Tybee Island is a barrier island in Chatham County, Georgia, near Savannah in the southeastern United States. The name Tybee Island is also used for the city located on part of this island. Officially renamed “Savannah Beach” in a publicity move at the end of the 1950s, the city of Tybee Island has since reverted to its original name. The small island, which has long been a quiet getaway for the residents of Savannah, has become a popular vacation spot with tourists from outside the Savannah metropolitan area. Tybee Island is home to the first of what would eventually become the Days Inn chain of hotels, the oft-photographed Tybee Island Light Station, and the Fort Screven Historic District.
Tybee Island’s strategic position near the mouth of the Savannah River has made the island’s northern tip the ideal location for a lighthouse since Georgia’s early settlement period. Today, the Tybee Lighthouse is a popular tourist destination, having all of its support buildings on the 20,000 m2 site historically preserved. The current black-and-white tower markings are a reversion to its fourth day mark, first used in 1916. The Tybee Island Light Station is one of just a handful of 18th-century lighthouses still in operation in North America.
Every year since 1987, Tybee Island has had an annual Beach Bum parade, traditionally held in May the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. The parade route comes down the main road in Tybee, Butler Avenue, and when parade floats come by onlookers have been known to shoot each other with water-guns. Tybee Pirate Fest, which began in 2005, is typically held the weekend prior to Columbus Day.