Most of the hotels on Butler Avenue are what we describe in the South as “rode hard and put away wet,” i.e., they see a lot of wear and tear from eager vacationers. That doesn’t make them bad, just be aware. Also be aware that any place on Butler, even the substandard places, charge a premium during the high season of March–October.
For long-term stays, weekly rentals are the name of the game. Though not cheap—expect to pay roughly $1,000 a week in the summer—they provide a higher level of accommodation than some hotels on the island. For weekly rentals, try Oceanfront Cottage Rentals (800/786-5889, www.oceanfrontcottage.com), Tybee Island Rentals (912/786-4034, www.tybeeislandrentals.com), or Tybee Vacation Rentals (866/359-0297, www.tybeevacationrentals.com).
Here are a few places that are a cut above. All cluster at $200 or below.
On glorious Officer’s Row on the North End, the sumptuous suites of the Savannah Beach Inn (21 Officers Row, 800/844-1398, www.savannahbeachinn.com, $200) are tastefully restored, without a hint of Tybee kitsch. The breezy veranda boasts some of the island’s most awesome views over the Atlantic. This is easily one of the most romantic spots in the area, with access to the dunes and total seclusion from the partying at the South End.
One of Tybee Island’s most worthwhile lodging experiences for the money, the single-suite
Bluebird Bed and Breakfast (1206 Venetian Dr., 912/786-0786, www.tybeebandb.com, $125) is tucked away on Horsepen Creek and the Back River, away from the general beach-town hubbub—but that’s what makes it all the more romantic, in a whimsical sort of way. Its spacious and charming interior comprises a master bedroom, a large kitchen/den area, and a delightful breakfast nook overlooking the marsh. There’s even a resident dock if you want to put in your kayak or canoe. Two-night minimum on weekends.
Available for daily or weekly rentals, the delightful and well-appointed upstairs apartment of The Octopus Lair (12th Street, 912/660-7164, www.octopuslair.com, $125) is tucked away on the south side of the island, equidistant from both the beach and the more active areas. There’s even a propane grill on the porch so you can cook out.
Right around the corner from the bustling 16th Street corridor, the Hunter House Inn (1701 Butler Ave., 912/786-7515, $150) is still a relatively peaceful getaway. There are two ground-level suites for larger groups of people, each with a large living room with sleeper sofa in addition to a queen-size bed. Upstairs are two smaller rooms, also with queens. Whimsically appointed and more on the casual side, these are not ultra-plush accommodations, but are great for people who want a laid-back fun time at the beach.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition