If the best island category has to be rolled over in the Continental US, Golden Isles Of Georgia takes away all the brownie points for it. Despite having several spectacular islands with various attractions complementing them, the Golden Isles Of Georgia takes over as it isn’t one but a group of four islands on the Atlantic coast. Comprising Jekyll Island, Little St.Simons Island, Sea Island, and St. Simons Island, as well as the mainland city of Historic Brunswick, these barrier islands have a lot to offer. With untainted beaches, alluring shorelines, and untouched areas of marshlands, Golden Isles rolls a combination of plenty of other interesting factors as well. With a focal center for many historic attractions, museums and theaters, golf courses, casinos, shopping centers, and an array of activities, the islands attract various audiences. Amongst all, St Simons Island is deemed to be the largest and is popularly renowned for "Marshes of Glynn." After St. Simon's Island comes Jekyll Island, which is prominent for its marshland, spawning beaches, and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center.
History Of Golden Isles
Harking back to the Pleistocene Ice Age, the Golden Isles are estimated to be roughly around 25,000 B.C. St. Simons Island, the largest island, is estimated to be between 35,000 to 40,000 years old, whereas Little Simon’s Island is said to be around 5000 to 7000 years old. Amongst all, Jekyll Island boasts of holding an interesting history as it was a private winter resort in the 1880s. Back then, the royal families of Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt, and Pulitzer built clubhouses and individual family cottages on this island. Currently, the island is a State Park and is allowed to the public. These islands came to be known as “Golden Islands” initially owing to the golden hue prevalent due to the warmth of the sun or the sandy beaches; the islands turned into glittering treasures ultimately and were termed as “Golden Isles.”
What To Do At St. Simons Island
St Simons Island, with its historical sites and attractions as well as incredible nightlife, attracts a lot of visitors primarily. Its three famous beaches, East Beach, Massengale Beach, and Gould’s Inlet, as well as St Simons Lighthouse Museum, are prime destinations to be visited.
Another riveting attraction is “Tree Spirits” on this island, where you encounter exquisitely carved faces in oak trees. As per the tree spirit mythology, the faces depict the countless sailors who lost their lives, and these gloomy expressions are carved by the artist Keith Jennings and his son, Devon, who believe in trees having souls as well.
"Cannon's Point Preserve," a 600-acre of land having wild native species and lush forest, gives a rich wilderness experience. There are also shell middens here hailing back to 2500 BCE and miles of salt marsh and tidal creek. Another attractive spot is the “Bloody Marsh Battle Site,” where one can experience the history which marks British forces defeating Spanish troops. Apart from being a historically robust destination, this place has various golf courses, casinos, luxurious resorts, and outdoor adventures such as kayaking, fishing, biking, and tours for the modern essence.
St Simon Island Restaurants
Be it seafood or barbecue joints; St Simon Island has no dearth of food outlets. If one is seeking appetizers, salads, sandwiches, or burgers, “Iguanas Seafood Restaurant” serves up right. Barbara Jean’s Restaurant is specialized in home-cooked seafood, crabs, baked bread, and fresh veggies. Fine dining restaurants such as “Georgia Sea Grill” on the island’s Pier/Village area and “Halyards” for special dining are other options.
Brogen South is another iconic restaurant with famous dishes such as Bacon-Cheddar, Grilled Chicken Swiss Sandwich, Chicken Wings, or Oaxaca Burgers at another food outlet. Certified, along with salads, handmade shakes, or authentic egg creams, can be worth trying. A few other family-friendly restaurant options are Porch, Mellow Mushroom, and Cafe Frederica.
What To Do At Jekyll Island
The southernmost island in the Golden Isles is Jekyll Island which has iconic beaches such as St.Andrews Beach, Glory Beach, and Driftwood Beach. The gnarled trees at Driftwood beach take one to another world, whereas Glory Beach lies to South Dunes Picnic Area and can be accessed from Jekyll Island Soccer Complex. Again the "Great Dunes Park" has plenty of Jekyll island’s portion, which has a mini golf course, segway rentals, and bike rentals too nearby. Amongst all, "St. Andrews Beach" is the most distant point on Jekyll Island Beach and is popular for birding, shelling, and dolphin sightseeing.
