Top 10 things to do in the Golden Isles
Top 10 Things to do in the Golden Isles
The Golden Isles is made up of four barrier islands, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island and Little St. Simons, located midway between Savannah, Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. When you start to see streets lined with big beautiful 200-year-old oak trees hung with Spanish moss you know you have arrived in the Golden Isles. Blended in between the oak trees are giant palm trees. Nowhere else in the world will you will find a mixture of oak and palm trees together. It’s as southern as it gets!
Everywhere you go in the Golden Isles, you will be greeted with a friendly smile and hello. The southern hospitality is so enchanting. 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, like drinking a glass of cold sweet tea while watching your kids play in the sand on the beautiful beaches. The spectacular Georgia coast sunsets over the marshy ocean are worth taking the trip alone. There are many hidden gems in the Golden Isles, however we are going to list the top 10 things to do when coming to the beautiful southeastern Georgia coast:
1. Trolley Tour
See all the historic Saint Simons landmarks 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 historic 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 the 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. St. Simons Pier
The St. Simons Pier 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 wooden yacht is gorgeous and can accomodate small or large parties.
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.
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 boutique and antique shops, tasty restaurants, a distillery, art gallery and even pottery painting. 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 summertime concerts and weekend farmers' markets.
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. There are two main trail systems in the Golden Isles. St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island each have more than 20 miles of paved bike paths that provide easy and safe access to attractions, restaurants and shops without the use of a car. The St. Simons Island biking trail system provides connections to various activities across the island. You can take a heritage tour at the Harrington School, fish at St. Simons Island Pier or view native wildlife at Cannon’s Point Preserve just to name a few. If you want to get off the paved paths, East Beach is an excellent spot for beach biking during low tide. Jekyll Island’s biking trail system encircles the island and includes points of interest such as the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Driftwood Beach and historic district. Biking on Jekyll Island offers a variety of sightseeing options whether through maritime forests, alongside the beach or down shopping streets.
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.