Tybee Island, also known as Savannah Beach, has a laid-back Southern charm and entices visitors with its beach life, fresh seafood and heritage sites. Tybee Island is a barrier island and city situated 18 miles (29 kilometers) east of Savannah, Georgia. It’s the closest beach resort to Atlanta and connected to the mainland by the Islands Expressway. The original inhabitants of the island were the Native American Euchee tribe. Tybee is the Euchee word for salt. The area was discovered by Spanish explorers in 1520. Because of its 3 miles (5 kilometers) of beaches, Tybee Island has been a magnet for tourists since the late 1800s. Today you’ll find a relaxed atmosphere here, something that is celebrated every May during the Beach Bum Parade. Find the quietest beaches at the city’s northernmost and southernmost points. Spot dolphins in the north or go surfing in the south. Getting around is easy by car, but most parking has a fee. The streets are flat, so renting a bike is a very good alternative. Alternatively, jump on the Tybee Island Beach Shuttle, which runs between the Savannah Visitor Center and Tybee Lighthouse. In 1763 the Tybee Island Lighthouse was the tallest structure in the U.S. Climb the 178 steps to the top for incredible views of the coastline and the Savannah River. While in the area, stop by the Tybee Museum at Fort Screven to learn about the city’s development from a tribal community into a thriving tourist destination. Don’t miss a visit to the Tybee Beach Pier and Pavilion, a popular fishing spot that also regularly hosts special events and performances, including the Independence Day fireworks display. Close to the pier, kids will enjoy the activities at Tybee Island Marine and Science Center. Be sure to enjoy the many restaurants on Tybee Island. At the more than 30 establishments, chefs combine traditional Southern flavors with freshly caught seafood. Take the kids to The Crab Shack to enjoy seafood platters while watching the alligator pond, and to sample Southern classics such as mac and cheese, and pecan pie.