Close-Up On Tybee Island

To give audiences "The Last Song," Hollywood flocked to Savannah's beach

 There’s no doubt the appeal of teen superstar Miley Cyrus brought huge audiences to “The Last Song,” the Disney film that marked Cyrus’ first serious dramatic role. But moviegoers were surprised by one of the film’s most memorable characters—Tybee Island itself.

Named after the Native American Euchee tribe’s word for salt, Tybee was the perfect place to stage a story about family, romance, and the allure of coastal living.

“We welcome production companies to film on Tybee Island,” says Lindsay Fruchtl, marketing coordinator of the Tybee Island Tourism Council. “The Georgia coast has such a unique ecosystem and what makes Tybee Island so special is that we’ve got five miles of beach to work with.”

Those miles of uninterrupted sand are a welcome alternative to the overdeveloped beaches that are usually seen in the movies. Tybee Island is more suited to developing a healthy, active lifestyle than to developing high-rise condominiums. Their absence from the landscape also leaves room for smaller cottages and family-owned restaurants and shops.

Images of Tybee Pier and beach bikes courtesy of the Tybee Island Tourism Council.

But Tybee’s beaches are not the only attraction on the island. Long before and long after any film spotlights have come and gone, the Tybee Lighthouse has shone its light on beachgoers and history buffs alike. The lighthouse, Georgia’s oldest and tallest, features a museum and an amazing view from the top. Other highlights include the Tybee Pier & Pavilion, which features live concerts and unbeatable sunrise views, and the Tybee Marine Science Center, where tomorrow’s scientists can learn about the habitat they’ve been playing in all day.

Ultimately, a destination’s real character comes from its people, and Tybee Island is still more famous for its relaxed, friendly atmosphere than for its turn on the silver screen. Stars do come to Tybee both to work and to play, but the island is still a place where anyone is welcome and everyone can feel at home. 

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