Savannah, Georgia, is known for its history, food, and Southern charm, but if you’re looking for beaches, you’ll need to drive a bit to get there. Not too far though, with one option just 20 minutes away.
If you want to get your toes in the sand during your next trip to this coastal Georgia town, grab your towel and sunscreen, because we have a few beaches you should consider.
Here are 7+ beaches in Savannah (and nearby!) that we know you and your crew will love!
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South Beach on Tybee Island
If you go to Tybee Island, just 18 miles from Savannah, there are several spots to pick from for a great beach day, and the most popular among them is South Beach. It’s at the southern tip and is essentially the downtown district for the island. It’s also where you’ll find Tybrisa Street, which is packed with shops and restaurants, along with places to stay.
The Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion is there too, and it’s a great place to watch the cargo ships go by while you enjoy a snack and a cocktail. (Yep, you can get them to-go.) You can spend your day sitting on the massive sandy beach, then when you’ve had enough of the heat, head to one of the great restaurants on Tybrisa where you might hear some live music, too.
There are bicycle rental spots if you don’t want to walk the entire time, and some are electric, so you don’t have to burn up too much energy. If you have so much fun you decide you want to stay the night or the weekend, this part of Tybee has a ton of places to stay, including Hotel Tybee, the Sea & Breeze Hotel, and the Georgianne Inn & Suites.
When my family went, we rented an entire home from one of the island’s rental properties and it was as close to perfect as you can get! It was just off the beach enough to be private, but had a boardwalk through the dunes to make it easy to get to the water any time we wanted.
North Beach on Tybee Island
The opposite end of the island is where you’ll find more of the historic attractions and unique shops. It’s North Beach and they have lots of different things to see and do.
You’ll find two different shopping centers and stores, and lots of art, too. You can dine at any of the area restaurants, including outdoor cafes, from bar-b-que to classic Southern cuisine. But there’s plenty of fun to be found on the water too, where you can book a deep sea fishing charter, surfing lessons, rent kayaks and even take an airboat ride.
If you want to stay a while, the Tybee Island Inn is an option, along with some bed and breakfasts, including the Lighthouse Inn B&B and the Surf Song B&B. Or you could consider a cottage or the campground.
North Beach is a great spot for getting back to nature, with starfish, sand dollars and sea snails in abundance on the beach, and home to over 200 bird species. You can see plenty of them at the nature trails. You can rent bikes on this part of Tybee, too, and explore a whole lot more of the island. The lighthouse mentioned earlier is the tallest and oldest in the state, and there’s a museum about the island at the base.
Tybee’s Mid Beach
Right between the North Beach and South Beach you’ll find Mid Beach. This portion of the island has a bit of everything, including a beachfront restaurant called The Deck Beach Bar & Kitchen and the island’s only beachfront hotel, the DeSoto Beach Hotel.
You can go surfing, paddle boarding, and canoeing at the YMCA on Tybee where you can pay for a day pass (or longer if needed). Memorial Park is perfect for tennis and basketball games.
If you love seafood, this is a great spot, between the Deck Beach Bar, Sting Ray’s Seafood, or Salt Island Fish and Beer (that’s where you’re going to want to try the crab-topped fries). And if you decide DeSoto Beach Hotel isn’t for you, their Bed & Breakfast might work, and the Beachside Colony Resort is also a good option.
Back River Beach
We may have covered South Beach, North Beach and Mid Beach, but there’s another option considered a secret on Tybee Island: Back River Beach. Locals say this secret beach is a great place to catch the sunset.
You’ll be tempted to make your way out to the sandbar, but visitors aren’t allowed, since the tides make it easy to get stranded out there, and the currents make it tough to swim back.
My favorite place to eat on the island is located here, A-J’s Dockside Restaurant. It’s set on Tybee Creek and is always fun and delicious. Another option a lot of people love is The Crab Shack. They have Lowcountry boils that you need to try.
