Tybee Island vs Hilton Head in 2023? Which is Better for a Vacation?

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Tybee island vs Hilton Head for vacation?🏖 If you are planning a vacation to Georgia’s hidden gem or South Carolina’s golfing paradise to enjoy some sea, sand, and seaside bliss, then you are bound to have this question.

Both Tybee Island and Hilton Head are just 50 miles apart and feature miles of spectacular sugary sand beaches with beautiful vistas and offer unique experiences in their own way. So, where are you planning your next vacation to, Tybee Island or Hilton Head? Let’s compare to help you choose the best.

Tybee Island is the place to go if you want a relaxed and tranquil beach vacation with a laid-back atmosphere, plenty of sightseeing opportunities, and the opportunity to explore Savannah.

If you are a true golfing enthusiast and enjoy a livelier beach experience with luxurious resorts, world-class Golfing amenities, upscale shopping, fine dining, and plenty of outdoor activities then Hilton Head is your cloud nine.

ParametersTybee island Hilton Head
Cost of a a7-day Trip💵$3592(For Couples)$4079(For Couples)
Known for👍White sand beaches, Tybee island Lighthouse, Bird-watching, Fossil hunting, Civil War historyImmaculate beaches, World-class Golf courses, luxurious resorts, fine dining restaurants, Biking trails
Beaches🏖Laid-back beaches excellent for swimming, fossil hunting, fishing and beachcombingPublic and Private beaches with livelier as well as laid-back vibe, Good for swimming, surfing, snorkeling and other activities
Activities🏄🏼‍♂️Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Bike trails, Eco tours, Historical and cultural tours Golfing, Surfing, Snorkeling, Wildlife tours, Shopping, Exotic spas, Cultural museums
Popular Tourist Attractions🏛Little Tybee island, Lighthouse, Fort Pulaski, Fort Screven, South BeachColigny beach, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, Gullah museum, Coastal Discovery museum, Harbor town 
Best Place to Stay🏨South Beach, Lovell Avenue, Mid BeachSea Pines Resort, Coligny beach, Burkes beach

Tybee island vs Hilton Head: An Honest Comparison to Help you Choose!

What is Tybee island known for?

Tybee island

Tybee Island is a small barrier island located just 20 minutes from Savannah. It is known for its wide white sand beaches, turquoise Atlantic waters, fascinating war history, Georgia’s oldest lighthouse, and a variety of sightseeing and adventure activities.

This quaint little island has grown in popularity as the go-to destination for Georgians and outsiders for a quiet beach vacation for the last twenty years and is slowly becoming popular around the US as a great island for an amazing island vacation.

What is Hilton Head known for?

Hilton Head

Hilton Head Island is best known for its world-class golf courses, immaculate white sand beaches, diverse wild and marine life, luxurious oceanfront resorts, fascinating historical architecture, and adventure activities both on and off the beach.

Owing to its serene charm, immaculate beaches, and dedication of the local community towards an environment-friendly attitude towards tourism, Hilton Head often features as one of the best islands for a vacation in popular magazines across the US.

What is the best month to visit Tybee island?

Early April to May is the best time of year to visit Tybee island during the summer, and late September to early November is the best time of year to visit during the winter.

If you’re looking for a more intimate and laid-back beach vacation experience with more affordable lodging options, winter is the best time to visit Tybee island (late September to early November).

What is the best month to visit Hilton Head?

The summer months of April to May and early September to late November are the best times to visit Hilton Head. Winter is an excellent time to experience a more tranquil Hilton Head with significantly cheaper lodging options, while summer brings more delightful sunny weather ideal for golfing and swimming.

Beaches: Who has the best beaches?🏖

The beaches on Hilton Head and Tybee islands are the primary reason that thousands of tourists are captivated by their pristine beauty and yearn to return to these paradise islands.

Both Tybee Island and Hilton Head are home to some of the most immaculate white sand beaches on the Atlantic coast, complete with turquoise blue-green waters, swaying tall palm trees, breathtaking landscapes, and an abundance of activities both on and off the beach.

So when it comes to choosing between the two for the best beach vacation experience, which will you choose?

Tybee island

For an island that is only 8.2 sq km Tybee island boasts of five amazing beaches with 5 miles of pristine white sand coastline in total.

Tybee Island’s beaches exude a more tranquil and laid-back vibe, with plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, shelling, and bird watching, as well as activities on and off the beach. Tybee Island’s beaches are less crowded and undeveloped, with fewer amenities, allowing them to retain their true natural charm.

Best beaches on Tybee island🏖

North Beach
north beach tybee island
Photo credit: Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons

The North beach is located on Highway 80 all the way to 2nd Avenue and features white sand with azure blue waters of the Atlantic, beach activities, a variety of historic attractions, unique eateries, and Tybee island’s premier shopping street.

South Beach
Tybee island

South Beach is ideal for those looking for a more lively atmosphere, as it features a Pier with a constant hustle and bustle of fish charters bringing in their daily catch.

