I’ve put together this list of beaches near Savannah GA to help you plan the perfect getaway next time you’re visiting the city.
There’s a beach for every preference, whether you’re looking for family-friendly spots loaded with activities, natural areas for camping and exploration, or romantic beaches perfect for sunset strolls along the water.
Note: This guide contains affiliate links to my trusted travel partners.
If you’re new around here, first of all … allow me to extend a warm welcome!
My name is Erin, and I authored the Savannah First-Timer’s Guide. It combines my top tips from this website into one handy downloadable guide.
Table of Contents
I’ll probably disappoint those of you who think Savannah is sitting on prime oceanfront property, but the city is actually situated inland along the Savannah River.
While you can find places to access the water from downtown Savannah, they aren’t places where you’d want to swim. Trust me on this. (At one point the Savannah River was named the third most toxic river in the U.S.)
Tybee Island, Georgia, is the closest oceanfront beach to Savannah, so when people refer to “Savannah’s beach” they’re referring to Tybee.
Butterbean Beach Savannah GA
Distance from Savannah: 13.3 miles | Approximately 20 minutes
Parking: It’s free and plentiful (I’d guess at least 100 spots)
Public Restrooms: Not that I remember
The Vibe: The most non-beachy “beach” ever. SKIP IT!!
Located along the Skidaway River, Butterbean Beach is more of a waterway/boat ramp/park than an actual beach. However, it is one of the closest places to Savannah where you can dip your toes in some salty water!
The ONLY reason I’m including it is to advise you to avoid it is in case some other blogger tells you it’s an amazing beach. It’s not.
🏖️ Hit the “Beach”: The actual sandy portion of Butterbean is very small — maybe 35 feet, max? However, there is a wide expanse of grassy area for lounging on towels or where kids can run around. There are no lifeguards at Butterbean Beach.
🧺 Enjoy a Picnic: Butterbean has a fairly large covered pavilion where you can escape the heat and set up a picnic. Alcohol isn’t allowed in the area, but that rule is blatantly ignored.
🎣 Try Your Luck at Fishing: Since it’s located next to a public boat ramp, you can launch boats from the area, go kayaking, or spend the afternoon fishing. There’s a handy bait shop near the ramp where you can purchase fresh bait. Make sure you have a valid fishing license from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
🐶 Be Careful with Pups: The rules aren’t clear on whether or not dogs are allowed at Butterbean Beach, but many people bring them anyway. Chatham County police have higher priorities, so your chance of getting ticketed is slim.
⭐ Verdict: Skip it!! Butterbean Beach can be a quiet place near Savannah to catch a sunset or relax by the water while reading a book, but it’s so much better to drive the extra 10 minutes to Tybee Island!
Beaches Within 30 Minutes of Savannah
Each beach listed below is within a 30-minute drive of Savannah. These beaches are ideal for day trips.
Distance from Savannah: 18 miles | Approximately 20 minutes
Dog-Friendly: None of Tybee’s beaches are dog friendly
Parking: Download the ParkTybee app
Tybee is a heavily developed barrier island with more than three miles of wide, oceanfront beaches. It has such laid-back vibe and eclectic assortment of visitors that some locals jokingly refer to it as the “Redneck Riviera.”
There are five separate beach areas on Tybee — three oceanfront and two riverfront, each with its own character. If you have a boat or kayak, you can also add Little Tybee Island into the mix.
Here’s a short summary of each beach…
North Beach Tybee Island
Address: 30 Meddin Drive, Tybee Island, GA 31828
Public Restrooms: Yes, plus showers and changing rooms
Parking: Yes, there are paid public parking lots along Meddin Drive by the lighthouse and along Gulick Street in the area surrounding the Tybee Island Museum Battery Garland
Concessions: Yes, there are vending machines with water and soft drinks, plus a snack stand
🏖️ Hit the Beach: North Beach is one of the first oceanfront beach areas you come to on the island. Its beaches are wide, sandy, and ideal for all of your typical beach activities such as frisbee, relaxing, and building sandcastles. Although North Beach gets somewhat crowded during peak beach-going season, it’s not nearly as busy as South Beach.
