Georgia is more than just Savannah and while some people might believe the state's hot, humid weather is something to avoid in the summer, its beaches, certainly, are not. Next to the Carolina's, Georgia is home to some of the most serene and wildlife-filled beaches on the East Coast. Its barrier islands allow beachgoers to escape many of the crowds while their remote nature has left wildlife to live in peace, practically untouched. Every visit to the shore will surely procure a new and unique experience each time, all surrounded by the soft sands and rolling waves you'd expect on a southern beach.
To see the best of what Georgia has to offer during the summer, start with these beaches (and islands) first.
The great thing about Cumberland Island National Seashore is that visitors will get a chance to take in both its tranquil nature as well as the gorgeous beach that runs parallel to it. This island is home to several different environments including marshes and lakes, all of which breed a diverse ecosystem. Any number of animals can be found wandering its shores but a favorite of visitors are the wild horses that have since taken up residence on Cumberland.
This park offers many bonus activities for those who are willing to explore its land. Hiking is a popular recreational activity and all of the trails are easy, many take visitors through wooded oak groves covered with Spanish moss, and around ruins from a Dungeness, a mansion that once stood on the island. Cumberland feels as though it has been somewhat frozen in time and it's exactly the kind of charming seaside oasis beachgoers will appreciate.
When it comes to a classic Georgia beach, Sapelo Island is exactly what comes to mind. This island, though fairly large, is quite remote and still undeveloped, making it somewhat of a local secret. It's also home to Blackbird Island National Wildlife Refuge and Sapelo Island Wildlife Management Area, both of which are a great way to explore the island's natural habitat. In fact, it's easy enough to spend up to a week on this island, alone - it's that expansive.
The island is only accessible by small plane or ferry which makes it even more of an exclusive spot but one that's entirely worth it. Since the island is protected land, visitors will be treated to untouched beauty and nature as far as the eye can see which extends to its beaches. The ferry from Sapelo Island Visitor's Center takes less than ten minutes and brings visitors within walking distance to the practically untouched shoreline. The island is also home to the former mansion of R.J. Reynolds, which was built in 1810 and does permit visitors for tours.
Anyone who has ever seen an iconic photo of a Georgia beach has likely been looking at one taken from Jekyll Island, or at least, one part of it. The most popular beach on this island is Driftwood Beach which, as its name implies, is full of uniquely shaped pieces of driftwood that have made an impression. The beach itself extends for roughly ten miles with Driftwood at one end and, surprisingly, a waterpark at the other.
Summer Waves Waterpark is a fun day outing for families and adults and features a lazy river and several fun waterslides, as well as a splash zone and an area exclusively for kids. In the center of the island, visitors will find Jekyll Island Oceanview Beach Park, which is on the opposite end of the main center of the island, which has a small town that's fun for a day spent exploring.
Sea Island is the largest and most populated of all the islands. According to Trips to Discover, a majority of Sea Island is owned by the Sea Island Resort, which has received five stars on Forbes. The resort is home to all the amenities travelers never thought they'd need and is really quite an experience for those who have never been inside of it. Extravagant pools, award-winning food, and luxe spa services are all part of any stay here.
Outside of the resort, the beaches on Sea Island are nothing short of gorgeous. They're exactly as you'd imagine, with pristine shorelines and dunes that give stunning views of the coast. Marshlands around the island give way to serene and peaceful moments for those who choose to explore them, and birdwatching is a great way to observe the island's bird species.