Jet setting to Tybee Island - Curt Yeomans

OK, so I imagine myself, smacking myself on the head repeatedly for doing something wrong. Two weeks ago, I made a promise that last week's column would be about Tybee Island. I forgot that promise and wrote about some of the other islands off the coast of Georgia.

If not for an observant reader of my columns (Yes! I knew I had readers!), I never would have realized my error. So, here is my one-week-late column on Tybee Island.

Tybee might just be one of the more enjoyable islands off of Georgia's coast. I know I wrote about how the other islands have a lot of things to do, but Tybee Island is a different kind of enjoyable. It is the relaxed form of enjoyable.

The island, itself, is a good little bit east of Savannah, so you are far removed from all the hustle and bustle of the city, once you get out to the island. All you have to do to get to Tybee is take U.S. Hwy. 80 east until it ends at the island. It's about an 18-mile drive from Savannah.

Getting to Tybee, from Savannah, is part of the experience here. There is not a lot of traffic, and the route is awfully scenic, so you can take your time. You're basically driving through low county, that, at times, looks like marsh lands. It's quite a serene setting to take in.

Along the way, is Fort Pulaski, so you can stop there on your way out to the island.

Tybee's most notable feature is probably it's lighthouse, and it may be the main reason you'll want to go there. It's located on Meddin Drive, across the street from the beach. The thing to remember about lighthouses is that, while they give you incredible views of the surrounding terrain, that is only the case if you have the legs to climb to the top.

Why am I pointing that out? The Tybee Island lighthouse has 178 steps inside of it. That's right, you have to climb that many steps to get to the crowded little top of the lighthouse. The stairs are narrow enough, too, that only a few people are allowed on them at the same time. You have to wait in a line to climb to the top.

If you don't like lines, I recommend you go in the mid-afternoon, when there is likely to be fewer people. Also, the houses surrounding the lighthouse tower are set up as museums, so you do have something to do, if you want to wait for the line to die down a bit. Once you get to the top, though, the view is spectacular. You can see the entire island.

Admission is $7 per adult, $5 per child (between ages 5 and 17), and for senior citizens over the age of 62. It's open every day of the week, except Tuesdays, from 9 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. They stop selling admission tickets at 4:30 p.m. For more information on the lighthouse, call (912) 786-5801. The web site is www.tybeelighthouse.org/.

One piece of advice about the parking, though. Park in the lot that is on the same side as the lighthouse (that's the parking lot for the lighthouse, anyway). The lot across the street is for the beach, and it's a pay-to-park lot.

Now, speaking of the beach, and I'll do this quickly, since it is a beach like any other. You can really go to the beach at a couple different points. You can go to the spot across from the lighthouse, by the old Spanish-American War defense station (not much to see, if you ask me), or you can go to the south side of the island, down Butler Avenue, and go to the pier.

I won't go into too much detail on the beach, because many of you already know what to expect from a beach.

But, there you have it. That's Tybee Island in a nutshell.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.