➡️ Visit Historic Landmarks: The North Beach area is known for being home to the famous Tybee Lighthouse and the Historic Fort Screven District. It’s also where you’ll find the adorable Tybee Post Theater.
🚢 Insider Tip: Cargo ships entering the Savannah port go right past North Beach, so it’s a good place to watch them come and go. Download the MarineTraffic app to see when the next one is coming!
🦐 Grab a Bite: If you work up an appetite in the water, stop by North Beach Restaurant on your way back to the parking lot. The restaurant serves casual food in a laid-back environment. They also have a bar.
Mid Beach Tybee Island
Address: Center Street, Tybee Island, GA 31328
Public Restrooms: Yes, at Tybee Memorial Park
Parking: No public lots, but Center Street and the numbered streets have paid street parking
As you head down Highway 80, just past Lovell Avenue, you’ll reach Mid Beach. Nestled between North and South beach, it’s slightly less crowded and has nice wooden swings spaced evenly along the beach.
Many popular condos are located near Mid Beach, so it should be easy enough to find accommodations. There aren’t any notable landmarks in the area, but Memorial Park has playground equipment for the kids, tennis and volleyball courts, picnic spaces, and grills for barbecuing.
🏖️ Hit the Beach: There are lifeguards stationed along the Mid Beach area during the summertime. The waves are typically 2 to 3 feet, but they do swell when storms are nearby.
🦐 Grab a Bite: Mid Beach is home to The Deck Beach Bar & Kitchen restaurant, which is Tybee’s only oceanfront restaurant. There are plenty of other restaurants and a few shops nearby, too. Sundae Cafe is a local’s favorite and a good spot for Southern-style dishes or scoops of ice cream.
⭐ Fun Fact: If you walk from Mid Beach to North Beach, you’ll pass the easternmost point in the state of Georgia!
Tybee Island South Beach
Address: Tybrisa Street, Tybee Island, Georgia 31328
Public Restrooms: Yes, public restrooms are plentiful, as well as changing stations
Parking: You’ll find plenty of paid public parking all along Strand Avenue
Concessions: There are vending machines at the pavilion
South Beach is a popular spot on Tybee — and probably one of the most popular beaches near Savannah. If you like to be in the middle of the action, South Beach is the place to be!
🏖️ Hit the Beach: There are lifeguards stationed on each side of the pier in the South Beach area during the high season. You might also spot some surfing action the further south you go (around the 19th Street area and beyond). Make note that swimming is not allowed within 150 feet of the pier!!
🦐 Grab a Bite: As the island’s hot spot, South Beach has the highest concentration of restaurants and shops within easy walking distance of one another. There are numerous casual dining spots, bars, and surf shops in the area.
🎣 Try Your Luck at Fishing: South Beach is where you’ll find the Tybee Island Pier and Pavillon. Sometimes you’ll find concerts or festivals at the pavilion, and the pier is a popular spot for fishing and people watching. (Make sure you have a valid fishing license from the Georgia DNR.)
Back River Beach Tybee Island
Address: 1707 Inlet Avenue, Tybee Island, Georgia 31328
Public Restrooms: No
Parking: Yes, at the Chatham Avenue beach access point, along Inlet Avenue, or along Fishermans Walk
Looking for a quieter getaway? Head to the end of Highway 80 and then fork right onto Inlet Avenue. That’s where you’ll find the Back River Beach, which happens to be my personal favorite section of Tybee.
🏖️ Hit the Beach: There are no lifeguards in the Back River area, but the waves are small and peaceful. Younger kids usually feel less intimidated swimming there, so it’s an ideal spot if you’re vacationing with little ones. Back River Beach is surrounded by multimillion-dollar mansions, so the area is quiet and further removed from the party zone.
