Tybee Island Lighthouse – Travel Photography

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Tybee Island, located just 20 minutes from Savannah, Georgia, is a popular destination for tourists seeking a laid-back beach vacation. But beyond the sand and surf lies a historic gem: the Tybee Island Lighthouse. This iconic structure has stood tall for over 280 years, serving as a beacon of safety and a testament to the island’s rich history.

History of the Tybee Island Lighthouse

The original Tybee Island Lighthouse was built in 1736, making it one of the oldest lighthouses in the United States. The lighthouse was constructed to aid ships navigating the treacherous waters off the coast of Georgia, which were known for their strong currents, shallow shoals, and numerous sandbars.

The original lighthouse was a simple structure made of brick, with a wooden spiral staircase leading to the top. Unfortunately, the lighthouse was destroyed during the American Revolutionary War, as British troops sought to deny the American colonists a navigational aid. However, the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1791, this time with a stronger brick structure and a larger lantern room.

Over the years, the Tybee Island Lighthouse underwent several renovations and improvements, including the addition of a fog bell tower in 1857 and a new Fresnel lens in 1858. The lighthouse was also electrified in 1933, allowing it to operate with more efficiency and reliability.

Today, the Tybee Island Lighthouse stands 154 feet tall and is painted with distinctive black and white stripes, making it a recognizable landmark for miles around. The lighthouse is still in operation, guiding ships safely to shore and providing a glimpse into the island’s past.

Visiting the Tybee Island Lighthouse

If you’re planning a trip to Tybee Island, a visit to the lighthouse should definitely be on your itinerary. The lighthouse is open to the public year-round, and there are several ways to experience this historic landmark.

Guided tours are available daily, led by knowledgeable and friendly staff members who can answer all your questions about the lighthouse’s history and operation. The tour includes a climb to the top of the lighthouse, where you can take in stunning panoramic views of the island and the surrounding waterways.

For those who prefer to explore on their own, a self-guided tour is also available. Visitors can climb the lighthouse at their own pace, reading informative signs along the way that provide insight into the lighthouse’s history and architecture.

In addition to the lighthouse itself, the Tybee Island Lighthouse complex also includes several other historic structures that are worth exploring. These include the 1812-era Head Keeper’s Cottage, which now serves as a museum showcasing the island’s maritime history, and the Tybee Island Museum, which features exhibits on local history and culture.

Tips for Visiting the Tybee Island Lighthouse

If you’re planning a visit to the Tybee Island Lighthouse, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your experience:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes: The climb to the top of the lighthouse involves climbing 178 steps, so it’s important to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.
  2. Bring a camera: The views from the top of the lighthouse are breathtaking, so don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture the moment.
  3. Plan for the weather: Tybee Island can get hot and humid during the summer months, so be sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.
  4. Check the hours: The lighthouse is open daily, but the hours may vary depending on the season, so be sure to check ahead of time to avoid disappointment.


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