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Tybee island, Hilton Head, or Amelia Island???

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Clarksville...
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Tybee island, Hilton Head, or Amelia Island???

We normally vacation in Myrtle Beach. We go with our family that ranges in age from teens to seniors. We like to have things to do such as golf, fishing, shows, restaurants, etc...(all your normal vacation stuff). I have heard of all of these places, but I have not been to any of them yet. Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of each? Thanks!!!

Fernandina Beach FL
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1. Re: Tybee island, Hilton Head, or Amelia Island???

Dan, 3 very different places in terms of atmosphere from my perspective. HH is the encompassing, upscale resort area with a wide variety of shopping and dining options both local and national brands, many focused within specific resort properties. Tybee is the old coastal village area complete with pier. It is 15+ miles to downtown Savannah and summer traffic is horrendous so don't think you are going to be able to scoot back and forth to Savannah's riverfront and historic areas. Amelia Island (and my bias will show I am sure) is somewhat of a tale of two cities. The northern half of AI is primarily occupied by the City of Fernandina Beach and is where the 50+ block historic district is located with its wide variety of historical, dining and shopping options. There are 35+ beach access points and the three main oceanfront parks have lifeguards during the season, but if you want more isolation, go to one of the access points you are likely to have the beach to yourself other than people walking by. The southern half of the Island is dominated by the upscale resort areas of Omni AI Plantation, Summer Beach and the Ritz Carlton. Like most resorts, they have their small shopping and dining options on property. One of the nice things about AI is that you can get almost anywhere on the island within 10 minutes by car so even if you are staying at one of the resorts on the southern end you can easily get to the historic district or one of the entertainment venues on the northern end quickly. AIl of these locations are at the oppositie end of the spectrum from Myrtle Beach. You won't find bungee jumping, go karts, etc. on any of the 3 locations of which I am aware. Tybee has no golf, HH has lots of golf but access can be limited to resort guests. AI has two public courses (city's 27 hole and Amelia Landings) and the resorts have their private courses.

I think if you look through the message threads for the various locations you will get a better idea of what each has to offer. But many that have visited AI keep coming back year after year after year due to all that it offers without the crowding of other coastal areas.

Melbourne, Florida
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2. Re: Tybee island, Hilton Head, or Amelia Island???

dlwinger has good advice. I have not been to Hilton Head so can't compare other than to say its expensive and has golf courses. Tybee is very small town, mostly about relaxing at the beach, a few restaurants, the lighthouse and fort and driving into Savannah for pretty much everything else. I love Savannah but its very hot in the summer time, we like to visit there in the fall around October is perfect.

I just recently visited Amelia and Fernandina but did not stay overnight. The beach does not have the tide drop that Tybee has. The sand at Fernandina was very dark compared to where I live on the coast and many sea shells were almost black. We didn't get a chance to explore the shops, just did a quick stop at the beach on our way thru. You might look a little further south at St. Augustine as there is more to do there, great golf courses and nice beaches.

Fernandina Beach FL
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3. Re: Tybee island, Hilton Head, or Amelia Island???

Just to add to Wheels comments to provide some explanation on some of his observations. The tidal variation at Tybee is slightly greater than Fernandina (less than half a foot) but is more pronounced due to the large sandbars on Tybee where at low tide you can walk out a great distance (see photo and safety warning at http://visittybee.com/travel-aid/beach-guide/sand-bar-safety/). Fernandina/Amelia Island does not have that extensive of an offshore sandbar topography resulting in a steeper beach drop but still have about a 7' variation between high and low tide.

We certainly don't have the sugar white sand of the Gulf Coast or the beige color of further south on the Atlantic side but I would call it a gray color (especially when wet). This is predominantly caused the sand on the beach coming from renouishement efforts where dredging was done in the St. Mary's River and St. John's river channels. Both of these rivers have very tea-stained water (tannic acid from the marshlands that actually improves the quality of the water) so they contribute to the coloration of their sand. Still great for sand castles and lying about. In some ways it is a bit better than the white sand as it is a little coarser so it doesn't get blown about as much from the ocean winds.

Amelia Island...
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4. Re: Tybee island, Hilton Head, or Amelia Island???

Dlwinger is your best reference for AI. We have vacationed on AI for the past 9 years (mostly in late September) and love it there. We recommend that you rent a house on the beach along South Fletcher Street. There are lots of choices depending on the time of year. At low tide, the sand is wide and flat – good for paddle games, biking, etc! Finding shark’s teeth is a popular activity as well. There are days when you can look north and south and see no more than a dozen people on the beach (of course, we’re talking September). The classic homes in the restored historic district are beautiful. Lots of restaurant choices too. You won’t be disappointed and you may join the many of us who look to make Amelia Island our permanent home.

5. Re: Tybee island, Hilton Head, or Amelia Island???

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