🦐 Grab a Bite: The beach faces west, overlooking the creek, so it’s where you’ll find some of the best sunsets on Tybee Island. AJ’s Dockside restaurant takes advantage of the view and has a large deck overlooking the water. If you’re arriving by boat, you can pull right up to their dock.
⭐ Insider Tip: In my opinion, Back River Beach is the best place to go for a romantic stroll. It’s also the best place to find luxury vacation rentals on Tybee Island. Many of the homes along the north end of Chatham Avenue are so large they can fit 15 to 20 guests, which makes it a good place for multi-generational family gatherings.
Back River Accommodations: Short-Term Vacation Rentals
Savannah River Beach Tybee Island
Address: You can find a public access walking trail at the end of Polk Street
Public Restrooms: Not that I’m aware of
Nestled near the north end of the island between North Beach and Back River Beach, the Savannah River Beach is a quiet area that offers river views. Along with North Beach, it’s one of the better locations to photograph cargo ships heading in and out of the port.
🏖️ Hit the Beach: Savannah River Beach is one of the lesser-visited areas on Tybee Island. Because it faces an inlet, the waves are usually small — that is, until a giant cargo ship happens to cruise by and cause a mini tidal wave! Depending on how far you walk, a few of the areas may get marshy.
🦐 Grab a Bite: If you’re headed to the Savannah River Beach section, take your time exploring and snapping photos of the ships, then mosey on over to Bubba Gumbos for some of the freshest seafood on the island. It’s located alongside a working marina facing Lazaretto Creek, and that entire area is known for having beautiful sunsets.
➡️ Visit Historic Landmarks: A “lazaretto” is a quarantine station for maritime travelers who could potentially spread diseases from one geographic region to another. When slave ships first arrived to Tybee Island in the mid-1700s, enslaved individuals were held in quarantine along the banks of what is now known as Lazaretto Creek. Those who survived quarantine were delivered to City Market in Savannah, where they were sold at auction. Those who died were left near the creek in unmarked graves.
Take Action: Want to help protect the beautiful Georgia coastline? Consider donating to One Hundred Miles. Their team works relentlessly to educate visitors about issues affecting local wildlife, land-usage rights, and climate change.
Beaches within 1 Hour of Savannah
The following beaches are within a 1-hour drive of Savannah (or boat ride, if there’s no bridge).
Little Tybee Island
There’s an uninhabited nature preserve called Little Tybee Island that you can see when you’re visiting the Back River Beach area on Tybee. Don’t let the name fool you; it’s actually twice the size of Tybee Island!
🛶 Boat on Over: Little Tybee Island is only accessible by boat. While it might look like you can swim across the river, please don’t attempt it! The current can be dangerous, and tides change quickly. It’s not uncommon for people to think it’s an easy swim across, but then they’ll end up stranded once the tide changes. Rent a boat, kayak, or jet ski for the day if you want to go explore.
🏕️ Pitch a Tent: Camping is allowed on Little Tybee Island, but you’ll be completely on your own for resources. There are no hotels, restaurants, bathrooms, or buildings of any kind on the island — but that’s part of what makes it so special.
⭐ Insider Tip: Fossil hunting is a popular activity on the island. You might luck out and find shark’s teeth — even Megalodon teeth — or an interesting relic. (Hopefully you can avoid running across the Tybee Island bomb, though!)
Daufuskie Island SC
Distance from Savannah: Approximately 40 minutes by boat
Dog-Friendly: Yes, with stipulations
Parking: Dependent upon ferry service
Restaurants: There are a handful of options
The Vibe: Eclectic mix of old (Gullah culture) and new in a detached island setting
Located just north of Savannah in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry, Daufuskie Island is only accessible by boat. Part of the island’s allure is that it is detached from the mainland, and much of it remains raw and untouched. The exclusive Haig Point area is developed and includes two golf courses.