The majority of people on Tybee Island live in the South Beach area, which features seaside dining restaurants, lodging options, shopping streets, and a variety of adventure excursions.

Back River
Back River beach tybee island

Known as Tybee Island’s “secret hidden beach.” Back River Beach, located at the end of Highway 80, is ideal for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of South Beach and enjoy the ultimate secluded beach experience.

Back River Beach has a long stretch of sand with gentle waves, dolphin sightings, and spectacular sunsets, as well as many pet-friendly lodging options.

Little Tybee island
Little Tybee island beach

You might be surprised to learn that just south of the barrier island is a small uninhabited nature preserve known as Little Tybee. This beautiful island with undisturbed natural beauty is almost the size of Tybee island and is only accessible by boat.

Little Tybee Island is ideal for nature lovers who want to enjoy Tybee’s tranquil landscape and well-preserved ecosystem. It is also ideal for fossil hunting, educational ecology trips, camping, fishing, and birdwatching.

Mid beach
Mid beach

The Mid Beach, located just south of Lovell Avenue, offers a perfect blend of North Beach’s tranquility and South Beach’s lively atmosphere, making it a beach for every type of traveler.

Because of its location between the North and South beaches, Mid Beach is one of the most convenient places to stay, with hotels, fine dining restaurants, and easy access to the entire Tybee island.

Hilton Head

Hilton Head is huge compared to its smaller and quaint counterpart Tybee island, encompassing more than 175 sq km of land with 12 miles of pristine beaches with the azure blue waters of the Atlantic.

Hilton Head Island is home to some of the best beaches in the United States, with one of its beaches being named one of the top ten beaches in the country by Travel and Leisure.

If you’re looking for a more vibrant vibe with a party atmosphere and a large crowd, or a secluded beach experience with sun, sand, and seaside luxury with modern amenities, Hilton Head is the place for you.

Best beaches on Hilton Head🏖

Coligny beach
Coligny beach
Photo Credit: Ron Cogswell via Flickr

Frequently referred to as one of the best beaches in the United States, Coligny beach is the epicenter of the beach party. Coligny beach is the liveliest beach in Hilton Head, boasting white sand and azure blue waters, swaying palm trees, oceanfront resorts and restaurants, a playground, modern amenities, and beach activities.

Burkes beach
Burkes beach

For those seeking a more serene, laid-back, and secluded beach experience, the private resort Burkes Beach offers a more refined beach experience with miles of white coastline and a picture-perfect biking trail.

Burkes Beach is especially popular among surfers because of its barrel waves, which make surfing a pleasurable experience for both pros and absolute beginners.

Pet owners, in particular, will enjoy their time on Burkes beach with their furry companion, as it is frequently referred to as one of Hilton Head’s best pet-friendly beaches.

Sea Pines beach
SeaPinesBeach: Tybee island vs Hilton Head

The Sea Pines beach is ‘The Beach’ for families and couples alike, boasting lifeguards, restrooms, bars, picnic tables, showers, activities for kids, a food market, shopping malls, and fine dining options. It is located on Sea Pines plantation, a resort, and a residential community beach.

Entry is restricted to residents and community members only, but a moderately priced pass allows access to this well-equipped beach.

Folly Field beach
Folly Field beach

The Folly Field beach in Hilton Head is a hidden gem with miles of sugary white coastline, amenities, lifeguards, sand showers, parking spaces, and activities, making it ideal for a laid-back family or romantic beach experience.

Locals love Folly Field Beach for its surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, and breathtaking sunsets.

Fish Haul Beach Park

Fish Haul Beach Park, also known as Mithchelville Beach, is a secluded beach located along Mitchellville Road that exudes a tranquil beach vibe more in tune with nature.

The Fish Haul Beach Park is particularly popular among both locals and tourists as a great place for beachcombing, wildlife observation, walking, and watching the spectacular sunset paint the horizon in vivid colors.

Things to do: Tybee island vs Hilton Head🏄🏼‍♂️

Tybee island

  • Kayaking
  • Beach Ecology Trips
  • Bird-watching
  • Stand-up paddleboarding
  • Bottlenose Dolphin spotting
  • Biking Trails- Tybee island is known as one of the ‘Most Bicycle-Friendly Communities in the US.
  • Explore Tybee’s rich history with a tour of Fort Pulaski
  • Surfing
  • Fossil hunting
  • Climb Tybee’s iconic lighthouse- Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse dating back to 1736
  • Take a historical tour of Fort Screven

Hilton Head

  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Biking
  • Wildlife tours
  • Enjoy golfing- Hilton Head is home to some of the best championship level Golf courses in the world
  • Explore some of the finest art galleries in South Carolina
  • Explore the fascinating Gullah culture by visiting the Gullah museum
  • Enjoy a game of Tennis at state-of-the-art tennis courts
  • Rejuvenate yourself after an exhausting day at the beach with a spa
  • Climb the Harbor Town Lighthouse- The most popular tourist attraction in Hilton Head offering spectacular views of the surrounding vistas
  • Visit Harbor Town- a Shopping street with boutique-style shops, home decor, and an assortment of unique eateries
  • Coastal Discovery Museum – For true nature enthusiasts. Learn about local flora and fauna
  • Visit the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge- Wildlife Spotters Paradise with hundreds of plant and animal species

🏖 Suggested Read: Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach: Which is the Best Beach Vacation Destination for You!

