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Georgia's Vanishing Coast - Illustration by Zach Meyer

Georgia’s Vanishing Coast: With stronger storms, higher tides, and rising sea levels, how high will the water go?

On the Georgia coast, which spans 100 miles between Savannah and St. Marys, two things have become apparent during the last decade: Climate change is coming, and it’s already here. If the last decade’s increased tidal flooding initiated a conversation about the changing sea, the hurricane double-header of 2016 and 2017 added a couple of exclamation points. But while the effects of storms will be more severe with climate change, Georgia’s vulnerability to them isn’t new.

Melissa Fay Greene on her coastal homecoming

An acclaimed author recalls her introduction to Georgia’s tidal marshes.
Thoughts of Home

Mary Kay Andrews’s Thoughts of Home: A Place at the Beach

Between planning family vacations and running away for novel-writing retreats, I’ve spent much of my adult life questing for the perfect beach escape, renting cottages all along the Florida Gulf and up and down the Atlantic Coast—as far north as Nags Head, as far south as Key West.

Georgia’s coast is almost as fertile as a tropical rainforest—and almost as threatened

Among ecosystems, Georgia’s coast ranks near tropical rainforests in fertility and productivity. Its nine major estuaries (or sounds), 14 barrier islands, and some 400,000 acres of salt marsh—a third of all salt marsh along the entire Atlantic coast—connect to the ocean and each other.
Pirate Fest

40. Festivals on the Georgia coast

Some lesser-known celebrations worth a trip to the coast, including the Pirate Fest on Tybee Island
Huck-a-Poo's

13. Huc-a-Poo’s, Tybee Island

You go to Huc-a-Poo’s for the hassle-free, beach-hangout vibe; the pizza is just a bonus.

2. Mermaid Cottages, Tybee Island

There is plenty of lodging on Tybee Island, but the colorful Mermaid Cottages have quirky, retro charm. Among the offerings, which rent from $165 to $525 a night, are the beach homes of celebrities like chef Paula Deen and author Mary Kay Andrews.

Surf Song Bed & Breakfast

Known as Savannah’s Beach, Tybee Island is located eighteen miles east of the city on the Atlantic Ocean. For many visitors, the action is centered on South Beach, site of the Tybee Pier and Pavilion and steps away from the souvenir shops, casual eateries, and frozen daiquiri bars lining lively Tybrisa and Strand streets.

Guarding the Nest

Beginning this month, typically in the dead of night, pregnant sea turtles weighing as much as a Falcons lineman will emerge from the Atlantic Ocean, spend an hour digging holes with their rear flippers on the beaches of Georgia’s barrier islands, deposit a hundred or so eggs, repack the sand, and head back into the ocean.

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