Good as Gold

Good as Gold

Georgia’s Golden Isles is a destination that offers it all

 Words by Paige Townley

Spanish explorers may have first arrived on Georgia’s barrier islands in search of gold, but what they found was an even bigger treasure: the Golden Isles, a picturesque destination that offers it all.

Nestled along the Atlantic Ocean on Georgia’s coast—midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Florida—are four barrier islands that comprise what is known as the Golden Isles: St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons Island, and historic port city Brunswick. Named after the majestic hues found in the area’s sought-after sunsets and sandy beaches, the Golden Isles features pristine natural beauty, from its beaches to its marshland, along with a storied history and natural and historic attractions.

A coastal trek unlike any other, the Golden Isles offers a wide range of activities that can be enjoyed any time of year, and particularly in the fall. Instead of fall foliage, visitors can check out the changing colors—from green to gold—of the spartina marsh grasses. The views of the golden marsh grasses are made even better when fishing. Between the Atlantic and the many sparkling rivers in the area, fishing is an activity that can be enjoyed by boat or from practically any spot on shore.

For a little more adventure through the unique terrain, there’s no better activity than cycling. The Jekyll Island Trail System and the St. Simons Island Trail System provide more than 50 miles of trails to explore, including hard-packed beaches ready for the ride.

For a more competitive outdoor activity there are plenty of options for golf. Boasting nearly 200 holes of golf and then some, the area is home to many of the country’s most renowned courses, including the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. The Sea Island Golf Club hosts the PGA Tour’s annual RSM Classic, which is taking place November 14-20.

Autumn is also the ideal time to bird watch. Fall is migration season through Georgia, and there are a variety of birds that can easily be spotted in the area. Little St. Simons Island alone has recorded more than 330 species of birds, along with untouched landscapes and conserved ecosystems as it’s only accessible by boat. Guests can take a day trip or reserve a coveted stay in the luxury eco-lodge, that can accommodate no more than 32 overnight guests.

A visit to the Golden Isles isn’t complete without a taste of its unique coastal Georgia cuisine. Brunswick Stew is synonymous with the Golden Isles, and visitors are sure to find numerous variations of the dish on the menus at local restaurants. Oysters, not surprisingly, are another popular dish in the Golden Isles. Whether raw or steamed on the half shell, it’s impossible to find fresher oysters than the ones being served all across the islands and mainland. And the same goes for snapper, grouper, and Wild Georgia Shrimp, which are all plentiful off the Georgia coast and a frequent highlight of delicious dishes in the Golden Isles. Highlighting the prominence of these dishes and more to the area are some of the most popular annual fall festivals, such as the Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival. Happening November 4-6, the Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival combines the ever-popular southern dish with family-friendly entertainment, an artists’ market, live music, kids activities, craft brews, and all sorts of food.

Whatever draws you to the Golden Isles of Georgia—the history, the nature, the adventure, or the food—the destination offers a golden opportunity to experience an unforgettable coastal escape. Discover lodging specials and packages as you plan your trip.