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Which Is Better: Tybee Island Or Hilton Head For A Day Trip


by Lory Leija



Planning a day trip to a beautiful coastal destination? Look no further than Tybee Island and Hilton Head, two stunning locations in Georgia that promise sun, sand, and plenty of adventure. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or a food enthusiast, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer a myriad of experiences to suit every interest. In this article, we will compare these two destinations to help you decide which is better for a memorable day trip.


Tybee Island, located just 20 minutes east of Savannah, is a charming barrier island known for its laid-back atmosphere and picturesque beaches. On the other hand, Hilton Head, situated approximately an hour and a half drive from Savannah, is a larger, more developed island with a reputation for luxury resorts and world-class golf courses. While both locations share similarities as coastal retreats, they also have distinct characteristics that set them apart.


Whether you’re seeking a tranquil escape or an action-packed day, understanding the differences between Tybee Island and Hilton Head is crucial in planning your perfect day trip. So let’s dive into the details and explore the unique features of each destination, from the beaches and activities to dining, shopping, and transportation options.


Location Comparison

When it comes to location, Tybee Island and Hilton Head both offer beautiful coastal settings, but they differ in size and accessibility. Tybee Island, situated just 20 minutes east of Savannah, is a small barrier island that is easily reachable for a day trip. Its close proximity to Savannah makes it a convenient choice for those staying in the city, allowing for an effortless journey to and from the island.


On the other hand, Hilton Head is a larger island located approximately an hour and a half away from Savannah. While it requires a longer drive, Hilton Head offers a more expansive and diverse range of amenities and attractions. Its larger size means there is more to explore, from upscale resorts and golf courses to nature preserves and shopping centers.


Despite the distance, visitors to Hilton Head will find that the journey is well worth the extra time. The island’s unique blend of natural beauty and modern development creates a captivating and luxurious atmosphere that is hard to resist.


In terms of accessibility, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head have several options for transportation. If you prefer to drive, both islands are easily reachable via well-connected roads. Additionally, there are various tour operators that offer shuttle services from Savannah to Tybee Island and Hilton Head, providing a stress-free travel experience for those who prefer not to drive.


In summary, while Tybee Island offers the advantage of being closer to Savannah and easier to access, Hilton Head’s larger size and diverse offerings make it a compelling choice for a day trip. Depending on your preferences and priorities, either location can provide a delightful coastal experience.


Beaches Comparison

When it comes to beaches, Tybee Island and Hilton Head both boast stunning stretches of shoreline, but they offer slightly different experiences to visitors.


Tybee Island is known for its laid-back, unspoiled beaches that exude a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere. The island’s main beach, known as Tybee Beach, offers expansive sandy shores perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and strolling along the coastline. With its gentle waves and warm waters, Tybee Beach is also popular among families and swimmers. If you’re looking for a quieter beach experience, head to North Beach, a secluded area of the island characterized by its scenic dunes and beautiful views of the nearby lighthouse.


In contrast, Hilton Head provides a more upscale beach experience. Its shores are lined with luxe resorts and offer a range of amenities such as beachside bars, rental cabanas, and water sports equipment. Coligny Beach is one of the most popular spots on Hilton Head, offering a lively atmosphere with beach volleyball courts and seasonal entertainment. If you prefer a more secluded beach setting, you can explore the hidden gems of Hilton Head, like Mitchelville Beach Park or Driessen Beach Park, which offer a quieter and more serene environment.


Regardless of the location you choose, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head are blessed with beautiful coastal landscapes and offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Whether you’re seeking a low-key beach day or a stylish beach experience, these destinations have something for everyone.


Activities and Attractions

When it comes to activities and attractions, Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer a wide range of options to keep visitors entertained during their day trip.


Tybee Island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with numerous opportunities for water activities. You can take a kayak or paddleboard out on the calm waters, go on a dolphin watching tour, or try your hand at fishing. The island is also home to the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, where you can learn about the local marine life and even participate in interactive exhibits.


For history buffs, Tybee Island is steeped in rich historical significance. Be sure to visit the Tybee Island Light Station and Museum, Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the island and its surroundings.


On the other hand, Hilton Head is famous for its world-class golf courses, making it a haven for golf enthusiasts. Tee off at one of the many championship golf courses and enjoy the lush green fairways and pristine landscaping that Hilton Head is renowned for.


In addition to golf, Hilton Head offers a variety of other activities. Explore the island’s extensive network of biking trails, take a guided nature tour to discover the captivating wildlife, or visit the Coastal Discovery Museum to learn about the island’s unique ecology and cultural heritage. If you’re up for an adrenaline rush, you can also try zip-lining adventures and jet skiing.


Both Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer a plethora of dining options to satisfy your taste buds. From fresh seafood shacks to upscale waterfront restaurants, you can indulge in a wide array of culinary delights while enjoying stunning views of the ocean.


In summary, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, historical exploration, or a round of golf, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer a diverse range of activities and attractions to make your day trip memorable.


