#4 Tybee Island, Georgia
The islands off Savannah offer a Southern-charm twist on the classic beach experience. You’ll find private islands, marshlands, sea turtles, and loads of rare birds. Check out bike-friendly Tybee Island, just 18 miles south of Savannah, for peaceful public beaches, fresh shrimp, dolphin tours, and relaxed nightlife. Most bars will serve you drinks in plastic cups so you can walk along the beach (watch for giant sea turtles!)
Tybee is famous for its birdwatching. It’s directly in the Atlantic Flyway, which means thousands of migratory birds stop there each season including rare species like the Piping Plover and the Purple Sandpiper. The best places for bird watching are The Sally Pearce Nature Trail, Little Tybee (a pristine nature preserve), and Fort Pulaski (www.nps.gov/fopu/index.htm).
For even more privacy you can head to Georgia’s Golden Isle, a slightly further-afield group of smaller islands off the coast of Jacksonville, Georgia, including St. Simon’s Island. Full of Southern sophistication, St. Simon’s stately houses and flowing Spanish moss are reminiscent of the mainland city of Savannah, minus the hustle and bustle.