If outdoor adventure, hands-on learning, island leisure and giving back are the makings of a good trip to you, Tybee Island should definitely be on your travel wish list for 2018.
Savannah, GA has been heralded as a premier travel destination for decades, but few know about the jewel that’s just a twenty-minute drive from the Hostess City’s historic downtown. Colloquially known as Savannah’s beach, Tybee Island is a colorful barrier isle. Spanning little more than three square miles, this small floating town is making a big splash as a regional leader in sustainability and conservation. The local government implemented their Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan in 2013, making Tybee one of the first cities in the state to take such an important step. And the city’s employee-comprised coalition, the Tybee Green Team, has been promoting and instilling eco-friendly initiatives on the island since the 2000’s.
Here’s everything you need to know about sustainability and environment-conscious tourism on Tybee Island.
Fight Dirty Tybee
The island’s targeted answer to trash, Fight Dirty Tybee is a community-bred, community-led campaign. It is galvanizing local groups, residents and visitors around the important issue of litter, which has lasting implications for the island’s ecosystem and marine life. Designed to spur social engagement, the Fight Dirty Tybee organizers conduct regular sweeps of the beach, roadsides and marshes, so there are plenty of opportunities to help out during your stay. Tybee’s litter collection efforts are unique in that participants don’t generate any garbage in the process. And after each sweep, volunteers sort and count all of the items collected to help inform the campaign efforts. The items are then either recycled or repurposed.
No one likes a dirty beach, but a considerable portion of beachgoers do little during their stay to help out. Linking up with Fight Dirty Tybee gives everyone an important opportunity to be accountable and act.
Tybee Marine Science Center
Education, conservation and research are the mainstays of the Tybee Marine Science Center. Offering exciting and enlightening programs for visitors and groups throughout the year, this place is a must on any eco-tourist’s agenda. Stroll the beach, trek through marshes or swim in the ocean while learning about local marine life and coastal ecology.
Borne out of the center’s various protection and rehabilitation efforts, the Coastal Georgia Gallery houses an impressive menagerie, providing an exciting opportunity to engage with local marine life. Loggerhead sea turtles, baby alligators, horseshoe crabs, jellies and an assortment of fish are just some of the animals waiting to meet you.
Between the affordable outdoor programs, the interactive opportunities and the outstanding research efforts, the Marine Science Center is an excellent option for Tybee tourists with an interest in the island’s natural resources. And things are only going to get bigger and better as plans for a new, state-of-the-art center to be built in Tybee’s historic Fort Screven District are well underway.
River’s End Campground
If you really want to reduce your carbon footprint on your trip, your best bet is to opt for au naturel accommodations, and River’s End Campground and RV Park has everything to ensure your stay is as eco-friendly as possible. In 2012, the campground received ARVC’s Plan-It-Green award for their sustainable watering, electrical and waste reduction practices.
River’s End has more than 100 campsites ranging from full hook-up capacity to primitive tent camping. Still, at River’s End, camping doesn’t equate to roughing it. The campground offers amenities including complementary Wi-Fi, self-service laundry, vending, a propane dispensary and climate-controlled restrooms. River’s End also boasts the largest pool on the island, a brand-new fitness center, two sizeable dog parks and their River Room TV Lounge.
No visit to Tybee is complete without an unadulterated encounter with nature. And opportunities lie in wait all around the isle. North Island Surf and Kayak offers a number of kayaking eco-tours highlighting the island flora, fauna and landscape. Book a tour for the family and meander through various waterways, enjoying local wildlife and scenic views along the way. It’s the perfect end to your sustainable stay.
Chantel Baul is a nomad with a knack for writing and an ever-growing curiosity. She’s also an NPR nerd/foodie with a deep passion for all things travel, sustainable living and fun. Read more of her work at Chantel’s portfolio and follow her on Twitter • Cover photo Tybee Island Beach & Pier courtesy ExploreGeorgia.org • All other photos courtesy Chantel Baul