Tybee Island and Savannah, Georgia, are wonderful places to visit. Mike and I visited Savannah two years ago and loved the busy downtown and river-walk. Last week’s trip to Tybee Island was the perfect spot for family fun by day, with evening trips into Savannah to fill our bellies with amazing food. I’ve put together a little “guidebook” of all my recommendations for vacationing in the area.
Tybee is a perfect spot for a family vacation. The island has a laid back vibe, with plenty to see and do without feeling touristy or congested. Everyone we encountered was either a local resident, or a visiting family. This created a very calm and quiet atmosphere.
The beaches were clean and had plenty of space for everyone. We made it to the beach each day by 10 am and found ample parking (for $2 per hour – cheap!) and plenty of room on the sand for our tent, chairs and other gear.
The water was perfectly comfortable to be in; the waves were mild enough for my little boys to enjoy, but big enough to get out on a wake board. We didn’t encounter any dangerous sea life (like jellyfish) the entire time we were there. The beach had a life guard, and close access to restrooms.
While on Tybee, we mostly spent time at the beach or in our condo’s pool. We did enjoy walking around Tybee’s historic lighthouse, although we didn’t go in because it was $9 a pop, which I thought was ridiculous just to walk up some stairs. It was still cool to see. The boardwalk area has lots of fun shops and is the most touristy part of the island.
There are plenty of fun restaurants on the island. We took our kids to all the places I have listed and I would recommend each of these restaurants for families, or single couples alike. Everywhere listed had a kids menu and my kids ate for about $5 (except for Huc A Poos, where we all ate pizza), and Mike and I ate for about $8-15 per person. I found both Tybee and Savannah to be very affordable.
Coco’s: Our first night, we hit up Coco’s, a local seafood place that specialized in fresh seafood brought in that day (a seafood market was right next door, and the restaurant was located at the docks). The boys enjoyed their fresh, grilled fish, I had a delicious salad topped with tuna, and Mike enjoyed trying something new – a shrimp salad burger. Coco’s serves simple food that tastes great at affordable prices.
Tybean: We enjoyed walking up to get our coffee and smoothies at Tybean, a great little coffee and art bar. I’m picky about my coffee. I want it to be strong and dark, and Tybean served it up just right.
Huc A Poos: One of the most fun and memorable meals we had was at Huc A Poos, a local pizza joint that was within walking distance of our condo (and right next door to Tybean). Huc A Poos served fantastic pizza at reasonable prices, and had an ambience that you couldn’t help but enjoy. We sat outside on their large deck, and Theo played corn-hole while we waited for our food. Go to Huc A Poos for the pizza, but stay awhile just to have fun!
North Beach Bar and Grill: North beach was located right behind the beach we went to each day. It’s a fun, local spot to get tasty burgers, fish tacos, and homemade fried plantains.
Sugar Shack: We hit the sugar shack one night after Theo requested ice cream. While this place was certainly tasty, it was the one place that I felt was expensive. Single ice cream cones were almost $4, and a shake or sundae would set you back $7-8!
Savannah is just FUN! I’ve never seen so many unique restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques in one small area. You could literally spend a whole week in Savannah and barely put a dent in all it has to offer. Again, I found the restaurant prices very affordable. I didn’t think they were any higher than the non-chain restaurants that Mike and I frequent in Ohio, but boy-oh-boy were they 10 times cooler!
When visiting Savannah, keep in mind that parking is at a premium. If, and I do mean If, you find on street parking downtown, it is metered and usually limited to 30 minutes. We opted to park in a garage. Garage parking will cost you a few bucks mid-week, and around $10 on the weekend. There are plenty of pedi-cabs in the area if you are opposed to walking, but we found walking was the quickest and easiest form of transportation for us. We chose not to take a stroller on this trip, and I’m glad. Sidewalks are just too congested.
Once you get out of downtown (near the river-walk), finding street parking is a lot easier. Parking is still metered, but it’s less congested and is typically available in 1-2 hour increments.
Crystal Beer Palace: One of our best meals, and as an added bonus, they have their very own FREE parking! We all devoured a basket of sweet potato fries for an appetizer. Mike ordered an enormous club burger with their house mashed potatoes, I ordered a delicious salmon burger with their vinaigrette cole slaw, while Oliver had spaghetti and meat balls and Theo ordered a sandwich. Great vibe, friendly service, and top notch food.