Visiting Daufuskie Island is like stepping back in time in many ways. To this day, most people still drive along unpaved roads using golf carts instead of cars!
🏖️ Hit the Beach: Daufuskie’s beaches are uncrowded, quiet, and peaceful. If you enjoy relaxing in a beach chair with a good book in hand, you’ll love Daufuskie! There are public access points at Bloody Point Beach. (Don’t worry, the beach isn’t nearly as scary as the name makes it sound. It earned its name from multiple bloody battles that took place between native Indian tribes and settlers back in the early 1700s.)
🐶 Take Your Dog: Dogs are allowed on the island, but ferry services might have their own rules. Check first before finalizing your booking.
⭐ Fun Facts: Indigenous people from the Creek Indian tribe were responsible for the island’s name. “Daufa” means feather and “fuskie” means pointed. Singer-songwriter John Mellencamp has owned a home on Daufuskie for more than a decade, and the island was made famous by Pat Conroy’s memoir, “The Water is Wide”.
Hilton Head Island SC
Distance from Savannah: 31 miles | Approximately 45 minutes
Dog-Friendly: Yes, with stipulations
Parking: Mix of free and paid public parking
Restaurants: Plentiful and in a wide variety
The Vibe: Very family-friendly
Hilton Head Island has more than 12 miles of sandy oceanfront beaches. It also has a marsh side with some of the most beautiful sunset views I’ve ever seen. The island is approximately an hour drive from Savannah (unless you hit traffic), so it’s perfect for a day trip.
🏖️ Hit the Beach: Expect Hilton Head’s beaches to be cleaner and a little more upscale than Tybee’s. There are plenty of public restrooms and changing areas, and parking is also plentiful. Lifeguards monitor the beach during peak tourism season and sometimes helicopters and boats patrol the water, as well. Thanks to a rather large sandbar on the north end of the island, the waves in that area are generally very small. Several companies offer rental chairs and umbrellas right along the beach. Coligny Beach is Hilton Head’s most popular public beach access area.
Because the island is heavily developed, there are numerous hotels, vacation rentals, and restaurants. There are also a variety of activities that offer a little something for everyone. You’ll find golf courses, shopping centers, quite a few grocery stores, and even a mall on the island.
Hilton Head is one of the best beaches near Savannah GA for a family vacation, in my opinion! I’ve listed some popular Hilton Head accommodations below, but if you’re interested in staying in luxury resort about 30 minutes away, check out the (very exclusive) Montage Palmetto Bluff (⭐ 9.5).
Dogs on Hilton Head Island
From the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, dogs are not allowed on Hilton Head’s beaches between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
From April 1 through the Thursday before Memorial Day and from Labor Day through September 30th, leashed dogs are allowed between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Controlled dogs can explore freely outside of those hours.
The rest of the year, dogs are free to run along the beach as long as owner is nearby and in control.
Beaches within 2 Hours of Savannah
The following beaches are within a 2-hour drive of Savannah and would work as day trips (albeit long ones) or as overnight/weekend visits.
Hunting Island SC
Distance from Savannah: 59.6 miles | Approximately 1 hr 30 min
Dog-Friendly: Yes, with stipulations
Parking: Free, but there is a per-person entry fee
Restaurants: None on the island
The Vibe: Unplugged and a nature lover’s dream
Hunting Island is South Carolina’s most popular state park, with more than a million annual visitors. Once you cross over the bridge, you’ll find 100+ campsites, 5 miles of beaches, a lighthouse, and a maritime forest. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers!
🏖️ Hit the Beach: Even though the island is popular, it’s still common to stroll for long stretches along the beach without seeing another person — especially during the winter months.
➡️ Visit Historic Landmarks: The island is home to the only historic lighthouse in the state still accessible to the public. Check to see if it’s open before visiting, since there are times when it has to shut down for repairs.