You can also find some fun on the water if you head over to the Lazaretto Creek Marina. You can rent a kayak here, go out on a dolphin excursion, or book a fishing trip nearby. As much as people love the beach, the marsh can also provide an ideal way to see the island’s beauty.
Little Tybee Island
We’ve covered Tybee, but you can also make your way to Little Tybee Island, though you’ll have to take a boat, kayak, or jet ski to get there. It’s a nature preserve and even though it’s called Little, it’s bigger than the Tybee Island that so many tourists visit.
You can rent a boat to get to Little Tybee, but you should remember that the tides will make the waterways look very different on your way to Little Tybee than they do as you make your way home. It’s worth the trip if you can make it though, because you can unearth all kinds of treasures there — from prehistoric bone fragments to a shark’s tooth.
You can even stay the night if you’d like to camp and experience nature’s glory. It’s an ideal spot for people looking to escape the city and appreciate a quiet day on a private beach. There’s three and a half miles of beach and more than 6500 acres for you to enjoy.
North Beach on Wassaw Island
Also near Tybee is Wassaw Island, which is part of a designated National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll find salt marshes, dunes and a coastal forest on Wassaw Island. It also can only be reached by boat or kayak.
You can take tours if you don’t want to go without a guide. You can go hiking once you’re there, but only on the oceanward side of the island.
There are seven miles of beaches, along with dunes and the maritime forest. However, you are not allowed to camp on Wassaw. You have to go over to Little Tybee for that.
There are two other islands that are part of the National Wildlife Refuge, but Wassaw is the biggest. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Ossabaw Sound to the south and Wassaw Sound to the north. Seven miles of beach, behind which is a low ridge of dunes and old growth forest, form a barrier between the ocean and the salt marsh of the island’s interior.
Most people go to Wassaw to nature-watch or hike. If you go hiking, though, be sure to check for which sections are ok to hike through. Those are open year round, other than when they do deer hunts.
You can bike and fish in the ocean, but can’t fish in many of the ponds. You also can unload at the dock on Wassaw Creek, but can’t moor there — you have to do that at the southern or northern ends of the island.
They may be pricey, but a private charter boat may be the easiest option for getting to this nature mecca.
Butter Bean Beach
Another beach the locals love to visit is Butter Bean Beach. This one is closer to Savannah than even Tybee, but it can get very crowded in the summer. You’ll want to aim for the spring and fall if possible.
Butter Bean Beach has a park that has boat ramps, a floating dock, a small river beach, bait shop, kayak rentals, picnic tables and more. Honestly, it’s like a ticket to escape modern life and feel like you’ve retreated to another time and place.
It’s a great spot to connect with nature and you may see manatees, dolphins, otters and all kinds of birds, including eagles, osprey, and egrets. You can rent a canoe or kayak and do some exploring. You can also take a guided tour from Moon River Kayak Tours if you prefer a guide.
You can go swimming, but it’s not like the beaches you’re used to because of the murky water typical of rivers and marshes. If you go at low tide, you’re likely to see the most sand. Even if you don’t want to go in the water, it’s a great spot for sitting and taking in the scenery.
If you want to try your luck at fishing, you’ll need a permit (which you can get online), and odds are high you’ll catch all kinds of things in the nearby waters, from flounder and sheepshead to redfish and sea trout, while others have caught sharks and blue crabs. There is a bait shop if you need that, too.
Don’t be surprised if you see loggerhead turtle nests here, either. Several dozen pick this island to bury their eggs each year. The island even has a conservation program to help make sure the nests are not disturbed, other than to be moved to a safer part of the beach if necessary. Volunteers keep up with the number of nests, along with how many eggs hatch.
After all the activity, you can make the most of their picnic area where there are several tables and a pavilion.
To get to Butter Bean Beach, you just turn into the entrance to the Rodney J Hall Boat Ramp right before you cross the Skidaway River to Skidaway Island. You should see the parking area there.
