Greatest Destinations 2020 – The Golden Isles

Husk, Charleston

Discover Georgia’s Golden Glow: There’s a reason they’re called the Golden Isles — there’s treasure to be found at every turn. Storied resorts sit beside relaxed crab shacks, all in the service of the true hidden gem — Georgia’s stretch of untouched beaches.

The Crab Trap

THE CRAB TRAP This St. Simons Island mainstay exudes laid back, authentic crab shack vibes. The menu does not disappoint if you’re looking for classic beach food — fried shrimp, scallops, oysters, fries and hush puppies with a side of cheese grits or coleslaw. 912-638-3552 | 1209 Ocean Blvd, St Simons

Delaney’s Bistro

DELANEY’S BISTRO Delaney’s has been a St. Simon’s Island favorite for more than 20 years. Wild ingredients like elk and ostrich make their menu exciting while fresh local seafood keeps it coastal. Pair with something hand-picked from their extensive wine list. 912-638-1330 | 3415 Frederica Rd, St Simons 


TAVOLA Make the trip to Sea Island for a visit to its well-loved Tavola — a Southern take on Italian. Homemade pasta, fresh seafood (of course), and a carefully curated Italian wine list make Tavola a must on any visit to the Golden Isles. 912-638-9014 | 529 Beachview Dr, St Simons 

Jekyll Island Club Resort

JEKYLL ISLAND CLUB RESORT The Jekyll Island Club was named “the richest, the most exclusive, the most inaccessible club in the world” all the way back in 1886. Have your own “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” moment at this historic island getaway. 888-445-3179 | 371 Riverview Dr, Jekyll Island

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

THE KING AND PRINCE BEACH & GOLF RESORT The King and Prince has been welcoming visitors to St. Simon’s Island since 1935. It opened as a dance club before hosting guests as a hotel in 1941. This historic resort will transport you to another place and time. 912-638-3631 | 201 Arnold Rd, St Simons

The Inn at Sea Island

THE INN AT SEA ISLAND Golden Isles resorts are a wealth of history, hospitality, and gracious service. From St. Simon’s Island, The Inn at Sea Island offers access to this historic destination’s amenities. 855-246-8166 | 100 Salt Marsh Dr, St Simons 

Driftwood Beach

DRIFTWOOD BEACH This Jekyll Island landmark is not only a South’s Best Destination, it’s consistently ranked nationally as one of America’s best beaches. Make dreamy memories among the haunting, sea-washed limbs and branches. 

Jekyll Island Trail System

JEKYLL ISLAND TRAIL SYSTEM Explore Jekyll Island by foot or bike on its 25 miles of paved trails winding through maritime forests, past historic landmarks, and along its pristine beaches.

St. Simon’s Lighthouse Museum

ST SIMON’S LIGHTHOUSE MUSEUM Soak up the Golden Isle’s maritime history at the St. Simon’s Lighthouse Museum. Built between 1868 and 1872, the functioning lighthouse still guides sailors and navigators to safety along the Georgia coast. 610 Beachview Dr, St Simons  

Golden Isles Olive Oil and Wine Bar

GOLDEN ISLES OLIVE OIL AND WINE BAR Take a trip around the world with samples of premium olive oils and wines from classic growing regions, all without leaving the Golden Isles at Golden Isles Olive Oil and Wine Bar. 912-602-9736 | 306 Redfern Village, St Simons 

St. Simon’s Tea Company

ST. SIMON’S TEA COMPANY Once you’ve tried loose leaf tea, you’ll never go back to those limp and flavorless grocery store tea bags again. Stop in St. Simon’s Tea Company for a hot cup of delicately flavored oolong and pick up a souvenir that will bring you back to the beach with every sip. 912-638-1899 | 504 Beachview Dr, St Simons 

Salt Table

SALT TABLE Stop in the Golden Isles location of this Savannah-based purveyor of fine salts, spice mixes and gourmet food products. Come hungry and plan to stay for a spell — most of their stock is of the try-before-you-buy variety. 912-270-2405 | 31 Main Street, Suite 111, Jekyll Island.

Source:  South Magazine 


Ever wonder what it is like to be on the other side of the Treatment Window? Wish you could get a closer look at the patients? You’re in luck! The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) offers Behind the Scenes Tours. This experience is a 45-minute to one hour guided tour of the staff only areas of our turtle hospital. Lead by a member of our Education staff, guests will visit food preparation areas, animal holding areas, the treatment room.

