The Best Hotels and Vacation Rentals in Georgia's Golden Isles
Beach vacations are all about relaxing so you want your hotel or house to help you achieve do just that. When you go to a popular vacation destination like the Golden Isles area of Georgia there are endless options to choose from. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about St. Simons Island hotels lately via email and social media so I wanted to dive in a little deeper here and share my picks for where to stay in the Golden Isles. I’m breaking down hotels and vacation rentals in St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, and Sea Island, with specifics on the location, special features, and value. We hosted our wedding in St. Simons and I’ve stayed at many of these over the years, so you’re in good hands. If you have any questions drop a comment below or email me. I love hearing from readers!
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Where to stay in St. Simons Island
St. Simons Island is the main hub of this area and the most developed of the three we’re discussing in this post. You’ll find the largest selection of restaurants, shops, and attractions here and the most lodging options. I’m not discussing any chain hotels like Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express but know that they are on the island if you’re interested. I’m sharing my favorite properties that are unique to St. Simons.
Hotels in St. Simons Island, Georgia
This 1930s beach cottage turned inn and pub is one of my favorite places to recommend for visitors. Located in the heart of the Village, the location is pretty perfect being walking distance from the pier, beach, and restaurants. The rooms are really cozy and most overlook the courtyard and pool. The pub is a great spot for happy hour before heading out on the town or it’s an ideal spot for a nightcap on the porch once the day’s heat has melted away. A lot of our out of town wedding guests stayed here and loved it for the location and price. Check rates and availability.
Staying steps from the soft white sand of St. Simons is absolutely possible. If you’re looking for a hotel right on the beach in St. Simons Island, then King and Prince is the place for you. This historic hotel opened first as a seaside dance club in 1935 and is still situated between the popular Coast Guard Station Beach (East Beach) and The Pier/ Village. Having served as a naval training base during WWII building the hotel has operated as such since the mid 1940s. The hotel has undergone many renovations and expansions over the years but the beachfront location and ever popular Mediterranean style has remained the same. The resort has tennis courts, golf, spa treatments, workout room, pools, and the only oceanfront restaurant on the island. Check rates and availability for the King and Prince.
For a quiet, yet elegant hotel centrally located on St. Simons, The Inn at Sea Island is the place to be. The hotel has the classic Addison Mizner vibe like the OG Cloister hotel (will talk about later) and location puts you in the central part of the island and close to some of my favorite restaurants, like Cafe Frederica and Delaney’s Bistro. The rooms are gorgeous, decorated in beachy hues of blue and white. The property also features a heated outdoor pool, chic lounge, and newly opened Top Golf Swing Suite in the lobby bar. Check rates here.
For another Sea Island property in St. Simons Island located near the Village, The Lodge is a Forbes Five Star Resort and one of my favorites if your budget allows. The interior really shines with an old world European lodge vibe thanks to all of the fireplaces, exposed beams, and leather furniture. Plus your room comes with a very accommodating butler. When you stay at The Lodge, you’re not far from great good but there are two excellent restaurants on the property - Colt & Allison is a classic steakhouse, and the Oak Room is the tavern on the water. But the best part about this property is the view on the deck overlooking the golf course and the ocean. At cocktail hour, watch the sunset with a cocktail and enjoy the bagpipers play. It’s truly stunning. The famous Avenue of the Oaks is on the property and a short walk from the lodge. Check room options and rates.
One year our parents surprised us with rooms for New Year’s Eve. My sisters and I were home from college and jumped at the chance to live in luxury for the night and order really good room service. We brought our own booze to ring in the new year (because broke college girls) and while we’d gone out, the butler had chilled our super classy Bud heavy and Andre champagne in silver buckets with crystal stemware at the ready. We left him a fat tip, but I’m still mortified that we did that.
Queen’s Court Inn - This vintage motor-court hotel has been in the heart of the Village since 1948 and renovated in recent years. It has a classic mid-mod vibe outside with all the rooms facing towards the saltwater swimming pool underneath the dreamy live oaks. The location is perfect for families and people looking for an affordable hotel option that is convenient to all the activities the island has to offer. I do wish the renovation would’ve embraced the heritage of the hotel a little more and with some retro decor on the interior but for the location, the Queen’s Court is an excellent value.
Traveling with Children
If you are traveling with small kids, don’t feel like you have to bring a bunch of baby gear. There is a much easier solution thanks to BabyQuip. They have helpful items like strollers, full size cribs, and more available to rent during your vacation. Since I’m expecting and travel often, my cousin filled me on the service and there’s local provider in the Golden Isles area! Even better, they’ll bring it to your rental, set it up, and pick it up after you depart. Hotels sometimes stock some of these items but check ahead of time. Vacation rentals in the area typically don’t have these things on hand.
