Family Fun on Tybee Island: Georgia’s oldest lighthouse, famous artillery batteries, entertainment pier, Marine Science Center and legendary Fort Pulaski

Tybee Island located 18 miles east of Savannah and about one drive from Hilton Head delights visitors with 3 miles of sandy beaches, an entertainment packed pavilion, Georgia’s oldest lighthouse, Civil War artillery batteries and the incredible Fort Pulaski National Monument.

GA\'s oldest lighthouse recently renovated to its 1700s look and feel

GA's oldest lighthouse recently renovated to its 1700s look and feel

Things to enjoy on Tybee Island:
1. The Tybee Lighthouse, the oldest and tallest lighthouse in Georgia and recently underwent major renovations to restore its 1700 era authenticity. Nearby is the Tybee Island Museum at Fort Screven with its famous artillery batteries Union troops used to conquer Fort Pulaski, in one of the most memorable bombardments in the U.S. history.

The lighthouse and museum are open daily except on Tuesday and holidays. Hours are 9 AM to 5:30 PM; beware the last ticket is sold at 4:30 PM. Admission to Tybee Lighthouse and Battery Museum is adults $6, children (6-17), seniors, military personnel and groups of at least 10 people is $5. FREE for kids less than 5 years.

Driving directions and parking: Take Hwy 80 East to Tybee Island. Once on the island take a left at the first stop light on Campbell Avenue then follow the brown Tybee Lighthouse signs. Public parking is available on the north side of the Light Station beside the gift shop. You can also park at the Beach Parking lot in front of the lighthouse. Parking fees is $1.50 per hour or $12 per day.

Tybee Island Museum and Coastal Artillery Batteries

Tybee Island Museum and Coastal Artillery Batteries

Tybee Lighthouse historic facts:
• The first lighthouse on Tybee Island, built in 1736, was one of the first public structures in Georgia, and at 90 feet, one of the tallest in America.
• In 1742 another lighthouse was built to replace the old one destroyed by a storm. In 1773 a 3rd lighthouse was built on a different site. This forms the base of the present structure.
• In 1791 Georgia ceded it to the Federal Govt and in 1948 the U.S. Coast Guard took over the operation and maintenance of the lighthouse
• The Tybee Lighthouse had to be repaired after damages inflicted during the Civil War.
• The current light station displays its 1916 day mark with 178 stairs and a first order 9 foot tall Fresnel lens.

2. Kids will have a blast at the Marine Science Center where they can learn about barrier islands, see the aquarium and dozens of exhibits with all kinds of reptiles, corals and interesting sea creatures. Among the highlights: feel a shark skin, shake hands with a hermit crab, and touch whale bones. The Marine Science Center is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for children (under 3 get in for FREE).

3. While on the island you can shop for one of kind art crafts and gifts. Tybee is a thriving art community where little art shops and street-side colorful displays sprung at every step.

Dragon fly art studio on Tybee Island

Dragon fly art studio on Tybee Island

4. Stroll on the pier where there’s always something fun going on. The original Tybrisa Pavilion, built in 1891 had an open dance floor amid a breath-taking coastal setting. It soon became a South Atlantic Ocean landmark and a legendary stop on the “Big Band” tour. Unfortunately fire destroyed it in 1967.
Upcoming Tybee Island events:
• August 31st – Labor Day Beach Bash – live music and fireworks at the pier, from 7 to 11 PM.
• October 10 and 11 – be a pirate at the Pirate Fest.

Getting around Savannah and Tybee Island
Historic Savannah trolley tours: $25 to get on/off anytime, $22 one complete loop, $10 children 4-12, under 4 years is Free. Get tickets at the Savannah Visitors Center located at the end of the Savannah River Bridge right as you enter the city. Trolleys arrive at stops every 20 minutes. They operate daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM and offer free courtesy shuttle from hotels in the Savannah Historic District.

Savannah Trolley Tour

Savannah Trolley Tour

Here is a custom Google Map with some of Tybee Island’s family attractions. Speed limit on Tybee Island is 35 mph and parking is a quarter for every 10 minutes from 8 AM to 8 PM year-round. There are bike lanes on Hwy 80 all the way to the Bull River Resort.

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