Island is rich in history, has beautiful beaches and a lot of family friendly attractions. If you have kids who love nature, Tybee Island is the perfect place to get up and close with a lot of marine life.
The Island is small so you feel like you can really get comfortable there. But yet, even though it is not very big, there is a ton of things to do on Tybee Island. Most likely you will not be able to cover all of the Tybee Island attractions.
Where to Stay on Tybee Island
The first thing to do when planning your family vacation to Tybee Island is to decide where to stay. You will not find big hotels or resorts on this Island. In fact, there are not even many large scale houses (like you would find on Hilton Head). Although, if you are planning to go with a big family, there are enough larger size homes to choose from.
There are different spots on Tybee Island and you will want to decide what your priority is for where to stay. There is South Beach, Mid Beach and North Beach. Plus, there is Back River Beach.
We opted to stay closer to the main attractions including restaurants and shops. So, we stayed at an adorable cottage near the South Beach. Some things to note about South Beach is that it where the Tybee Island Pier is located. This is a fun and free pier to take a walk down.
Now, we visited Tybee Island in November which is their off season. I can imagine that the South Beach is a lot more crowded and maybe a little more rowdy during Spring Break. The South Beach area has several bars and restaurants.
One big thing we liked about our location on South Beach is that our rental cottage was situated between the Back River Beach and the South Beach. Both beaches were under a five minute walk from us. We could watch the sun rise on the South Beach and set on the Back River Beach. The sunset gathers quite a crowd and for good reason as it is a beautiful site to see!
We loved our little beach cottage especially because it had a private heated pool!
We paid a small, daily fee to have the pool heated. It was well worth the money! Every day, our kids spent several hours in the pool. The ocean water was cool, so the pool was a better option for swimming at Tybee Island in the Fall.
What to Consider:
- If you have children, you will most likely be bringing a lot of stuff for you to the beach. You might check to see what your rental property offers in terms of beach toys and chairs. Our home did not offer these amenities, so we had to bring our own stuff.
- Consider if you want to located where you can walk around and leave the car at home. (South Beach). Or if you prefer to have a quieter setting that feels more like a resort (North or Mid Beach). South Beach does have residential homes so you feel like you are in a neighborhood.
- If you go during off season, consider a rental with a heated pool. You may have to pay a daily fee to keep it heated but it is well worth the money!
Where to eat with Kids on Tybee Island
Even though we went when restrictions were in place with indoor dining and masking (which was mostly followed by locals), we still found a lot of great dining options! Tybee Island has a ton of outdoor eating venues. In fact, we never ate indoors during our entire trip.
One thing we noticed about Tybee Island is that there are a TON of ice cream and frozen yogurt shops. We tried to eat at a different dessert place each day and we did not even scratch the surface of all of the options.
If you like fresh seafood, you will be in luck on Tybee Island. There are so many seafood restaurants to choose from. I will admit that the prices for dinner seemed a little high and I think you pay for the view for most restaurants. So, if you are looking for a restaurant, you might as well pick one that offers a good view of the ocean or the back river.
Another thing is that Tybee Island is very laid back. So it is no problem to bring the kids to any of the restaurants. There is a lot for the kids to look at and all of the restaurants have kid friendly menu items.
Some of the top family friendly places to eat on Tybee include:
Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze Hands down our favorite family friendly place to eat on Tybee Island. Huc-A-Poos offers big slice pizzas and cold drinks. We sat outside on the patio and we just loved the atmosphere.
- Sugar Shake This dessert shop has been a family business for 50 years. It is a no frills and not quite as cute as some of the other ice cream shop offerings but the ice cream is delicious.
- Tybean Art & Coffee Bar Located right next to Huc-A-Poos, this coffee shop is so eclectic. If you like coffee drinks, this is a MUST stop for your visit to Tybee.
- Chamacos Taco Bar This taco stand was our favorite meal on our trip. I only wish we discovered it sooner than the last day of our trip. There is a small eating area so we brought our food home to enjoy.
- Lighthouse Pizza Another good pizza option that we also took to eat at home.
- Java and Juice This cafe that is part of an Inn was a favorite spot for breakfast. We would grab our coffee and a delicious breakfast sandwich. There are several resident cats that live around the cafe. So, my kids loved our daily walks to this place.
One night, we picked up some local seafood and grilled it ourselves. After a busy day having fun on the Island, it was nice to enjoy a relaxing dinner at home.
Things to do on Tybee Island
There are so many things to do on Tybee Island with kids. The hardest part is deciding what to do for the day. Of course, the weather can help you narrow down your options.