Savannah Coffee Roaster: If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve already heard me go on and on about this place. I can’t help it! It was a gem to find, just a block away from the Crystal Beer Palace. With some of the best coffee I’ve tasted, and the chicest Parisienne decor, this place was a true winner. We just ordered coffee the first night we stumbled upon it (because we were stuffed from dinner), but we went for the authentic French pastries the second trip. (They also serve French bistro fair, if you are hungry for something more filling!)
The pastries weren’t cheap; we ordered one macaroon, pecan bar, chocolate filled cannoli and an eclair and two cups of coffee for $22, but it was so worth it! Like I mentioned before, their pastry chef trained with Julia Child, so these pastries are about as authentic and as delicious as they come! We also enjoyed chatting with the owners and the baristas about the establishment, Savannah, and other great places to visit. Savannah Coffee Roasters is a must stop on your trip to town!
Tequila Town: One night, I had a hankering for south of the border flavors, and decided upon Tequila Town. The highlight of this meal was the guacamole appetizer that was made and served table side. So fresh and so delicious. The boys ordered your typical beans, rice and chicken enchilada meal, Mike ordered something that came out in bowl made out of lava rock (he loved it, although he wasn’t sure what it was), and I ordered a meal that didn’t taste great to me, but I blame that on a poor ordering choice and not the restaurant (stupid pregnancy taste buds). The service was fast and the food abundant and fresh.
Leopold’s: One of the most unique eating experience was getting ice cream at the famous, old fashioned ice cream parlor, Leopold’s. The line was long, but the service fast, the wait staff all wore traditional parlor uniforms – complete with the little white hats – and the look and feel of the room took you back in time. The ice cream was fantastic and the experience was so fun!
Black Fox Coffee: We had our first cold brewed coffee experience at Black Fox Coffee which was just a few blocks down from Leopold’s. Black Fox had a fun, urban/funky vibe with baristas who were happy to fill me in on their coffee, the cold brew process, and helped make a perfect drink recommendation. I had never had cold brewed coffee, and certainly never been served coffee from a tap. It was a fun and delicious new experience!
Green Truck Pub: Towards the end of the week, I was starting to really crave a restaurant that catered to vegetarians (ie Me 🙂 ), and Green Truck Pub came highly recommended by our barista at the Savannah Coffee Roasters. The pub did not disappoint. We started with an order of fries for an appetizer, and then I ordered their El Camino – a fantastic taco salad – and their soup of the day – a chickpea and kale curry soup. Delicious. Mike ordered a huge and satisfying burger, and while Theo enjoyed a kid’s burger and Oliver a hot dog, cute to look like an octopus. So fun!
When in Savannah, you have to head down to the river walk. It is congested and crowded but it’s also a lot of fun. Their are tons of great restaurants and shops to browse and try, or you can simply sit along the river to people and boat watch (and pet a puppy if you are like Theo).
River Street Sweets: The one place I knew I wanted to take Theo was River Street Sweets, a candy and praline shop. Theo was overwhelmed at first, but he quickly got it together when I told him he could take a bag and fill it with candy. He was literally as happy as a kid in a candy shop!
Savannah’s squares: One of Savannah’s charms it it’s many squares. One evening, as we were walking around, we happened up a square that was filled with fountains. Theo had a blast running back in forth, and I appreciated the chance for him to burn off some of the sugar-energy he had built up after the candy shop ;-).
J. Christophers: My favorite meal in Savannah was the breakfast we had at J. Christopher’s before hitting the road to return to Ohio. Without a doubt, one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had, served by the nicest and friendliest waiter ever (he told us to “make ourselves at home,” has a waiter ever told you that before??? What a guy.)
That completes our tour de Tybee and Savannah! We so enjoyed our time on the island and in downtown Savannah, and I would recommend these places for your next family vacation. One more note: we ate every evening somewhere between 5:00 and 5:30, and we never had to wait for a table, even though we were there during prime tourist’s season. Places really started to fill up between 6-6:30, so keep that in mind when traveling with the kids!
I didn’t mention where we stayed in Tybee, but I will share all the details of how we use Air B&B to travel in my next post. Until then!