St. Simons Island, Georgia, was recently voted the number one favorite beach town by Travel and Leisure. Now the entire country knows what I’ve known for more than 20 years — St. Simons is the perfect mix of seaside fun and small town charm.
I think the reason we love it so much is St. Simons isn’t a contrived vacation destination, it’s a small town with a rich history and year-round residents who welcome visitors with great dining, good shopping, history, adventure, fabulous resorts, and — the beach. This coastal Georgia barrier island is definitely worth a visit.
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WHERE TO STAY: ST. SIMONS ISLAND HOTELS
THE KING AND PRINCE BEACH & GOLF RESORT
The Historic King & Prince is my favorite hotel on the island because it’s the only hotel that is right on the beach. In addition to that, it has five pools (including a main pool that overlooks the ocean), tennis courts, bike rentals, and you can walk to some of my favorite restaurants. In addition to hotel rooms in the historic portion, there are also villas and houses for rent on property.
The in-house restaurant, Echo Oceanfront Restaurant, is fantastic for breakfast, lunch or dinner, as well as adult beverages.
THE INN AT SEA ISLAND
The Inn at Sea Island is set up mainly for golfers, but you do have access to many of the amenities at Sea Island Resort, like dining, spa, tennis, shooting school, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, hunting, and falconry. (Yes, falconry!)
There is also complimentary shuttle service, so it’s an inexpensive (relatively speaking) alternative to staying at the luxurious Cloister on Sea Island.
MORE LODGING OPTIONS ON ST. SIMONS ISLAND
- The Lodge at Sea Island is located on St. Simons Island and features three championship golf courses, amazing restaurants, and beautiful rooms.
- The Hampton Inn St. Simons Island is located in the St. Simons interior. You’ll find great rooms, a free buffet breakfast, and a swimming pool.
- Best Western Plus St. Simons, formerly known as the Island Inn to us old timers, has a nice outdoor pool, free breakfast, and is just minutes from the public beach, lighthouse, shops, and restaurants.
- Sea Palms is located in the interior of St. Simons and is a great choice for golf and tennis enthusiast. In addition to standard rooms with balconies, they also have three and four-bedroom suites with full kitchens, perfect for families.
- Sea Gate Inn, managed by Sea Palms Resort, is an all-suite hotel that features an outdoor heated pool. Beach access is just across the street. My kids loved swimming here when they were young.
- The Village Inn & Pub is a boutique hotel located in the historic downtown village. The pub is a favorite night time hang out for visitors, as well as guests of the Inn, and has a comfy living room feel.
15 BEST THINGS TO DO IN ST SIMONS ISLAND
ST. SIMONS ISLAND BEACHES
The pristine beaches on St. Simons Island are definitely worth the visit. The St. Simons Beach is a favorite activity.
The St. Simons Island tides make beach access different depending on where you are. In some places like East Beach, you still have beach even at high tide. In others, like around the King and Prince Hotel, high tide can come up to the rocks.
If you aren’t staying on the beach, there are many public access points. Parking is available at the pier in the village, as well as at Massengale Park and The Coast Guard Station (in season they have a snack bar here too).
ST. SIMONS LIGHTHOUSE
The St. Simons Island lighthouse and museum are must-see attractions in downtown St. Simons. Climb the 129 stairs to the top for a great view of Saint Simons Island, GA, as well as Jekyll Island and Brunswick, the mainland town.
The Coastal Georgia Historical Society manages the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum and the new World War II Homefront Museum in the Old Coast Guard station.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND TREE SPIRITS
The St. Simons Island Tree Spirits are one of my favorite things about this island! I love the treasure hunt to find the tree spirits, and the welcome surprise when you come across one you didn’t know was there.
What are they? The spirits have been carved into the majestic oaks that surround the island by local artist Keith Jennings. Keep an eye out, they’re enchanting!
Neptune Park is a seaside park that is perfect for picnics under the giant live oaks. There are picnic tables and grills located just outside the gates to a children’s playground, although most kids end up climbing on the mother whale and her baby sculpture just as much as the climbing wall.
Adjacent to the playground is an outdoor pool with zero entry for little ones and a water tower structure that sprays and dumps water on kids. Beyond that, you’ll find a mini-golf course.
FORT FREDERICA NATIONAL MONUMENT
Fort Frederica is one of the Georgia State Parks historical sites and was once a thriving community in colonial Georgia. It has one of the best junior ranger programs I’ve ever seen.
A compliment to Fort Frederica is a visit to the Bloody Marsh battle site, where a decisive battle ended forever the threat of Spanish invasion into what was then, a British colony, during the Battle of Bloody Marsh.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN ST SIMONS ISLAND
- Bikes are a must on our St. Simons beach vacation. If you don’t bring your own, rent them from Ocean Motion or MonkeyWrench Bicycles. There are more than 30 miles of bike paths on the Island and it’s a great way explore.
- Island Trolley. To get the overall history of Saint Simons, take the Island Trolley tour. Pick up the Trolley under the big oak trees near the fishing pier. The trolleys are air conditioned and wheelchair accessible.
- Christ Church Frederica is the second oldest Episcopal Church in Georgia and the third oldest in the nation. This beautiful church is nestled amongst live oak trees on the scenic north end of the island. The church is open to the public for tours Tuesday through Sunday from 2 – 5pm.
- Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation in Brunswick is a Georgia State Historic Site that offers guided house tours, nature trails, and more. In addition to touring the house, try to find the geocaches located here, or just have fun exploring the grounds and the old dairy barns.
- St. Simons Island Pier. Go fishing or crabbing off the St. Simons Pier, or wander around taking in the views and seeing what others have caught. We’ve spied hammerhead sharks, horseshoe crabs, rays and lots of different fish.
- Gascoigne Bluff is frequented by locals and was thought to be the first landing area for ships. Now it’s a popular fishing spot and also hosts events such as the Georgia Sea Island Festival.
- The Lady Jane Shrimp Boat is probably my favorite, favorite excursion on St. Simons Island. Board an authentic Georgia shrimp boat with an authentic crusty captain and trawl through the marshes to discovered the sea underneath. We’ve pulled up pufferfish, huge sting rays, and shrimp.
- Fishing Tour. Take a tour with Cap Fendig providing access to the sights, sounds, and experiences of the inaccessible wilderness areas on Georgia’s coast. Day or night, they offer boat trips and insights.
- Kayak Tour. I’ve kayaked through the marshes and out into the ocean with my middle son, and it was amazing. If you go with Golden Island Paddle Co. like we did, you’ll learn a lot about the ecology of the area while you’re having fun.
- African American Heritage Tour. The Gullah Geechee are decedents of the African slaves that worked the cotton and rice plantations along the coast. Hear the wonderful stories of growing up on the island on an African American Heritage Tour.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND GOLF COURSES
SEA ISLAND GOLF COURSES
There are three Sea Island golf courses, as well as a nationally-renowned training center that will have your game in shape in no time. They also do club fittings, as well as lessons. Stay at The Lodge onsite to combine training with a golf package.
- The Seaside One Course. The Seaside Course is one of the most beautiful courses you’ll ever play. It is challenging for all skill levels because of multiple tee boxes. The greens are large with lots of undulation and always fast. Take some time on the practice green before teeing off here.
- The Plantation Course. This is another beautiful course with marsh vistas. The greens are similar to Seaside, large, hilly and fast. The Plantation Course may be little longer than Seaside, but there aren’t as many hazards.
- The Islands Club. The Islands Club Course is farther inland. It’s always in great shape with greens just like Seaside and Plantation. This course has fewer hazards with houses lining some holes. There are lots of tee options for any level.
MORE GOLF COURSES ON ST SIMONS ISLAND
- The Sea Palms Golf Course is the best value on the island. The course is inland but there are still a number of water hazards. The course is mostly straight and flat with lots of large trees lining it.
- The King and Prince course is a very nice course cut through the marsh on the north side of the island. The course is not long but there are plenty of ways to get into trouble; lots of hazards on this course. There are also some incredible marsh views and if you are lucky you might see a bald eagle or two.
WHERE TO EAT: BEST ST. SIMONS RESTAURANTS
Here are a few we love, and here are even more St Simons Island restaurants you have to try.
- Southern Soul BBQ. This award winning BBQ restaurant is one of the most well-loved barbeque restaurants in the state. BBQ, sandwiches, Brunswick stew, awesome sides…it’s all good.
- Crab Trap: Three words – batter dipped fries. And the fried shrimp is good too. For a slightly more upscale experience, go next door to Crabdaddys.
- Brogens: This is my husband’s favorite. He loves the chicken swiss sandwich.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND WEATHER AND LOCATION INFO
St. Simons Island is located on the southeast corner of Georgia, with easy Interstate access via I-95. It’s about equal distance to fly commercial into Savannah, Ga., or Jacksonville, Fl. Nearby Brunswick also has daily direct flights via Delta Air Lines to and from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Private planes can fly directly to the Island.
St. Simons weather is mild with highs in the 80’s and lows in the 40’s, making it a great year round destination. In fact, we’ve spent many a December day on the beach, sometimes even in the water. Rain peaks in August and September, but there isn’t a real rainy season.
ST SIMONS ISLAND FAQ
What is St Simons Island known for?
St Simons is known for magical beaches, perfect for relaxation. St. Simons Island beach offers many access points and amenities like playgrounds, public restrooms, and shaded picnic areas is East Beach.
What are the top attractions on St Simons Island?
Some of the top attractions are the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum, Fort Frederica National Monument, Neptune Park and the St Simons Fishing Pier.
Are dogs allowed on St. Simons Island beach?
Dogs are prohibited on the beach Memorial Day through Labor Day from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. From 6 p.m.-9 a.m., dogs are allowed on the beach and do not need to be leashed, but must be in the owner’s immediate control.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR GEORGIA VISIT
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- JEKYLL ISLAND: Jekyll Island GA: Protected Coastal Beauty With Resort Fun
- LITTLE ST. SIMONS ISLAND: Little St Simons Island: Tips, Tricks and Tidbits
- GEORGIA COAST: The Georgia Coast: 47 Amazing Things To Do On and Near the Barrier Islands
- FORT KING GEORGE: Fort King George Historical Site: An Amazing Coastal Georgia Stop
ST SIMONS ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE MAP
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