Tybee island

Tybee island activities

Tybee Island is significantly smaller than Hilton Head. Much of Tybee Island is undeveloped, with the majority of the island being a wildlife conservatory and thus more in tune with nature, exuding a tranquil and laid-back vibe.

If you plan to spend your entire vacation on Tybee Island, there isn’t much to do except relax on the beaches and participate in eco-tours and adventure activities.

One of the most appealing aspects of visiting Tybee Island is its proximity to Savannah. Savannah, a beautiful and historically significant coastal landscape city, is only a 20-minute drive away.

Tybee Island is a more family-friendly destination than Hilton Head because it is only a few minutes away from Georgia’s coastal and historical landscape.

Hilton Head

Hilton Head activities

Hilton Head Island is one of the most popular beach vacation destinations in the United States. Hilton Head Island, because of its reputation and larger size than Tybee Island, offers everything from pristine beaches to oceanfront resorts, fine dining options, and activities for both children and senior citizens.


Hilton Head

When it comes to nightlife, Hilton Head hands down has the best, with nightclubs featuring live jazz music, bars, pubs, comedy clubs, wine bars, Tiki-style cruises, and romantic cruise dinners, among other things.

If you looking enjoy your night with amazing late-night drinks and burn the dance floor then The Boardroom is the go-to spot in Hilton Head to do so.

How about ending your day on a high note with soulful Jazz music? The Jazz Corner in Hilton Head is regarded as one of the top Jazz venues in South Carolina and feautres top Jazz artists from around the US.

For those who just want to relax and soak in the beauty of the island by the waterfront savoring fine wine then head to The Other Sister’s Wine Bar featuring some of the best local made wine alongwith some of the best wine sourced from across the globe.

Tybee island

Tybee island’s nightlife is as laid-back as its beaches. The majority of Tybee Island’s nightlife is concentrated in South Beach, which is home to the majority of the island’s population and several bars and restaurants.

Tybrisa street is the hub of nightlife on the Tybee island.It is home to some of the amazing restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops on the island.

How about amazing colorful slushies? The Wet Willie’s on the Tybee island is beachgoer’s dream come true. Wet Willie’s is popular spot on the island known for serving diverse concoctions of alcoholic slushies of every colour and flavour.

Make sure you try Call-A-Crab, an amazing drink sure to leave you craving for more.

Another great spot to end your day on a high note is by enjoy amazing local drinks and seafood at the backdrop of a spectacular sunet overlooking the marshes on Lazetto Creek at the Coco’s Sunset Grill.

And how can you leave this quaint little charming island without sampling some of the best local seafood. At Stingray’s seafood you can enjoy some of the best local seafood cusines fresh right out of sea along with the melidious tunes played by the local musicians.

Tybee island vs Hilton Head for Honeymoon?👩🏻‍❤️‍💋‍👨🏼

Hilton Head is unquestionably a better honeymoon destination than Tybee island, as it features world-class resorts with private beaches, world-class golf courses, beachfront condos with modern amenities, fine dining options, an excellent dining scene, and plenty of sightseeing and adventures off the beach, all of which contribute to a more wholesome honeymoon experience.

If you’re looking for a laid-back and tranquil beach honeymoon with plenty of sightseeing opportunities and plans to visit Savannah, Tybee Island is well worth your money and time.

🏖You may also like: Myrtle Beach vs Virginia Beach: Which is the Best Beach City for a Vacation?

Tybee island vs Hilton Head for a family vacation?👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Tybee Island is unquestionably a better family vacation destination than Hilton Head, as it offers a variety of affordable beachfront accommodations and a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy with children, and its close proximity to Savannah (just a 20-minute drive) provides an abundance of opportunities to explore Georgia’s endowed coastal beauty and fascinating history.

Accommodation options

Best accommodation options in Tybee island

Accommodation type💵Hotel🏨Best for👍
BudgetAtlantis InnSolo travelers, Couples on a budget
Mid-rangeHotel TybeeCouples, Families on a budget
LuxuryThe Georgianne Inn & SuitesFamilies, Couples on a honeymoon

Best accommodation options in Hilton Head

Accommodation type💵Hotel🏨Best for👍
BudgetRed Roof Inn Hilton Head IslandSolo travellers, Couples on a budget
Mid-rangeBeach House Resort, Hilton Head IslandCouples, Families on a budget
LuxuryPalmera Inn and SuitesFamilies, Couples on a honeymoon

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About the author
James Williams
James has been travel lover since childhood. Reading and traveling have been spiritual experiences for him. Learning about new places, cultures, and ways of life and sharing his own experiences and learnings has always been his passion.

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