The Golden Isles is made up of four barrier islands, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island and Little St. Simons Island, located midway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida.
The Golden Isles coined its name from the infamous salt marshes that light up bright gold as the sun goes down creating some of the best sunsets in the world. With today’s busy go, go, go culture, coming to the Golden Isles is a wonderful place to slow down and appreciate the small things in life. There is plenty to do and some of our favorites are listed below.
1. Trolley Tour-
See all the historic Saint Simons land marks in one trip! This is great opportunity to learn the history and get familiar with where everything is located on Saint Simons. The Saint Simons trolley tour is about a two-hour trip and will take you to 36 popular destinations along with historic sites and a walking tour of beautiful Christ Church.
2. Kayak/Paddle Boarding Tours-
Get outside and see up close the beautiful marshes of the Golden Isles. There are endless tour options. Learn about the ecosystem and enjoy a breathtaking ambiance. Shore lunch and camping opportunities as well. Many to choose from, but two of our favorites companies that offer the tours are South East Adventures and Turtle Tides.
3. Learn to sail-
Sailing is a lot easier than you think and with knowledgeable guides to help, its super safe too. This is perfect for the whole family to enjoy and is always a lot of fun. Feel the cool water splash on your skin and the salt air blow through your hair. Bring out that shy child of yours and see them open up when learning to sail. It’s truly heartwarming to see little ones enjoy this activity so much. We love Barry’s Beach Service and Dunbar Yachts.
4. The Village-
The Village is home to the St. Simons Pier where it is a great place to go and see all the locals in action. There are many restaurants and shops to enjoy as well as the Neptune Fun Zone which includes a pool, small water park and putt putt course. The Saint Simons light house is open for tours and there are two playgrounds to choose from. Walk down the pier and you will see many people fishing and crabbing. Watch the huge cargo ships go by and the dolphins pop up and say hello. There is so much to do when down at the pier.
5. Local Charters-
Take a day trip and catch your dinner for the night or sit back and relax on a sunset cruise. Both options have breathtaking views and scenery you will be sure to enjoy! There are many charters to choose from. However, our favorite fishing charters are Coastal Georgia Charter Fishing, Coastal Island Charter Fishing, and Georgia Fishing. If you want to go out on the boat and enjoy the coastal scenery, but don’t necessarily want to spend the day fishing; String of Pearls offers sunset and day cruises that are fantastic! The all wooden yacht is gorgeous and can accommodate small or large parties. Lighthouse Trolley Tours offers excellent dolphin tours by boat that the whole family is sure to enjoy!
6. Beach Day-
Kick back, relax and enjoy the sandy beaches of the Golden Isles. Build sand castles, take a nap, read a good book or body surf the occasional waves. Be sure to check the local tide charts before you go. Visiting the beach when the tide is going out will offer great tide pools for the little ones to play in.
We love the King and Prince beach access. It is close to Barry’s Beach service where you can rent chairs and umbrellas and you can easily walk up to the hotel and enjoy a frozen beverage or tasty lunch. The old Coast Guard Station is the main beach access and has large facilities as well as abundant parking.
Hop over to Jekyll Island and enjoy the vast beautiful beaches. Jekyll has several awesome beach accesses. Our favorites are the Jekyll Island Beach Pavilion which is another great place to eat lunch or grab some cold ice-cream and a full-service bar is also available. We also love Jekyll Island’s, St Andrews Beach Access. St. Andrews is great place to grill out, fish or seine for your dinner. You’re more than likely to see a dolphin family out having fun as well! Behind the public bathrooms, up a hill you will find a local favorite, a hidden tree swing.
7. Visit Historic Downtown Brunswick-
Downtown Brunswick is a great area to spend the day! There are many boutiques and antique shops, tasty restaurants, a distillery, art gallery and historic Ritz Theatre. Drive down Union Street and see large beautiful historic homes and be sure to find the historic “Lovers Oak” off Prince and Albany Street. Mary Ross park has great summer time concerts and weekend farmers markets.
Also, be sure to check out Farmer and Lardner. This is not just another restaurant! Farmer and Lardner offer fantastic interactive cooking classes or just stop in and let the chef cook for you. The food is always fresh and in season and the recipes are superb! Two other restaurants you must try are Indigo Coastal Shanty and the Yellow Deli.
8. Island Hop-
While Saint Simons Island is the most known about island there are so many other beautiful islands to explore. Sapelo Island is a locals best kept secret. Take a ferry over and spend the day or spend the night on this beautiful island. Take a tour with Sapelo Island Tours and learn about the fascinating history of this small Island of only 48 residents. Be sure to stop in and see the beautiful R.J. Reynolds’ mansion while you are there.
9. Jump on your Bike-
The best way to explore the Golden Isles is by bike. Jekyll Island has some of the best bike baths on the East Coast! Jekyll features over 25 miles of paved bikes paths that explore forest, beaches, campgrounds, and Jekyll Island Historic District. You can rent a bike or bring your own. If you are a child at heart or you have children check out the miniature golf course and playground. You can also order a slice a pizza or grab a drink right through a walk-up window at Red Bug Pizza.
10. Local Events-
Take advantage of all the local events and live music Golden Isles has to offer. There is always something going on and every year there are signature annual events that locals always look forward to. One of our favorite summer events is “Sounds by the Sea” located at Neptune Park on Saint Simons. The concert series can be enjoyed Sunday evenings from 7-9pm. Bring your own lawn chair and picnic! There is something about this event that is so charming. The whole community comes out to enjoy and the energy in the air is so uplifting. Be sure to always check the Golden Isles Events calendar for more specific events suited to your taste.