Little Tybee Island
Accessible only by boat, Little Tybee Island is an unspoiled, uninhabited nature preserve. Visible from the south end of Tybee Island, “Little” Tybee is actually more than twice Tybee Island's size. Between the islands is Tybee Creek and Inlet. Williamson is at the southern end of this island complex, and its southern end looks over to Wassaw Sound and Wassaw Island about 4 miles away.
This unique wilderness preserve is abundant with rich coastal salt marshes; pristine beaches; natural dunes and subtropical forests of live oak, pine, and palm. Wildlife includes egrets, herons, white ibis and the endangered woodstork. Roseate spoonbills, ospreys and bald eagles are also often seen. Natural communities on the islands include tidal creeks, salt marsh, hammock, and beach. Spartina is found in the marshes, while maritime forests of Live Oaks, cabbage palms, and saw palmetto are found on the upland sand ridges. Pines, cedars, and wax myrtles colonize the high ground, and dune plants and sea oats are found trapping blowing sands and growing the dunes.
Kayak tours and boat charters are popular ways to visit Little Tybee. For the truly adventurous and outdoorsy type, camping is allowed.
Little Tybee Island was the site of Olympic yachting events in the summer of 1996. A temporary marina was built just off Little Tybee Island in Wassaw Sound to accommodate the competitors.
Beach recreational activities are permitted on these islands, such as picnicking, shelling, and fishing. Shelling is frequently excellent as visitation is light.
Getting to Little Tybee Island
Approaching these islands, which must be done in a boat, can be very tricky even for experts. Be very aware of the tides. Many have gotten their boats stuck on shoals and had to wait 12 hours for a rising tide to carry them out. The water is shallow and the currents can be treacherous and deadly if you try to swim to the islands. Some get as close as they can, anchor their boat, and wade ashore. If you do this, you may want to consider leaving someone in the boat who can keep an eye on the tides.
Directions: All three islands are south of Tybee Island. There are no roads to these islands, so a boat must be used to reach them. Novice boaters may want to charter a nature cruise from a charter service out of the marinas listed here. It can be confusing trying to understand where one island begins and another one ends, so a nautical chart is necessary. The islands can be approached from the north end from Marlin Marina on Tybee Island, phone (912) 786-7508; the southern end from the Bull River Marina, phone (912) 897-7300; or Hogan's Marina on Wilmington Island, phone (912) 897-3474.
Little Tybee Island Photostream
Activities: Beachcombing, fishing, picnicking, bird watching, nature hiking, kayaking, camping. No pets allowed.
Dates: Open 7 days a week. Some areas posted off limits.
Fees: No fee charged.
Closest Town: Tybee Island.
For more information: Georgia Department of Natural Resource Nongame/Heritage Section