"Georgia Sea Turtle Center" is another Jekyll island attraction where rehabilitation for sick and injured turtles is given. It explores the lives of sea turtles and other native animals. The "Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum" exhibits the island’s rich cultural and natural history. With stunning visuals and audio, the tale of the magical land is narrated.
"Summer Waves Water Park" and "Clam Creek Picnic Area" are some other exciting as well as refreshing family attractions. "Jekyll Island Miniature Golf," "Jekyll Island Golf Club," and "Jekyll Island Soccer Complex" are pretty famous among sports enthusiasts. Also, Jekyll Island Pier is a great location for fishing and crabbing.
Jekyll Island Restaurants
Restaurants such as The Wharf, Tortuga Jack, or Beach House are the few best recommendations. The Wharf is a popular waterfront sea restaurant, whereas Tortuga’s Jack serves Mexican food primarily. The Grand Dining Room can be booked especially for date night, whereas the Pantry is an easy grab-and-go breakfast and lunch option.
What To Do At Sea Island
Sea Island is a well-known international resort that notched Forbes Five-Stars for fourteen years consecutively. It also features two of the world’s famous destinations, which are "Cloister on Sea Island" and "The Lodge at Sea Island." Cloister on Sea Island is a coastal retreat with incredible dining service, elegant ambiance, resort amenities, and activities, along with 265 world-class hotel rooms. It includes Sea Island’s Yacht Club, The Cloister Spa, Tennis Center, and The Cloister Beach Club, including the famous Georgian room-Georgia’s only Forbes Five Star Restaurant.
The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club traces back to an English manor where it has 43 guest rooms and world-class dining at Colt & Alison and Oak Room.
One can engage in Sea Island Beach Club, Tennis Center, Yacht Club, or Cloister Spa at Sea Island. It's a place for relaxation or other activities such as kayaking, horse riding, sailboat, or educational nature walk.
What To Do On Little St Simons Island
This island is accessible only by boat from Hampton River Marina and is a privately owned, 11,000-acre barrier island resort. The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island is a prime attraction with charming cottages dating back to the 1900s. If you are the one seeking wildlife, pristine beaches, salt marshes, and maritime forests, this diverse wetland ecosystem has it all. Home to alligators, armadillos, deer, dolphins, and other 330 species of birds, the island has undeveloped dunes as well.
Accommodations At Golden Isles
- The Lodge On Little Simon's Island is tucked away in nature's beauty and is the No. 1 Resort in Mainland City, US. Enveloped by moss-draped oaks and golden marshes, there are six historic cottages, farm-fresh dining, Island Garden and Orchard, Saltwater Pool, and Recreational Equipment.
- Hampton Inn, Hodnett Cooper Vacation Rentals, Queen’s Court Inn, and Lilimar Properties are a few accommodation options at St. Simons Island.
- Jekyll Island Club Resort, an exclusive Queen Ann Style resort, or Villas by The Sea are some luxurious options on Jekyll Island. The other oceanfront resorts are Holiday Inn Resort and Jekyll Ocean Club, and playful pools and convenient locations at Beachview Club Hotel, Seafarer Inn, and Hampton Inn & Suites can be other attractive options to be considered.
- If one is seeking an affordable way to enjoy coastal Georgia, camping on the coast is one easy way. Pitching a tent at Jekyll Island Campground, staying in cabin rentals at Southern Retreat RV Park, or glamping on a private island like Little Raccoon Key. The private island has a luxury canvas tent with a “River of Dolphins” boat ride, kayak excursions, and camping activities like fishing, beach-going, and outdoor adventures.
- If one is seeking particularly beachfront lodging, King & Prince Beach Golf Resort, Ocean Lodge, Jekyll Ocean Club, The Westin Jekyll Island, Holiday Inn Resort at Jekyll Island, and Hampton Inn & Suites at Jekyll Island are a few options to be considered.