Family Fun Time: Tybee Island Style
Tybee Island Marine and Science Center
The newly opened science center is better than ever! Located across from the iconic Lighthouse, the Center recently opened as part of the latest phase of its buildout plan. Visitors can peruse the gift shop, check out exhibits in both galleries, or enjoy the new amphitheater that overlooks the sand dunes—and beyond them—to the mouth of the Savannah River looking north to Daufuskie and Hilton Head Islands.
According to the center website, prior to the new location on Meddin Drive, it had been operating out of the City of Tybee’s former police station on the island’s south end. Sprung out of “jail” it is now conveniently located adjacent to other attractions, and for the famished family, walkable dining options.
The Center plans to start up Sea Camp for youngsters soon and offers other interactive youth programs for locals and visitors alike.
Tybee Island Light Station and Museum
Across the street from the new Center is the best-known local landmark, the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum. No trip would be complete without a visit to Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse. This landmark has been guiding mariners’ safe entrance into the Savannah River for more than 285 years. Jog (or walk) up all 178 steps to the top for unparalleled ocean views!
Before being converted to electricity in 1933, there were three “keepers of the flame” who manned the Light Station. Each of these keepers had their own house – all of which still exist today.
Did you know: the lighthouse lens can be seen from 18 miles out at sea and is so large, a family of four can fit inside? (Don’t try this at home!)
The adjacent museum is open daily (except for Tuesdays) and is housed in a historic Endicott Period Battery, built as a part of Fort Screven during the Spanish-American War. And since you already stretched your legs traversing those Lighthouse stairs, it’s time to take a well-deserved break.
North Beach Bar & Grille
Ready to recharge and enjoy some good island food? A short walk from the Lighthouse is the North Beach Bar & Grille. Their lunch and dinner menus are sure to satisfy all picky palates and provide a welcome respite from a busy day’s adventures.
This quaint beach shack by the sea is a local fixture and on occasion, offers live music. They are committed to “going green” year-round, and use environmentally-safe packaging and to go products. From a burger and beer to eclectic dishes with a Caribbean flair, the Grille is a savior for weary vacationers who do not want to go back to their Natural Retreats “home away from home” to cook!
Before heading back to your Natural Retreats vacation home, drive over to one of the most significant historic landmarks in Georgia: Fort Pulaski Park. A hop, skip and 10-minute car ride from Tybee, this national monument is located in nearby Savannah. Call ahead for availability and hours.
Army engineers and enslaved men helped build the fort, and many men and women sought refuge inside. Not surprisingly, the people of Fort Pulaski have a wealth of stories to share. Among them, Susie King Taylor, a teacher and nurse who achieved many firsts in a lifetime of overcoming adversity and helping liberate others from slavery. She was the author of Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33d United States Colored Troops, Late 1st S.C. Volunteers, and was the only African American woman to publish a memoir of her wartime experiences.
In 1861, John C. Rowland enlisted in the Confederate service and was sent to Fort Pulaski. He was accompanied by March Haynes who, still enslaved, was conscripted as a carpenter.
According to the Fort Pulaski website, following the fall of the fort in 1863, Union Major General David Hunter issued a general order which stated that, “all persons of color lately held in involuntary service by enemies of the United States in Fort Pulaski and on Cockspur Island, Georgia are hereby confiscated and declared free, in conformity with the law, and shall hereafter receive the fruits of their labor."
Haynes immediately took advantage of his newfound freedom to help others gain theirs. In the spirit of Harriet Tubman, Haynes became the top conductor of the Underground Railroad in the Lowcountry.
Captain Derek’s Dolphin Adventure Tour
A trip to Tybee Island would be incomplete without a dolphin tour! Imagine the thrill of encountering a pod of dolphins in their natural habitat from the vantage point of a chartered boat, replete with a professional guide. Group tours last between 1 and 1.5 hours. Along the way, you’ll get to see historic lighthouses, as well as Fort Pulaski. Guests of Natural Retreats receive free tickets to local attractions—including a dolphin tour!
For more information on booking a vacation home on Tybee Island, or any of our other 16 destinations go to our site or call us at 877-805-7794.