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your paddlesports destination

Little Tybee Island

Trip Overview

We left from the boat dock on Alley St on the south end of Tybee Island. It cost $2/hour to park from 8am – 8pm each day. There is a kiosk there that accepts cash and cards. You can also download their app ParkTYB and pay through it. I recommend paying through the app as it allows you to add time if you need to. I was on Little Tybee and had cell service and was able to add time on my parking. We went out with the tide to Little Tybee Island and went the 1.5 miles in about 30 minutes. We beached and set up camp then went out paddling and went behind Little Tybee through the narrow creeks. If you pay attention to the tides you can paddle all the way around the back side of the island and come out on the south side of Little Tybee. There were fish and shrimp jumping into our kayaks as we went through the creeks because the water was getting really low. If you get into the creek and the tide goes completely out you will be sitting in pluff mud surrounded by tall reeds and cannot get out and walk, but will need to sit in your boat until the tide comes back in. As we arrived at the south end of Little Tybee we caught it at low tide and there is a sand bar off the beach that acts as a barrier island keeping back the big waves and it made it easy to paddle through and back to the north end of the island. Pay close attention to these sand bars as they are underwater at high tide. I would guess there is a 15’ difference between high and low a tide. It is also important to pay attention to your campsite location as at low tide there seems to be a big beach but it is all covered at high tide. We camped in a location where the high tide came up to a point then it crested over the highest part of the beach and ran small streams of water towards our tents. We ended up digging channels for the water to flow around our tents and to a much lower spot behind us where water was sitting. We were camped at the north end of Little Tybee and there is a place called the boneyard where dead trees go out into the water. They can be covered at high tide but exposed at low tide. I saw people catching fish in them at mid tide. Biggest warning is to pay attention to the tides. The water in this area can move very quickly making progress against the current near impossible in a kayak. We did not time it right on the way back and the tide was still going out and the current got stronger and stronger. I finally gave up trying to paddle back to the boat launch and decided just to get back on Tybee Island and walk my kayak back in the edge of the water. The last 30’ as I got close to the land the current increased 4 fold and I had to point directly upstream and slightly slide towards land. Even in a full out power stroke it was difficult to make it to land. The walking proved to be almost as difficult because as the current came at me it washed away the sand beneath my feet very quickly making it hard to walk and some spots dropped down into little holes. It took me 3 hours to get back to the boat launch. My friend who was paddling a kayak but also towing an inflatable boat was not making any headway and he finally opted to ask a power boat to pull him to shore. So time you route with the tide and current.
  • Duration: Day Trip, 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water, Open Water/Ocean, Surf
  • Number of Portages: 0
Pay attention if the tide is going in or out as the current is strong and hard to go against but great to go with. If camping get way up as the tide comes in and there is a big difference between high and low tides. Do not stay on sand bars as they will be deeply covered at high tide.

Locations on this Trip