Legend says that Tybee Island was first inhabited by Euchee Indians who called the island Tybee (salt), before it was taken over by Spanish invaders who called it Los Bajos (the ground floor) during the 1500s.
Tybee Island was later used by pirates to hide out from hot pursuits, which generated many of the stories that now attribute to the tourist lure of Tybee and Savannah. They even have a Pirate Festival each year.
I also heard about an atomic bomb that was accidentally dropped on Tybee by the US Military in 1958. They never found it. It was never detonated.
For this entry I chose Vance Joy’s “Rip Tide” because it kept playing in my head each time I looked up at the giant vintage “Rip Tide” billboard on the Tybee Pier.
This video captures some aspects of the nostalgic dreamlike state I was in that day and I appreciate the odd, hyper-literal narrative imagery.
My family, boyfriend, and I spent Thanksgiving Day at Tybee Island, opting for peace and relaxation instead of the usual holiday anxiety routine.
The drive in was easy and scenic, and I was pleased with how few people were around.
We were lucky and arrived just in time to stake out a spot with a bench swing and enjoy the beach under an overcast sky.
Seagulls were still out in full force, and in late November the weather was warm enough to wade around a bit and still stay cozy in a hoodie.
Tybee Island is an interchangeable term for the City of Tybee Island and for the barrier reef itself, which extends beyond the three miles of beaches. The island belongs to the Savannah metropolitan area and is only 15-20 minutes from downtown.
The guys searched for little creatures and caught a few sand dollars under the pier while my mother and I collected shells.
I had not seen any live sand dollars before and learned that they come in a variety of colours. The live ones were quickly returned to the sea, of course.
My brother kept this dead one, perfectly in tact, as a souvenir.
The Tybee Pier is one of the most crowded places in the southern part of the island, but has the most excellent view.
Nothing but ocean and sky here.
Due to the holiday most businesses were closed, but we had fun scavenging for snacks and walking through the pretty residential neighbourhood.
Around 3,000 people live on the island, but warm weather can easily triple or quadruple the population on any given summer day.
We saw numerous pubs, cafes, ice cream shops, souvenir stores, and other interesting places in the blocks closest to the beach.
Wet Willie‘s is a frozen daquiri bar where you can choose from White Russian, Monster Melon, Chocolate Thunder, Monkey Shine, Egg Nog, Margarita, Mango, Sour Apple, Coffee, and a dozen other flavours. My White Russian was delicious but the goofy murals inside the bar made me feel like I might have missed out on something.
We also picked up a calzone from Lighthouse Pizza, named after Tybee’s famous lighthouse.
The 154 feet tall Tybee Lighthouse is the second most popular tourist draw to the island, after its beaches. Originally built in the early 1700s, the lighthouse has been reconstructed a few times over and continues to shine faithfully. Sadly we were not able to visit it on Thanksgiving day but check out this video:
Fort Pulaski and Fort Screven are two remaining structures of the US Civil War. Both are located on the island, and I plan to visit/review them after future visits.
Until then, check out this site for more information about the Fort Screven historic district, and the video below to learn about Fort Pulaski during the Civil War:
We had a relaxing and reflective day on Tybee Island, and I look forward to continuing this new tradition.
Hungry after a day at the beach? Check out my blog Devouring Savannah for my favourite restaurants and bars back in town. And don’t forget to subscribe!
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