Looking for a weekend escape? Known for pristine beaches, historic sites, fine dining, acclaimed golfing, and mild weather, St. Simons offers something for everyone.
I invite you to come along on a visual tour with me as I explore all that the Golden Isles have to offer.
Every great weekend requires a hub for all your activities. St. Simons offers a variety of accommodations including resort hotels, rental homes, beachside bungalows, or even camping. Whether you are on a romantic getaway, family holiday, or business retreat, there is something for every lifestyle and budget.
My choice for the weekend- the Luxurious King & Prince Beach Resort offering oceanfront suites, poolside rooms, guest houses, and island villas.
ECHO, located on property, is the island’s only oceanfront restaurant and bar. Chef James Flack serves coastal cuisine in a casual atmosphere. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
Barry’s Beach Service is located on the beach in front of the hotel. Rentals include beach chairs/umbrellas, kayaks, sailboats, boogie boards, paddleboards and more.
The award-winning golf course offers a challenging layout amongst forests, salt marshes, and a vast lake at the 9th hole.
My favorite meals of the weekend included the Georgia Wild Shrimp. If you haven’t tried this local seafood, you MUST. There really is a difference. Sweet. Tender. Fresh! Yum.
Exploring by Land
Grab a bicycle from Ocean Motion Bicycle Rentals and head to the south end of the island. St.Simons’ Pier Village district is a popular destination. The perfect spot for shopping, dining, fishing at the pier, visiting the historic lighthouse, taking the kids to the playground, and more.
Fans of Eugenia Price flock to St. Simons to learn more about their favorite author and to visit the tiny island that inspired her writing.
Price’s fiction includes The Beloved Invader (1965), New Moon Rising (1969), and The Lighthouse (1971), which make up the St. Simons trilogy; Don Juan McQueen (1974), Maria (1977), and Margaret’s Story (1980), the Florida trilogy; Savannah (1983), To See Your Face Again (1985), Before the Darkness Falls (1987), and Stranger in Savannah (1989), the Savannah quartet; Bright Captivity (1991), Where Shadows Go (1993), and Beauty from Ashes (1995), the Georgia trilogy; and The Waiting Time, published in 1997.
Although her early books focused on real people who lived in coastal Georgia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—James Gould, Horace Gould, John Couper, Mary Gould, Anna Gould Dodge, and Anson Greene Phelps Dodge Jr.—her later novels featured fictional characters. It is the earlier novels that bring tourists to St. Simons year after year, where they walk among the moss-draped oaks in Christ Church Cemetery, searching for the graves of the islanders brought back to life in Price’s books. – Pearman, Renee. “Eugenia Price (1916-1996).” New Georgia Encyclopedia. 25 November 2013.
Scott McQuade, President and CEO of the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomes us to the Golden Isles Visitors Center. Recently completed to provide visitor information, the Visitors Bureau houses a local art gallery, artisan gift shop and photography exhibit. Around the corner, you can also see one of the island’s Tree Spirits carved by local artisan Keith Jennings.
Learning about Bee Products downtown with Ted Dennard of Savannah Bee Company. An elderly beekeeper, Roy Hightower, sparked young Ted’s journey in the magical world of bees and honey and it’s been 35 years of it ever since. Ted backed into business in 1999 when his friend opened a store in Savannah and began selling his tupelo honey. Ted is passionate about sharing the world of bees with others and introducing new honeybee products to market. – Savannah Bee Company.
If biking is not your thing or you want to see the outskirts of St. Simons, Lighthouse Trolley Tours can help. Hop onboard and visit Christ Church where the Methodist Denomination was founded. They also offer trips to the Avenue of the Oaks, Fort Frederica, Jekyll Island, and Ghost Tours.
Christ Church was built by the congregation of John and Charles Wesley. John and Charles Wesley, both evangelists, accompanied James Oglethorpe to Georgia in order to establish it as an English colony. They were both religious leaders. John is considered one of the greatest evangelists. Charles is famous for writing hundreds of hymns and poems. His most famous hymn is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” – Christ Church
The first church structure was built in 1820 but was partially destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War. In 1884, the Reverend Anson Phelps Dodge, Jr., built the present structure in memory of his wife, Ellen.
The grounds contain a cemetery with graves of the Dodge Family, early settlers, and many famous Georgians including the author Eugenia Price.
After the loss of their only child in infancy, Reverend Dodge and his second wife Anna Gould started an orphanage called the Anson Phelps Dodge Home for boys that remained in operation until 1956.
Sightseeing By Sea
Takeing to the water is a great way to see St. Simons, Jekyll Island, Brunswick and Bird Island. Cap Fendig of Cap Fendig Tours, a life long resident of St. Simons and a member of one of the oldest island families, provides various tour options. Choose from dolphin tours, private sunset cruises, lunch and dinner cruises, fishing tours, wedding boat trips, and more.
The rare and beautiful white pelicans of Bird Island. Created almost 10 years ago to provide refuge for all species of migrating birds, Bird Island is located off the coast of Jekyll Island. It replaces shrinking bird habitats with one protected from raccoons and other prey.
To the surprise of the birding experts, these White Pelicans, which are normally seen in the Great Lakes Region, have found their way to this tiny Georgia island. Each year the population grows and several are staying year round. Like the tourists, I guess they know they found a welcome home on the Golden Isles.
A Jaunt To Jekyll Island Club
The 240-acre Historic Landmark District of Jekyll Island Club is just a short drive south of St. Simons and a perfect afternoon excursion. A 90-minute guided tram tour includes entry into two cottages and Faith Chapel. For $16, I think it is an amazing value and history lesson. During your visit, you can also opt for a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour for $15 or a private evening tour for two for $40.
Founded in 1886, the Jekyll Island Club was once the private winter retreat of America’s wealthiest families with such members as Morgan, Rockefeller, Pulitzer and Vanderbilt. The club’s focal point for evening meals in the Grand Dining Room, guest accommodations, and social activities. Learn more about this Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places at http://www.jekyllclub.com/about-us/hotel-history/
The clubhouse is now the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and is the island’s only 5-star resort.
Faith Chapel in the Historic District of the Jekyll Island Club was built in 1904 and added to the National Register in 1971. Originally named the All Faith Chapel due to the various denominations of the club’s members, it was later shortened to Faith Chapel.
Open to the public as part of the tram tour or as a chapel only pass, it is worth exploring. Make sure to look for the original (and signed) Tiffany Stained Glass Window at the front of the chapel.
I hope you enjoyed the journey and thank your for exploring with me. Make sure to follow along with VISIT the SOUTH on Instagram at @tammyleebradley and @visitthesouthEATS as I explore the beauty of the SOUTH!
All photos by Tammy Lee Bradley of VISIT the SOUTH™. Please do not download.
Disclosure: Complimentary accommodations, meals, and activities were provided by Leigh Cort Publicity and The King & Prince Resort. No other compensation was received for this review. This post reflects the honest opinion of my experience without outside influence.