Georgia’s Golden Isles have drawn people for generations for their fresh sea air and gentle ocean breezes. The largest barrier island, St. Simons Island, was a summer refuge for escaping the hot summers of the mainland for many families starting in the 1870s. Today St. Simons continues to draw tourists and summer residents for its wide-open beaches, world-class golfing and fishing and its relaxed island lifestyle and rich history.
Made up of St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island and private Little St. Simons Island, the character and charm of the Golden Isles have been protected and preserved since the mid 1960s, when a group of citizens concerned about development formed the Coastal Georgia Historical Society. The society’s first mission was creating the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum, which has year-round educational opportunities and summer concerts and activities. Another must-see on St. Simons is Fort Frederica National Monument, which dates to 1736 and was the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh in 1742, when the British defeated the Spanish.
East Beach is the perfect place to unwind, collect shells, go for a bike ride or just take a stroll. The social hub of St. Simons Island is the Pier Village along Mallery Street, on the south end of the Island. The area is dotted with tempting boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
The island’s setting on St. Simon Sound makes it a prime fishing location, for offshore excursions as well as inland- water outings behind the islands. Golf is a key pastime in the Golden Isles, and the PGA’s RSM Classic Tournament is held every November at the Sea Island Resort on nearby Sea Island, which has the most picturesque course around.
Whether you visit St. Simons for a weekend or stay for the whole summer, you will find more than enough to keep you occupied.
WHERE TO EAT
- Palm Coast Coffee Cafe´ (318 Mallery St., 912-634-7515) This pet-friendly cafe has everything — amazing doughnuts and coffee.
- Barbara Jeans (214 Mallery St., 912-634-6500) A family-run restaurant specializing in seafood and home-style cooking.
- The Crab Trap (209 Ocean Blvd., 912-638-3552) Known for excellent local seafood served with battered fries, hush puppies and coleslaw.
- Del Sur (321 Mallery St., 912-638-1223) A unique Argentine restaurant, with a menu ranging from roasted lamb empanadas to grilled skirt steak.
- The Coastal Kitchen (102 Marina Dr., 912-638-7790) Located at Morningstar Marina and serving tasty seafood with great marina views.
WHAT TO DO
- Kayak: Go paddling with Southeast Adventure Outfitters to experience the Georgia Low Country from a different perspective. (912-638-6732, southeastadventure.com)
- Trolley Tours: There are several trolley-tour companies to choose from, and all offer historical insights and a very amusing ride. (stsimonstours.com, colonialtrolley.com)
- Dolphin Tours: Contact Cap Fendig, a lifelong resident of St. Simons, to get up close and personal with the local dolphins. (912-638-3333, capfendig.com)
- Biking: Take advantage of the marina’s courtesy bikes to explore the miles of trails around the area.
WHERE TO DOCK
Morningstar Marina at Golden Isles is closest to the village of St. Simons. This is a first-class service marina has more than 1,100 feet of transient dock and offers boat detailing, bottom painting, a courtesy car, restroom and shower facilities, a ship store and an onsite restaurant — The Coastal Kitchen.