We spent the nicest days out on the beach either in the water (a little chilly) or fishing.
If you are looking to take in a little bit of history or you want an amazing bird’s eye view of the Island, be sure to visit the Tybee Island Lighthouse. For a fee, you can take the stairs to the top of the Lighthouse. We opted to stay low and just walk around the area.
Older kids and teens might have fun with jet skis or paddle board rentals.
There is so many things to do with kids on Tybee Island! Your biggest challenge is narrowing down what to do each day!
One of our favorite free activities to do on Tybee Island was to take a walk on the Tybee Island Pier. It is a nice walk out on the water and you get some beautiful views of the coastline.
Depending on when you visit Tybee Island, the water may be a little cooler. In November, the water was bearable for the kids but not great for any extending time of swimming. Knowing that the ocean water might be a little chilly, I made sure to find a rental property that had a pool. Our pool was heated for a nominal fee and it was a really good thing we had the pool. The kids spent hours every day in the pool. It was a private pool just off our back deck, so we could really take advantage of this amenity.
If we were to go to Tybee Island again, I would definitely make sure we had a heated pool.
One thing to consider when deciding where to stay is the proximity to the beach. Especially you will want to see if your rental property has beach chairs and toys for you to use. Our rental cottage did not. Which is why we really liked our pool. It was no problem to walk to the beach and collect shells. But packing up for a day at the beach was a bit of a haul. We did not bring our own beach chairs on our trip because our car did not have any room.
I think our favorite family activity on Tybee Island was shell collecting. We have never seen so many shells. Most mornings, we would start the day on the Back River Beach to do a little fishing and to collect shells. We also spotted a lot of hermit crabs.
Be sure to bring a few containers or plastic bags to collect all of your shells.
One of my husband’s favorite activities on Tybee Island was to do some fishing. You will want to be sure to get a fishing license if you plan to do any fishing. Anyone between the ages of 16-64 must have have an active Georgia fishing license to fish on Tybee Island.
Another family friendly activity on Tybee Island is to go on a bike ride! There are several bike rentals on the Island. We rented our bikes from Fat Tire Bike Rentals. Tybee Island is bike friendly and there is a bike trail that takes you around a big portion of the Island.
We managed to get a little bit of course on our bike trip. But, I didn’t mind because we got to see a lot of the Island. My kids were happy for an ice cream treat at the end of the bike ride.
If your kids like to shop for souveniers, Tybee Island shopping will not disappoint them. On the main drag, there is tourist shop after tourist shop. While many of the shops seems to have the same items, my kids thought they all offered something different. So, we may have gone to every single one of them.
If you are looking for some unique home decor, jewelry and collectibles, there are some neat shops on Tybee Island.
- Shops at Tybee Oaks There is a little something for everyone at this shopping area. You will find really cute, unique stores including locally made products. There are even a few antique stores nearby. Huck-a-Poos is located in this shopping district. So, is it the perfect chance to eat this restaurant after some shopping.
- Shops on Tybrisa Street This strip has all the souvenir shops your kids could want! There is shop after shop of Tybee trinkets.
- Savannah, Georgia Located just thirty minutes from Tybee Island, if you are looking for all the shopping options, you will want to take a trip to Savannah.
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Nearby Attractions: Savannah and Hilton Head
You can not take a trip to Tybee Island without spending some time in Savannah. Located just thirty minutes from Tybee Island, Savannah is the perfect day trip.
We spent almost a full day in Savannah. While we could have spent even more time there, we did so much walking around that our kids were exhausted! There is so much shopping and restaurants to choose from.
We had a delicious lunch at Moon River Brewery. Then, we did some shopping in the Riverfront Area and City Market.
Another day trip option is to visit Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It is just over the Georgia border.
I can write a whole post about all of the shopping in Savannah. But, there is one shop I have thought about since which is the Paris Market. You do not want to miss this store if you visit Savannah. There is a coffee shop inside the store that I wish I would have gotten to try.
Tybee Island Tips
- Grocery shopping is very limited on the Island. There are a few convenience stores and one local grocery store. If you plan to do a lot of cooking at home, you will want to visit the Kroger that is located just before you get onto the Island. We ended up making a few trips to the Kroger during our stay and it is about a 20 minute drive away.
- Tybee Island is a very laid back town. You do not need to get fancy for dinner or a night on the town (unless you want to).
- There are a TON of stray cats throughout the Island. There is a whole story behind why there are so many cats on the Island which if you ask any local they will tell you. My kids loved seeing all of the cats. Most of the cats keep their distance from you, so do not expect them to be very friendly. We lost count on all of the cats we saw but I think we spotted over 25!
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