Dining Options

When it comes to dining, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer a plethora of options to satisfy every palate. From fresh seafood to international cuisine, these coastal destinations have something for everyone.


Tybee Island is renowned for its casual and laid-back dining scene, with a focus on fresh seafood. Indulge in succulent shrimp, oysters, and local catch of the day at the island’s seafood shacks and waterfront restaurants. Enjoy traditional Southern cuisine, such as shrimp and grits or Lowcountry boil, at one of the many charming local eateries. For those seeking international flavors, Tybee Island also offers a variety of cuisines, including Mexican, Italian, and Asian fusion.


Hilton Head, on the other hand, caters to a more upscale dining experience. The island is known for its fine dining establishments, where you can savor exquisite meals prepared by renowned chefs. From elegant steak and seafood restaurants to upscale sushi bars and farm-to-table eateries, Hilton Head offers a sophisticated culinary scene. If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, there are also numerous family-friendly restaurants and waterfront cafes where you can enjoy a delicious meal with a view.


In addition to seafood and fine dining, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head boast a vibrant food truck scene. You can indulge in a variety of flavors from gourmet tacos to artisanal ice cream, all served from colorful food trucks parked at various locations across the islands.


Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxed beachside meal or an elegant dining experience, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer a diverse range of dining options to satisfy your cravings.


Shopping Options

When it comes to shopping, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer unique experiences with a variety of options to explore.


Tybee Island is known for its charming boutiques and quirky shops. Take a stroll along Tybrisa Street, the main hub for shopping and dining, and discover a selection of beachwear stores, souvenir shops, and local art galleries. Browse through handmade jewelry, coastal-themed home decor, and unique gifts to commemorate your visit to Tybee Island. Don’t forget to check out the local farmers’ market, where you can find fresh produce, artisanal food products, and handmade crafts.


Hilton Head, on the other hand, is a haven for shoppers seeking upscale and boutique shopping experiences. Explore the stylish shopping centers, such as Coligny Plaza and Shelter Cove Towne Centre, which are home to a mix of national retailers and local boutiques. From high-end fashion brands to unique designer labels, Hilton Head offers a wide range of options for fashion enthusiasts. Additionally, you’ll find specialty shops selling gourmet foods, fine wines, and unique home furnishings.


Both Tybee Island and Hilton Head also have a vibrant art scene. Discover local artists and craftsmen showcasing their work in galleries and studios. From paintings and sculptures to handmade pottery and jewelry, you can find exceptional pieces that capture the essence of these coastal destinations.


Overall, whether you’re looking for beach-themed souvenirs or upscale designer items, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head have shopping options that cater to a variety of preferences and budgets.



Getting around Tybee Island and Hilton Head during your day trip is convenient, thanks to the various transportation options available.


In Tybee Island, the best way to explore the island is by walking or biking. The island is small and easily navigable, with bike-friendly streets and sidewalks. You can rent bicycles from local shops to enjoy a leisurely ride along the beach and explore the island at your own pace. Additionally, there are golf cart rentals available for those who prefer a more unique and fun mode of transportation.


For those visiting Hilton Head, renting a car is recommended as the island is larger and offers more attractions spread out across its expanse. Most major car rental companies have branches on the island, making it convenient to pick up and drop off a vehicle. Hilton Head also has an extensive network of bike trails, making biking a popular option for getting around and exploring the island’s scenic beauty.


If you prefer not to drive, there are shuttle services available to transport visitors from Savannah to both Tybee Island and Hilton Head. These shuttle services provide a hassle-free and comfortable way to travel, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the scenic journey without the need for navigation or parking.


Once you arrive at either destination, parking is readily available, although it may be limited during peak travel seasons. Most hotels and resorts offer parking facilities for their guests, and public parking lots are also available for day visitors.


In summary, whether you choose to walk, bike, drive, or take a shuttle, both Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer transportation options to suit your preferences and make it easy for you to explore all that these coastal destinations have to offer.



Both Tybee Island and Hilton Head offer wonderful options for a day trip, each with their own unique charm and attractions. Choosing between the two really depends on your personal preferences and what you desire for your coastal experience.


If you are seeking a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere with picturesque unspoiled beaches, Tybee Island is the perfect choice. Its proximity to Savannah and its tranquil ambiance make it an ideal option for those looking to escape the city and unwind amidst nature.


On the other hand, if you prefer a more upscale and luxurious experience, Hilton Head is the place to be. With its world-class golf courses, upscale resorts, and a wider range of amenities and attractions, Hilton Head promises a more refined and sophisticated coastal getaway.


Both destinations offer a range of activities and attractions to keep you entertained, from outdoor adventures to historical landmarks, delightful dining, and shopping experiences. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or foodie, you’ll find something to suit your interests at either location.


In the end, the choice between Tybee Island and Hilton Head for a day trip comes down to your personal preferences and the type of experience you desire. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back beach day or a luxurious coastal retreat, both destinations have their own unique appeal. So pack your sunscreen, grab your camera, and get ready for a memorable day trip to one of Georgia’s stunning coastal gems!