Purchase includes free access to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center general admission areas for each ticket holder. The admission portion may be used the same day as the tour or another time.

*Children must be 10 years old or older to participate. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Tour limited to 6 first come, first serve tickets.

These tours take place in the staff only areas of our hospital. We reserve the right to cancel tours without advanced noticed due to emergency veterinary procedures. In the event of a cancellation, a full refund for the tour will be offered.

  • Georgia Sea Turtle Center
  • July 27, 2019 – December 29, 2019
  • Recurring Weekly On Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
  • Georgia Sea Turtle Center
  • 214 Stable Road, Corner Of Hopkins & Stable Rd., Jekyll Island, GA 31527
  • 3:00 PM
  • $32.10

11 Reasons to Love Living by the Beach

11 Reasons to Love Living by the Beach

1. Turtle Patrols

It’s no secret that, in the Golden Isles, we love our sea turtles. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island offers dozens of ways to get up close and personal with the lovable reptiles. One way is by taking part in one of the nonprofit’s Turtle Walks or Nest Walks. During nighttime or morning trips, naturalists walk participants down beaches in search of nesting mother turtles. The evening turtle walks, held throughout July, are open to those 18 and over.


2. Movie Nights

There’s magic in movies, but have you ever seen a movie while floating in an inner tube? You might just get the chance this summer when Summer Waves, the waterpark on Jekyll Island, stays open late for swim-in movie showings of family fun films relating to water. “The Little Mermaid” is set for July 1 at 8:30 p.m. If dry land is more your thing, that’s ok, too. Movies on the Green, hosted by the Jekyll Island Authority, plays free movies on the grassy space in the center of the Beach Village, with a showing of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” slated for 8:30 p.m. on July 28 and “Frozen” at 8 p.m. on August 25.

And while the Glynn Place Mall in Brunswick boasts a fancy new GTX theater, there are other unique ways to take in some old school flicks, too. For instance, the historic Ritz Theatre, operated by Golden Isles Arts and Humanities, offers Cinema Gourmet showing classics paired with a discussion and dinner from local favorite Indigo Coastal Shanty. It runs from the fall to spring. But the Ritz is not the only spot to find oldies but goodies — the Georgia Theater Co. offers Flashback Cinema, featuring the likes of “Gone with the Wind” for a modern-day crowd. The program runs from spring to summer.


3. Cruising By

Living on the coast means finding fun ways to get on the water. While there are plenty of options, few can beat a good ol’ wine cruise. Waterfront Wine and Gourmet in Darien offers both onshore tastings as well as trips around the picturesque rivers and tributaries around the area. Ticket prices include different wines and hors d’oeuvres.

Other vendors offer cruises to other locations. Undoubtedly, the most recognizable boat in the area is a biggie — the Emerald Princess II. The multi-story casino ship shoves off daily from Gisco Point, under the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick. It takes passengers out to international waters, where players have a chance to try their luck at a variety of games. For those who just want to enjoy the ride, a bar and a sun-drenched top deck can offer an uber-relaxing option.


4. Time Travelers

The Golden Isles are rich in history — from Jekyll to Brunswick and St. Simons Island — and every acre is sprinkled with fingerprints of the past. Three of the area’s most iconic landmarks stand as silent witnesses of days gone by, and all have been touched by conflicts that have defined our country.

Fort King George in Darien, for instance, was first established in 1721, serving as the southern outpost of the British Empire in the New World. Soldiers there weathered harsh conditions, fending off threats from the Spanish and Native Americans. Today, a reconstruction of the barracks can be found on the historic site, which showcases what life was like for these early settlers.

On St. Simons Island, one finds a similar site. Fort Frederica, located on the north end of the island, once served as a home for British soldiers also serving General James Oglethorpe in the 1700s. Some ruins of that 1736 encampment can still be seen today with archaeological digs still underway.

Over on the south end of the island, another local icon — the St. Simons lighthouse — stands tall next to the Keeper’s Dwelling, both maintained by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society. First erected in 1810, the lighthouse has guided countless sailors safely to shore. Of course, it also withstood tribulations, such as being burned by the fleeing Confederate Army as Union soldiers approached in 1861. Today, visitors can scale all 172 stairs of the rebuilt structure to get a breathtaking panoramic view of the Isles.


5. Shark Tooth Hunts

Go on the search for fossilized sharks teeth, which can be found in a few low-key places around the Golden Isles. Cumberland Island is known for being a spot to find sharks teeth along its shores. Teeth can also be found near the Sidney Lanier Bridge and on some Jekyll Island beaches.


