Tybee Island combines the laid-back attitude of Key West with the sunny charm of a classic Southern beach town. With six miles of public beaches, sun-kissed shores and a wide range of housing options, Tybee Island remains a popular choice for year-round residents as well as seasonal “snowbirds.”
Located 18 miles due east of downtown Savannah along Hwy. 80, Tybee is both a city and a barrier island. Residents and visitors alike proudly call this 3.2 square-mile island, which is the easternmost point in Georgia, “Savannah’s Beach.”
The number of days to sell residential property declined by more than 50 percent between 2018 and 2019, which means that listings are selling quicker and at higher prices than in previous years. At the same time, inventory remains strong, making Tybee Island a buyer’s market.
Historically, Tybee Island was a popular escape place for residents of Savannah as far back as the 1800s. Visitors came out to enjoy the ocean breezes and escape the ravages of yellow fever epidemics in the crowded city. In the 1930s, big bands played live music on the Tybee Pavilion.
Today, Tybee Island welcomes visitors year-round and is home to more than 3,100 permanent residents. The island encompasses several diverse neighborhoods, all of which are located within an easy walk or bike ride from the beach.
Tybee Island Cottage Historic District
Located from Butler Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean and from 12th to 14th Street, the Tybee Island Cottage Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. This charming neighborhood is one of the few intact, living examples of the American coastal resort movement.
On Tybee Island, about 18 of the original cottages remain. Each cottage was built by the Tybee Improvement Company, which purchased the island in 1873. The resort look spills out of the official historic district in the form of raised cottage homes tucked in under shady live oaks scattered across the north end of the island.
Fort Screven Historic District
Elements of the original Fort Screven, which was commissioned in 1899 and decommissioned in 1947, remain and have been repurposed as historic homes. Parts of the original beachfront battery now house the Tybee Island Museum. The Fort Screven neighborhood was officially designated a historic district in 1982.
Located on the original fort grounds, Officer’s Row was constructed to house ranking officers and their families. Just minutes from the restored Tybee Post Theater and the popular Tybee Lighthouse, Officer’s Row is one of Tybee Island’s most exclusive and sought-after neighborhoods. Here, classic Victorian style and four-square houses line streets shaded by oak trees and crepe myrtles planted by General George C. Marshall.
Just to the west of the Victorian homes is a contemporary neighborhood of stylish condos and homes offering great views of the beach. On Tybee, the juxtaposition of housing types – blending the old and the new – works, adding to the island’s charm.
The South End runs from 14th Avenue south to the tip of the island and from Butler Avenue west to Chatham Avenue. This neighborhood is full of mid-century homes, historic cottages and vacation rentals. Scattered along Chatham Avenue are few larger, multi- storied homes with banks of windows overlooking Tybee Creek and the Back River.
Whether you’re looking for just a summer cottage or a year-round beach home, Tybee Island has something for everyone.
Staci Donegan is an associate broker at Seabolt Real Estate who provides highly professional, strategic solutions for buyers and sellers throughout the Savannah area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-247-2052.