Step back in time to an old-fashioned beach cottage where the screen door slams. Lighthouse Cottage is in the shadow of the Tybee Island Lighthouse, which is just 1.5 blocks away. The beach also is just 1.5 blocks away. Leave your window open at night, turn on your ceiling fan, and sleep to the soft rush of the surf. In the heart of the former Fort Screven, this cottage was built in 1920 by the US Army to house non-commissioned officers. Just a block away is Battery Garland and the Fort Screven museum. This is the islands quiet, secluded north end preferred by celebrities. The army built the houses facing each other with a sidewalk between --- no street, just a sidewalk. The streets run behind the houses. The front of Lighthouse Cottage faces a sidewalk; the back is on a traffic-free street. The original clawfoot bathtub and the original enamel kitchen sink/cabinet have been newly restored. Most of the interior walls are 5-inch wide tongue and groove planks laid horizontally. These were discovered and restored when 1/4-inch paneling was removed.
Tybee Island's North Beach: Great dolphin viewing --- virtually guaranteed on the north end of the island. Dolphin boat tours are always available, but sitting on the north beach is just as effective. We once watched a band of dolphins frolicking with a delighted kayaker. Tybee's beaches are equipped with porch swings that seem to be about 100 yards apart. From the north beach swings you can watch the sun set over Savannah and the mouth of the Savannah river --- incredible sunsets. Savannah, being 15 miles away, is too far away to actually see but you can see the fireworks on July 4th and New Year's Eve. Shrimp boats with their nets spread like wings are always in view.
The 2 Lighthouses: Two lighthouses less than 3 miles apart but so radically different in character. As you approach Tybee Island, you see the impressive Tybee Light in the distance. Tall, dark, and handsome with a white cumberbund. He was honored a couple of years ago when he got his own US postage stamp. ( In lighthouse circles that is akin to an Oscar.) But then as you cross the Lazaretto bridge onto Tybee Island, you look down to the left and blink. Is that a lighthouse in the water? Indeed it is. That's plucky little Cockspur Lighthouse. Weathered, plain white masonry. Not flashy at all, except ... At every high tide Cockspur stands in the ocean well off-shore. Only at low tide does the stony spur appear that supports the little lighthouse. A firm foundation after all.
Lost in the 40's/50's: So far the quaint shopping district near the pier has pretty much escaped the wrecking ball. Witness Arby's --- Tybee Island's only fast food restaurant. This is what Arby's looked like when they began in the early 60's. As for shopping, no Sak's here. We're talking beach shopping: T-shirts, souvenirs, Sno-Cones, umbrella drinks, seafood. But remember, for culture and serious shopping, there is colorful, historic Savannah, just 20 minutes away. Recommended reading: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, an amusing look at Savannah's high- and low-life (about 2 years on the NY Times nonfiction best seller list).