Other Beaches Near Savannah For A Day Trip
Daufuskie Island (50 min. to ferry from SAV)
There are other beaches a bit further from Savannah that are worth considering. One that we really love is Daufuskie Island. There’s no bridge to the mainland and few cars are allowed on the island, so you’ll need to boat your way over, but it’s very much worth the ride. (Plus, if I could make my way everywhere I went by boat, I’d be a very happy person, but I digress.) The ferry is the easiest option.
Daufuskie Island is a dream, with white sand beaches and ancient oaks, along with historical landmarks. There are beautiful homes along the beach, with championship golf courses sprinkled throughout the island, too. It’s all about stepping back and appreciating the slower pace here, along with the beautiful sunsets and chance to see dolphins.
There are cruises you can go on to take both to the next level. This is a spot my editor has been to and raves about, so it’s on my short list for beaches to be sure to visit in the future.
Hilton Head’s Coligny Beach (1 hour from SAV)
Hilton Head Island is a bit further away from Savannah, at about an hour. And on Hilton Head you’ll find Coligny Beach Park. It’s the city’s most popular oceanfront park and provides access to miles of shoreline to enjoy.
It’s situated at the end of Pope Avenue, which is one of the busier parts of town, packed with hotels, shops, and restaurants. You can bike or walk, and even beach carts are popular here.
If you take a car, you can find free parking, and there’s a drop off point at Coligny Circle to make it easy to get your family and all the stuff to the beach while you go grab a parking spot. And if there’s anything you need there, you’re likely to find it, from showers to swings, and an in-ground water fountain where the kids can play when you’re done with beach time.
Beaufort’s Huntington Island State Park Beach (1 hour, 20 minutes from SAV)
There’s another beach to consider that’s about an hour and 20 minutes from Savannah. It’s Beaufort’s Huntington Island State Park in South Carolina. It’s the most popular one in the state, drawing in more than a million people each year.
You’ll find five miles of beaches and all kinds of wildlife. There’s a saltwater lagoon and ocean inlet, along with thousands of acres of marsh and maritime forest.
There’s even an old lighthouse built in 1859, that had to be rebuilt in 1875 after it was destroyed in the Civil War. Then it was dismantled and moved back more than a mile inland in 1889 because of erosion. As a massive lighthouse fan, this alone makes me want to spend time here.
You can camp at one of the hundred campsites at the state park. There are water and electrical hookups, plus showers and restrooms you can use, but you do have to stay a minimum of two nights.
St. Simons Island’s East Beach (1 hour, 30 minutes from SAV)
Another option along the Georgia coast is St. Simons Island. My family really loves this one. The size of the beach changes with the tide each day, with a vast amount of shore during certain times of day, and none at all later. (The last time we went, we were able to toss our crab traps right from the ladder leading down from our hotel to the sand.)
You can wade in the water along East Beach, but just have to keep your eye on the tide to make sure you get back to shore before it disappears. St. Simons has so much more than the beach to offer though, so if you head that way, save time for the fun, like the trolley tours around town, the lighthouse, and the cute shops by the pier.
Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach (1 hour, 35 minutes from SAV)
If you want my opinion for the most photogenic beach close to Savannah, it’s Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach. Hands down. It’s on the north end of Jekyll and is the setting for old oak and pine trees, mostly fallen into the ocean and shore, where they’ve been preserved by saltwater.
There are other great things about Jekyll, like the beautiful old homes that once housed the richest residents of this country, including the Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, and Pulitzer families.
That said, I still think Driftwood Beach is prettier than any of those homes. Just be sure you time your visit for low tide so that you can walk the beach to see as much of it as possible.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO GEORGIA
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- CLOSEST BEACH TO ME: 27+ Exciting Beaches Close To Atlanta
- B&Bs: Bed And Breakfast Savannah: 17+ Elegant Spots To Lay Your Head
- SAVANNAH: 19+ Things To Do in Savannah Ga With Kids: Your Brilliant Guide to a Stress-Free Vacation
- SAV HOTELS: 29+ Hotels in Savannah Ga Ideal for Bringing the Family (B&B, on the Water, Budget and More)
Where To Stay In Savannah
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