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Tybee Island and Pensacola Beach: A Comparative Study

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Think of the ideal beach vacation spot. Does the ideal beach vacation take place on a small secluded island? Does the ideal beach vacation take place around a busy beach? Although a person’s concept of the ideal beach vacation may vary, he or she has still thought about what his or her ideal beach looks like. For example, Tybee Island, GA is a great option to one who loves a small secluded island. On the other hand, Pensacola Beach, FL is a great option on the other end of the spectrum for one who loves the bigger and busier cites. The two beaches vary in attractions, restaurants, size, and much more! These two vacation spots have many interesting qualities that can make or break the decision to visit.

Tybee Island is a small barrier island near Savannah, GA. Unlike most beaches, Tybee does not have many hotels on the island. The island mostly consists of locals and vacation rental properties. The few hotels/motels that are on the island are not very updated. There are two blocks that consist of the usual tourist locations: surf shops, restaurants, and bars. Although most of the tourist activities take place around all the shops, there are little local restaurants scattered around the island. Because the island is so small, it consists of very little franchises. Most shops and restaurants are locally owned. Tybee Island also has many historical sites on the island. The two most historic pieces on the island are the lighthouse and Fort Screven. At the time the lighthouse was built it was the tallest structure in America. The lighthouse sits in the middle of the historic district along with Fort Screven and is open for self-guided tours throughout the week. Fort Screven served as a defense mechanism for the coast during World War I. Although the fort is not functioning as a United States Navy fort anymore, part of it has now become one of the storm safety site for the island. Tybee Island definitely has some extremely fascinating qualities that are worth exploring.

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Some people do not find small historic towns to be as fascinating as bigger and busier cities. Pensacola Beach, FL is bigger than Tybee geographically, but not much bigger when comparing the two populations. Pensacola Beach is more spread out than Tybee Island and consists of more rental homes rather than condos. Like Tybee Island, Pensacola Beach has many popular attractions, but Pensacola’s are attractions people tend to see in more popular places. One of the most popular attraction is The Quietwater Beach Boardwalk. The Boardwalk consists of retail shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. Pensacola also has many variations of adventure attractions. The beach offers jet ski rentals, parasailing, banana boating, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and kayaking. Even though Pensacola Beach has many things to do, people tend to visit for the Blue Angels. The Blue Angels is a United States Navy Flight Exhibition Team. The team’s most attended event is the beach flyover. The beach flyover is exactly how it sounds; the team performs tricks and stunts while flying over the entire island of Pensacola Beach. Pensacola beach is the busiest the weekend that the Blue Angels fly over the beach; it is hard to get across the bridge onto the island because traffic stays backed up for miles. Along with the Blue Angels flyover, there is also the National Naval Aviation Museum. The museum consists of the Blue Angels practice field, many restored aircraft, flight simulators, and you can even meet the pilots of the Blue Angels. Pensacola is also known for their white beaches. Pensacola’s beach is one of the whitest beaches on the East Coast.

Even though Tybee Island and Pensacola are very different geographically, they have some of the same qualities. Both beaches have a decommissioned United States Navy fort; both beaches are also on an island. The two beaches also have more vacation rental properties than hotels. Tybee Island has more condos because it is a smaller island; the more condos instead of houses that the island has then the more people and families that can vacation there. Tybee Island and Pensacola Beach are also short drives to bigger cities. Tybee is just a short 45-minute drive to Savannah and Pensacola Beach is just a short drive to the big city of Pensacola. In addition to the numerous number of houses and condos, the beaches are increasing tremendously in popularity. They are becoming more popular vacation spots for people around the country rather than vacations spots for mainly the southeastern United States.

While Tybee Island is a low populated, compacted, and historic beach; Pensacola tends to be the opposite Pensacola Beach is a large, spread out, and more adventurous beach. Tybee island is the stereotypical “adult” beach; which means it is a more relaxing and more populated by adults rather than kids. Pensacola Beach seems more like a “senior week” vacation spot, but do not let that give a negative connotation. It seems like a “senior week” spot because of the activities the island offers like parasailing and jet ski rentals. Depending on one’s preferences, Tybee Island or Pensacola Beach could be the ideal vacation spot for a family, a couple, or one’s weekend getaway.


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