There’s no question about it. Tybee Island is one of the most mesmerizing beaches on Georgia’s 110-mile shoreline. We also know that Jekyll Island, once the playground of such filthy-rich notables as Rockefeller and Vanderbilt—is a dream destination for island hoppers who appreciate something about the charm and allure of beautiful, secluded hideaways.
Because of their famed beauty, both Tybee and Jekyll Island are frequent mentions in travel circles. The ideal would be to visit both of these two sides of paradise. However, the truth is that visiting both destinations is oftentimes not practical. Many of us just don’t have the time for a combined trip. And some cannot meet the cost of what would otherwise be a tour of a lifetime. For those who have to choose one—this article lifts the lid on which of the two is a better travel destination.
Why You Might Prefer Tybee Island To Jekyll Island
For those travelers looking for a destination that has more activities, Tybee Island edges out Jekyll Island. The Tybee Island Marine Science Center alone packs a punch. At the center, travelers learn about the lives of different aquatic animals. A captivating lesson on starfish, snails, or sea turtles, while holding one or two slimy ones in hand—will be both interesting and intriguing. While there are no golf courses on Tybee Island, its closeness to Savannah does the trick. And, of course, there's the lighthouse that holds within its somber walls a lot of fascinating United States history. At the pier, visitors get the opportunity to watch dolphins, fish, or just chill out with friends.
On the food and dining scene—as well as entertainment—Tybee Island is just a little more active, vibrant, and diverse. The Original Crab Shack, perhaps Tybee’s most iconic eatery—serves incomparable deliciousness on a plate. No restaurant on Jekyll Island comes close. Then Tybee Island also has more grocery stores. These grocery stores are also better stocked than their Tybee Island counterparts. And it’s not just the number. Grocery prices on Tybee Island are also modest. On the flip side, Jekyll is not also all gloom. For starters, Jekyll’s historic district can enthuse history buffs. For the fun of teeing on lush courses, Jekyll Island has three 18-hole golf courses. Jekyll also boasts of having the Sea Turtle Research Center, something that’s comparable to Tybee’s Marine Science Center. Even if Tybee has more activities that one can do and is a tad more active, we would say the difference is not very pronounced.
However, there are certain vacation features for which there are no clear winners. For instance, in family-friendliness, we would say the two destinations share the spoils. There’s nothing off the charts at both locations. The same goes for camping. Both Tybee and Jekyll have hookups, clean showers, and generally fine camp-related amenities.
Where Jekyll Island Trumps Tybee Island
The first advantage of Jekyll Island has to do with pet-friendliness. Although Tybee Island allows dogs on the island, our furry friends aren’t permitted on Tybee Island beaches. Ostensibly, this is to protect sea turtles and other wildlife, which is fair enough. However, many of us just like tagging our pups along. The truth is, they’ve become part of the big family. And then, Jekyll Island looks a little more modern and contemporary than Tybee Island. Also, the scenes are better on Jekyll Island—including down on its beaches. Of course, this has little to do with its avant-garde look or ambiance.
When it comes to bike riding, both Tybee Island and Jekyll Island are great spots for switchbacks and all. However, Jekyll Island has trails, a decent 22 miles in length, which are more natural and more picturesque. Also, the winding trails on Jekyll Islands do not see as many crowds as their Tybee Island equivalents. On Jekyll Island, Driftwood Beach is among bikers’ favorites.
- Where Can I Rent A Bike On Jekyll For Riding? One of the best places to rent a bike on Jekyll Island is Jekyll Island Bike Barn, situated at the corner of N. Beachview Dr. and Shell Road.
Also, for those looking for some romantic privacy, or just some alone time, we’d go with Jekyll Island. This is because Jekyll Island is less crowded than Tybee. Jekyll also easily edges out Tybee Island when it comes to parking. This is crucial for those who’ll be driving to either of Georgia’s top vacation destinations. Since Tybee is usually more crowded than Jekyll, naturally, that alone impacts the ease of getting a parking space. But it’s not just that. Travelers will pay more—in parking fees—on Tybee Island than they would part with on Jekyll Island.
- How Much Are Parking Fees On Tybee Island? Parking fees on Tybee Island are $3.5 per hour, with a 2-hour minimum.
- How Much Are Parking Fees On Jekyll Island? A day pass on Jekyll Island is $8—valid till midnight.
That’s it. As we’ve seen, someone would say that Jekyll Island is the overall winner here. However, it isn’t so clear-cut or uniform.