🦐 Grab a Bite: There aren’t any restaurants on the island, but stop at the Shrimp Shack on Harbour Island on your drive in to try their shrimp burger!
🐶 Take Your Dog: Dogs must be leashed and are not allowed past posted markers on North Beach that protect an essential shorebird habitat. Don’t let pups stray too far away, though, since you might encounter snakes and alligators on the island.
📸 Photo Opportunities: Hunting Island has a boneyard/driftwood beach area that is really popular with photographers. It’s located at the southern end of the island, near the bridge to Fripp Island.
Accommodations on Hunting Island: You’ll need to reserve a campsite at least a year in advance.
St. Simons Island GA
Distance from Savannah: 82.4 miles | Approximately 1 hr 30 min
Dog-Friendly: Yes, with stipulations
Parking: It’s free!
Restaurants: Yes, plenty
The Vibe: Upscale/preppy vacation destination
St. Simons is the place to go if you want more of a resort-style vacation. You can lounge by the pool, enjoy spa treatments, and dine at upscale restaurants.
🏖️ Hit the Beach: St. Simons Island has oceanfront beaches and beaches that face the St. Simons Sound. There is a public access point at Gould’s Inlet, and there are also public access points near the Visitor Center.
🎾 Burn Some Calories: There are plenty of golf courses and tennis courts on the island. You can also charter a boat and spend the day fishing or sailing.
🛍️ Get a Break from the Sun: If you enjoy shopping, there are a handful of locally owned boutiques on the island. You can also visit the St. Simon’s Lighthouse Museum.
➡️ Visit Historic Landmarks: The Fort Frederica National Monument and Christ Church Frederica are historic landmarks in the area.
🐶 Take Your Dog: Off-leash, controlled dogs are allowed on the beach anytime other than peak summer months. Avoid taking a dog on the beach from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Fort Frederica area is dog friendly.
📸 Photo Opportunities: Looking for a unique activity on St. Simons Island? Try going on a scavenger hunt to find the 20+ tree faces carved into old oaks on the island! The Visitor Center has a map of the locations.
Jekyll Island GA
Distance from Savannah: 93.2 miles | Approximately 1 hr 30 min
Dog-Friendly: Yes, must be leashed
Parking: Free, but there is a per-person entry fee
Restaurants: Yes, a handful
The Vibe: For nature lovers, but with amenities
Jekyll Island is one of Georgia’s State Parks, but it’s not what you typically think of when you picture a State Park. Once you drive through the gate, you’ll have access to a golf course, historic district, hotels, restaurants, and beaches.
Essentially, it’s a city that operates as a park — which makes it popular with families.
🐊 Be One with Nature: You’ll find several natural areas on the island teeming with wildlife like alligators, deer, and rare birds. As an added treat, Jekyll is home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center! The center’s employees rescue and rehabilitate injured sea turtles, and then release them back into the wild.
Oh, You Fancy: Want to stay in a luxurious Gilded Age property? That would be the Jekyll Island Club, which was once heralded as “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world.” It’s located on the marsh side of the island.
🎣 Try Your Luck at Fishing: Jekyll has a fantastic curved fishing pier along the NW island inlet. It’s a good place to catch a sunset.
📸 Photo Opportunity: Head to Jekyll’s popular “Driftwood Beach” on the north end of the island to join other shutterbugs who love taking photos of the trees silhouetted against the sunrise.
Cumberland Island GA
Distance from Savannah: 87.2 miles | Approximately 2 hours
Dog-Friendly: Yes, with stipulations
Parking: It’s free, but there is a per-person entry fee.
Cumberland Island is a National Seashore managed by the National Park System. It’s only accessible by boat, so you’ll have to take a ferry or private boat to get there.
Once you arrive on the island, the only way to get around is on foot or by bicycle. If you want to stay the night, you can stay at a campground or the luxurious Greyfield Inn. Either way, you’ll need reservations in advance.
