Whether you want a vacation full of “fun and sun” or a historical area for an educational trip, Georgia’s east coast and St. Simons Island will provide your wish. Easily accessible from I-95, St. Simons will be a great mini vacation or a whole week of relaxation, whatever you want your vacation to be. The Golden Isles are found near Brunswick, Georgia.
To reach St. Simons, you will be passing the Marshes of Glynn, immortalized in the poem by the same name by Sidney Lanier. Take in the scenery, it’s incredible. The first time I saw this area, I had remembered to slip a copy of the poem into my purse and pulling off to read it while seeing the marshes was educational and a wonderful moment in that vacation.
Plan to spend at least two days here to see everything that the island has to offer. Allow yourself some beach time, too, because St. Simons is surrounded by water and oceanfront to the Atlantic. There is a pier for walking or fishing and sand to enjoy and relax. All the while you will be able to see the beautiful St. Simons Lighthouse from most points on the island. It is a United States Coast Guard property and is still in operation.
There are some fabulous restaurants here so be sure to do your homework before your trip so that you have an idea about where you would like to eat. The area by the ocean is a great spot for shopping, too. If you are into antiques, this is a place you won’t want to miss, along with nearby Brunswick.
If you are interested in the historical areas of St. Simons, there are numerous places to plan to visit. One of the first things you will probably notice is the fact that there is an abundance of Spanish moss here and it is beautiful on the ancient oaks.
One highlight of a tour will be Fort Frederica. This former military base and fort offers a nice walk around the grounds while learning some of the history of the area. There is a small visitor center where you can find out more about the fort and surrounding town. The foundations of the colonial (British) homes and businesses are visible.
A lovely church dating back to the late 1800s is Christ Church Frederica. Be sure to note the exquisite stained glass and there is a walking path across from the church. The old cemetery is often open and available for a stroll as well.
Still another historical spot is the Bloody Marsh Battlefield area. British soldiers gave the Spanish a serious defeat here in 1742.
Other things to see while visiting St. Simons include Gascoigne Bluff, a narrated trolley tour of the island, and some of the grand old homes that remain from Victorian days. If you dare, sign up for a lantern lit ghost tour with a guide. Look for the various “tree spirits” around the island. They are faces carved right into trees and represent sailors lost at sea.
If you still have time to have more fun, check out one of the nature tours, marsh tours, (watch for those Georgia gators!) or other tours that will offer things such as dolphin watching.