When someone thinks of the state of Georgia, I would imagine that a beautiful and wheelchair accessible beach probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. To be honest, it didn’t for me either and I’ve lived in Georgia for most of my life.
When I feel the need for some fun in the sun on a beach, I usually head to Gulf Shores, Wilmington, or one of Florida’s many beaches. However, I recently had the chance to explore a fantastic beach right here in my home state for the first time and I was truly wowed.
During my recent weekend getaway to Savannah (read my in-depth accessibility guide to Savannah by clicking here), I had a full day to check out Tybee Island. Tybee is only a 15-20 minute drive from downtown Savannah, so it was super convenient to get to for a relaxing day, but is Tybee Island wheelchair accessible? Here’s how my day in Tybee Island went –
After the short drive from Savannah, my first stop in Tybee Island was North Beach. North Beach has accessible parking spaces available, a wooden ramped walkway to the beach, and then a Mobi-mat on the sand.
With the Mobi-mat, I was able to roll on the beach in my powered wheelchair. The mat was on the shorter side and definitely needs cleaned off and cared for more frequently, but I was happy to be able to enjoy the beach in my own wheelchair.
I sat at the end of the mat and my mom pulled a chair up beside me. We watched the waves for about an hour and chatted with some of the locals. It was a beautiful sunny day and I couldn’t believe that this was my first time ever in Tybee Island. Why have I not been to Tybee before?!
Near North Beach is the Tybee Island Lighthouse and Tybee Museum. Unfortunately, the lighthouse has only steps to get to the top and the museum isn’t fully accessible, but it’s worth seeing the outside of the lighthouse, as it’s a Tybee landmark. If you’d like to learn more about the attractions, you can watch a video at the Tybee Museum or tour the lower floor of the Head Lightkeeper’s cottage.
Tybee Island actually has several wheelchair friendly beaches, so my next stop was near the Tybee Pier and Pavilion. In addition to the North Beach Mobi-mat, both the Second Avenue Cross Over (East Gate) and the 16th Street (Tybrisa) Cross Over beach access points have Mobi-mats.
If you’d like to venture beyond the Mobi-mats though, Tybee Island does have beach wheelchairs available. There are amphibious wheelchairs, which means that they can roll on the sand or float in the water. These are my favorite types of beach wheelchairs because you can get in the cool water after soaking in the sun rays for a while. I was thrilled to see these beach wheelchairs available!
As an added bonus, the beach wheelchairs are completely free to use. If you’d like to get one to use while in Tybee, they are available on a first come, first served basis at the Ocean Rescue lifeguard station. It’s located behind the Tybee Pier and right beside the Tybee Island Marine Science Center.
Speaking of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, I would highly recommend checking it out while you’re in the area. It’s only $5 to visit the Coastal Gallery inside the Marine Science Center, where nearly 300 creatures are on display.
During my visit, I saw baby alligators, crabs, jellyfish, and much more. All of the animals are catch-exhibit-release, so the variety of animals on display can change frequently.
I also loved how educational the attraction was. They did a great job of showing what you should and shouldn’t do (like throwing garbage on the beach) and the impact that it can have on the ocean’s animals. While the gallery was pretty small, I thought it was definitely worth $5.
Across from the Tybee Island Marine Science Center is one of the island’s main points of interest, the Tybee Pier and Pavilion. The pavilion is shaded, has many picnic tables, and some concessions selling food and drinks (both alcoholic drinks and nonalcoholic). It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day exploring Tybee Island.
Extending from the pavilion is Tybee Pier. The wooden pier is free to go on and fully wheelchair accessible. It stretches out above the ocean for what seems like forever. The views of the beach and ocean from the pier are unbelievable, making this hands-down the most scenic spot in Tybee Island.
After lounging on the beaches, seeing some animals inside the Marine Science Center, and discovering how wheelchair accessible Tybee Island is, my mom and I were hungry. Several friends and family members told us before going to Tybee that we needed to eat at The Crab Shack, so we decided to take their advice.
The Crab Shack’s motto is “Where the elite eat in their bare feet,” which I found amusing. It’s a no-frills restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and absolutely delicious seafood. If you’re not a fan of seafood, there are other options available (my mom loved the BBQ pork nachos), but I would highly recommend getting some seafood while you’re so close to the ocean. I tremendously enjoyed the Deviled Crab Plate, which is basically crab cakes inside of a natural crab shell. It was delicious!
Once we were done eating, we went to The Crab Shack’s private lagoon, where there were a dozen or more alligators swimming around. As you can see, The Crab Shack is more than just a restaurant; it’s a whole attraction in itself.
I only had one day in Tybee Island, but I quickly realized that it is a phenomenal wheelchair accessible destination right here in my home state. Whether you want to eat delicious seafood or get in the ocean, Tybee is a south Georgia gem of a city that shouldn’t be missed.
Have you ever visited Tybee Island? What is your favorite thing to do in Tybee?
*Thank you to Visit Savannah for showing me the best things to do in Savannah and Tybee Island, and working with me for this trip. While my experiences were covered, all opinions are authentic and my own.