I approached the island at high tide. Water lapped at the edge of the roadside, following a narrow six-mile strip of land showcasing an untouched part of Georgia’s low country. The shadow from a Civil War-era lighthouse —abandoned and surrounded by water on the south channel of the Savannah River — pointed towards the Atlantic Ocean as I crossed one final bridge underneath the mid-morning sun.
My car hit solid ground on the island and I passed the welcome sign, only this one had a twist: “Welcome Back!” it said, not “Welcome to…”. Repeat visitors were assumed.
Twenty miles east of historic Savannah, Tybee Island rests between the prominent barrier islands of Hilton Head and the Golden Isles of Georgia. For those who can pull away from the 18th century colonial homes and clatter of horse-drawn carriages, all enveloped under Savannah’s timeless Spanish moss, the city’s closest beachfront destination paints a striking contrast to many of its peers in the southeast.