6. Holiday Celebrations

Whether you are ready to celebrate July Fourth or it’s time to plan your Labor Day weekend, there will be plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays here along the coast.

A special treat for vacationers and residents each year is the over-the-top firework displays during Independence Day celebrations. If you are in downtown Brunswick, head over to Mary Ross Waterfront Park for the festivities that include a display that lights up the night sky. On St. Simons, the place to be is on the south end of the island, where the Pier Village will be taken over by gazers for the evening spectacle that shoots off from the pier. If you find a spot on the beach, you can turn around to catch Sea Island’s display, too. And new this year, Jekyll Island will be lighting off their firework display a day early on July 3.

Celebrate the end of summer during Labor Day weekend with a variety of activities. Sea Island’s Southern Grown festival returns for the fourth year with concert headliner NEEDTOBREATHE ready to sway the night away at Rainbow Island for the Saturday evening concert during the multi-day festival. The Little Light Music Series will also conclude that weekend with a performance by the Sensational Sounds of Motown on Sunday. And for those on the hunt for a good find, swing by the Pier Village for the St. Simons Island Antique Show that will feature vendors and sellers with their wares on Saturday and Sunday.


7. Paddle & Stretch

There are lots of ways to get in your exercise outdoors this summer. With each lunar cycle, Omcore Yoga and Body hosts a full moon beach yoga session at Coast Guard Station. All levels are invited and donations to local causes are accepted rather than payment for these dusky excursions.

Wanting a more full-body experience while taking in the sites? Try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking. Kingfisher Paddleventures’ owner Norm Leonard often includes ecological and historical tidbits in his tours. Turtle Tides Paddleboard and Kayaks, in the Pier Village, also offers tours and rentals, as does South-East Adventure Outfitters, in its Pier Village spot.


8. Beach Bliss

Tourists and residents can find solace in the simplicity of a summer beach day. Pack a bag, grab a chair, and drive out to one of the area’s many beautiful beaches.

On St. Simons, beach accesses are located at Massengale Park, the Coast Guard Station, and Gould’s Inlet. Just remember that the tides can affect how much beach there is, especially if you prefer the south end beaches near Myrtle Street.

On Jekyll Island, beach goers can head out to Great Dunes Park, located in the middle of the island and Jekyll’s biggest beach, or they can sit among the famously picturesque gnarled branches on Driftwood Beach on the north end.

On the southern side of the island, St. Andrews Beach and Glory Beach both offer relaxing spots to park a chair and enjoy the sound of the waves.


9. Fresh Catch

There are quite a few places to turn to when you are ready to cook up some of the Isles’ freshest catches.

Frank Owens with City Market not only supplies local restaurants, but also the public with his downtown Brunswick store on Gloucester Street. Owens can be found hoisting in fish, shrimp, and oysters as he carries on the family business that was first started by his great-grandfather in 1948.

Poteet Seafood Company in Brunswick also has been packing Wild Georgia Shrimp for more than three decades. The operation, owned by shrimp boat captain John Wallace, includes a packing facility as well as a public market that carries various seafood including scallops, crab, clams, spices, and more.


10. Festival Time

Venture outdoors this summer to enjoy some sweet sounds of music by the sea. The Little Light Music Concerts series has returned this summer to St. Simons Island. The concerts take place once a month on Sunday evenings on the oceanfront lawn beneath the St. Simons Lighthouse. Participants are encouraged to bring picnics and lawn chairs.

There’s also Sounds by the Sea, run by Golden Isles Arts and Humanities. These summer concerts are held at Neptune Park from May to September, and attendees are invited to bring picnic blankets and chairs. The season includes Annie Akins on July 22, Maggie and Jackson on August 26, and Gwen Hughes and the Kats on September 23.

The annual Sunshine Festival will also take place on St. Simons from July 4 to July 7 at the St. Simons pier. The multi-day festival provides an Independence Day celebration that will include an arts & crafts show, a 5K race, and fireworks.




11. Sweet Stroll

Cater to that sweet tooth this summer when you take an afternoon stroll by the St. Simons pier or the Jekyll Beach Village.

Frozen yogurt flavors, Italian gelato, and sorbets are just a few scoops away at the pier location of Fuse, which also has locations mid-island and on Jekyll. Tasty pairings such as cherry pie, early grey tea, and more dazzle the taste buds at Moo Cow Ice Cream, just a hop and skip from the pier village, too.

