It depends on what you need like any place. What's great to me might not be to you but in case it is- its a great island if you:
1) like to do long walks on very wide, clean beaches
2) you like funky little bars to grab a cold beer or hang out with the locals at night to party a little bit
3) you like sipping coffee in the early morning while strolling the long pavilion/pier over the water
4) you like decent meals at a variety of small, mostly medium priced restaurants and cafes
5) you appreciate local efforts to preserve the environment including turtle nesting areas
6) you want to ride a fat tire bike on the beach
7) you like to kayak
So if that's what you like to do you will like it. There is no gambling, the shopping is about 90% tourist junk (with the exception of Seaside Sisters approaching Butler Ave) and there isn't much of it, and you won't find big glitzy anything. But if terms like laid-back mean something to you, this is the island for you.
If you are interested in history, Savannah is 25 minutes away. It was founded in 1733 and is full of history. People come from all over the world to visit Savannah. It is a unique city, full of squares, which are beautiful little parks, with monuments, fountains and historical markers.
Just returned from Tybee where my wife and I did not enjoy one moment. We rented a house through Tybee Island Vacation rentals which was terrible. We complained, got our money back and left after 2 days, Savannh we stayed in 9 months ago and it was brilliant! Come even further south to Delray Beach which is excellent. Nice beaches, shops restaurants, golf course etc etc....Say no to Tybee!
How did you know all those things about me? Sounds like a great place :-)
In my opinion, Destin is like a plastic beach. The people and the architecture are all trying to be something they are not, it feels like Disney World but without admitting it is a fantasy.
Tybee has its faults but it is real people in a real community that has developed and changed over hundreds of years, no plastic.
Tybee is a fun beach to visit. I agree Destin is way over built and too busy. The fun thing about Tybee is your are a short drive from Savannah one of America's great ciites and only a few hours from another great American city at Charleston. And Beaufort is in between. I love the CA coast but you will enjoy the E coast as well.
I like Tybee, but I'm not sure I'd fly all the way across the country to get there. In fact, I haven't bothered to drive halfway across this state to go in probably 8 years. It all depends on what you're looking for. It's simple, relaxed, no frills. You might also consider the islands off of Charleston like Edisto, or the other islands of Georgia - Jekyll Island, Sea Island, St Simon's, Cumberland or Amelia Island in FL.
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