Have fun in the winter sun on Tybee Island: Mardi Gras, Run Fest, more

The beach on Tybee Island in southeast Georgia may be even more beautiful in the winter than at other times of the year. And the pleasingly mild winters allow plenty of outdoor activity.

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The beach on Tybee Island in southeast Georgia may be even more beautiful in the winter than at other times of the year. And the pleasingly mild winters allow plenty of outdoor activity.

The beach during winter? Well...yeah. I mean YEAH! If it's in the Deep South anyway. If you head somewhere like, say, Tybee Island, Georgia, in winter, you're going to find far fewer people than you would during the warmer months and considerably lower rates on hotels and beach house rentals. But you'll still have the opportunity to pursue plenty of outdoor activities. In fact, two of the island's prime outdoor events are held in February. It's that Deep South thing, y'all.

Explore Crit z Tybee Run Fest

Folks will be running all over the island the first weekend in February. The Critz Tybee Run Fest offers five different races so if you feel your competitive juices flowing – or you just want to have a good walk – then this annual event is a great opportunity to get some good winter exercise. From the 1/7-of-a-mile kiddie run to a half-marathon and several distances in between, everybody can enjoy this winter warmer. Besides, there are also dining discounts and a T-shirt contest. No, not that kind. This one's a T-shirt design contest. If you want to race, better pre-register!

Critz Tybee Run Fest, Tybee Island, critztybeerun.com

Explore Mardi Gras Tybee

You haven't done Mardi Gras until you've done Mardi Gras Tybee. This year on February 25, the island will be resplendent in magisterial colors with beads galore! Family-friendly Mardi Gras Tybee will include the Mardi Gras Tybee Parade, featuring colorful floats, marching bands and ragtag musical groups. The Mardi Gras Tybee Street Party will feature free live entertainment and Cajun food.

Mardi Gras Tybee, Tybee Island, tybeeisland.com/tybee-information/mardi-gras-tybee

Winte r fishing – no ice auger required!

Trout, redfish and flounder are plentiful even during the winter down on Tybee and several fishing charters are ready to take you out on the water. Sure, you'll need to dress warmly but temps in the 70s aren't uncommon. If you'd rather keep your feet on something solid, cast a line out from the Tybee Pier & Pavilion just off U.S. Highway 80 at the end of Tybrisa Street.

Tybee fishing, Tybee Island, tybeeisland.com/charters-tours , visittybee.com/what-to-see-and-do/attractions/tybee-pier-pavilion/

Explore Tybee Island Light Station & Museum

The Tybee Island Lighthouse stands tall and has shone its light for wary mariners for more than 270 years. Rebuilt several times through the years, today its shine comes from lenses nine feet tall on its five-acre site, which also contains the complex's several outbuildings. Across the street sits the museum at the historical Battery Garland of Fort Screven. The museum displays a rifled cannon, uniforms and other artifacts from the Civil War, as well as an eclectic mix of other items of local historical significance.

Tybee Island Light Station & Museum, 30 Meddin Drive, Tybee Island, 912-786-5801, www.tybeelighthouse.org

Explore Marine Science Tours

Tybee's Marine Science Center at North Beach offers various programs and tours for the whole family all year long. The Center's Coastal Georgia Gallery has exhibits on the flora, fauna and habitats that are indigenous to the Georgia coast. Swimming, crawling and slithering about are a loggerhead sea turtle, baby alligators, polka-dot batfish, spider crabs, puffers, flounders, diamondback terrapins, corn snakes, horseshoe crabs and sea jellies. The Center offers regularly scheduled talks on marine life and beach walks led by knowledgeable guides.

Tybee Island Marine Science Center, 1509 Strand Ave., Tybee Island, 912-786-5917, www.tybeemarinescience.org