Tybee Island is a beach resort east of Savanah. It is a great launching spot to explore the undeveloped marshes and islands surrounding it. To the north is the tidal Savanah River with Cockspur Island protected by the For Pulaski National Monument and the far shore in the Tybee National Wildlife Refuge. To the south is the Wassaw Sound with wandering marsh streams and changeable barrier islands. In October and November the air and water are still warm, so it’s a good destination to extend the paddling season.
There’s plenty to do, but here are some specific trip ideas
- Paddle from Lazaretto Creek put in to Fort Pulaski.
- Surfing off sand bars at the south tip of the island or 2nd Street. Trip report.
- Through trip from Lazaretto Creek put in, up Lazaretto Creek and back down Tybee Creek. Best done with high tide at noon.
- Follow narrow streams around Myrtle Island. Trip report.
- Inlet Ave. A less used put in with an easy beach for launching. The only downside is a long-ish carry over sand.
- Alley St boat ramp. Motor boat ramp. There’s lots of parking space, though supposedly it fills up early in the summer. As of fall 2016 the ramp had significant damage from hurricane Mathew, but was still usable by hand carry boats.
- Lazaretto Creek. Large motor boat ramp with a dock. There was plenty of room to load and unload.
The best chart for the area is NOAA 11512 “Savannah River and Wassaw Sound”.
Sea Kayak Georgia hosts an annual symposium with a host of BCU instructors. They also rent boats. Their website says they rent decked tandems, but in reality their tandem fleet is only sit on tops.
In the fall, bottle nose dolphins come to the warm waters. They cavort near the coast and up into the estuaries.
And, in case you accidentally book your trip over Halloween, the town puts on a party and trick-or-treat on Lewis Ave every year.
How to get there
The nearest general aviation airport is GA39 Hodges Airpark south of Savanah. It is private and requires prior permission. Call ahead. They offer tie downs for a nominal fee. From there, you can take an Uber to Tybee.
There are few hotels on the island. Most of the available lodging is rental properties. We used Tybee Vacation Rentals. There appear to be plenty of other agencies.