Georgia's Best Kept Secret: The Golden Isles

Georgia's Best Kept Secret: The Golden Isles
Words by Miranda Shaffer
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The Golden Isles
 Imagine driving down a road lined with centuries-old oak trees, Spanish moss dancing in the breeze as it hangs from ancient branches. Sun streams through your windows as you reach miles of golden beaches. You keep traveling to see even more depictions of natural beauty as you encounter winding rivers, marshlands, and so much more that this land has to offer. This coastline of outdoor bliss is known as the Golden Isles of Georgia, the best kept secret on the East Coast that has been beckoning visitors to return for generations. Made up of four unique barrier islands, St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island, each one of the Golden Isles has its own charisma and personality for people to discover all centered around the mainland port city of Brunswick. Recently named one of Travel + Leisure’s “Best Islands in the Continental U.S.” for the fifth year, along with several other accolades, it is no secret that the Golden Isles are a true gem of Georgia. Now let’s explore the wonderful features that make each of these islands so unique.

St. Simons Island
The largest barrier island in the Golden Isles, St. Simons, offers a pristine landscape creating an ideal getaway. Spend the day biking on East Beach, fishing at Gould’s Inlet, or playing fetch with your dog in the surf. Then, spend the evening walking along the beach during the gorgeous sunset. You can also enjoy a wide variety of charming shops and restaurants in town. Featured in Southern Living’s list of “Best Vacation Spot in Every Southern State” and Trip Advisor’s “17 Beautiful Small Towns to Visit,” this is a spot certain to exceed expectations.

Sea Island
The only resort in the world to have received four Forbes Five-Star Awards for eleven years straight, Sea Island is a place where luxury and timeless tradition coincide. Another excellent choice for golfers, this island holds three exceptional 18-hole championship golf courses. A great option for families as well, Sea Island is sure to offer a getaway filled with discovery and wonder for all ages.

Little St. Simons Island
Accessible only by boat, Little St. Simons is a privately-owned island that only holds up to 32 guests at a time. An intimate escape, this destination is not far from its fellow islands yet feels worlds away. Little St. Simons transports its guests to a forgotten world with its 11,000 undeveloped acres and seven miles of private beaches. Prepare to explore untouched wilderness with naturalists as you kayak through winding rivers and hidden inlets. A sanctuary like no other, this private island is definitely the place to be for a little escape from reality.

Jekyll Island
A state park prized for its open wilderness and National Historic Landmark District, Jekyll Island boasts unique natural beauty. Visit the stunning sun-drenched beaches, like the golden-sand Glory Beach, which have put Jekyll Island on the Town and Country’s Magazine’s list of “15 Best East Coast Beaches.” Another favorite is Driftwood Beach, a stunning stretch of sand with weathered wood along the shore. It’s a truly one-of-a-kind site, perfect for a daytime picnic or nighttime star-gazing.

The historic port city of Brunswick features iconic Victorian-style homes and architecture. Lined along Newcastle Street, there are many locally owned boutiques, distinguished galleries, and up-and-coming eateries ready for you to discover. Pocket parks and squares will add an extra level of beauty to your Brunswick wanderings.

Enjoy the beautiful maritime forests and untouched marshes, five star amenities and dining, and remember savor the once-in-a-lifetime experiences you will be sure to hold in your memory for years to come.