St. Simons Island Vacation Rentals
The chicest mini resort in all of St. Simons, The Park is 5 different rental houses located next to the Pier and centered around a fabulous swimming pool courtyard. Bryce Brock and Kelly Revels of The Vine are the creative geniuses behind this dreamy beach escape. I love this property because they utilized original mid-mod beach houses and transformed them into sleek and modern spaces with beautiful and comfortable interiors creating a fun and relaxing escape from everyday life. I’ve gushed about one of their bigger houses before, The Fig House (sleeps 9), in all its midcentury glory and now there are several more houses on the property to choose from. The smallest house fits four and the largest fits 10. Fig House Photos below courtesy of Kelli Boyd Photography.
Beach Bungalow next door to Crabdaddy’s - 2 bed, 2 bath beach bungalow two blocks from the beach. This house has everything you need and nothing you don’t. I love this one because it is pet-friendly and has a fenced in backyard in case you want to bring your pups along for your beach vacay. It is also within walking distance to the Crab Trap and Crabdaddy’s, two local favorite seafood joints.
The Little House on Oak - If you’re traveling solo or as a couple, this little beach house might be perfect. It is located on the south end of the island, walking distance to the beach, pier, village, and restaurants.
Jekyll Island Hotels
Jekyll Island is beautiful state park owned by the State of Georgia and a lot less developed than St. Simons. But, with historic sites, museum, restaurants, and plenty of beaches to explore, there is still plenty to do. You can read my local’s guide to Jekyll Island, Georgia here to get the scoop.
For history and architecture buffs, I’d highly recommend the Jekyll Island Club Resort. The hotel was built in the late nineteenth century as a winter escape and hunting club for New England’s elite and has after an extensive renovation in the 70s, it has been a favorite historic hotel ever since. There are lots of options when it comes to choosing a room. I like the top floor of the main hotel on the river front. The view of the hotel’s famous turret is in perfect view as is the pool and river. The balcony is the ideal place for your morning coffee or watch the sunset. Check for available rates and dates.
There’s so much to do at the hotel itself. Play croquet on the lawn, enjoy high tea in the dining room, tour the historic district, dine on the wharf, rent a bike and explore the island, the list goes on and on. With ornamental gardens, historic properties and live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, it’s easy to see why this resort is a popular choice for locals and visitors alike.
The Jekyll Resort’s new sister property is the Jekyll Ocean Club. Its 40 beachfront suites are perfect for families with small kids or groups. Watch the waves roll in from your suite balcony or hang out on the sunny patio by the pool. Don’t forget to ask for s’more supplies for the patio fire pits. The Ocean Club’s open air restaurant, Eighty Ocean Kitchen and Bar, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features a raw bar and wood-fired pizza. I haven’t stayed here yet but as a guest of the Jekyll Island Club Resort I was able to access their beach with chairs and umbrellas. Check for available rooms and rates.
Jekyll Island Vacation Rentals
Jekyll Island House Boat - There are a few house boats at the Jekyll marina but this one is particularly cute and is listed as an Airbnb superhost property. Guests have access to a kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom, and 3 outdoor spaces. The marina is also equipped with laundry facilities, a swimming pool, and hot tub. For the size, this house boat is ideal for couples and solo travelers.
Sandpiper Hideaway - This mid-mod beach house has been completely redone on the inside and has all the modern amenities a big group or family would want/ need on a beach trip. With 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, this house can comfortably sleep 10 people and has a pool, hot tub, screened in porch, and spacious patio.
Brewton Cottage- Adorable 3 bed, 2 bath beach cottage is on the northern end of Jekyll Island near Driftwood Beach. It has been completely remodeled inside and outdoors there’s a covered porch and enclosed shower for when you need to rinse off after a day at the beach.
Sea Island Hotels
If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, this is the place. The resort has three different options for rooms - the main building, the Beach Blub, and the Ocean Residences. I’ve stayed in the main building and the ocean residences before and I’d recommend the main building if you want to be close to the resorts restaurants and bars. The beach club and ocean residences are a bit of a walk or a short bike ride from the main building. If you’re traveling with children, I’d go with the beach club because these rooms are on the beach and give you easy access to Sea Island’s pools and casual dining options. They’re all beautifully decorated and spacious. If the beachfront locale and fabulous fine dining wasn’t enough, the Forbes Five Star Sea Island Spa is another big reason to splurge and stay at The Cloister. The spa has a massive lap pool, hydrotherapy room, steam, sauna, and meditation gardens and workout facilities available to hotel guests. Treat yourself with an incredible facial or massage to finish off your vacay. Check for rates and availability.
Sea Island Vacation Rentals
Marsh front cottage with pool and cabana - This house sleeps 10 and has the best outdoor space with a kitchen and a pool. This house sits on the marsh which is will give you some amazing sunrises and sunsets but the beach is just a short walk away.
5th Street Beach Cottage - This adorable cottage sleeps 13 and comes with an outdoor fire pit, bicycles, and a cozy hammock. The Beach Club is just two blocks away!