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Travel connoisseurs on the lookout for glittering beaches and charming historic towns, be prepared to set your sights on a new destination: the stunning and aptly named Golden Isles in Georgia. These beautiful islands were recently named one of the best islands in the United States for the eighth year in a row by readers of Travel + Leisure. That's eight years of acclaim by beach-loving aficionados! Despite the well-deserved praise the islands have received, they still fly under the radar for many adventurers. For those who have yet to discover the pristine beauty of the Golden Isles, they should add this dazzling location to their bucket list.


Keep reading (and get ready to pack your bags!) for all the important details on the best way to experience these gorgeous islands.

Related: 10 Of Georgia's Best Beaches That Are Worth A Vacation Alone

It's Always Sunny In The Golden Isles

Located on the southeastern coast of Georgia, midway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, the Golden Isles are actually barrier islands--namely, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and Little St. Simons Island--and they are near the renowned mainland city of Brunswick Old Town Historic District. With sparkling marshlands that are dotted by small islands referred to as hammocks, the scenic views here give the impression of one long stretch of land.

Travelers visit the impressive beaches and inspiring natural beauty, but there is so much more to see and do in this area. There are museums, historic landmarks, art galleries, outstanding golf courses, and a wide range of booking options, from five-star resorts to cozy bed-and-breakfasts.

Related: 10 Cities To Visit In Georgia (That Aren't Savannah)

Four Barrier Islands With Breathtaking Beauty

The natural beauty here cannot be overstated, and each island has something special to offer. And with their close proximity to each other, it is possible to explore all four and still have plenty of time left over to see the historic mainland city of Brunswick. With over 18,000 islands in the United States, being voted one of the best is quite an accomplishment. Here's an overview of these charming islands:

  • St. Simons Island: This is the largest barrier island in the Golden Isles, known for its water sports, thriving nightlife, and St. Simons Lighthouse, which has been in operation since 1872 and warns entering boats of the many sandbars in the area. For golfers, there is the Seaside course here which hosts the annual PGA tour event.
  • Sea Island: Located to the east of St. Simons Island, travelers get to Sea Island by a causeway. This is an upscale, privately owned resort and residential community, and only guests and homeowners are allowed. Bring your golf clubs to play on the championship golf courses here.
  • Jekyll Island: This stunning island is home to four golf courses, a nature center, ten miles of beach, and plenty of historic charm that includes mansions built by J.P. Morgan, Vanderbilt, and others. But the island is famous for the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, which is a research facility and rehabilitation hospital dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles. Be sure to check out their educational programs and pay a visit to their little sea turtle patients!
  • Little St. Simons Island: Located to the north and east of St. Simons Island, this truly exclusive island is only accessible by boat. Privately owned by former Secretary of the Treasury and former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson, Little St. Simons Island contains over 10,000 acres of maritime forests, magical-seeming marshlands, and seven stunning miles of immaculate natural beach. The Lodge here offers accommodations for only 32 guests per night (did we say it was exclusive?). With activities like wildlife birding, kayaking, hiking, and swimming, there is a reason this location has long been a destination for the rich and famous.

Mainland Historic Brunswick

When visitors want to head into the main city for a bit of history and unique southern hospitality, beautiful and historic Brunswick is a perfect place to shop, dine, and enjoy the locals. There are plenty of eclectic activities to experience here, from shrimpin' aboard the Lady Jane to paying a visit to the Historic Ritz Theatre or checking out the charm of the Old City Hall's grand clock tower. With year-round warm weather, there are plenty of festivals, concert series, and exciting activities for locals and visitors alike.

Golden Isles Makes For A Trip To Remember

Whether travelers are returning to the lovely Golden Isles or experiencing it for the first time, these exquisite barrier islands retain a sparkling natural beauty that is cherished by locals and visitors alike. With plenty of wildlife, warm waters, and that southern charm that makes you feel right at home, travelers will be coming back to Golden Isles again and again.