So, why would you make the 2-hour drive and then take a ferry to roam around on undeveloped land? Much like Daufuskie Island, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you arrive on Cumberland Island.
🏖️ Hit the Beach: Nearly 17 miles of undisturbed beaches and the fact that only 300 visitors are currently allowed on the island at any given time is a darn good reason to visit. You’ll have a stunningly beautiful island — still in its natural state (for the most part) — almost all to yourself.
➡️ Visit Historic Landmarks: The island was once home to some of the wealthiest families in the U.S., including the Carnegies, Rockefellers, and Candlers. Visit the Dungeness Ruins and Plum Orchard Mansion to glimpse into the lifestyle of the one-percenters.
🐶 Take Your Dog: Dogs are allowed on Cumberland Island, but only when transported by private boat. They must be leashed. The ferries do not allow dogs.
📸 Photo Opportunities: Cumberland is home to the famous wild horses of Cumberland Island, and many people visit just to photograph them running along the beach or grazing against the striking backdrop of the Dungeness Ruins.
If you’re interested in learning more and seeing some incredible photos, I’ve written a very detailed guide to Cumberland Island National Seashore.
Edisto Island SC
Distance from Savannah: 100.2 miles | Approximately 2 hours
Parking: It’s free, except at Edisto Beach State Park
Restaurants: Yes, a handful
The Vibe: Family-friendly
One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive on Edisto is that there are no traffic lights. What you will find is a laid-back, family-friendly vibe.
Since the island is closer to Charleston than Savannah, it works best as an overnight or weekend getaway. There are no hotels on the island, so VRBO is your best option. The southern end of the island is the most developed portion, with plenty of stilt-foundation, cottage-style homes. Outdoorsy types can camp at Edisto Beach State Park.
🏖️ Hit the Beach: You’ll find more than 5 miles of beach with 37 public access points, so there’s plenty of sand to go around. The island also has 4600 acres of maritime forest and numerous freshwater ponds.
🦐 Grab a Bite: If you get hungry after a day on the beach or spent exploring the wildlife area, head to Briny Swine for a delicious Southern-style meal. They specialize in BBQ and oysters.
🐶 Take Your Dog: Dogs must be leashed May 1 through October 31. From November 1 through April 30, they can be off leash but under the voice control of their handler.
📸 Photo Opportunities: Botany Bay Heritage Preserve and Boneyard Beach are two of the most photographed places on Edisto Island. Botany Bay has a pretty tree-lined drive and lots of natural areas, while the beach is loaded with driftwood.
Beaches Near Savannah GA Map
Whew, that was a lot of information! Here’s a quick recap to help you out.
- Want the closest beach to Savannah? Tybee Island has the closest oceanfront beach
- Looking for natural beaches with lots of wildlife? Visit Hunting Island or Cumberland Island
- Prefer an upscale, family-friendly destination? I suggest Hilton Head Island or St. Simons
- Interested in a charming beach that isn’t overly crowded? Try Jekyll or Edisto
- Want to feel like you’ve stepped back in time? Head to Daufuskie Island
- Need a rental car? Check rates here
I also created a labeled map so you can see the location of each of these beaches at a quick glance. Click here to see it in full on Google Maps.
Visiting Savannah Georgia
As a quick reminder, I’m based out of Savannah, so that’s the area I write about most. If you’re planning to a trip to Savannah, here are a few resources I’ve created to help you out.
- Savannah Travel Guide – This is a “quick start” guide will provides an overview of the city.
- Free Resources Library – When you sign up for my email list, you’ll get a checklist of “50 Things To Do On Foot in the Historic District (No Car Necessary)” and other helpful printables.
- Savannah First-Timer’s Guide – My ebook combines my most helpful Savannah travel tips from this website in one handy downloadable guide.
When you purchase my ebook, you’ll also gain access to a private Facebook group where you can ask questions about your trip and get advice from others who have recently visited.