Earlier this year I had one of the most fun times celebrating Mardi Gras (quite accidentally) I’ve ever had. Here’s the clincher…I wasn’t in New Orleans. To be fair I’ve never been in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and this post is by no means a comparison to the mother of all parties. This trip was the result of another successful Living Social inspired trip to Savannah, Georgia and a sleepy little beach town called Tybee Island, GA, the easternmost point in Georgia. (Savannah deserves it’s own blog post so expect that one soon!) I’ve found that browsing through the Living Social destinations and Groupon getaways you can find some great deals for more obscure or overlooked trip locations. If you ever find yourself in need of a trip with no clear idea of where to go, start there. Pick a deal and then go explore what that city has to offer. You just might get a fantastic surprise like we did!
We rented a beach side home for our first 2 nights on Tybee Island. As always some mishap was bound to happen. Upon our arrival, the key in the lock box tumbled out as we opened it and fell in the tiniest of gaps between the house and the deck. Just our luck! My boyfriend was able to climb beneath the deck and retrieve the key, without being bitten or stung, using the light from the cell phone. With that minor crisis averted we began our fantastic adventure. The remote location of the neighborhood provided an unbelievable view of the stars and constellations in the clear night sky. It was like a planetarium. The perks of staying somewhere off the beaten path most definitely paid off for this trip. The deck lead to a boardwalk about a quarter of a mile long which lead straight to the beach. It was so peaceful and unlike any beach landscape I had seen before. The unique positioning has allowed for nature to do some unique things with wind and water erosion. I spent the first morning in reflection watching the sunrise and watching the massive silent barges glide by as they pass between the Savannah River and the Atlantic Ocean.
Tybee isn’t a very large island at all and truthfully you could probably see all there is to see in a day. But this town runs on island time. They don’t rush and they don’t hurry. It didn’t take long for this lackadaisical attitude to rub off on us. This place had us under their spell so we took our time and enjoyed it. Tybee is known for its lighthouse by the same name. This is the first lighthouse I’ve ever visited and the grounds and the lighthouse and all of its history were very interesting. Was it worth the 178 stair climb up the iron stairs to the top? Absolutely! It was a beautiful view of the whole island even with the rainy weather but it was extremely windy!
Food is always a highlight of any trip I take and Tybee did not disappoint! From the fried sea scallops, fried fish and whole crawfish at Sting Ray’s Seafood to breakfast at the Breakfast Club, we were more than satisfied. But you can’t experience Tybee life without going to the locals’ favorite hangout, Huca Poos. It’s a bar/hangout/cornhole tournament spot/live music/pizza joint. Yes…pizza. It was by far the best pizza I’ve ever had. And I’ve had some good pizza in my day. It was fresh, and hot, and huge. It wasn’t just good because it was 3am and the drinks were flowing…it really was just that good. Huca Poos is an experience and if you’re on Tybee Island it’s an absolute right of passage.
Another highlight of the trip was exploring Fort Pulaski. It is a U.S. National Monument and they have done a wonderful job in restoring it and keeping the grounds beautiful. This ended up being one of our favorite parts of the trip. This was a great way to get some perspective on the Civil War and learn some parts of history that I never knew. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. If you go on the weekends they fire their canons. Who can resist a big “boom!” They also have a whole re-enactment show with actors. The views from the top-level of the fort are amazing. The kiddos will love this.
MARDI GRAS PARTY!!!!!!!
How does a teeny tiny little island celebrate Mardi Gras? The local paper listed all kinds of celebrations for the weekend. There was a king cake party complete with a Zydeco band, lots of cool beads, and feather boas. There was a cash prize for the lucky person to find the baby in the cake. Alas it wasn’t me. There was also an all you can eat crawfish broil hosted by a local restaurant.
The main attraction of the weekend is the Tybee Mardi Gras parade. There were some characters for sure! No it’s not New Orleans….but it was free-spirited, innovative, and a whole lot of fun. Many of the residents decorate golf carts and join the parade but there were plenty of legitimate floats with riders throwing lots of beads our way. At the end of the parade route was a stage where several different bands performed and kept the party going. All of the bars and restaurants on the main stretch of downtown near the pier were open with various specials. It’s just a big block party in the street. There was even a 6 foot 4 Dolly Pardon drag queen who gave quite a show. It was definitely everything you would expect in a Mardi Gras party…drinks, beads, dancing, music, and some interesting characters.
Don’t be afraid to try a vacation somewhere more obscure. You never know what kind of fun secrets that little town could be holding. Big cities don’t always have all of the fun!
Looking to plan a similar outdoorsy adventure? See the helpful links below:
- Tybee Island Map – http://tybeeisland.com/tybee-information/map-of-tybee-island/
- Fort Pulaski – http://www.nps.gov/fopu/index.htm
- Tybee Highlights- http://www.luxurylivingtybee.com/tybee_highlights.html
- Tybee Island Attractions – http://tybeeisland.com/placecategory/attractions
- Tybee Lighthouse – http://www.tybeelighthouse.org/
Lauren G. , Outdoorsy Diva™
“Adventure is a lifestyle.”