If you are wanting something more than ice cream, the iconic St. Simons Sweets, also located in the Pier Village, sells a variety of delicacies, from cookies to chocolate and more. Across the street, Sunset Slush will be serving up Italian Ice all summer.

Just across the St. Simons Sound, Island Sweets Shoppe in Jekyll Island’s historic district offers old-fashioned candies along with ice cream, fudge, pralines, and more.


Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island. Jekyll, & Sea Island.  


Summer Music

Little Lights Music Series

Each summer, the lawn of the St. Simons Lighthouse provides a picturesque setting for the Little Light Music Concert Series. Musicians carry tunes across the ocean breeze as the crowd relaxes with friends, family, and a picnic.

Performances are held on select Sunday evenings in May through September. Concerts are from 7 to 9 p.m., and tickets are $12 for adults; children under 12 are admitted free of charge. Tickets may be purchased in advance in the Museum Store located at the A.W. Jones Heritage Center, or at the gate the evening of the concert. Check out or the Coastal Georgia Historical Society Facebook page for news and weather updates during the concert season.

The 2018 Lineup

The Tams, who have been entertaining and thrilling audiences for more than 50 years, will kick things off on May 13.

Based out of Atlanta, Loose Chain performs music for all generations and will pack the lawn-covered dance floor during the energetic June 10 performance.  

Still Cruzin’ will play all the Motown and R&B hits on the biggest holiday weekend of the summer on July 1.

The Sensational Sounds of Motown, composed of six veteran musicians with an impressive list of touring and performance credits under their belts, will sway the night away on September 2.

Sounds by the Sea Summertime Concerts

Summer Music

Music is in the air and by the sea as Golden Isles Arts & Humanities gets ready for a great summertime concert series, Sounds by the Sea. A variety of musical offerings will fill Neptune Park from May to September showcasing the best local and regional musicians.

“We are looking forward to another outstanding season of music and you can’t beat the great location, cool ocean breezes and sense of community that makes for a great summertime evening,” says Executive Director Heather Heath.

Sounds by the Sea is presented by Golden Isles Arts and Humanities at Neptune Park on St. Simons Island directly behind the Casino building.

The concerts are held on select Sundays, for maximum breezes and bug-free comfort by the ocean. The concerts take place from 7 to 9 p.m., and guests are encouraged to bring a picnic supper and a lawn chair or blanket to relax on.

A season pass for Sounds by the Sea will be available through May 27 and are $30 for adults, $15 for ages 6 to 12. Passes are available for purchase in person at the Historic Ritz Theatre in Downtown Brunswick or by calling Golden Isles Arts and Humanities at 912-262-6934. Admission to Sounds by the Sea, payable at the gate the night of each show, is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and kids under 6 years old are free.

The 2018 Lineup:

Summer Music

Kicking off the Sounds by the Sea 2018 season on May 27 will be audience favorite and extraordinary jazz ensemble, The Phil Morrison-Ken Trimmins Jazz Collective.

Soulful Southern songwriter Jaime Renee and her band, Jaime Renee and The Walkers, return on June 24 as they launch their new album.

Our sultry songstress of the Golden Isles, Annie Akins, will take the stage on July 22.

Talented Savannah-based musicians Maggie and Jackson Evans perform their unique blend of jazz and salsa, playing original tunes and audience favorites on August 26.

Gwen Hughes & The Kats will close out the season on September 23 with favorite tunes from the ’40s to present day.


Source:  Golden Isles:  The Magazine for Brunswick, St Simons Island. Jekyll, & Sea Island.   Little Lights Music Series, by:  Leigh Ann Stroud and Sounds by the Sea Summertime Concerts, by:  Heather Heath.

Great Bike Ride in the Golden Isles

Sidney Lanier Bridge

St Simons Island is great for cycling around the shops, beach, restaurants, residential roads, etc. There is also some nice cycling on the north end of the island, where the traffic is sparse and you can cruise at a faster pace.  Loading your bikes on the car for a trip to Jekyll Island is also a great option.  It’s about a 15 mile ride if you cycle the entire perimeter of the island, but you can create much shorter loops as well.

