Swimming

Tybee's 2 major beach access points are at South Beach at the end of Tybrisa, and North Beach behind the Fort Screven Museum on Meddin. There are several other access points as well, but with less parking and a longer walk to the beach usually! Tybee has life guards on duty during the summer season, but not at every beach point, and some beach areas are reserved for surfers while others are off-limits to water recreation due to the dangers of surge and rocks in the water - all of these areas can be seen in our beach maps. Beach rules are posted on signs at every walk over. Please be sure to use the walk overs, as the plant life in the dunes is fragile and protected - walking in the dunes is not allowed.

The Savannah River has some potentially unfortunate consequences for would-be swimmers. As a major shipping channel and also as a potential carrier of rain runoff and contaminants, the river may sometimes contribute to high bacteria counts, which can occur particularly after major storms on any beach. The water quality information is posted on the web to save you a trip to the beach, as well as being posted at affected areas on the beaches themselves. While a high bacteria count may not be dangerous to healthy adults, children and the elderly should definitely not be exposed to the sea water during these periods. Both the Georgia DNR and the EPA have FAQs and brochures available regarding water quality testing programs and what they mean.

Sand Bar Danger


The sand bar at the south end of the island looks like it provides an easy and fun walk over to Little Tybee, but it does not! It as actually over a mile to make the trek, and on sand and going through water, it will take you a much longer time than you think. If you go out at the wrong time in the tidal cycle, you may have only a few minutes before the waters begin to rise. When the tide turns, the water rise very quickly and with a very large volume of water moving over the sand. Water weighs 65 pounds per cubic foot, and its volume and velocity during tide change can very easily knock an adult off their feet with such force that is impossible to regain your footing, carrying you very quickly over the sand and into deeper water. Even when the water looks calm, the current can be shockingly strong - so much so that there has been one drowning per year in this area, despite the efforts of Ocean Rescue.
Sandbar Warning
Every year, hundreds of people who have tried to make the journey are sent back by Ocean Rescue in advance of the tidal shift. In order to make these warnings, the lifeguards must enter the water well upstream of the sandbar and swim out to catch the walkers out on the sandbar, endangering their own safety in doing so! In addition, over 50 people every year require rescue despite these efforts. You put your life at risk by going out in this area of the beach, as well as the lives of any rescuers who must come to your aid.

Please, do not venture out onto the sandbar!