Yes, There are Islands in Georgia. Here are the Five You Need to Visit Now.

Yes, There are Islands in Georgia. Here are the Five You Need to Visit Now.

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I grew up in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Yes, there are islands in Georgia, quite a few actually. Our little piece of paradise flew under the radar throughout most of my childhood but is much more familiar these days now thanks to press for a certain five diamond resort. Whether you've heard of Georgia’s sea islands or not, let's go island hopping.

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Five Islands to Visit in Georgia

Cumberland Island

Wild Horses on Cumberland Island, Georgia

The Southern most Island on my list, Cumberland is a National Seashore and a true treasure. Famous in recent history for the wedding of JFK Junior and Carolyn Bessette, it was once the playground of the Carnegie family. The largely undeveloped island is home to wild horses, massive sand dunes, and stretches of beach begging to be explored. Cumberland Island is just ferry ride away from the hustle of the resorts in the Golden Isles, and a must for those wanting  to really un-plug on their vacation. The one hotel on the island, the Greyfield Inn, was built in 1900 for Lucy Carnegie's daughter and was converted to an inn in the 1960s. Greyfield is an all inclusive island elegant escape complete with guided tours, kayaks, bikes, gourmet meals, and more. A weekend at the Greyfield is still on my bucket list. Read more...

Must see:

  • Plum Orchard

  • Dungeness Ruins

  • First African Baptist Church

RELATED CONTENT: A Cumberland Island Getaway

Jekyll Island

Boneyard beach jekyll island georgia

Like Cumberland, Jekyll Island was made famous in the late nineteenth century as well. Powerful families from New England made their winter home on Jekyll for years and the historic hotel is still in use. Today, at least 65% of the island is undeveloped and owned by the state of Georgia making it a unique place to visit and experience untouched coastline. Even if you're not staying on the island, it makes a great day trip from St. Simons or Sea Island.

Jekyll Island Club Resort

Jekyll Island Club Resort

Related: Winter Getaway at The Jekyll Island Club Resort

Must see:

St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island is where I grew up and the most developed of the five islands. If you want a good mix of food, nightlife, and relaxation then this is place to go. You can rent a bike and cruise the miles of bike paths, eat and drink til your heart and stomach are content, and chill on the beach. Below are a few of some can’t miss things in St. Simons but check out my ultimate first timer’s guide to St. Simons Island for all the information you need to plan a trip.

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Must see:

  • Gould's Inlet

  • Avenue of the Oaks

  • Cannon's Point Nature Preserve

  • Hamilton Plantation Ruins

  • St. Simons Island Lighthouse

Eat/Drink:

  • Bubba Garcias & Bubba's Up - tex mex cantina and bar (spicy pork tacos!)

  • Nancy - high end fashion + farm to table cuisine

  • Cafe Frederica - favorite breakfast

  • Southern Soul - BBQ (smoked chicken salad is my fav)

  • Murphy's Tavern - dive bar in The Village with pool tables and dart boards

  • CJ's Pizza - the pizza institution on the Island. Teeny tiny place, get the deep dish.

RELATED CONTENT: A Local's Guide to St. Simons Island Restaurant Guide

Shop:

  • Two Friends - home and fashion boutique (killer accessories)

  • Viola's Market - home and gift

  • Tibi Outlet - Contemporary women's wear at major discount

Where to Stay

Sea Island

Home of the lavish Sea Island Resort, Sea Island is the place to spoil yourself while on your vacation. The hotel is beautiful and the service is impeccable. Here you'll find a members only beach club, award-winning spa, restaurants, and activities galore.

Must see/do:

  • The Spanish Lounge

  • Drinks at The River Bar

  • Massage at The Spa

  • Beach stroll past the jetty

Booking.com

Sapelo Island

Sapelo Island | ems on the road

This is my favorite out of the five. Just north of Darien, Georgia, Sapelo Island is part nature preserve and part historic district with a virtually untouched landscape. There are only a handful of places to stay on the island and all are vacation rentals so check out AirBnB or VRBO for current listings. The Reynolds Mansion is also available for rent but you have to rent the entire property at once; 16 adults are the minimum. I think it'd be perfect for a group of couples or a great headquarters for a family reunion.  There are two huge beaches to explore, plantation ruins to see, and hours of relaxing to be had. The island is a lot bigger than you'd think so if you rent a place to stay make sure if has bikes or a car available to use. Sightseeing tours are available through Tour Sapelo. If you're interested in kayaking you can organize a multi-day trip through Southeast Adventures and experience the best of Sapelo by kayak and venture to neighboring Blackbeard Island. *Note: You can only reach Sapelo by ferry; click here for the ferry schedule.

Must see:

  • Chocolate Plantation ruins

  • Nannygoat Beach

  • Cabretta Beach (Camping available)

  • Reynolds Mansion

  • Raccoon Bluff

  • Sapelo Lighthouse

This is just a taste of what each of these islands has to offer so be on the lookout for guides to each one of these islands in the future. Have you traveled to the Golden Isles? If you have, let me know in the comments below!

* Photos for Jekyll, St. Simons, Sea Island, and Sapelo were provided by Ryan Hines.

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