But what are the options for the more hard-core cycling enthusiast?  Well, we tried one just the other day and had a great ride.  The total distance was about 29 miles.  We drove to the start of the Jekyll Island Causeway (mainland end).  For parking, just turn left onto the Jekyll Causeway and then take the immediate left turn towards the pier for the Emerald Princess Casino Boat.  Park somewhere off the side of that road, which is lightly used and unload your bikes.  It’s probably a good idea to lock your car before you leave.

Cycling Jekyll Island Causeway

The Jekyll Causeway has a nice shoulder, about 2 ft wide the entire length, with some wider spots.  You’re cycling along with marsh on both sides of the road.  Traffic isn’t too bad and is much lighter than you’ll find along the St Simons Causeway.

After about four miles you’ll come to the Jekyll Island Welcome Center.  If you’re not familiar with the island, just make a quick stop in the Welcome Center for a road map of the island which includes cycling/pedestrian paths). When you leave the Welcome Center you’ll then ride right through the Jekyll Pay Booths ($6/day for a car) but it’s no charge for bicycles to go through. Then it’s about another 2 miles to reach the island.

Once you go over the high bridge you have reached Jekyll Island.  You can plot your own route through and around Jekyll but we headed to the south end first and simply followed the bike paths or roads around the perimeter.  Here is a link to a Jekyll Island map…. .  There is only one section of the perimeter where there is no bike path (the southern-most section of Riverview Road S), but the road in that section is very lightly travelled and we just biked along the road.

Just stay on your bikes and go around the loop for a great ride or pick many of the interesting places to stop and walk around for a while.  Some of our favorites are St Andrews Beach (south end), the Beach Village, Driftwood Beach (north end), and the Historic District.  Please just check that Jekyll Island map to find your own things of interest.

Jekyll High BridgeOnce you’re ready to head back to your car, just cycle back to the Causeway and ride the 6 miles back to your car.

This is one of our favorite rides in the area as you can pedal along at a fast pace with much less pedestrian and vehicle traffic than you would encounter on St Simons Island.  So if you’re looking for a cycling workout this ride is great.  But if you’re into a nice cruise around Jekyll Island where you can stop and take in the sights, then this ride works for that as well.

Neptune Park Fun Zone

Neptune Park

The Neptune Park Fun Zone is the place to putt, swim, and play on St. Simons Island.

The whole family will enjoy an 18-hole miniature golf course.  Open year round, the golf course offers fun for groups of any size ($8 per round, discounts available for large groups).

Cool off this summer at the Neptune Park Fun Zone pool ($8/day, open during spring & summer seasons). There is something for everyone, including a wading pool and water gym for the kids, lap lanes, and zero-entry access.  All areas are constantly monitored by American Red Cross-certified lifeguards.

550 Beachview Drive, St. Simons Island, GA 31522


Climb the St Simons Lighthouse

St Simons Island Lighthouse


Climbing the steps of the St Simons Island Lighthouse has the reward of an amazing view of the island!  You can also view a short film on the history of the lighthouse, see Victorian furniture showing how the keeper and his family lived on the second level, and visit the museum.   YOu will see colorful exhibits of rare artifacts, historical photographs, and interactives designed for the whole family.  It is located on the Village and is well worth the visit.

SSI lighthouse

St. Simons Lighthouse Museum hours:

  • Monday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Last climb is at 4:30 p.m.

Cost:  $12 for adults, $5 for ages 6 – 12, children under 6, Society members, and active duty military and their immediate families are admitted FREE of charge.

St Simons Island lighthouse


This video shows great aerial views.


This clip is a preview of filmmaker and historian Michael Jordan’s documentary, “Lighthouses of the Southeast.”



St Simons Island Historic Trolley Tours

St Simons Island Historic Trolley Tours

One of the most popular tours on St. Simons Island are the trolley tours. Ride along the island to see historic landmarks and local attractions while learning about the stories, people and legends that make the Golden Isles magical.

The drive-by tour includes 36 points of interest including a walking tour of historic Christ Church (except Mondays). Other sites include the Lighthouse, one of only three working lighthouses in Georgia; Bloody Marsh, site of the famous 1742 battle where the fate of the Southern Colonies was decided; Fort Frederica, the colonial town and fort settled by General James Edward Oglethorpe; and Retreat Plantation, where relics from the slavery era still exist.   The trolley stop is located by the Pier in the St. Simons Pier Village.

Trolley Schedule:   April through August:  11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m. everyday.  September through March: 11:00 a.m. only everyday.

Trolley Tour Rates:  Adults – $20.00, Children (4-12) – $10.00, Children (Under 4) – FREE